Kaleidoscope Festival cements its status as a family favourite at Alexandra Palace
This family-orientated festival is in its second year and looks set to become a firm favourite. Set in Alexandra Palace and its gardens, with a spectacular view over London, the festival finds a perfect spot for a day festival. The steep hill leading down to the main stage led to some riotous over-excitement from kids, big and small alike. Sitting at the bottom meant being surrounded by a skittering barrage of footballs, bubbles and kids, as the younger clientele barrelled about. There was also a procession of fun going past: a giant Connect 4 came down the hill, as did a Mini Jeep and plenty of characters, from delighted toddlers tottering down the slope to one man who looked like a venerable lord of the rave. One little guy went past in a T-shirt that said “the world’s a playground” – and that sentiment captured what the day was about.
There was something for everyone. Cloud 10 had DJ sets from the likes of DJ Yoda and Zero 7, a terrace where people danced and glittered. The OG rave cohort was out, represented perfectly by another T-shirt (this one on a dad), saying “old school raver” with smileys for the “O”s.
Inside the building was the Fringe Stage, where comedians Jessica Foteskew, Sindhu Vee and Ed Byrne did sets, amongst others. Dom Joly presented his Holiday Snaps, where he recounted tales of pestering tundra locals with cymbals and then speeding away with his crew across the tundra to leave a bemused and probably quite scared “Eskimo”. (The video was pretty funny, to be fair.)
A highlight was veteran DJ David Rodigan on the main stage, playing dub, reggae and jungle classics from the likes of King Tubby, DJ Zinc, Shy FX and Bob Marley, as well as more recent tunes from Chronixx and Protoje. The selection sat just right with the surroundings.
The Happy Mondays performed an emotional set, the first without bassist Paul Ryder (who died suddenly on 15th July). His brother and lead singer, Shaun Ryder, was clearly in pieces about it; he talked openly with raw grief, but they still gave the people what they wanted, with enthusiastic and loving support from Bez and singer Rowetta whipping the crowd up through classics like Kinky Afro, God’s Cop, 24 Hour Party People and Step On. Mark Day’s psychedelic guitars were a treat. Who would have thought that scrappy Shaun Ryder and Bez would become wonky treasures?
Orbital were the headliners – brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll. They named their duo after the M25, which orbits London and was the forge for early rave culture. Their thumping, sensory overload techno hasn’t aged a day since their debut album in 1991. Early tracks like Chime and Halcyon + On + On mix well with more recent material, like the eerie memento mori There Will Come a Time (featuring Professor Brian Cox) and jaunty head scrambler PHUK from their most recent album of 2018, Monsters Exist. Their laser show and visuals, which saw the pair on a rig with trademark head torches surrounded by giant screens, combined the ethos of the rave movement with up-to-date tech. Belfast, a transcendental piece of music that uses a sample of soprano Emily Van Evara singing O Euchari is a highlight.
This small festival created a little bit of magic.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Kaleidoscope Festival’s website here.
Watch a promotional video for the festival here: