The summer season in London is a noisy business. The first few months are treated with the grab-all jubilation usually reserved for cat cafés, so it’s always surprising when the end arrives abruptly in August.
Long gone are the red carpet all-nighters of Cannes; done are the romps at rooftop cinemas. Precious annual leave has been dipped into, but so have sunlit pools. Capers on the continent have left the best of us with new freckles, new followers and at least one, red hot fling. Camden Beach – that absurdist bastion of British optimism – has been vacuumed up, and all over the city, party-goers are solemnly moving on from cocktails with tropical names. We’ve had the horse Oscars in the form of Royal Ascot, and more Wimbledon than you can shake your racket at… Oh, it’s a wonder we can still stand! But the party, as they say, is not over. For there is one last essential event in the social calendar: Gala on the Green.
Each September, high voltage glamour electrifies the leafy, private grounds of the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton, when a crowd suited, booted, zipped, buckled and ribboned for black tie descends upon the common to play fancy. Though it sounds Tatler-esque, this is a surprisingly egalitarian affair; Gala on the Green is designed with young professionals in mind. Not only is it a chance for anyone to come along and mingle at the mere price of a ticket, but it does away with the traditional confines of a Gala dinner, instead allowing guests to drink and chomp on canapes all evening. Shedding the social shackles of a seating plan, everyone is free to work the space, and speak to whom they will. Let’s face it, table placement is a gamble; you’re stuck with whoever sits on your left and right. This random, and frankly claustrophobic arrangement sees vegetarians offended by lavish fur-wearers, and the older generation deeply disconcerted with the drunken young. Best avoided.
Glitz aside, at its core Gala on the Green is about fostering a sense of community. It takes into consideration that their crowd might want to network and use the festive atmosphere to make new friends. The sentiment is mirrored in the committee who manage it, a group of individuals from different corners of the globe, who work across different industries. Whenever a committee member leaves, they propose someone new to the group, keeping the conversation open and allowing the circle to broaden.
But the real motive for Gala on the Green is to raise money for young homeless people in London, a group so disconnected from mainstream society. Ali Lord who was one of the original co-founders of Gala on the Green back in Australia, in her native Brisbane in 2011, has been concerned with the young homeless both back home and in the UK, and does not look on the issue as a pretty excuse for a blowout bash. Last year, they raised over 20k through ticket sales and sponsorship and they’ll be damned if they don’t pull it off again. Because for Ali and her diverse London committee, which includes nationals from Australia, Ireland and Canada, young homelessness in the city is a very real issue. The kill-or-be-killed job market, the high price of just getting by, the hidden costs in everything from taxes to bills which can be hard for foreigners abroad. The harrowing scale of hopelessness. The incredible potential for loneliness. None of this escapes a crew who came here to forge a future. And so, in many ways, Gala on the Green is a show of solidarity to those surrounding us, and extends a hand to those who have suffered a harder fate.
As part of the Gala, there’s live music, a raffle, food, drink, a private after party and a competition for best dressed for some lucky dapper sod. Buy tickets here with the discount code of LM2017: http://galaonthegreen.co.uk/