There’s something oddly satisfying about seeing your own name spelled out, in huge block letters, somewhere that isn’t stitched into the label of an old school uniform. It’s like an affirmation, or a confirmation that ‘yes, I am here and this is the word used to denote who I am, ensure you pronounce it correctly or please leave immediately.’ As a child, one member of Noisey UK’s team – who (incredibly, considering the context) would like to remain anonymous – gained immense amounts of happiness from the gigantic 3D letters spelling out their name, which locked into each other like puzzle pieces. When one letter went missing, it was a travesty.
We say all of this to talk about this year’s Mighty Hoopla festival. Founded last year (we know, we know: there are too many festivals and summer calendars become a tangled mess of them but just hold on), it’s a celebration of LGBTQIA+ club culture that picks up where the more queer-friendly Sunday of Lovebox festival (now discontinued) left off. And, to our name-written-out-purposes, this festival takes names in block letters extremely seriously. The word “HOOPLA” stands in the grass during the one-day event. Last year, performers' names, from Finland’s pop star ALMA to GIRLI to 90s girl group legends All Saints, were emblazoned across a massive screen behind the acts. Handy, just in case you forgot where you were or what you were seeing.
This year, the Hoopla’s booked now-duo TLC, the 90s girl group template-setters who sadly lost a member when rapper Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes died following a car crash in 2002. Rozonda “Chili” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins (real heads know both names) returned to make one last crowdfunded album after her death, touring it last year and playing their first-ever UK show in the process. Now, they're headed back, no doubt to have the letters T L C beam out from a screen behind them as they still pull off their tight choreography from about 1995. Electro-ish-pop artist MNEK, actual B*Witched, club night/lifestyle Sink the Pink, Lily Allen, Mel C (yes, of the Spice Girls), and London LGBTQIA+ mainstay party venue The Glory are all on the lineup too, which you can check out here. The festival will take place on Sunday 3 June, at south London's Brockwell Park (if all the licensing and planning comes through, according to the press release).
At a time when London's queer nightlife has felt increasingly under threat (especially for those who identify as women or non-binary) festivals like this can help buoy a community that's spent so long nurturing its performers, punters and organisers. LGBTQIA+ pub and club closures can feel as commonplace as the need to block someone else immediately asking about your genitals on a dating app, so The Mighty Hoopla's second year may offer some summery respite. Whether you bring your own giant letters spelling out your name, however, is up to you.
You can get tickets for The Mighty Hoopla, taking place on Sunday 3 June, on the festival's site.
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This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.