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Latitude 2017 Festival Preview

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On Friday Latitude festival added to their already impressive line-up by announcing that Leon Bridges, Mystery Jets and The Coral will be joining the other acts on the bill when the festival returns to Henham Park near Southwold this July. I’ve been lucky enough to be at Latitude for the past 4 years and it’s always one my highlights of the summer – even more lovely that it takes place in my home county of Suffolk!

The main headliners this year are The 1975, Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes with the Mumford lads curating the whole day on Saturday as part of their Gentlemen Of The Road takeovers – their only stopover in the UK no less. For The 1975 it’s their first big festival headline slot, I saw them play in 2013 on the Lake Stage so it will be great to see them back topping the bill. For Fleet Foxes it is a return to the festival circuit and a UK exclusive appearance.

Other acts added last week include The Jesus and Mary Chain, Beth Orton, Childhood, Flyte, Simian Mobile Disco, Jaguar Skills as well as a special lakeside performance by soprano Katherine Jenkins on the Sunday.

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Latitude is one of the biggest events on Suffolk’s calendar and provides the perfect sized event for those looking for a festival that attracts the big names but retains a family friendly atmosphere. The organisers have managed to expand the capacity over recent years without making it feel over-crowded – it’s one of the best festivals I have been to, not only in terms of the line-ups but also for organisation and providing plenty of space and facilities – important when you don’t want to spend half your day in the loo queue right?!

The lake-side setting always provides a stunning location too with the chance to take a dip if the weather behaves enough to make you want to strip off. Keep an eye on the lake when the sun goes down too as there are always beautiful light shows taking place!

A few of the other acts on the line-up are John Cale, Lucy Rose, Goldfrapp, Placebo, Jack Garratt and Loyle Carner, the two that I’m really excited about seeing are Chicago band Twin Peaks and The Horrors.

As well as the music line-up, the good people of Latitude have pulled out all the stops when it comes to the comedy arena too with the likes of Simon Amstell, Katherine Ryan, Joel Dommett and Dom Joly all popping up over the weekend. There really is something for everyone at Latitude with plenty of different areas to wander around including music & film, poetry, theatre and cabaret, it’s always great for discovering your new favourites as well as seeing the big names.

Latitude festival takes place from 13th – 16th July and you can still get your hands on tickets here!

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Dot to Dot Festival 2017

Dot to Dot festival is returning at the end of May, taking over the three cities of Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham during the bank holiday weekend. Headliners Sundara Karma are welcomed back after impressing last year and hotly tipped acts such as Louis Berry, Tom Grennan and Swimming Tapes are ones to look out for if you’re heading to Dot to Dot.

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Each city opens up several of it’s best live venues on the day so you can pop in and out and see what takes your fancy! Last year I was at the Manchester one and there was a great atmosphere with a few little street performances during the day, I’ve also been to the Nottingham Dot to Dot which was also awesome…so I assuming the Bristol one is more of the same 😉

I recently wrote a full preview for the website Penny Black Music which you can read here if you want to find out a little bit more about the festival and this years acts.

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Tickets for Dot to Dot are available here for £13.20 (inc. booking fees)

 

 

music

Preview: Glastonbury Festival – Exploring away from the music

 

If you didn’t know already there is more to Glastonbury Festival than the Pyramid stage… in fact there’s a whole lot more to Glastonbury than just music! I’ve found in previous years that sometimes the best moments at the festival happen when you stumble upon something going on in one of the fields that isn’t home to the big stages. If the weather is doing what it usually does (i.e raining) I always find the cinema tent a good place to hide/dry off before your next soaking! If the sun is out (which does happen sometimes over the weekend) it’s fun just wandering around all the fields, especially if you’re up and about early before the main stages kick things off. Here’s a few areas that might be worth checking out if you’re happy not to park yourself at the Pyramid 😉

This year sees a return to Green Fields of the Green Crafts village, the Irish company organises craft villages at events and festivals and in 2016 they provided festival goers with the chance to try their hands at making and creating souvenirs to take home. Green fields is also home to the Green Kids area which allows children to take part in arts and craft activities such as the making stick men workshop and pottery lessons. They can also get their face painted, participate in gymnastics or try their hand at DJ-ing. Oh and the Green Kids area also plays host to the Cat in the Hat café which is kid friendly…but open to all ages!

photo from Glastonbury website
photo from Glastonbury website

Another area perfect for the little ones (or those young at heart) at Glastonbury is the colourful Kidz Field, now in its 23rd year at the festival it always features a host of popular children’s entertainers and famous faces in the big top – Dynamo and Basil Brush popped up here last year no less. Oh and of course there are rides for the little (or big) kids amongst us including the swing-boats, chair-o-planes and a helter skelter. The Kidz Field along with Green Kids also provides craft activities for those arty types! – just make sure you explore this area when you have a long break in your band viewing schedule because once you’re in there you probably will not want to leave!

The theatre and circus fields also provide an alternative Glastonbury experience, from family friendly shows during the day to late nights at the mavericks club the three fields are never short of entertainment. From burlesque to tight rope walkers to poetry to Brian Cox…there really is a little bit of everything going on here!

photo from Glastonbury website

Finally, well not finally as there are so many other areas of Glastonbury I haven’t covered here, head over to the Unfairground for as they describe it: “a modern satirical take on travelling amusements” – the area houses classic fairground rides mixed with music performances and bizarre attractions!  read more about them here.

Oh and if you are up at the Park stage don’t forget to take a trip down the rabbit hole!…

 

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Preview: Tramlines Festival 2017

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Spread across three days (Fri – Sun) at the end of July and taking place in the city of Sheffield, Tramlines is back this year and it’s looking pretty MEGA. This is the first time it will take place in three of the cities parks rather than at indoor venues which will allow for a bigger capacity and even bigger acts!

Now in it’s eighth year the festival has grown each year and now boasts one of the most exciting line-ups out of all the U.K metropolitan festivals. There’s no camping involved with this one so you’ll either need to have a mate with a sofa or get yourself booked into a hotel – you can find out more about accommodation packages on their website here.

Main stage headliners this year are The Libertines on Friday, All Saints Saturday and Metronomy on Sunday…yes All Saints from the 90s, having caught them on their tour last year and absolutely loving the trip down memory lane I was more than happy to see them appearing on the Tramlines line-up! It’s also great to see The Libertines appearing as headliners at a handful of festivals this summer.

Also rocking up in Sheffield for the weekend are Spring King, The Magic Gang, The Coral, We Are Scientists and Loyle Carner to name just a few of my personal picks!

If all of that isn’t enough to keep you entertained for 3 days there are after-parties taking place every night too, featuring more performances and DJ sets from the likes of Artful Dodger, Faithless, Mike Skinner and Bugzy Malone…Now all we need is the sun to shine on Sheffield in July!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

music

Liverpool Sound City 2017 – festival preview

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The Liverpool festival is celebrating its 10th Birthday in May and this time it’s moved location from Bramley Moore dock to a bigger space down the road at Clarence dock. When Sound City first started it took place in multiple city centre venues before the organisers decided in 2015 to move it to Bramley Moore dock to accommodate more people and have a proper festival site, so moving again just two years later seems testament to its growth.

This year sees the festival put on an extra two nights too, starting on the Thursday with The Human League headlining and Friday impressively boasts the only European performance of ‘John Cale presents The Velvet Underground & Nico’…what a start to the bank holiday weekend.

Metronomy head up Saturday night with Slaves and The Kills taking to the main stage before them and indie veterans The Kooks will close the festival on Sunday night with their own anniversary celebration – it’s 10 years since the release of their debut album. The Cribs were recently added as special guests on the Sunday too, and judging by their performance on the main stage in 2015 they should be warmly welcomed back!

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Sound City has always championed emerging talent and this years showcase is no exception with the likes of Swiimers, Crimsons and Violet Youth all appearing on the bill. Bands that have been breaking through recently like The Amazons, The Sherlocks, The Magic Gang and The Shimmer Band have joined the line-up too.

Tim Burgess returns again this year with Tim Peaks Diner where he will be bringing his usual combination of coffee, conversation, signings and special performances.

Sound City takes place from 25th – 28th May (with the Thursday and Friday nights ticketed separately). Make sure you follow @SoundCity for any announcements and to keep updated before the big weekend!

 

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Drake – Boy Meets World Tour @ The O2

img_1922It’s been a bit of a quiet time for me on the gig front for the past few months, with absolutely none at all in January…a very rare occurrence! So when I was offered the chance to see Drake (on Valentines Day of all days) I was more than ready to end my live music drought…if you know anything about my little (big) obsession with the Toronto man this was quite a big deal.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it in posts before but the O2 is a bit hit and miss for me when it comes to concerts, the humongous aircraft hanger-like arena doesn’t always seem to work – especially for bands/solo artists without a huge theatrical production with them to fill the space. Despite being mostly alone on stage (his DJ, drummer and keyboardist barely visible in the dry ice) Drake somehow manages to make the 20,000 or so people in the audience feel like they were attending a much more intimate gig, I lost count of how many times he declared his love for London/the UK and made sure everyone knew they’d made the right decision spending Valentines night with him…the man is a charmer. The set was jam-packed with almost 40 songs including Hotline Bling, of course, and there was a ‘hits medley’ in the middle feat. snippets of 6 God and Worst Behavior.

Light spheres/balloons suspended from the ceiling waved up and down, changing colour throughout the set and were mesmerizing, almost like a giant installation piece. Then on the second stage in the middle of the crowd a huge inflatable moon/planet pops up and provides a pretty impressive backdrop for the last few songs, I’d seen a few photos of this from other dates on the tour and was waiting for it all night! Throw in some real flames and a couple of fireworks here and there and there is no question Drake can keep a massive audience enthralled for 90 minutes with minimal gimmicks.

 

 

music

A love letter to the Followills

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I’ve been really fortunate to see lots of amazing gigs in London, including a few last minute secret sets over the years, but it was the four Followills that I was always longing to see in any venue that wasn’t of vast arena size. The first time I missed them play somewhere small was in 2004 when they played Liverpool students union – thanks to freshers flu (in my 3rd year) I was too ill to go. After that I mostly saw them play festival headline sets or arenas, their Brixton Academy gig back in 2008 being the smallest up until 2013 when  I got to see them play at Shepherds Bush Empire and then the Roundhouse in the space of two months, both were AMAZING and I didn’t really expect it to get better than that…but then last Tuesday happened…

As everyone probably already knows Kings of Leon have a new album out – WALLS (We Are Like Love Songs) – and after some social media teasing at the start of last week about their arrival in London they announced a secret gig on Tuesday morning that was to take place that evening, cue panic stations and several frantic texting! Costing just £20 and taking place at 229 The Venue (a teeny-tiny 600 capacity student union) on Great Portland St. it was first come first served to get your mitts on one of the shiny pink wristbands that would guarantee entry. I genuinely don’t think I’ve been so excited queuing for a gig as I was that night!

The Setlist: Thanks to @KOLfanblog on Twitter! (‘Arizona’ was also added in the encore).

I thought it might just be a chance for them to play the whole of WALLS, which would’ve been good but what an unbelievable set it was! from the opening chords of ‘The Bucket’ I knew it was going to be a special night, it was so awesome to hear them do ‘Trani’ live after all this time and from WALLS ‘Over’ and ‘Around The World’ were two of my faves. That 1 hour and 50 minutes at 229 club was the perfect reminder that despite their huge success Kings of Leon are still the Southern rockers I fell in love with 13 years ago, and it was really lovely to see them clearly enjoying playing in such a small venue.

As well as going to a lot of amazing gigs over the last few years I’ve also been lucky enough to meet some of my favourite bands, Kings of Leon have always remained elusive though…to be fair I’ve never tried too hard (HONEST) and the closest I got was seeing one of them (might have been Jared) through a car window outside The Roundhouse after the iTunes festival. So when I knew the Kings were doing Radio 1 Live Lounge the day after the gig and I conveniently didn’t need to be elsewhere I decided to stroll past on the off chance of seeing them. Ok, it was less of a casual stroll, more of a dash to Maida Vale where as I turned the corner I spotted the big red truck – the same one that had been parked outside the venue the night before – and a handful of other KOL die-hards outside the studio door. It was now or never, after about 40 minutes of waiting for their crew to load the truck the studio door opened…and there they were…the one band that I’ve always wanted to meet but were terrified to just in case they turned out to be dickheads, were they? NO. Was I shaking? YES. I managed to compose myself enough to have a little chat about the gig and ask each of them for a photo, they all took time to say hello to everyone and sign things. I’ve always had a soft spot for Matthew so was super smitten meeting him but was probably most nervous talking to Caleb, HE’S TOO COOL and has no idea how many times I’ve cried during their gigs listening to his voice and lyrics…probably for the best.

Sometimes you just have to be a fangirl

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