Group exit Rainbow Boogie

The UK’s First Rainbow Boogie at Tilstock

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Group shot Tilstock
Photo by Rob Lloyd

A celebration of the LGBT+ skydivers within our small but diverse community.

Skydive Tilstock is a small dropzone in the North West of England, on the Welsh border. It is a mature dropzone, the UK’s oldest continuously operating skydiving club and as old as the BPA itself. Old, but definitely not antiquated. Last weekend, Skydive Tilstock welcomed skydivers from far and wide to the UK’s first ‘Rainbow Boogie’, and I had the pleasure of joining them.

On the eve of Pride Month, LGBT+ and Allies of the skydiver persuasion were invited to descend upon Tilstock for a bustling long weekend with a festival atmosphere.

A stateside tradition, brought across the Pond

The Rainbow Boogie has been an annual event in the USA since 2006. Skydive Tilstock’s CI and co-owner Buzz decided it was time to bring the tradition to the UK, taking on the challenge of organising his first boogie – the first to be held at Tilstock in 20 years. For the first event at his small family DZ, Buzz decided to keep it small and do limited promotion, accepting just over 50 pre-registrations.

The enthusiasm for this event was palpable in attendance numbers – with 150% of those registered turning up, bringing cakes, glitter, and rainbows a-plenty.

Photo by Ali Woodhouse
Jumps a-plenty

‘Tilly’ was open for jumping Thursday to Monday, with both planes flying from the off (usually a one-plane operation, an extra aircraft was brought in). The first three days of the event we were blessed with  high temperatures and blue skies. There was a steady turnaround and groups available for most interests and ability levels. For a small event, Rainbow Boogie really had it all.

In a creative solution to the dropzone not being allowed to fly planes on Sundays, a helicopter for the day was booked. Unfortunately high winds meant heli jumps never happened, but plentiful airplane-exiting occurred for organised groups, other fun jumpers, students and tandems.

Formation Skydive
Photo by Ali Woodhouse

Load Organising and coaching was available for FS, FF, and TR. FS was provided by Jack and Cara from XDream, Rich Cotton, and myself. As LOs were plentiful, I took up the chance to pick up my (appropriately colourful) camera helmet and enjoyed filming the funky moves being thrown by some great skydivers. FF and TR LO/coaching was available from champs Chris Mayhew, of NOVA, and Al Hodgeson from UPT and Cookie, with great progress being seen across the disciplines.

A feast for the eyes, the belly, and the soul

I cannot write up this event without mentioning that the Leggings Game was brought.

Many Rainbow Boogiers attended with colourful, patterned, and just simply fabulous, leggings. A sight to behold. Another sight to behold, and be eaten, was the fantastic rainbow cake provided by attendee Owen. The Rainbow Boogie was a special event and a huge success in so many ways, including culinarily. The Saturday evening paella (traditional or vegan) that was included in the registration fee was delicious  and followed up with the best kind of dessert – an open bar.

Ali Woodhouse
Photo from and by Ali Woodhouse

Saturday was a huge party, for the Boogie and co-DZO Kat’s Birthday. Kicking off with live music, then Bangers until the small hours. The night was danced away, making the most of the poor Sunday forecast, many partook (and ultimately won at) Met Roulette!

Overall a fantastic event, with a great atmosphere that was supplied in earnest by a friendly DZ, an ethused DZO and a wonderful community.

Photo by Ali Woodhouse
Onwards and upwards!

Rainbow Boogie started (less) small (than intended), and is for sure an event that is set to grow. Such was the success of last year’s event, that the 2nd UK Rainbow Boogie is already in the diary. Scheduled for 21st – 25th May 2020, see you there.

For more Information ->

Photocredit: Ali Woodhouse

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