Returning for it’s third year, the Sink The Pink day festival returns with comebacks (Samantha Mumba, Jamelia), pop legends (Bananarama, All Saints) and not so Guilty Pleasures (Liberty X).
Despite the threat of the British weather, there’s little a bit of rain could have done to dampen the spirits of the rainbow-clad gangs who took over Brockwell Park for the campest festival in town’s third London outting.
Originally a Butlins weekender, Mighty Hoopla has now become a staple of the London day-festival calendar — a mid-year Christmas of pop music and LGBTQ+ icons, and a day where the celebration really is on you being you.
Liberty X (now a trio of the girls, Jessica, Michelle and Kelli) played to an early crowd in the Big Top, and were clearly overwhelmed by the attendance. Their debut (Thinking It Over) is a reminder of how well-crafted their self-penned tracks were, and let’s not forget how Just A Little followed a name-change (to add in the X) and a “flop” single (second single Doing It peaked at #14) to become one of the defining pop tracks of the noughties. Despite sound issues and a clear lack of the male vocals during certain tracks (Kevin Simm, who usually took the male lead, is now frontman for Wet Wet Wet, after winning The Voice), the set ended on a high with Being Nobody — their Richard X produced, Chaka Khan/Human League mash up. With Chaka Khan headlining, it wasn’t going to be the only chance we had to sing along to Ain’t Nobody…
Over on the main stage, two former pop titans came out of retirement to spend the afternoon with co-hosts Sink The Pink. While Jamelia’s Superstar is the one that had every single spectator singing along, Thank You was a reminder of how catchy her tracks her, while Beware Of The Dog threw everyone off the scent with its Depeche Mode sample. (“She did this one?!” No. Jamelia did not originally sing Personal Jesus.) Despite hits over a few years, early R’n’B numbers Money and Call Me, and the Chris Martin penned See It In A Boy’s Eyes are ignored in place of covers of Hey Ya! and Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy. (So crazy it had to be restarted twice…)
Samantha Mumba doesn’t seem to have aged a day since she all too briefly became the British Isles’ biggest female pop star and acress, and belts out hits Gotta Tell You, Body II Body and Always Come Back To You Love with backing from the entire crowd. With new material on the way, could this be the comeback we need in these dark days of Brexit, Trump and climate change?
Following their set two years ago, All Saints return to Mighty Hoopla for the sort of polished performance these four women have become known for. Since their return a few years ago they’ve continued to release material as well produced as those iconic early hits — with banger Love Lasts Forever and stunner After All (with William Orbit back on production duties) played today. But of course it’s Pure Shores that the crowd cannot help but throw their arms in the air for, and Never Ever which has them reciting lines louder than the All Saints themselves.
Another iconic girl band, Bananarama, close the Big Top with a set that’s the perfect mix of 80s anthems (Venus, Cruel Summer) and dance/pop perfection from a decade ago (Look On The Floor, Love Comes). It’s the material from this year’s album In Stereo that’s the most impressive, with the funk of Stuff Like That, robotic-electro of Dance Music and cool, Richard X produced Love In Stereo some of the highlights of their set. As always, the dry wit of and genuine chemistry of Keren and Sara ensures for LOLS-a-plenty between tracks.
And as the sun sets on London’s most glitter-filled day of the year, the legendary Chaka Khan closes the show. While early parts of the set aren’t too well known, the closing trio of I Feel For You, I’m Every Woman and Ain’t Nobody ensure the crowd end the day with their throats sore, legs tired and already gagging to do it all again…