Fresh Adventure: The Breakfast Rave
It’s Halloween on Portobello Road and I’m not scared. No not at all.
Shiny-eyed. Glitter studded in every pore. Sweat-caked hair and red-smeared lips. I’m ripe to hug a stranger, or to flash an intoxicated smile at any vendor who dares catch my eye. To any member of the humming market crowd I must appear every bit the Friday night casualty, stumbling her way to the tube after a deep and messy evening.
Oh but I am so sober. Stone. Cold. Sober.
Welcome to Morning Gloryville, the alcohol-free conscious clubbing phenomenon that’s redefining breakfast time.
Founded in 2013 by former party girl and immersive events designer, Samantha Moyo, Morning Gloryville’s ‘breakfast raves’ are spreading like a post-apocalyptic zombie attack. With New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, San Fransisco, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Montreal, Sydney, Melbourne, Leeds, Barcelona, Dublin, Amsterdam and Bangalore all hosting regular themed events for those who crave a high without the hangover.
On my way to today’s ‘hocus pocus’ Halloween do at their West London venue, Mode, I’m alone. And although no stranger to a bit of sober dancing, nervous.
“Is this the queue to get in?”
“No, it’s the glitter queue.”
“Free hug?” Came the next voice.
It was the first of many hugs.
Once ticketed, cuddled and through the door, I’m struck by how well-organised the event is. Colourful production, make-up artists, a superfood smoothie bar where the vodka tonics would normally be, plus a coffee station serving very respectable flat whites (£3). The second thing that strikes me is the tsunami of energy coming from the dance floor. A house-fueled version of Frankie Valli’s ‘Beggin’ swirls the two-story heights of the club and the crowd - fake blood and sequins flying - are going absolutely ape-shit.
The revelers are mostly in their 30’s and 40’s, but there are teenagers, too. And toddlers; knee-high jedis in ear-protectors. Upstairs, free massages are being offered and a circle of legging-clad yogis are mid-sun salute.
I won’t lie to you, I felt like a bit of a wally for the first 20-30 minutes. The period that alcohol would normally cushion.
There were feelings of exposure, isolation and resistance. But then, there was a moment - there were several moment, in fact - when the sheer collective good vibrational force of Morning Gloryville’s revelers swept me completely out of myself, out of time and place, and headfirst into the music (Seb Fontaine, Ella Durston, live drumming: all brilliant).
Three hours later and I’m a ball of love, sweat and smiles, surrounded by several new – wordlessly formed – friends and hopping around like a 4-year old flower girl at a wedding reception.
I don’t want it to end. And I believe this may be the secret sauce of Morning Gloryville’s success: there's a growing market for this feeling. Beyond the exercise, costumers and glitter, maybe we're all just thirsty for a bit of unfiltered freedom and belonging. To lose ourselves in the sort of un-checked expression reserved for childhood and to be seen in that place and loved, and cuddled, and fed pumpkin-spiced raw chocolate.
The morning concludes with a little silent meditation and some light – and optional – stranger hugging (I opted in). With heart busted open and brain aglow with a strong cocktail of oxcytocin and endorphins, I float out into a now crowded Portobello market to face the spooks and ghouls.