Boxpark Croydon 2016
— 31 Dec 2016, 15:20
2016 has been a year of ups and downs for many but for Croydon, October 2016 marked the arrival of Boxpark.
The new Ruskin Square development went into overdrive in the past 12 months and, what started as a wasteland, quickly began to take shape as the year progressed. As summer arrived, the trademark repurposed, black shipping containers that make up Boxpark's iconic look started to slot into place and Croydon became awash with buzz about what to expect once the doors were open.
Admittedly, the site was delayed but that didn't stop us from kicking things off in a big way!
At the end of October, we dedicated our opening weekend to hosting two of the biggest live music events in London. The first day fell into the capable hands of Eskimo Dance who brought in a selection of some of the biggest and brightest stars in urban music. From midday, ticket-holders were treated to a stellar line up that included top DJ's Mistajam, Sian Anderson and Mollie Collins. As the night rolled on, the Boxpark stage was graced by the biggest names in Grime. Ghetts, JME and, local lads, Section Boyz all took to the mic to deliver the biggest performances of the night.
NME came on board to help us celebrate the second day of the launch festival weekend. Sunday afternoon seemed to be a stark contrast to the madness of the day before but the, up-and-coming, acts certainly set the tone for those laid-back Sunday vibes. It was short lived though as urban rockstars Nova Twins ramped it up with their full throttle performance and, special headliner, Jay Prince brought the crowd together for a sing along. At one point in the night, the audience instinctively parted for a celebratory dance off.
To say the crowd was hyped that weekend would be an understatement but, standing there in the middle of it all, felt electrifying; Boxpark Croydon had arrived.
The following Monday was business-as-usual for the new Croydon venue and the crowds arrived in their droves to sample the huge selection of cuisines available from our traders. Crêpes, donuts, wraps, burgers, wings and many more delicious dishes flooded the central dining space as office workers, students and the curious folk of Croydon chowed down in their new venue.
From then on, we began gearing up for our regular weekly events. It all kicked off on the first Thursday in November with Heritage, a night dedicated to bringing Dubstep back to its Croydon roots. Crazy D, Chefal, N-Type and, our special headliner, Plastician set the tone for what would be a wavey night of original sounds, new tracks and big hits.
The following Sunday, we had Croydon's very own Beats & Eats join us for an afternoon of live music. It set the mood for the ideal Sunday of good food and laid back music, a theme we continue to follow every weekend, with the likes of Acoustic Live.
Over the next few weeks we hosted events with Amps & Decks, Love Cronx, DJ Ace and Nation of Billions, with DJ Semtex!
It's not all about the music events though. People of all ages form the heart and soul of Boxpark and so it was only right that we expand the opportunities for our customers to make use of their new space. Since we've launched, we have held a jewellery making workshop, with Workbench London, and a Christmas wreath making class with Columbia Creative. Local arts group, Made In Croydon also came to Boxpark to hold two craft markets in November and December; showcasing a variety of unique products from bespoke jewellery to original art prints.
We even teamed up with Baby Loves Disco for an event specifically catered to the very youngest Boxpark customers. Toddlers and young children arrived in their numbers (and with their parents) for two hours of partying in the BoxBar - without a drop of alcohol in sight, of course! The children had a great time, with their faces covered in paint, and it looks like the mums and dads were relieved to have found a way to tire out their little tykes.
Then of course there was the Christmas light switch-on. This gave us another opportunity to hold a large scale event and if you're going to have a big event, you need a big headliner. We went old skool and brought in the one and only So Solid Crew! The countdown to lights on was a respectable 21 seconds, at which point the Garage masters dropped their classic track to hundreds of smiling faces and got everyone singing and dancing along. Once So Solid wrapped up, it was back into BoxBar for a session with Girl Gang Cyphers through till 11pm.
The Christmas build up didn't stop there. In the week leading up to the festive holiday, we brought in Brighton's Big Screen team for a three day Christmas movie showcase. The first day kicked off with children's favourite The Polar Express, followed by family classic Home Alone and, finally, the much loved Will Ferrell Christmas vehicle, Elf! The three days were a huge success and couples, friends and parents all took to social media to share their festive cheer with us.
We're now into the final day of 2016 and it's crazy to think just how fast this year has flown by. Tonight we will be joined by DJ Luck & MC Neat and Amps & Decks (and a very special guest) to help us bring in the new year.
So what can you expect from us in 2017?
The key to making Boxpark Croydon work is to keep it fresh. We're always listening to people that want to collaborate with us on future events and we're always looking for innovative ways to keep things fun and entertaining for people of all ages. There will be more music events, featuring a mix of big names and up-and-coming artists, there will be more creative workshops, children's days and movie screenings too but there will also be new events. Things we won't have attempted before but things we're confident you will enjoy.
We're so grateful to Croydon for the warm welcome we received and we're extremely happy with the responses we've had since the launch. It's our job to make this work for you. So, in 2017, we're going to keep the ball rolling, think bigger, think better and invite as many of you along for the ride as possible.
Here's to 2017, with love from all of us at Boxpark Croydon!