Bondi beach selfies – champagne in hand with a sunset backdrop – are a tried and tested formula for Instagram hits. Add in a croquet mallet and you’re sure to score more than a few extra double taps, courtesy of the novelty factor alone! The Royal Croquet Club will help you have a blast doing just that (and so much more). As this Adelaide-born festival takes the nation by storm – having been a tour de force across Brisbane and Melbourne – RCC made its premiere in Sydney on Thursday.
Adelaide has a penchant for the unique, as is evident from its Fringe Festival, and it conjured up a healthy dose of it with Royal Croquet Club. Reviving an otherwise aristocratic vestige from its heyday and putting a youthful, playful, and vibrant spin on it, the concept of the RCC is something indefinably extraordinary. The Plus Ones were invited to experience it first-hand.
We were greeted, upon arrival, by roaming interactive performers on stilts and immediately knew we were in for a world of fun. Royal Croquet Club is a veritable alloy of traditional event elements. Part music festival, part sporting event, part arts expo; this lifestyle festival was a journey unto itself. As we traversed our way across everything from concert stages to croquet courts (talk about a juxtaposition!), food stalls to pop-up gardens, it all somehow ineffably gelled – it just made sense.
The plethora of food too manifested this sense of adventure, featuring some of Sydney’s best and newest in everything from Asian (such as Hoy Pinoy) to Middle Eastern (including the newly-launched Old City Kitchen). Our pick though had to be the sublimely juicy, bespoke Milky Lane burgers designed specifically for the event. But wait – there was dessert! Not just any dessert; Gelato Messina brought its glorious, venerated range to satisfy their sugar-devotees.
Not to be outdone, the delectable beverage offerings – from the traditional Pimms combo (in jug form!) to champagne a-plenty courtesy of Pol Roger – made sure patrons were hydrated and replete with liquid courage for a game or ten of spirited croquet under the gorgeous Bondi vista.
The music too was anything but pedestrian. With none other than Electric Fields on the main stage dishing out some of the antipodes’ hottest tunes, it kept us moving and grooving through the afternoon and well into the idyllic sunset. The Royal Croquet Club is also touting a stellar range of international acts from Dope Lemon (Angus Stone) to Hayden James, to San Cisco; keeping the music fresh and exciting throughout the remainder of the 11 day festival.
As we left the Pol Roger pop-up champagne garden, bidding adieu to a blithe afternoon immersed in games, drinks, heavenly fare, and fab company, we were left ruminating on two thing:
1. How surprisingly well croquet (with its old-world charisma) assimilated into a young millennial setting. Could this be its renaissance, as it becomes a ubiquitous modern-day lifestyle staple?
2. Oh, how we wished us Bondi denizens could compliment our Sunday sessions with weekly games at the Royal Croquet Club.
So, anyone for Croquet?
The Royal Croquet Club will be running from the 24th of November until the 4th of December at Bondi Park. For more information visit their website or Facebook page.
Ace Mamun is the Director of The Plus Ones – Sydney. After a decade in advertising, entertainment, and marketing, he’s developed a chronic case of FOMO. In search of the panacea, Ace is pursuing his lifelong goal of spending the least amount of time possible at chez lui (well, when he’s not half-way through an astrophysics documentary). Find out more at acemamun.com.