London's Most Hedonistic Party Comes North
Written by: Violet Myers
Having been chucked out of Bermondsey’s Crucifix Street for being far too radical, it’s with open tie-dyed arms that North London welcomes the psychedelic circus that is Whirl-Y-Gig back into our lives, showing once and for all that the North knows a good thing when it sees it.
Spanning 30 years of hypnotic fun, the carnival-esque dance night began in 1981, hopping from venue to venue and growing a loyal, eccentric fan base. The average Whirl-Y-Gig attendee ranges from the brightly painted topless hula-hooping girl who doesn’t believe in gravity, to the once shy anorak wearing twenty year old who’s having ‘THE BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE’, to organic farmer Gerald who once went on tour with Cream (he thinks) and hasn’t missed a Whirly yet.
The music is as mixed and farfetched as its attendees and, unlike many long running dance nights, isn’t afraid to experiment with genres. Playlists range from drum and bass to psychedelic rock to psytrance, with the occasional live musical performance. Adding to the whirlwind of beats is Whirly’s legendary decor; a maze of colourful wall hangings, rainbow glow sticks and giant rotating disco balls that create a friendly type of rave appropriate vibe… while the technicolor light show is probably what Keith Richards sees whenever he closes his eyes.
Whirl-Y-Gig’s long standing success stems from an inability to take itself too seriously. It shies away from the achingly cool underground nights of its East London neighbours and focuses instead on creating a night of community, creativity and old fashioned fun. The onsite entertainment ranges from a tuck shop, where ravers can buy anything from organic hot chocolate to bananas and vegan cakes, to free face painting. While Whirl-Y’s piece-de-resistance is their legendary giant parachute, borrowed from the greatest PE lessons of primary school, which is brought out half an hour before the night ends and lowered gently on to the clubbers and cocooning them in its canopy. It’s a soft, dreamlike nudge back into reality – rather than the shrieking, eye burning ‘lights on, everybody out!’ that party goers have grown so used to.
It’s time to borrow your kid sister’s craft glitter, squeeze into those metallic hot pants and join London’s most legendary party in its new home at the Camden Centre.
27th February, 22:00 – 4:00
Camden Centre, WC1H 9JE
Photo: Sophie Fordham
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