While we collectively seek empathy for the POD (post-Olympic-distress) hitting us all today, I’m taking a moment to give a nod to one of the coolest spaces to watch and celebrate the games while they were on. Running from Friday 27th July to Sunday 12th August, Puma converted Brick Lane’s Old Truman Brewery into a Jamaican ‘yard’, screening the Games and hosting late-night events which garnered the attention of the city’s influencers, saw dope performances from the likes of RoxXxan, Gyptian, Clement Marfo & The Frontline and Professor Green, and even had superstar Olympian Usain Bolt take to the DJ decks. Check out some flicks from the nights below.
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While not official sponsors, Puma took advantage of the London’s epic summer of sport by turning the focus on Jamaica. With Puma being one of the leading sports brands on the Caribbean island and Cedella Marley teaming up with them to produce Jamaica’s Olympic gear, Jamaica’s 50th anniversary coincidentally falling during the Olympics and the world’s biggest track stars hailing from the island, Puma Yard’s conception felt rather natural.
With day and evening activities, the grounds were split into the Yard, a huge outdoor space with a screen and a beach where many a rowdy crowd watched track-and-field finals starring Jamaican athletes, and Puma Social, where the partying took place over many a Wray & Nephew Rum filled cocktail (Wray-and-Ting became the drink of the fortnight for regular visitors).
Photos by Jamell Williams from House of Alt
Scheduled and surprise performances (including one from Shaggy on Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary) along with nights hosted by Deviation, Livin’ Proof and YoYo meant Puma Social hit capacity every night, with hordes of people left outside while the party appeared to end entirely too early most nights.
Possibly the most talked about night of the set is 11th August, two nights after taking gold, silver and bronze in the 200m men’s finals, Bolt, Blake and Weir visited Puma Yard with the whole of Team Jamaica for a hardcore party, where he even got on the decks.
What got me most excited though, was the attention to detail in the Old Truman. Puma did a good job in managing to capture snapshots of Jamaica’s rich cultural history (it doesn’t begin or end at Bob Marley, I assure you) in the space design alone – with old Studio One vinyls in boxes, Caribbean granddads’ game of choice dominoes scattered around, dancehall images fly-posted on the walls and subtle red, gold and green lighting. Check out some ‘clearly-not-an-SLR’ iphone candids from the nights below:
Another mind-blowing detail – the Puma Yard wristbands also doubled over as PLANTS. In case you can’t read what the wristband says, it reads: ‘Plant this bracelet in 1/4 soil and water often. Enjoy your Basil!’
With the Olympics over now, the Yard has left me warmed up and ready for carnival 2012.