Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Beanies, Bean Bags, Boobs & Booze – 12 things we learned from the London Freeze Festival

We hit-up the London Freeze Festival on Saturday and this is what we found...

1. Free drugs

2. The après ski bars theme I wrote about a few weeks ago was excellent and it’s definitely the way to go for this event.

3. And that might be bad news for us snowboarders, because the future of the snowboard competition is really not clear. It had already dropped down from being a big air event largely funded by the FIS to a pretty dinky rail jam, and I don't see any obvious why back from that.  The snowboarding was really just peripheral to the bars and just gave the boozing and parting some wintry legitimacy.

4. The rail jam was not a massive success. They'll need to have some sort of snowboarding at the event to give people a reason to come to some bars in the middle of a field in winter next year, but the format might have to change. It was pretty clear that the bulk of the audience had no clue what the hell the rail jam was all about and they were really underwhelmed despite the best efforts of the two shouty Ant & Dec impersonators and a bunch of snowboarders gamely sacrificing themselves on the scenery.

The crowd goes mild while Denis Leontyev spins on to an oversized can of deodorant

5. As a rarity for a snowboarding event, the crowd was an even mix of the sexes. Statistically, more girls like snowboarding if there’s less actual snowboarding involved and it’s in a convenient location in the centre of London.

6. But, misogyny is still hanging about like the bad stench around the portaloos.

Look out for Halfpipe London's spanking wife advert later in the season

 Appearing in a snowboard mag near you right now

Ensure you never get laid again with this lovely t-shit

7. There really are are very few genuine home-grown snowboard companies. I counted just two of any value at the event; Butta with their snowboard wax and Douk pronounced ‘duke’who are attempting to run a snowboard manufacturing business in the UK. All the other brands at the show were really just people with a logo. There were more t-shirt and beanie companies than you can shake a shitty stick at. No country needs this many woolly hats, let's try something else.

8. Oh, and the answer is not giant bean bags. Also there was a bunch of guys selling massive bean bags, and anyone who wasn't selling a massive bean bags had at least one or two to decorate their stand. What’s the obsession with giant bean bags in the UK? Who they hell actually uses these things and why’s it in any way associated with snowboarding?

This lad is hung like a horse

9. Good news - onesies are officially dead. Last time I went to the Freeze Festival the place was riddled with people flogging them, this year there was just one stall left and only a few dickheads still wearing them.

10. While we're talking about the retail tent, the one sector that wasn't here but should have been were the resorts and travel companies. People were only buying things they could carry, because they were there for that parties, so the guys selling snowboards were bang out of luck. But the audience would have been ideal for people trying to flog travel and holidays. The après ski bars were great and it's amazing that people weren't right outside the Crazy Kangaroo flogging trips to St Anton or Ibiza Rocks the Snow selling holidays to Meribel. And the guys that organise Snowbombing should have been all over this like flies on shit.

11. Idris Elba, great in the Wire, bit of a school disco DJ.

12. You might already have started to suspect this what with Mr Elba's headwear/friend choices or the lads on the beanbags, but the main theme at the London Freeze Festival was irony. It was all about silly hats, 80's music, Christmas jumpers and retro ski suits. 

On Saturday night Freeze Festival goers set a Guinness World Record for the most irony ever assembled in one place

Most snowboarders in the UK are people that go for a one week holiday once a year and this year's Freeze was all about what they are interested in and it was successful in doing that. It's an insight for people within the snowboard scene to see what is actually happening in our sport. Remember when snowboarding was the bright new thing and it was all about the future? Well that phase is over. In the UK at least, snowboarding in 2013 is all about the irony of the past.

That's everyone in the UK except this guy, who was rocking round the place in snowboard boots, camo trousers and a jester hat without a hint of irony...

 ...which is ironic


  1. Interesting one this... I worked the festival on Thursday & Sunday and the punters' reaction seemed a lot more muted. Now, I know that Saturday was the big night but a lot of people seemed a bit miffed that there was pretty much nowt to do on the other days. The rail jam was a one night only, as was the music tent. Seemed a bit odd to run the thing for 5 days if 4 were always going to be nothing special. Still, wring that last bit of cash out eh?

  2. Good point.

    13. It was a one-day event oversold as a five day festival.


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