House of Vans presents: '50 years of Off the Wall'

If you've ever met me, you'll know that my three favourite things are music, alcohol & Vans. So with this in mind, you can get a sense as to how excited I was when I first heard about the 50th anniversary party at House of Vans.

"The highly anticipated House of Vans London experience will showcase Vans’ unique culture through multifaceted activations including a retrospective look at the brand’s history and an interactive, 3-D display of Vans’ 2016 brand campaign, a retro carnival game, Vans Legends demos in our skatepark and curated musical performances from:

DIZZEE RASCAL

ANNIE MAC  

FAT WHITE FAMILY 

RAT BOY

JULIO BASHMORE "

I've been to a few smaller events there before, and they've been great... but with a lineup like this, I knew the night was going to be incomparable.

We got to Waterloo around 11pm only to be greeted by the infamous 'Bassline Junkie' beckoning from the Arches.  Queues and queues of ticket holders filled the tunnels... but luckily for us- we were guest-listed and able to avoid all of the chaos (thank you Ratboy).

The venue was packed. Golden balloons filled the air and the floor was strewn with matching confetti and empty cans of red stripe.  Both bars were unbelievably busy. I've never had to go through so much effort to get a pint before... drink in hand finally, I made my way towards the stage trying my best to avoid the post Dizzee Rascal sweat fiends.

Annie Mac had just started her set, and believe me when I say- the bass was literally vibrating through my body. I've seen her live multiple times before, but this set was unreal. It was raw, it was gritty, it was zealous.  Feeling those vibes at a small stage is 100x better than any festival set I've experienced. Jammer even jumped in half way through to do a rendition of the classic 'Murkle Man'. As the music continued to blast, the floor became a sea of crushed cans and checkerboard cups. 'That's Not Me' came on and a group of Ralph polo cap wearing white boys ran to the front to start "moshing". A massive screen next door displayed the Live Stream footage, which was available to watch via the HOV website.

Down a sectioned off tunnel was a massive installation showcasing the 50 years of Off the Wall history. In front of this, stood the ever-so popular HOV photobooth. A photobooth at any event is always destined to be a craze, especially after hours and hours of alcohol fuelled partying. And for one helmet wearing fan girl, photobombing Ratboy's pictures and running off with the £4 print was probably the highlight of her night.

As Annie Mac finished her set with some classic house bangers, the crowds dispersed and Julio Bashmore quickly took over the stage for a more mellow set. As it was 2am at this point, I felt a little sit down was justified. A small group of us went to go chill in a quieter part of the skatepark, where the only lighting came from the moving images projected onto the ramps. Sadly the Red Stripe had just run out, so we were all sat around drinking some btec lager. 

When 3am hit, the party-goers that were still standing left the venue and filled the streets of Waterloo to tiredly await their Uber's. It was an unforgettable night, legendary even.

Happy 50th Vans! Can't wait for triple digits.

Photography by Josh Nice, view the full set here


As seen one The Basement

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