Months after booking tickets, I finally went along to Summer Tales in Shoreditch on Saturday night. (Wow, that’s some sibilance…) After seeing heaps of blog posts and beautiful pictures across social networks, I couldn’t wait to finally see the venue. Turfing up around 7.30 on Saturday, we faced a mammoth queue – word to the wise, either turn up dead on 6pm when doors are opened, or buy a queue jump ticket (cocktail included.)
Inside was the jungle paradise of my dreams – all credit to the event planners, who had plucked palm trees, sand, tree houses and neon signs to produce something beautiful AND fun. Attention to detail was excellent, from candy striped cushions in one of the upper bars, to a tiny beach with hammocks and beach chairs, to wooden swings…the whole thing felt like a playground for adults. With alcohol. In fact, alcohol from COCONUTS. Which brings me to an important point – make sure you go armed with cash. Boozy coconuts at the ever lovely Cocoface were cash only, and we were banned by the security guy from popping across the street to get cash out as he said we wouldn’t be allowed back in. So, lesson learned.
I think London is developing an increasing intolerance for pop ups and installations and takeovers, especially those around the Shoreditch and Hackney areas. You could say…they’re starting to feel a bit HACKNEYED. HA HA. But seriously. I know these kind of things have a bit of a bad rep, but when something is brilliantly executed and an awful lot of fun, I can easily overlook the fatigue and get on board. Summer Tales pulls off a real coup, transforming a small grey patch of Shoreditch into somewhere magical. In many ways, it had the laid back festival feel that Secret Garden Party lacked at points.
It’s somewhere that you can go for a relaxed few drinks and a delicious supper from one of the street food stands, then have a bit of a dance around on the covered dance area, surrounded by fairy lit trees. As a bit of a sad sidebar, the crowd in Shoreditch seems to have changed a lot, generally speaking. It used to be somewhere you could go out and not really care what you looked like (something I increasingly admire in a place!) but over the last few years it seems to have turned into an extension of the West End. Girls were teetering through the woodchips and sand in five inch heels, holding mirrors up to check their fake lashes, adjusting teeny tiny dresses. It was fine, and all power to you if that’s your thing, but it felt a bit like watching the Kardashians going camping.
Anyway, that aside, I strongly recommend it for making the most of the last few weeks of summer. Go for a Pin-Up Colada at the Lazy Flamingo Bar upstairs, grab a fishbowl of booze at the downstairs bar, sit and relax on a swing, and be a weirdo like me who strokes the tiny patch of sand going ‘the sand feels sooo good, I love sand!’ And most definitely have a dance. The DJ broke out a hyper-electro, instrumental version of the Human League’s ‘Things That Dreams Are Made Of’, which delighted me no end. Just be as charming as possible to the security staff and do your best to avoid the girls in the bathroom screaming ‘THAT LIPSTICK IS SOOO MY COLOUR’.
Summer Tales runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at Red Market in Shoreditch. Buy tickets here.