Saturday 4th September 2021
The second festival post-restrictions that really felt things are getting back to normal. From my rating, experience and the acts.
Ticket price: 5
Drink selection and prices: 1 (shocking)
The ticket prices were quite pricy. At £59.50 + £5.95 booking fee, we are already at about £65 at the starting gate. Given that this was one of the annual pilgrimages, this was to be expected.
Our outfit game was vibrant and practical. There could have been more effort but I'm not that sort of person. I literally pulled mine out of dusty bags on the day, where my old costumes jumped for my attention.
To be honest, I can't remember many outstanding outfits at Hoopla so I think we were just fine!
Having a brekkie and a few pre-drinks at a friend's helped us on the drinking game. Also it was quite convenient since he lived in Clapham. So getting there meant a tube from Clapham South, changing at Stockwell and onwards to Brixton.
No major issues. Just a bit of walk from Brixton but that's where the vibes of a festival really got on the way as we saw the influx of festival goers heading in the same direction like a river to its mouth.
Hoopla created a video about cultural appropriation in terms of costumes and outfits. This was refreshing and educational but I did wonder how well it would be received being told what or what not to wear.
Arriving at the gates of Brockwell Park, we were told to discard our tinnies that we took for the road. Downing them, we proceeded to ticket and security. Relatively straightforward as we scanned our barcodes for entry. Security seemed vaguely interested in the contents of my large pockets but vigilant is a word I cannot say about their search. As the final barrier, a drug-sniffing dog laid judgment to whether we could enter or not. This brought me back the last time Hoopla was on and I was snuffed out by one of the dogs. A long search later of my mediocre belongings lead the dog to my eyedrops. Good boy! Luckily this time, it wasn't interested.
Whilst you may think, that didn't sound too bad. Hoopla management this year had tried being helpful by emailing revellers to bring cash in case that the card readers were doomed (as is normal in festivals). However, approaching the bar, they did not accept cash. This meant withdrawing physical money was such a pointless activity. Thanks for that!
Finally, when the festival ended. The crowd were pigeon-holed into narrow paths like penguins. Surely not a great COVD-safe move.
Drink selecting and prices
Absolute rip-off. You would expect some mark-up on drinks at a festival but the drink selection and prices were appalling. Never had I ever experienced a festival selling purely canned beverages. It looked like a supermarket at night as big blocks of cans stood waiting for gullible consumers. So not only was there no pints that I won't have the pleasure spilling at my own will but there was no great selection. There was no effort made. We couldn't even buy shots. Unheard of!
The company was great. With my boyfriend and close friends. We stuck together... mostly! There were some separations for drinks, toilets and almost a dispute regarding the importance of glitter (and having to wait an excruciating amount of time to get some) but we stuck together.
Mighty Hoopla always has a good vibe to it. Regardless of all the woes mentioned before, the atmosphere is really nice. The people, the varieties of acts to please the varieties of people. Being able to bump into old friends who I recognised from swimming, running, dancing etc. That's really what festivals helps with. Bringing people together and reconnecting after the hiatus of 2020.
This year brought more known acts and consequently, more decisions to be made about where we wanted to be to be able to see who before it got busy. Hoopla had created an app to help manage favourite artists and to ensure you know where and when they were. I downloaded the app and haphazardly added names I recognised. I didn't open the app again. Luckily, the company I kept, were on it and I enjoyed being told where to go. Here are some of the highlights of the day.
Baby, you're the one...
With 2 out 3 kittens, they played some crowd-pleasers. At one point, giant balloons befell the tent and it got really nostalgic.
Apart from some newer songs that I didn't recognise, Alexandra did her classic song. This made the sea of fans sway and amidst that encouraging sea was my friend's disdain, captured here.
RuPaul's Drag Race UK winner
Sing it, "LAWRENCE CHANEY!"
Back into the tents, where the drag queens of UK drag race thrived. We were blessed with the presence of Lawrence Chaney, Drag Queen of Scots.
The audience favourite, Bimini, came on to a cacophony of applause. She described her journey in a heart-tapping speech.
When I first came in 2017, I was a punter, and then in 2018, I was a back-up dancer. 2019, I was Miss Sink The Pink. And now, I'm here as a solo artist!
Ginny Lemon and Tia Kofi
I wanna break up, bye bye.
Having seen Ginny at the Gerald Theatre, she does get around! Even though she walked out of drag race, she returns to do another UK drag race classic. With her was Tia Kofi, who my friend said tapped him on Grindr the night before! Oh how the world is small.
No quote but she did show us an energetic hair-whipping performance.
United Ken Dolls
Bing bang bong, sing sang song, ding dang dong. UK Hun!
Lawrence Chaney reappears with Tayce and Bimini for the UK anthem that is Bing Bang Bong.
Say my name baby!
Finally Cheryl, the headliner. By this time, the crowds are merry on over-priced cans and we all are shocked and awed as the flashy lights and mesmerising back-up dancers. A mix of new tunes and old. She was alright! A friend who saw her in Manchester felt that in comparison, this performance was indeed just alright. Nonetheless, we were entertained. And at least she turned up... (cough cough Example cough).