Mighty Hoopla 2024

Mud, mayhem and JoJo Siwa: How Mighty Hoopla 2024 became perfectly chaotic euphoria

Rita Ora’s sound equipment overheated and when she tried to get the front row to sing instead no one knew the words

Unless you are in the demographic of very online queers / 40 year old gay men with a penchant for Steps, you can be forgiven for never having heard of London festival Mighty Hoopla before. Starting in 2016, Hoopla is the pure pop perfection for those who would like to see the likes of aging pop girlies who had two hits in 2002 have the opportunity to get their equivalent of Pyramid stage glory. I’ve been a Hoopla regular for a few years now, and seeing it go from strength to strength has been a pleasure even when the music is a bit too corny for me at times. It’s like an unofficial London pride, a jubilant two days in the sun with your chosen family filled with ridiculousness you could find at no other festival. And yet, this year, thanks to rain, an onslaught of bog like mud in Hoopla’s home of Brockwell Park and fury from locals – it remained unclear in the days before Mighty Hoopla if the festival would be a washout this year or even if it would go ahead at all. And against all odds, Mighty Hoopla 2024 pulled off the impossible – they made it not only work, but made it feel unmissable, bigger and better than any before.


For all Mighty Hoopla 2024 attendees, Twitter / X was a dreaded place to search for updates on this year’s festival. Thanks to City Splash the weekend prior and an utterly abysmal downpour, every visual you could see of Brockwell Park looked utterly traumatising. Shrek would have felt at home there – hardly the place you’d be dying to spend a summer weekend with pals listening to Louise Redknapp. Trainers were launched in the wardrobe as ASOS execs looked on bewilderedly when purchases of their welly range skyrocketed as the country’s LGBTQ+ population panic bought emergency footwear. Some sold their tickets for Hoopla as the fate of whether it would actually go ahead hung in the balance. I set off for Hoopla not even knowing if I’d just be spending the weekend sat in my mate’s London flat. It was carnage.

The all clear was given, but the actuality of what we might find on the other side of Mighty Hoopla’s mud stained gates remained foggy. Worries were quickly diminished, though – the organisers of Hoopla pulled off a miracle. With the help of some decent dry weather, a load of ground covering and a shit ton of wood chips, I barely got any mud at all on my walking boots. It was just the beginning of a relentlessly euphoric time in Brockwell Park. Everyone involved with sorting out the mud drama deserves a pay rise.


Mighty Hoopla is unparalleled mayhem. Forget what you think you’re going to see, and buckle up to witness the funniest and most viral moments of the year alongside pop perfection. In the serious headliner corner you have literal living legend Nelly Furtado headlining the Saturday, who closed day one of Mighty Hoopla 2024 with a greatest hits setlist that anyone who attended felt blessed to witness. Sunday honours were given to Jessie Ware, who put on a spectacle of chic disco pop that reached fever pitch when she brought out Gossip’s Beth Ditto to duet on Standing in the Way of Control – for my money, a solid contender for best song ever. Argue amongst yourself.

On the iconic end of stupid, we had Housewives legend Countess Luann de Lesseps who rose like a phoenix from the laughing stock ashes to perform not only her so-bad-they’re-legendary singles like Chic C’est La Vie and Money Can’t Buy You Class, but to give us unexpected and life-changing covers of Fleetwood Mac and Miley Cyrus. It was unmissable, and quite moving to see The Countess receive the reception usually saved for the likes of a God.

Rita Ora, ever the accidental laughing stock but we love her anyway, shut the house down on Sunday with a set that included bop after bop but also had the issue of having her sound equipment overheat. She got the crowd to try and sing along a cappella as she wandered by the barrier and barely a soul knew the words to sing. Priceless.

JoJo Siwa, the most viral name on anyone’s lips this year, “sung” her single Karma to a crowd who was half laughing and half bopping their silly little heads off. She didn’t even try to convince anyone she was singing live. She spent half of her slot doing a monologue no one asked for, and when she mentioned straight people she got booed. You had to be there – truly for the history books.

Mighty Hoopla 2024

Eve! En Vogue! Cat Burns! Rachel Stevens! SLAYYYTER! The cast of SIX the Musical and House Gospel Choir! Cher Lloyd singing Swagger Jagger! It was just a raucous pair of days, and no matter where you turned you’d find something to have a boogie too. The mud qualms felt a distant memory haunting you from miles away.

A queer, safe utopia

One of the most special things about Mighty Hoopla, though, was not the acts but the sights you saw along the way. It was a weekend filled with the kind of safe space you could only dream of enjoying at any other festival. You never knew what you were going to see next. On one end of the festival you might bump into the cast of I Kissed a Girl being treated like A-list celebrities, crowd surfing and waving Palestinian flags in solidarity. Cara Delevingne was pictured amongst the revelry. Everywhere you turned was a grin – no pushing, no horrible queues, fast bar speed and not a single fight in sight. It was truly special.

As festivals around the world take themselves increasingly more serious, Mighty Hoopla 2024 was a breath of silly fresh air. Tickets for 2025 go on sale tomorrow morning, mind you.

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