This May bank holiday, Brockwell Park played host to a small day festival celebrating all things disco, and it did not disappoint. Walking through the entrance, and seeing the gorgeous London skyline as a backdrop for the main stage, we were immediately sold. The section of Brockwell Park that GALA was located in was a perfect size for this sort of festival, it wasn’t too hectic and crammed, there was space to get your groove on, and hay bales to sit on if you needed a break from throwing some proper dodgy moves.
GALA’s line-up consisted of both old and new players from the disco scene, ranging from disco-infused house to full blown disco classics. Nicky Siano, one of the original Studio 54 resident DJs, was a highlight. The club scene hero played tracks from Eddie Kendricks and remixes by Joey Negro, with Tom Browne’s 'Funkin’ for Jamaica' blasting as the sun returned after a dismal two hour downpour, a staple of British festivals. Despite this appalling blip of crap weather, there was a seriously fun and friendly atmosphere, with a crowd sporting some of the jazziest clothes and attire you could ask for from a disco-loving audience (I was of course reppin’ the Hawaiian shirt). However, the bar staff had their work cut out when the heavens opened, the rain forced many people under the safety of the limited cover available, most of which was under the bars. Hopefully the organisers will consider this going forward (regardless of the weather), to prevent staff from receiving so much grief from punters, when they are given limited help.
The Horse Meat Disco Dome became a safe haven for the soaking wet revellers, with people sneaking through a zip on the side of the tent. After the very un-British heatwave over the last week, the team behind GALA were likely expecting a sunny bash, but if every stage had been covered then people would be complaining that they weren’t grooving in the sun, so you can’t really blame them. The festival had some appropriate décor, it was summery disco to a T, the stages were adorned with jungle foliage and there were disco balls everywhere, much to our delight. The Horse Meat Disco Dome looked magnificent, with the HMD crew on the decks for three separate sets, mixing some underground tunes with nostalgic bangers like ‘You Can Call Me Al’ by Paul Simon. Late Nite Tuff Guy played a cracking set on the main stage, proving his status as a mixing maestro, followed by Crazy P’s full live band performance to close the day.
There were some great acts across the event, some of whom still managed to pull a decent crowd in the middle of the pissing rain, so hats off to the likes of Rhythm Sister who gave us a good sesh even when the British weather was having a hissy fit. Also, Harvey Sutherland and Bermuda deserve a mention for their impeccably tight sounding performance, a trio of violin, drums and keys which fooled some members of the crowd into thinking their electronic sound was a DJ. The food available was tasty too with lots of naughty gourmet options, although they were all quite pricey, even for a festival. We will definitely be returning next year though, with such a wonderful and varied line-up at such a reasonable price, you’d be a fool to miss out.