Wonderland.

7 WONDERS: GALA

Intimacy, convenience and seamless everything at Peckham Rye’s house and techno all-dayer.

GALA festival in Peckham Rye small stage
GALA festival in Peckham Rye small stage

Over May Bank Holiday, when the heavens opened up over south London’s Peckham Rye Park, revellers went half and half. The bravest continued splash-dancing away in the downpour, relishing their last-minute foresight to pack rain macs. And the rest of us? Piled furiously into the hedonistic, sweaty Pleasure Dome, previously hosted by boogie wizards Horse Meat Disco, this year reaching peak joy with Midland at the helm.

One thing was for certain, spirits were not dampened in the slightest at the independant all-day house and techno festival – and word is, due to seamless, well, pretty much everything – four-year-old GALA is a contender for the best new summer one-day party.

Here are 7 reasons why…

The price is right

It all starts at the funds, because Londoners are obviously notoriously skint. And first things first, GALA rewarded the prepared. With pre-sale tickets starting at £25, ever heard the phrase early bird catches the worm? Final release came in at £60, but considering the banging line-up, long run-time (doors opened at 11.30am and closed at 10.30pm), seamless production and zero queue times – so, so worth it.

Speed

GALA festival in Peckham Rye trees
GALA festival in Peckham Rye trees

Despite what the rest of the world would have you believe, Brits probably don’t actually like to queue (I say probably because actually, you never know). Toilets, food stalls and bars galore meant that festival-goers could actually concentrate on enjoying the music instead of timing their next pint mission with the middle of a set to avoid catastrophic wait times.

Location location location

GALA festival in Peckham Rye sign
GALA festival in Peckham Rye sign

Rolling directly into bed after a day of heavy-duty dancing, trudging around in the mud and leaping from stage to stage – it’s something we regularly take for granted, especially when all that’s available is a flimsy mud-caked tent. And when we can rinse the day’s sins away in a hot shower and wriggle into our own duvet – you’ve got to wonder why do we ever do anything else. Thankfully GALA took place in Peckham’s Green, which not only is a central South location, but so also quickly accessible from east London via the Overground.

Line-up, line-up

GALA festival in Peckham Rye pleasure dome
GALA festival in Peckham Rye pleasure dome

Considering it’s a relative newbie, for the last 3 years now GALA has been smashing the line-up. And for 2019, we were privy to explosive sets all-round. Sticky acid house courtesy of Palms Trax, sunshine disco vibes from Horse Meat Disco, and the queen herself Honey Dijon had electricity surging through the Main Stage crowds.

Keep your friends close

GALA festival stage crowds
GALA festival stage crowds

When it comes down to it, size does matter. And the fact of the matter is, wouldn’t you rather be enjoying the music than traipsing from stage to stage? Here GALA wins hands-down when it comes to an intimate feel, where you’re actually finding yourself bumping into someone you know every 5 minutes (but seriously though). A highlight was a dreamy set from Mr. Scruff at the corner World FM stage, which felt like a tiny sun-soaked universe (she came out for a bit!) away from the chaos. And minimal sound spill was a surprising bonus.

The world’s a stage

GALA festival in Peckham Rye stages
GALA festival in Peckham Rye stages

The Pleasure Dome, last year hosted by Horse Meat Disco, certainly frazzled some hairs, and this year with Midland at the helm, the result was a sticky, sweaty, pulsing mess. And we were elated. Cooking with Palms Trax was summer-personified, thanks only in part to the sticky sunshine tunes. Worldwide FM stage was a slow-paced dream, and the Main Stage? Well, the Main Stage was a ye olde faithful spot for a decent party.

Bottom’s up!

GALA festival in Peckham Rye hay bales
GALA festival in Peckham Rye hay bales

A beautiful, beautiful bonus came in the form of the phenomenally long bar which bordered the main stage (and also served as a decent meeting point, fyi). Waiting for a bev is a thing of the past and other all-dayers should follow suit.

Photograpghy
Justine Trickett
7 WONDERS: GALA

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