27-30/06/19: One of the biggest long-weekends in the British calendar, Glastonbury has everyone from the hippie that’s been living in your garden shed to Victoria Beckham flocking to a field in Somerset to get their jollies on. This year saw one of the hottest in its history, though no spot at the festival can be said to have been hotter than NYC Downlow. Set in the festival’s South East Corner as part of Block9, while the hoards of teenage girls flocked to the drum and bass clubs of Shangri La, and the bucket hat-wearing softbois headed for softcore tech at IICON, there was only one spot that the queers were heading. Bringing together a cross section of queer culture together under one roof, NYC Downlow is what happens when the classic leather club meets the bedraggled queer creatures that are just now coming to the forefront. Dominating the stage were some familiar faces from the London scene who were serving the crowd exactly what they queued an hour for. For those of us who sigh as we look out onto the squeaky clean face that Soho bars have slapped onto the face of queer nightlife, this grungy dark pit of gender fluids and sexed up depravity is a reminder that compromising to accommodate social norms is never necessary, and the scene’s diversity should be embraced not ironed out. Leaning up against the bar just so you can stay standing, watching out as the leather daddies and glitzy drag queens of NYC Downlow meld and merge into waves of ephemera under the cutting laser lights, you can’t help but smoosh your drooping face up into a smile.
Words by Ifan Llewelyn
Photos by Allan Gregorio