Monday, September 23, 2013

London's Freeze Festival - Have they finally cracked the formula?

The Freeze Festival has been running for years in different guises in various spots around London. I think they must plan the thing each year using a map of the city, a blindfold and a dart. This year it's gone south to Clapham Common and there's been a few changes. Here's why I'll be going...

This year, due to redevelopment, it's had to move away from the incredibly photogenic Battersea Power Station to Clapham Common. Hopefully it doesn't rain and turn the event into a boggy quagmire, but seeing as they've been exceedingly nice and moved it to my front door it would be rude if I didn't roll out of bed and turn up.

This year's backdrop will be the slightly less inspiring sight of Welsh politicians cruising for gay sex.

The big air has gone this year to be replaced with a rail jam, a format that makes a lot more sense in the UK. It should give the crowd a few more local lads and lasses to throw their support behind. As good as the set-ups were for the last few events we never quite got things to a scale that would compete with other big air events and draw crowds of hard to impress Londoners.

This is the sort of monstrosity people were hitting in Chicago in 1954 and sixty years later we still couldn't out do them. In contrast this years's rail jam shits all over what they could put together back then. 

For me this has been the one thing that the festival hasn't really cracked in the past.

  • They tried to make it a shopportunity, but the Ski & Snowboard Show does that better. 
  • They tried to turn it into a music festival with a bit of snowboarding bodged on the end, but the whole thing was just a bit disjointed. 
  • They tried a FIS event, but the general public have no idea what FIS is and literally couldn't give a shit who they see in colourful outfits flying about the place or why they're doing it.

This time though I am hopeful that this event might just have found it's purpose in life. The key thing is that the bulk of the people who go to this event are people that maybe ski or snowboard one week a year. They're not massively into the sport, they don't want to buy loads of gear they have to lug about a field in south London, they don't know the names of any pro snowboarders, or the names of the tricks and they don't want to be at some sort of hybrid snowboard/music festival.

Q: What do these guys like when they go on their snowboarding holiday?

A: They like getting fucking drunk and having a party, and this time out that's what the Freeze Festival organisers are giving them in spades. This year they've gathered together a selection of the biggest apr├Ęs-ski joints in the game and they're giving the punters what they want.

Dick's Tee Bar and La Folie Douche are there too.

So there you go. If you fancy getting getting off-your-face drunk and relive that holiday feeling during the crappiest part of the year, then on the last weekend of November this is the place to be. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.

They've also just started announced the music line-up, but they seem to have missed the opportunity to fill the place with a bunch of cobbled together bands of seasonaires bashing out covers. Maybe next year.

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