“A day festival like no other, combining the finest of South London’s independent food, drink and music” best describes this one standout event that will kick start the summer. GALA Festival 2017 takes place Sunday, May 28, during a well-placed, indeed, bank holiday weekend.
Set in London’s scenic Brockwell Park, Brixton with views over the city, GALA will host home grown food traders and boutique bars alongside a stellar line up of internationally renowned DJs and live acts.
Iconic disco brands, Studio 54 (Nicky Siano) and Paradise Garage, will headline, while Horse Meat Disco are curating their own stage to complete ‘The Holy Trinity of Disco’. Coming alongside is Crazy P with a full live band, with guests to include the likes of Honey Soundsystem and Mood II Swing.
The food offering will be taken care of from the likes of Kricket, Chicken Shop, Made Of Dough, Bill Or Beak and Fatties Bakery while Brixton Brewery, Canopy Beer and Peckham’s Brick Brewery, amongst others, will be supplying the drinks. Early bird tickets start at an incredible value of £20 via pre-registration from here.
“Good food, good vibes and good people” will be at the forefront of a day seeing the likes of Studio 54’s mighty Nicky Siano. The Brooklyn born Siano is a former resident DJ of Studio 54, Manhattan. In 1971, at the age of 16, he got his first DJing gig, with the help of Robin Lord, and opened The Gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan with his older brother, Joe Siano.
When Steve Rubell opened Studio 54, he asked Nicky to come onboard as a resident DJ. He became known for playing underground alternative music, as opposed to the disco hits that were dominating the nightclub scene. He then went into production, his big single, “Kiss Me Again”, selling more than 300,000 records. His latest track, “Power Of Love”, featuring Arlene Burton, released 2007.
The legendary Paradise Garage and its DJs originate from a discotheque notable in the history of modern dance and pop music, as well as LGBT and nightclub cultures. Originally, its business model was largely inspired by David Mancuso’s private, invitation-only DJ parties at The Loft in New York City: no alcohol, food or drink, and the club was not open to the general public.
It was known for its “enthusiastic, yet unforgiving nature” if a performer was struggling, and saw performances from the likes of Diana Ross and Madonna. It was further immortalised in 1979, when Tim Curry released the album, Fearless, containing the single, “Paradise Garage”. The venue also gave birth to the term, almost genre within itself, “garage music”.
South London party-starters, Horse Meat Disco, finish said trinity. This will turn the local celebration into “a confetti filled disco, funk and soul extravaganza”. Horse Meat Disco began in a basement in London’s Chinatown where co-founders James Hillard and Jim Stanton (plus Luke Howard and Severino) created a “safe queer space for the disenfranchised disco citizens of London”.
They’ve built a reputation for their fantastic parties and high quality disco sets. Musically, they take you through the likes of italo disco, house, oddities, Afro, punk funk and anything in between. As with the general feel of the day, there’s a focus on inclusivity as much as humanly possible and it’s emphasised all are welcome, especially with these guys, to come along.
Hitmakers, Crazy P, will bring their iconic live disco setup with full band included. They’re an electronic music group formed around 1995 by Chris Todd and Jim Baron, and the band’s sound incorporates soul music, disco and house music. They have, in their time, released six albums and several singles, and have built up a strong fanbase in Australia where they have toured several times.
Then there’s “analog synthesist and disco minimalist” act, Harvey Sutherland & Bermuda. The nucleus of the trio began back in 2013. US based Mood II Swing, meanwhile, will be supplying deeper house sounds.
Late Night Tuff Guy will be playing a fitting tribute set dedicated to David Bowie for all of South London to savour. After all, he was born in Brixton, that very neck on the woods where the whole event’s taking place.
Honey Soundsystem is a San Francisco based collective of four, and they all “bond over a shared love of timeless sounds, iconic imagery, the complete look, indulgent behavior, and most of all, attractive men”.
Londoner, Moxie, was “raised on raving and records” and’s sure to be another welcome addition to the roster.
Bas Ibellini, “passed down from a musical family”, will also bring a certain grasp of things on the day. He’ll be amongst the others “bringing the heat” with many more to be confirmed nearer the time.
The independent food offering will bring some of the best traders south of the river has to offer with the unrivalled The Joint, Kricket and Bill Or Beak bringing their foodie treats to the festivities.
Chicken perfectionists, Chicken Shop, will be supplying some of the finest marinated rotisserie poultry, Kerbisher And Malt, Fatties Bakery, Killa Dilla, Oh My Dog and Made Of Dough will all be present and supplying GALA with enough food to feed the whole of London.
To celebrate the summer ahead, GALA has pulled together some of the best independent drinks brands in South London. The bars will be curated and delivered by Glastonbury’s The Beat Hotel operators, Soulshakers, each hosting born and bred Brixton Brewery who will supply their bold craft beers, Brockwell Park locals Canopy Beer set to bring their simple and crisp small batch craft selection alongside up and coming microbrewery, Brick Brewery.
Beyond the music, food and drink, ticket holders can expect plenty of other entertainment, from independent record shop, Rye Wax, to summer party games and some not-so-secret revelry.
GALA aims to ease Londoners into the summer with a crescendo-like journey of socialising, dining and drinking “with an all-out confetti filled hedonism finale”. GALA’s a community driven event that promotes premium local food and drink bringing together everything great about summer into one amazing celebration.
Limited early birds tickets are available from just £20 from Resident Adviser with more to be announced soon. Look below for full details of music, food and drink:
Paradise Garage DJs
Nicky Siano (Studio 54)
Horse Meat Disco (stage takeover)
Crazy P Soundsystem Live
Mood II Swing
Harvey Sutherland & Bermuda
Late Night Tuff Guy (David Bowie tribute set)
Afriquoi (DJ set)
Krywald & Farrer
Bill Or Beak
Kerbisher And Malt
Made Of Dough
Oh My Dog
Keep tabs on GALA Festival: Website // Facebook // Instagram
Words by Andrew Watson