After the success of last year’s Buoyancy boat party, Bristol party collective Alfresco Disco once again transported their gleeful approach to the good ship Balmoral.
Setting off from the Cumberland Basin docks, we charted a course up through the River Avon with a 400 strong crew of revellers basking in the sun and sea breeze. As always with an Alfresco party, the crowd were dressed to impress. Unsurprisingly, a strong nautical theme was prevalent – going by headwear, the Balmoral may be the most heavily captained ship ever to take to water.
The Alfresco residents kept the upper deck heaving as Tom Hodgson, Luke Turner, Justin Gettings, Frankie Mann and Justin Credible took turns on the decks. A relaxed, Balearic vibe was explored to begin with, before the tunes took a left turn into luscious disco. Below deck, things were slightly darker both visually and in terms of the soundtrack. The second room, aka the cabin bar, sent forth stormy house and techno, reflecting the rising winds outside in a sonic turn of pathetic fallacy.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that if you put a load of people on a boat and get them wasted two things will happen; boys will piss over the side and everyone will get wildly excited about bridges. With each bridge we passed, the cheering became louder, reaching a euphoric pitch by the time we crossed under the Severn Bridge, much to the bemusement of those on nearby vessels. Although we were sadly missing the unfortunate tourist that accidentally found himself aboard the Balmoral last year (under the impression he was going on a pleasant cruise around the harbour), we could get our own tourist fix from the below board souvenir shop, where postcards and magnets were flying off the shelves at the same velocity as tinnies of Red Stripe.
After several hours of sailing and dancing, the first part of the voyage came to an end as the boat pulled in to Clevedon Pier. Piling on the party buses, the crowd were transported to out-of-town venue Factory Studios where the Alfresco gang hosted an afterparty with more DJs and a BBQ. But having been swept away with naval excitement and three sheets, at this point it was time for me to abandon ship early.