A Brit take on the famous Hindu festival held in India every year, this was a celebration of music, getting merry with friends and getting very very VERY messy. The original festival celebrates the start of Spring. The tradition of throwing colour comes from the Hindu god Vishnu’s reincarnation Lord Krishna who enjoyed pranking the village girls by flooding them in colour and water.
In the UK this festival doesn’t possess the same meaning but it didn’t stop the thousands of people who turned up from having a good time. The organisers behind the original Hindu festival believe that gulal, the coloured powder intoxicates those it is thrown on, eliminating any prejudice within social class, race and religion. This felt true to me. Unlike most festivals you don’t really attend this event purely for the music and therefore you get people from all over the world, of different races, social classes and religion, coming together to have an awesome time and it was a great thing to witness.
The cheapest ticket you could get was £30 which would only get you entry. Then you can pay extra to get colour powder thrown in which would work out a tad cheaper than buying it whilst there. The venue this year was at Wembley Park, last year being Battersea. It opened at 12pm but we got there for about half one, by which time it was starting to fill up but you could still get a spot close to the stage. Before you can buy/pay for anything inside the event, you’re given a holi colour credit card which you put money on and then have to use for everything you buy when inside. You can get your money back at the end if you don’t spend it all. But of course, towards the end of the night, most people are either too drunk or can’t be bothered to queue up to get their money back, so they cash in on that. Plus most people will put the max amount onto their card to save having to queue up more than once to put more money on it, so they cash in there as well. So you do end up spending quite a bit. You can get five packs of colour for £10, which you’re bound to get through rather quickly. The drinks are not astronomically priced to my surprise but if you’re up for a heavy day of drinking, I recommend a trip to the Sainburys nearby to have a quick drink before you go in.
The music was good, line-up included music from 99 Souls, Benga, Dubvision, Honka, Izzy Trixx, Dubrocca and R3wire & Varski. Like I said, it’s not a fesitival you go to purely for the music, it felt like a huge outdoor nighclub in that sense,with a great line up. The event online tries to tell people that their clothes won’t get stained. Don’t listen to that and turn up in your favourite t-shirt because I had to throw my top away, even my bra is ruined! Wear something you don’t care about. It took a bit of scrubbing to get it off the skin and trying to brush my hair before getting in the shower was near to impossible but with a deep shampoo and conditioning it was easy enough to get rid of. The powder doesn’t irritate you when breathing it in and it’s fine for your eyes as well. It made me sneeze like mad and when you throw the powder up, word of advice, don’t have your mouth open because then you’ll end up like I did, someone throwing it in your face and having to spit out blue for ages afterwards… (see first picture below.)
Verdict: A great day out with friends that won’t burn too big a hole in your wallet. If you’re up for something different and a festival that’s not just about the music (and a cheaper alternative), then this is the event for you!