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Where to find queer South Asian parties in the UK this summer

Throughout summer, the UK is celebrating Pride and South Asian Heritage Month – here’s our pick of the parties celebrating the intersection of these identities.

22 Jul 2022

UK Pride and South Asian Heritage Month are both now hallmarks of the British summer. We’re seeing pride parades across the country as sites of joy and protest, as well as South Asian communities coming together through workshops and talks to celebrate shared histories.

Thanks to a growing number of collectives in recent years, we have seen a rise in platforms, events and club nights that are making space for both LGBQTI+ and South Asian identities. Helping to push this movement forward is London’s queer Bollywood club night, Hungama. I first came across Hungama after interviewing founder Ryan Lanji for the RepresentAsian podcast. Since starting out in 2017, his parties have grown from informal YouTube DJing in local East End pubs to raves across major venues and institutions in the capital including Fabric, Colours Hoxton and the Tate Modern. Merging Bollywood with club culture, Hungama is a safer space for South Asian queers to express their whole selves on one dancefloor. 

“Merging Bollywood with club culture, Hungama is a safer space for South Asian queers to express their whole selves on one dancefloor”

Hungama is one of many events championing these multiple identities, alongside supporting more artists from South Asian communities to hone their craft. Take musician Shivum Sharma, who regularly DJs at Hungama nights and has a busy summer lined up with the launch of his EP, curating club nights and DJing across multiple Pride and South Asian events. 

“You can really feel the thrill of being able to express something that is so true to you,” Shivum tells me via Zoom. “Speaking to my peers at Hungama, we felt we had to hide parts of ourselves in the past. Now in these spaces, we can be so expressive. You can shout along to Bollywood songs that growing up, none of our peers knew. There’s such an excitement having that in a club space.”

“Now in these spaces, we can be so expressive”

Shivum Sharma

His enthusiasm isn’t just for himself and his contemporaries, but for younger audiences too. “Rather than feelings of embarrassment or conflict, being unashamedly South Asian and queer is something these young people can see growing up. I don’t know what we’re going to see from this next generation of kids but it’s going to be amazing.”

Being at a South Asian-centred doesn’t just restrict you to Bollywood and Bhangra. Thanks to the emergence of groups such as Daytimers and Dialled In, we’re seeing safer queer-friendly spaces for South Asians in the electronic music scene too. 

“There’s such diversity in these groups, which goes against the stereotype that there’s one South Asian genre,” Shivum says. “When booking South Asian collectives, people often expect a certain sound, which is something we’re still having to disprove.”

“Now I can be in all of these spaces and play such a variety of music. When DJing with Daytimers, I’m more experimental and dance-y, but with Hungama, I love to play pop, RnB and Bollywood vibes. It’s really amazing to see multiple scenes developing.” 

It’s refreshing and exciting to see this range of dancefloor spaces created by Hungama, Daytimers and many more.  And over this summer, there’s an abundance of parties that accept and celebrate the intersection of these identities and cultures – here are some of gal-dem’s favourites. 

SHiiKu Presents Soft Spawn at Loco Klub, Bristol — 29 July

The Bristol-based Shiiku Collective is curating a soft, queer, immersive multi-media event at Loco Klub that will centre the Global Majority and LGBTQI+ artists, organisers and hosts. 

Join the monster-themed night where there will be a range of imaginative performance spaces for spoken word poets, dancers, installations and DJs. You will be greeted by hosts there to guide and support your experience – look out for their “safe space” rooms if you need a moment of quiet.

Expect an evening of art, performances and DJ sets accompanied by otherworldly decorations, costumes and interactions with relaxed energy. Buy tickets here for £8. 

Body Movements Festival at various venues across Hackney Wick, London — 30 July 

Celebrating the full spectrum of queer club culture, Body Movements is East London’s first queer dance music festival. With a day and night party, the festival will bring together a huge range of DJs, including those from Daytimers and Hungama.  

Body Movements will support three charities including We Exist, which supports trans and gender non-conforming individuals in the UK. Tickets are almost sold out – catch the last few for the day party and afters here. 

Club Zindagi at The Churchills, Manchester — 5 August

Founded in 2003, Club Zindagi is a staple night in Manchester for anyone who enjoys Bollywood, Bhangra, RnB and hip-op. Going 19 years strong, the party was created as a safer space for South Asian and Arab lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities to express their identities freely. 

This integral part of Manchester’s nightlife boasts DJs along with belly dancers, catwalks, giveaways and live music. It’s a crowd favourite and has hosted big names such as Juggy D, Imran Khan and DJ Ritu. Buy tickets for their next event, Arabian Nights, here. 

Misery Party at The Yard, Hackney Wick, London — 21 August

Misery Party is the QTIBPOC mental health collective and sober party founded by gal-dem’s Queeries columnist, Aisha Mirza. Created as an alternative to alcohol-fuelled events, Misery is a party where as well as dance, you can also find healing movement workshops, massage, genderless nail bars and local mental health resources. 

Their next event will be held on 21 August in Hackney Wick. Tickets are not yet available but keep your eyes peeled on the Misery Instagram page for full details.