Body Movements Festival To Return With Biggest Edition Yet

Body Movements has a new playground, and you’re all invited. After finding a home spread across Hackney Wick’s warehouse clubbing district since 2021, the UK’s first queer and trans electronic music festival is fledging the nest for its most ambitious edition yet. On August 25, Body Movements will stage a 5-stage, open-air party inside Southwark Park.

“There is an incredible responsibility to the community to produce a space that is relevant and reflective of the many different facets of the queer underground music scene, and that responsibility, at times, can feel quite daunting,” says Clayton Wright, Body Movement’s co-founder who has spent over a decade crafting the city’s most revered queer parties, including Little Gay Brother and Feel It. He runs Body Movements alongside Saoirse, DJ and dancefloor savant responsible for the festival’s musical direction. Together the pair have crafted a line-up chock-full of homegrown and international talent, “from the leading underground to household names,” says Wright. 

“Body Movements was born out of frustration and anger at the ‘traditional UK festival scene,’” says Wright, who bonded with Saorise over their shared experiences in the dance space. “I was sick to the back teeth of turning up to a festival to do a ‘stage takeover’ with Little Gay Brother and having to navigate the abuse my team of performers and DJs got from certain crowds. It was time to create a festival that was set up to serve queer people and their friends. Body Movements is a powerful and liberating space because you know you’re safe and free from judgment. You can just be! You can wear what you want, express how you want, and love who you want without fear.”

The first Body Movements was in October 2021, just as Britain emerged from months of ongoing lockdowns. “It felt like the queer deities of the universe were looking down at us, giving their approval,” remembers Wright of that sweltering autumn afternoon. “People were dancing on top of bins, swinging from lamp posts, raving on canal boats, it felt wild, rebellious, and free.” 

Staging two editions each year since then – with a one-off winter party being held inside the cavernous halls of Printworks and just last weekend hosting a takeover of the Assembly stage at Glastonbury’s Silver Hayes – Wright and Saoirse decided to move to Southwark Park for a number of reasons. “It’s the chance to book different types of artists such as live acts, and more performers to keep the festival fresh and exciting,” says Wright. Further gentrification of Hackney Wick also prompted the pair to move swiftly. “There is sadly a time limit on Hackney Wick as developers keep threatening to knock the place down and turn it into luxury flats, so we needed to act and find a place where we can grow with longevity, but most importantly, where we are safe. Inside our festival fencing, it’s down to us to create our own rules, it’s our playground,” he adds.

The stellar line-up includes live performances from the likes of LSDXOXO and Coucou Chloe, alongside sets from lauded selectors such as Bashkka, Taahliah and Shanti Celeste. As always, Body Movements will provide a platform for emerging queer dance music collectives and artists and will host a slew of queer vendors and market sellers throughout the site. Before things get into full swing, guests can also enjoy a ballroom workshop class too, prepped and primed to help you brush up on your duckwalk ahead of the day’s antics. “It’s a celebration of queer and trans-music, identity, and club culture,” says Wright.

It’s fun seeing well-known favourites and emerging artists smash it on the same day,” says Goh Well, a rising talent performing at Body Movements this summer. “The dancing experience is really powerful, the great sound and lights, combined with all the dancers, the fashion, the expression, the queer energy – everything moving together. It makes for a joyful, immersive, emotional experience.” 

Fellow performer DJ Someone Sunny seconds this: “⁠London’s queer dance music scene is the most diverse in the world. Be that sonically in the form of the different types of artists, music and parties you can experience, and on a human level – it is well and truly queer and nuanced. Body Movements has been able to encapsulate all of the scene’s essence into a single experience on a scale not seen elsewhere. It is the epitome of our community.”

As Saoirse and Wright gear up for Body Movements’ biggest venture yet, the pair are on a journey to grow and expand the festival with each joyous edition. “Body Movements is and will always be for the queer bodies, people and community it represents,” says Wright. “It will change and grow with the crews and artists around us. So queers, let us know what you want to see and what you want to listen to. This is your festival. See you in August.”

Body Movements takes place August 25 at Southwark Park. Purchase tickets here.

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