Glass reviews GALA festival

THE city day-festival is well in its prime with new festivals like Community, All Points East and Citadel joining the music calendar and drawing in the London crowds. GALA however, mastered the art years back with its annual dance party in the park. This year they managed to celebrate yet another year of fun in Peckham Rye Park.

When is comes to dance music all-dayers GALA takes first prize. It’s humble approach means  there aren’t any in-your-face brand sponsorships pushed or complicated stage setups. It’s as simple as walking into the park and having a good time.

The sunny main stage

The day kicked off in true British bank holiday style with the shining sun and crowds enjoying Raw Silk and Nick The Record at the main stage. Meanwhile in The Pleasure Dome, festival-goers braved the contained bubble of heat and sweated side by side while dancing their way tunes from  dance music maestro, Dan Beaumont. Was it worth it? Of course it was. Beaumont orchestrated us through his set like puppets as laid it on thick. Saying that, it’s very easy to get in the zone when you’re stuck in a dome full of people and can barely move to get out.

The Pleasure Dome

A stellar lineup of international artists meant there was enough going on for each tent to have a vibe of its own. Each corner of the park was pumping out different sounds and down near the end was GALA’s newest addition, the Worldwide FM stage run and curated by Giles Peterson.  This Worldwide FM stage was exactly the right mood for me after I left The Pleasure Dome as the mixture of cool breeze and live instruments replenished me like a musical detox. ‘One to watch’, Skinny Pelembe played to a tentative but small crowd followed by Auntie Flo and Mr Scruff who performed with MC Kwasi.

A sign celebrating South London

As the sun started to set, a thick black cloud drew closer to the festival site only to unload its contents on us during Honey Dijon’s set. Half of GALA ran for cover whilst the other simply danced through the shower, embracing what was left of Dijon’s set which ended in club banger Gypsy Woman. By 10:30pm crowds were dribbling out to either move onto afterparties or call it wrap for another year. Another success from GALA means dance music fans can enjoy the closest thing to club intimacy in a park whilst enjoying the ever unpredictable bank holiday weather.  

by Katrina Mirpuri