So you’re going to a rooftop party for the first time

Well everyone sells out at some point


For many months, you do not look up. You train your eyes towards the ground; the sky does not exist. Obviously: there is nothing worth looking up at. An anaemic sun; fat, tumbling raindrops; another reliably grey day. Accordingly, you gravitate towards basement clubs and kitchen parties and sitting on the floor outside clubs, smoking soggy cigarettes. You are at your lowest.

Then all of a sudden, in late April, the sun beams and the world expands. And you look up and the sky and think, how can I get closer to that molten ball? And the answer is rooftop parties.

Obviously, the fundamental prerequisite for attending a rooftop party is pretending you’re not a dickhead. Because on paper, going to a rooftop party – wearing shorts and sunglasses, holding a cocktail with a smug twig in it, looking across the panorama of your area – is excruciating. You could be in a stock, choreographed image in a glossy brochure for a new urban housing development called Vibes, or Space, or ‘Metropolitana’.

Thus you must not talk about it. Essentially, the idea is that you are just going to a normal pub, or club, except this is higher up and has no roof attached, and you’re likely far more drunk and probably on some pingers. This, by the way, is the reason you’re going, instead of just going to a pub, or a club: rooftop parties permit the sort of controlled abandon of a city day festival. You get get really mashed and then get the bus home by 1am.

But it is crucial that you all collude in the myth of normality. This is just a party. No. Biggie. Related note: do not, at any point, caption a Snapchat or Instagram picture with “high in the sky”, “riding high” or “high on life”. 

Wear something light that you don’t care much about. Girls, obviously don’t wear heels. No one should wear flip flops: you will inevitably lose a toenail in a crunch with the one girl who did wear heels. Wear some trainers. Take off your sunglasses when the sun sets. Do not wear a trucker cap, even if you want to preclude sunstroke. Just go stand in the shade.

Bring your drugs in with you: no one’s selling any inside. Order a normal drink, like a beer (ideally in tinny or bottle form): those cocktails are sugar and water and £9. That’s the sort of price that would make your mum screech something about daylight robbery – she’s not funny, but she is right. Go in the afternoon, when the sun’s out, and get a pitch, ideally nowhere near the edge of the rooftop so you can continue to pretend you’re not on a rooftop. Make sure you can hear the music, but that you are sufficiently far from its source that you can still feel your mind starting to slip away after the second pill.

There’ll be a group of aggressive arseholes, who are – inexplicably – jumping in a clumsy mass, one of them airborne when the others have just landed on their feet (which are wearing Primark tennis shoes in primary colours). There is one of these groups at every party in the world. Just take the circuitous route to the bar so you don’t have to squeeze past them.

At some point, you’re going to need a sit down. You’ll be a bit sunburnt, and a bit spangled. Go indoors for a bit. It will be dark and shady and you won’t fall off a rooftop. Check out one of the other floors or rooms. Then go check yourself in the mirror and dribble water down those scarlet cheeks. Also drink some water.

Dance for a while: throw some antic shapes, expend that frantic energy. Drink some more water. And go home before it ends.