Off the wall since 1966 – Van’s 50th Birthday bash

We still can’t believe everyone’s favourite skater label is fifty years old! Vans? Since 1966? Yes, the label that brings us the best artwork, the best punk rock festival in summer, and of course the best and comfiest skate shoes and equipment out there, has turned 50 years old. And if your 50th is one day as awesome as the Van’s 50th birthday party was last night, then we’d have to say you’ve truly made it in life.

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Little did I think when I was fourteen years old and wishing that my mum would buy me a pair of Vans for my birthday that as an adult, I’d actually be invited to the label’s 50th birthday party. And can I just say, we love that this birthday bash to end all birthday bashes was open to everyone. Yes, everyone. I’m no one special, I got my tickets by applying to the free ballot they promoted in the London Time Out magazine. Kudos to Vans for being all-inclusive, something that the brand has always promoted, and their birthday party was no exception.

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Leake street is an iconic London location all of itself, a landscape of artwork that changes nightly to the brush strokes of a hundred spray cans. Many of the world’s top graffiti artists have left their temporary mark here, but Vans have left a more permanent mark in the form of the House of Vans London venue, home to music, art, cinema and skateboarding, of course! Last night the House of Vans opened its doors to us all with a chequered black and white ‘red’ carpet.

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We were treated to a killer line up of musicians and artists, headlined by Dizzie Rascal and Annie Mac. Ratboy were a surprise addition to our list of favourites, opening the night with an excellent dance set – we say dance because that’s what we did! Annie Mac stole our hearts as always, and we even got a smile from her for all throwing our hearts up in the air. However, it was that Dizzie Rascal song that I woke up with in my head this morning (he is just a rascal, after all). Fat White Family and Julio Bashmore rounded out the night with great sets too.

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But it wasn’t just the music. The crowd was alternative and fun-loving, facilitated by the pure and simple fact that the Vans family were great hosts, though we all know this from our experiences at Vans Warped Tour in the past! We ran riot in the photo booth and no one told us off, we all won customised vans lollipops at the ring toss and got interviewed entirely because our throwing skills were that good (Actually I think I won mine because the guy with the camera felt sorry for me!) We got free drinks for accidentally sweet-talking some of the lovely guys in the Vans family, watched some badass moves in the skate bowl, and missed out on seeing the screening in the cinema because we were running around and having too much fun (yes, Vans have a free Cinema, sometimes. Find out more on their webpage, www.houseofvanslondon.com) And did I mention that we had a round of shots with our bartender? Loved. Her. So. Much.

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We finally left, our arms laden with swag (seriously! Does anyone want a cap? I have four, somehow…) at some ungodly hour of the morning, wishing that dawn wasn’t coming and that our feet would have held us up to party just that little bit longer.

Cheers Vans, here’s to the another fifty years off the wall!

Article by J R Manawa

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