Posts Tagged ‘XXL’
Casting our minds back some ten to fifteen years and looking at a London clubbing landscape that was littered with special events both indoors & out, the likes of Famous Five & Universe attracting huge numbers on Bank Holidays and this marking a time when outdoor Pride parties were never more prolific, happy happenings at a host of alfresco areas, Clapham Common, Victoria, Kennington & Finsbury parks, all significant, while memorable Brockwell Park meets particularly stuck in the mind, a string of outstanding outings culminating there with Purple In The Park in 2002. But by this time, the penchant for a park party had pretty much fallen out of favour, not least due to a succession of soaking sessions, London’s premier Pride party in Hyde Park proving a wash-out two years in a row, even Purple suffering a similar fate. Yet, despite the weather, there is nothing quite like a park party and while Brighton seems to have survived & indeed thrived, whereas London has lost out, but when news hit our desks of the re-launch of an exceptional alfresco event that well & truly rocked Brockwell Park and was best of the bunch, we simply had to give it the support it deserved.
Summer Rites was, without doubt, the best alfresco outing we have attended, the launch event some twelve years ago making its mark pretty much instantaneously with the most prolific party we can remember, an outing that saw us accompanied by our then close companion, Chris Reardon, when the likes of Ultra Nate were headlining the massive main stage, while a pack of peripheral parties within this massive festival very much hit the mark, not least Monday morning madcap meet, Warriors, which took over the lido, creating a water park style splash that we will never forget. But like so many of it park party bedfellows, Summer Rites became a victim of that tide change we talked about, outdoors being swapped for in, leaving the whole creative concept pretty much dead in the water. However, with the vision of its original organisers spotting a new gap in the festival market, no doubt spurned by the success of Lovebox, along with the marriage of minds of brands like Salvation, XXL & Popstarz, combined with the more cutting edge east end events, Gutterslut & meat, very much gave this boutique festival credence to the clubbing circuit crowd, meaning, on paper at least, there was nothing stopping Summer Rites “Remixed” from being a resounding success. The question was, how did it actually fare? And what were the real highlights for us?
Having succumbed to a totally unplanned trip to Beyond on the Sunday morning, initially agreeing to leave after just one hour, it was The Oli that stalled our departure, the rest pretty much history, although we blame a storming set my Mikey D that really did the damage., So, with plans to arrive at Summer Rites bright & early laid to waste, it was Lovechild’s promoter Alex Erfan that came to our rescue a very welcome chauffeur style ride to Shoreditch Park by Queer Nation’s (and many more) Patrick Lilley, transporting us from SW4 to E1 in an instant, although a little later than planned, we hitting the ground running (well nearly the ground actually) a just after 5 p.m.. However, with the distinctly rain filled clouds having cleared by this time, we couldn’t have timed our arrival more perfectly, the sun suddenly shining and a glorious greeting on the gate by the ever smiling Stewart, just the started we needed, particularly in our fragile state, but then there was no one else to blame for our Beyond bawdiness that had caused us to feel this way, a pick me up very much in order, although right from the off we seemed to be left a bit begging.
Finding out feet momentarily, we gazed upon this Shoreditch Park splendour of a Summer Rites “Remixed” alfresco audacity, the mix of tents & stages pitched perfectly, although some were finding favour over others, our first stop being the Bootylicious bus, which had a faithful following of its usual mix of colours & creeds, Messrs Lilley & Forbes in their element. Then it was a case of slowly (thank heavens!) making our way around the park, our next port of call the XXL tent, Christian M in charge of the tunes, a brief stop soon finding us across that the main stage, in the hands of international clubbing brand Salvation, Elliot J Brown taking centre stage with a myriad of magical music mixes that had us on a monetary upsurge of energy, the considerable crowd also lapping up his dance delectations with real gusto. But we were keen to spot out the East Bloc tent, not least as both awesome alternatives, Gutterslut & Meat were sowing their hands, the likes of Per Q.X. & Tom Stephan masterminding the music. And, we weren’t to be disappointed, as not only was the atmosphere amazing inside, but it was packed with familiar faces, Ross Paterson & pal, fresh from their Madrid Pride exploits, as well as the Brazilian bunch including Sophie & Giuseppe, all throwing themselves into the Gutterslut slice of this alfresco antics afternoon.
However, our tour of the park was not yet over, with the VIP area still to investigate, but not before circling the park to take in the Popstarz tent, although being caught in our tracks by fab photographer Chris Jepson who instantly snapped us together with our “mature boy band” partners before heading off to click his camera at more unsuspecting targets. With the Popstarz tent pretty empty, save for a handful of pop pickers, Max Sanna included, we waved farewell to both Patrick & Alex had had seen what they wanted to see, the VIP area our next port of call and that much needed “pick me up” that our Beyond bedraggled body had been crying out for. Mind you, with the scene glitterati floating around, The QX top brass, the Boyz boys, a smattering of D.J.’s & other scene faces, we soon fell into captivating conversation with Tony Tansley who seemed grateful he was the right side of the organisational side of the fence, having been part of the original Summer Rites team, but now enjoying this “Remixed” festival as a patron. But it was then the amiable Antoine 909 who engaged us fully, we talking D.J.’ing, pride partying, festivals & all sorts of other topics, we realising just what a tremendous guy & talent he is and one that the London scene sorely misses (a comeback pleaaase!!).
With our VIP socialising over and the evening sunshine peeping through, we were main stage bound, the lion’s share of the remaining festival frolickers glued to a spectacular set by our very own foxy lady, Miswhite, who was clearly revelling in her big stage appearance, further familiar faces within the crowd, including Phil Marriott & Russell, both camera clicking, a quick pop backstage seeing a chance meet with the adorable Paul Vlad who was in fine fettle. However, we were waiting for prolific P.A. Peyton to hit the stage, so back front we went finding more captivating company, this time in the form of vivacious vocalist Lizzie France, who like us, was praying for a prolific Peyton performance. And we weren’t to be disappointed, as he pretty much stole the Summer Rites “remixed” show, with a clutch of towering tunes including “Trapped” leaving us once again breathless in admiration of his scintillating stage showing & powerful presence. So with our Shoreditch park festival box well & truly ticked, we pointed out now flagging body towards the exit & a saunter home to reflect on one of the best gay outdoor gatherings in a long while.
So what was our verdict on this return of Summer Rites? Well, there was absolutely no doubt that it had all the right ingredients that make for a successful park outing and we were particularly impressed with the marvellous mix of club tent & entertainment offerings, bringing in all colourful corners of this superb scene that we are so lucky to be involved in. And, while the park was never packed, the turnout was impressive enough, although we suspect that the entry price may have been a distraction for some, while the weather was always going to play its part, that fateful British summer not letting us down, with a shower & sunshine parade that was probably a deterrent for others. Yet, with the choice of clubs represented balanced well, the inclusion of the mandatory fare rides, market stalls & food stands, along with the all important drinks outlets, Summer Rites had it all, was a park party pitched perfectly and ended up be a very enjoyable excursion, so well worth the trip across town. Highlights have to have been Peyton’s prolific performance & that awesome atmosphere in the East Bloc tent, while the amiable Antoine made our day pretty much complete, meaning that we sincerely hope Summer Rites & all its terrific trappings will be back, bigger & even better next year as it certainly gets our vote. (DISCO MATT)
Having just about a week ago lamenting on the wonders of park festivals passed, we find ourselves in the same boat, looking back & then looking forward as one of our favourite festivals from a good ten years makes its welcome return to the summer scene. But pushing back the clock, when Summer Rites was rocking our world, it seemed that park festivals were going from strength to strength, a whole succession of post Pride parties having been held in Brockwell, Victoria, & Finsbury park(s), while Clapham Common had also featured. And it was the Brockwell days that saw Summer Rites rise to ascendency, the first event still living in our memories, not least when we clubbed & cavorted to the Warriors sounds of Wayne G in the Brockwell park lido with close companion of the time, D.J. Chris Reardon., while the likes of Ultra Nate were performing on the main stage, oh the memories!!
Yet, as good as Summer Rites was, a tide change that saw park parties become less & less popular, not least due to a run of years when the famous British summer reared its rainy head, very much dampening festival organisers’ causes, outdoors was swapped for indoors, while Pride itself ditched the park format in favour of the central London square scenario, perhaps on the strength of Soho Pride which had become the darling of the festival scene in the capital. However, with two years of success under its belt, Lovebox has spurned a resurgence in the penchant for a park party and when news hit our desks that Summer Rites was to return, we suddenly looked forward to a season full of alfresco antics, obviously crossing lots of fingers for that famed weather to hold, serving up plenty of sunshine rather than rainy Sunday’s. But whilst we cannot guarantee the weather this coming Sunday (10th July), what we can promise is a party to re-emulate those halcyon Summer Rites days, with a whole host of dance tents, entertainment & everything else that goes with partying in the park.
So, what’s on the Summer Rites “Remixed” table then? Well, for this “…boutique gay clubbing festival…”, quite a lot actually, as the organisers have gathered some of the big name brands to support the host of locally based Shoreditch showstoppers like Gutterslut, Meat, & Pony Step. And there are some pretty big names in the frame too, international mega club Salvation spearheading an impressive line-up of dance & entertainment tents that also includes bear brand XXL, gender bender brilliance “Trannyshack” & the indie trendsetter, Popstarz, not to mention other supporters that include The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, represented by their night “Kimono Krush”, while Shoreditch bar The Joiners Arms, along with gay boozer The George & Dragon lend their support to the refreshment tents & stands, as well as having their own spaces to flaunt their entertainment wares. But the involvement doesn’t stop there as Shoreditch’s finest & most talked about club of the moment, East Bloc, will play an intrinsic part in proceedings, while Century Club’s “Sunday Happy Day” will lend a helping hand, this on top of a special “Bootyliicious” bus that should prove a real draw.
But, before we drill down on some of the detail, here’s a message from our sponsors, or more appropriately the organisers who say about Summer Rites “Remxied”, “…This is a festival orchestrated by the creators of the authentic gay alternative festival, Summer Rites, and the iconic street party, Soho Pride. Both have kept the London gay community grooving & moving for the last two decades & now the gang are digging deeper for a big balsy summer smash…”, the further adding, “…set in Shoreditch between Old Street, Islington & in part of the historic East End of London, where fashion, music & art combine, it will be right at the heart of a place which is recognised as London’s most vibrant district. The festival will feature dance arenas, an open stage, a boogie bus, multiple bars and much more…”, they concluding that “…form the intimacy yet frivolity of Shoreditch park from midday to 10 p.m., the party doesn’t stop as “Encore” the official Summer Rites afterparty will continue from 10 p.m. to late in a nearby warehouse…”.
Now that gives you a flavour of what to expect, but what about the detail between the lines? Well, first & foremost, Salvation will be hosting that main open stage, the club showing how it’s done with the kind of spectacular production for which they have become famous for. And promoter Steve Elliot together with his terrific team, will be drawing on the dance direction of Raul Gonzalez who will turn out a truck load of performers, artists, acrobats & the like, to compliment the delectable D.J. line up that includes stars covering the clubs 13 year history, Luke Hope, Pier Morrocco, Miswhite & Paul Coals, along with Elliot J Brown & Howard Turner. But it doesn’t stop there as, prolific P.A. (in our view, the best in the business) Peyton will be centre staging the performances, while Andromeda & the Twisted Dreams dance troupe will also feature. However, Trannyshack will also get their main stage say, with the best in worldwide drag artists & off-beat/unusual shows, a D.J. line-up to delight that will include gender benders Tasty Tim, Munroe Bergdorf & Lady Lloyd, along with Trannyshack queen, The very Miss Dusty O, who will be performing a rare live show that simply cannot be missed.
Main stage aside, the other highlights for us look like being the East Bloc tent, where the wayout & whacky Gutterslut will feature, along with Tom Stephan’s magnificent monthly meet, Meat, which will no doubt be riding on a wave crest after their party just hours before. With D.J. stars including Per Q.X. Nic Fisher & Miss MC Crystal flying the Gutterslut flag, while Meat main man Tom Stephan will play an exclusive set alongside East Bloc residents James Phillips & Borja Penna, while the likes of A Man To Pet, Miss Krystilina, Amber Swallows & Ma Butcher will beef up the bravado, all meaning this should prove a dynamic draw. But the boogie bus, hosted by Bootylicious, just has to be sampled, while XXL will definitely have their bear say, although we hope not to hear the phrase of last weekend in there, “I Want My Porridge!”, although we are sure there will be no shortage of bears looking for their goldilocks. However, with so much else on offer, the variety & choice couldn’t be better and very much reflects just how vibrant the Shoreditch scene has become, Summer Rites “Remixed” celebrating this scene diversity in the best possible way, meaning there is a place to lay your clubbing hat, whatever persuasion or whatever type of clubber or cavorter you are.
Right, let’s cover off the detail and remind you that Summer Rites “Remixed” takes place this Sunday (10th July) at Shoreditch Park from midday till 10 p.m. This is a ticketed event, with all the £15 early bird tickets having been sold, so only advance ones priced at £20 now only available online by going to the official website. http://summer-rites.com. However, you can also purchase your entry in advance by popping into Prowler in Soho or across at Expectations on Great Eastern St in Shoreditch, while you can also pay entry on the day, but make sure you have the readies & not the plastic, as they can only accept cash payments. Now, as for directions, visiting the website is your best option, although Shoreditch Park in is the heart of Hoxton, so your nearest tube is Old St, while a whole host of busses can take you close. And if you can’t get online, you can always land on your favourite venue or outlet, who have plentiful stocks of the special Summer Rites programme brochure which, like here, tells you pretty much everything you need to know, including a map of the park & the local vicinity to save you scratching around for an A to Z. And, don’t forget “Encore”, the official afterparty, plus a gathering at East Bloc that will take you deep into Monday morning, all these details also available at http://eastbloc.co.uk.
So, with this brilliant boutique gay clubbing festival looking like THE place to be & be seen on the scene this Sunday, we will be there to report on & review it all, so if you spot us then come say hi, but make sure you don’t miss out on what looks like being the sensation of the summer, making sure you “Go There! Be There! (DISCO MATT)