Travel

Brighton wanderings and Brighton Fringe Festival

I headed down to Brighton for the day on Friday to catch up with a friend who lives nearby. I’ve been staying in South London (cat-sitting!) for a week and thought it would be the perfect time to pop down to Brighton – the train from East Croydon only takes about 45 mins too so it’s really easy from the South…also pretty easy from anywhere in London but y’know even easier!

Although it was a pretty grey day when I arrived and we had a few rain showers, the sun came out just in time for us heading to the seafront! For lunch we grabbed some food from the ‘Street Diner’ which is a collection of stalls selling a variation of street food in the Brighthelm Gardens there were loads of yummy things on offer…no photo of our food as it was consumed too fast 🙂

My friend had mentioned that Brighton Fringe Festival was on while I was down there – it runs throughout May and ends at the start of June – so we had a little look at the programme when I arrived and picked out a comedy show later in the day. There’s a box office outside the Theatre Royal where you can just walk in and buy tickets which is really handy if like us you happen to find yourself in Brighton during the fringe and fancy checking the listings out for that day.

Note: in other food related findings Gelato Gusto on North Laine provided a much needed sugar hit in the afternoon, see above for pic featuring their waffle bites, ice cream and fruit combo (SO GOOD).

We headed to The Warren in the evening to watch comedian Dave Edwards discuss the world of modern dating in his show ‘Looking for Love!’, the studio where he was performing was actually an old shipping container which was pretty cool and the show was really funny!

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With the sun coming out later in the day the evening turned out to be super lovely so once we came out of the comedy show we went for another wander and instead of heading back to the station we decided to pop into the open artists studios at Phoenix Studios, the building is home to 100’s of artists and makers as well as providing space for temporary art projects and an education programme. It was really interesting chatting to some of the artists and a really inspiring end to the day!…..

…..Until next time Brighton!

 

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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)

 

 

Out & About

Wicken Fen

Since I left London I’ve started to rediscover the area that I grew up in again (Suffolk, but very near to Cambridgeshire and Essex too). Just outside of Cambridge there’s a nature reserve called Wicken Fen and the other week when it was much warmer than it is today (err, why is it only 8 degrees again!?) I went on a little day trip with the family to explore!

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Anyone that knows East Anglia will know that most of the county is as flat as a pancake and Wicken Fen is the perfect place to experience the flat-ness! You can walk around the wetlands on the specially built boardwalk and wander past the historic wind-pump. There’s also the option to take a guided tour down the river on a boat, which we didn’t do this time but did look lovely. During the spring and summer the Lode Lane cottage which has been preserved as one of the original fen residents homes is open and definitely worth having a look around.

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Even though this was only a short drive away from home it felt like being on holiday (even if it was only for one day!). At the moment I’m thinking about moving to a different part of the country (tbc) but as I definitely appreciate more now how much amazing countryside there is in the East of England and it’s nice that will always be home wherever I end up next!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!