Event review: partying on Cron-di beach


By - Tuesday 28th July, 2015

Lauren Furey gets a little sand between her toes, CR0 style


Croydon on the beach.
Photo by Ian Marvin, used with permission.

There aren’t really waves and boats and surfers and seagulls, but there is sand. Forty-five tonnes of it, to be precise, scattered around Ruskin Square.

Croydon on the Beach kicked off its eight week run on Thursday 20th July, opening day of the Ambition Festival, with food, cocktails, music and beach balls. Beats & Eats and the ever impressive Street Cocktails had congregated beside East Croydon station to deliver a summer party experience unlike anything Croydon has ever seen. To add to the intrigue, the entire event is also being sponsored by St Lucia’s tourism board.

Whilst the sunnier, balmier climes of the tropics may not be entirely present in the Cronx, there’s no denying the atmosphere – there’s something positively unifying about the basics: food, drink and music. The set-up is a little different: aside from the sand that sweeps across a large section of Ruskin Square, there’s also a white gazebo erected against the back wall, housing a stage.

The music was in full swing when we arrived, and acoustic versions of classic songs rang out around East Croydon. People queued in their droves to get their hands on a variety of exciting street foods – Thai burgers, jerk chicken, pizza, hot dogs and lasagne – whilst Street Cocktails, fixed centre stage, delivered its usual blend of crazy cocktails to all who braved a lunchtime tipple.

I didn’t want to go back to the office

Bikini Beach Band.
Photo author’s own.

There were good vibes throughout as people grabbed their lunch and gathered at the benches and deckchairs. I and a couple of friends decided to make good use of the beach and set about making a fort of sand castles. (There’s always one mate that thinks it’s funny to trample on them)

Things got lively when the Bikini Beach Band took the stage. This four piece Hawaiian shirt clad, fez-wearing outfit brought classic rock, soul and blues tracks to life with their uplifting instrumental versions. Tunes like ‘Wipeout’ had people shuffling in their seats, smiling and reaching for the camera phones. I didn’t want to go back to the office.

The Street Cocktails team assured me that the party would continue the following night and insisted we come down to celebrate the end of the week. With an invitation (and drinks) like that, it’s hard to say no.

Platform Ruskin Square has undoubtedly secured a loyal fan base with its commitment to providing a delicious and exciting dining experience for the people of Croydon, but the beach delivers an extra twist. It proves that Croydon can have nice things and that we’re on the cusp of some real, positive changes.

Summer in Croydon is shaping up to be very exciting.

Lauren Furey

Lauren Furey

I was born in Croydon in 1988 and I've spent my life here, building friendships and experiences that have shaped me as a person. As a Croydon native, I have a big passion for local events, arts, history and culture... and the dearly departed Mexway. I now work as a freelance writer.

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  • Mark Hodge

    “This is why we can’t have nice things” number one thing I think when I look at croydon. You’re right though, we CAN have nice things.

    • lizsheppardjourno

      And the absolutely crucially important thing for us all to do when they come is to get out there and support them! It can’t be over-stated. Promoters need to see a return on investment – then they’ll be back with even more and even better.

      I understand there are sometimes communication issues – and I’m involved in ongoing work to get the word out as much as possible through many local channels about what’s going on. But I do tear my hair when people complain that there’s nothing happening in Croydon.

      There’s MASSES happening: there are three art galleries in Croydon town centre now (Rise in St George’s Walk, Turf in Keeley Road, and Click Clock in Katharine Street), the comedy festival is on right now until mid August, the heritage festival just finished, Ambition festival took place last weekend, we’ve just had Thornton Heath Arts Week, the Air Balloon Festival is at the end of August, the film festival is coming in October, the food festival took place in South End on 27th June. We have a fab pub theatre above the Spreadeagle in Katharine Street, and gigs and shows every week at the Oval Tavern in Oval Road. The next three Sundays there are free kids’ storytelling events in the Rose Garden in Wandle Park.

      I’ve been focusing on the town centre here, but there’s loads of local stuff too – last night I saw a Shakespeare play outdoors in the grounds of Coulsdon Manor Hotel and it was brilliant – find out more here -http://twcoulsdon.org.uk/

      And I could (honestly!) go on. There are lots of nice things in Croydon, and I hope as many people as possible get out there to enjoy them.

      • Lauren Furey

        Spot on! Lots to get excited about at the moment.

  • Reena

    Platform is not done for the people that live in Croydon. All the events are in the middle of the week at lunchtime! I’ve never been able to go to one.

    • Anne Giles

      If you work in Croydon you can.

      • Reena

        HA! only if you work in Central Croydon. Croydon is such a big borough.

        • Anne Giles

          It is where most of the offices are. Anyway, I am sure you can find something you can go to in the evenings.

    • lizsheppardjourno

      Hi Reena – I take your point about weekday lunchtimes, but Platform does do events at weekends too. I was listening to Tenyson – a great local band – there last Saturday evening (part of the Ambition Festival which ran across the town centre from Thursday to Sunday with many events in other part of the borough) and a couple of weekends before that I watched the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles Final from a deckchair at Platform on Saturday afternoon (in hot sunshine – what happened to that?) It’s worth keeping a look out for events, or perhaps giving them a follow @Platform_RS if you tweet. Cheers, Liz

      • Reena

        Ambition doesn’t count, because then you could also say that stuff happens in Queen’s Park and that’s not true (apart from the groups of people drinking there at night). I feel sad when I leave the station and see that everything there happens for people that work in Croydon and then hop on a train somewhere else, somewhere “nicer”, “cooler” or with a “better reputation”.

  • Lauren Furey

    Hello Reena, from now until mid Sept, Platform will be hosting beach parties, with Street Cocktails, on Thursday and Friday evenings. Highly recommend.