Sunday, July 3

Kaleidoscope – Alexandra Palace

Going to a festival during a pandemic may seem a strange choice. But if life is to get back to ‘normal’ then attending an event outside is part of the journey – plus you have to show proof you’ve been double jabbed.

The difference with Kaleidoscope is in the setting of Alexandra Park. The gently sloping grounds cradling the main stage (Hilltop) mean you can watch from afar taking in the views of London as an accompaniment to the main act on stage. The awesome sound system means you don’t have to be right up front to hear the action, you can dance on your picnic blanket to your heart’s delight.

And if you don’t like the main stage, there’s the bandstand or the terrace or the fringe theatre offering alternative entertainment. Short of options you are not.

And talking of options, the array of eateries is akin only to a global food festival. From Mexican to Greek to jerk chicken to noodles, every taste is catered for with quality vendors.

But what makes Kaleidoscope different is the vibe. It’s super chilled, it’s super inclusive. If you want to dress as a frog or wear top to toe stick on glitter you are accepted. From pensioners to babies this is the sort of place that embraces everybody. And I know that sounds unreal, but I think that’s the magic behind this place, it caters for all.

If you want to dance to a beat you have top DJs including Norman Jay MBE. If you want to chill a bit you have the convivial setting of the live bandstand. If you want to laugh you have comedy from the likes of Phil Wang and Sophie Duker. And if you want the full-on stage experience you have the hilltop stage.

The hilltop stage featured a variety of acts with Mr Wilson’s Second Liners opening with their blend of orchestral covers getting the crowd dancing. The Staves offered mellow tunes, while Ibibio Sound Machine got their exotic funk on. The Coral rocked the park like crazy. Groove Armada were the headline act and deservedly so. The show featured blistering bass, dazzling lasers and the ground shook from everybody dancing. There was not a foot that didn’t stomp.

And in the darkness with the stage ablaze, music running through my blood and the lights of London twinkling in the distance I smiled to myself: London’s back baby.  

Reviewer: Samantha Collett

Reviewed: 24th July 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★