Two years ago at Glastonbury we thought we were prepared for the rain and the mud. That was until it came and the whole area was turned into a lagoon and we realized our waterproofs were nothing of the sort.
Taking shelter in one of the Oxfam shops we found some rubber overalls with elasticated arms and legs and hoods. I'm not sure what they're meant for, maybe chemical spills, but we bought them and oh, what a joy. Warm, wipe clean and waterproof, we could sit anywhere, lie in the mud, dance in the rain, and be clean and dry when we took them of at the end of the day.
I'm not too sure - probably big DIY stores or builders merchants.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival takes place every year in the spring. I was there last year and it was enough to turn me into an absolute Cheltenham Jazz Festival fan! From storming funky bands to sultry jazz singers, the festival really caters for anything your heart desires! Even if some of the events are a little on the expensive side, a range of buzzing fringe events makes it more than possible to immerse yourself in the town's quirky atmosphere when the festival is on!
Small Breton market town nestling in the Montagnes Noires. 18 bars, several good restaurants (recommend Le Relais de Cornouaille), regular Breton Festivals and a brilliant Jazz Festival on the banks of the beautiful River Aulne in August. The town is amazingly unspoiled and underplayed in all the guide books.
One hours drive south of Roscoff, 40 mins drive North East of Quimper. Tourist Office: 00 33(0)298 81 83 90
Europe's largest organic food festival held annually on the first weekend of September. A heady mixture of food, circus, drink, live music, celebrity chefs and The Observer's Seeds of Change photography exhibition draws the throngs to the harbourside location.
Take any bus to the city centre or 20 minutes walk from Bristol TM station;
Almost every village and town along the Croatian Coastline has a summer festival of some sort, in July or August or both. Omis, half an hour's drive from Split is one of the heartlands of traditional Klapa music and has a festival devoted exclusively to it every summer. It’s multi part harmony singing, normally male only and without accompaniment, and the sweet stirring tones of the harmonies belie the physique of the singers.
If it’s culture you’re interested in, then it has to be the festival. Not the Edinburgh Festival. The Fringe. Originally a late night revue with Peter Cooke, Alan Bennett, Jonathan Millar and Dudley Moore, the Fringe has outstripped the original, certainly in content, and in many cases, quality, and is now, in the public imagination, the main festival. One thing that will be learnt, if you visit the city during the festival, is that the world has too many jugglers.
Venues all over the city;
tel: 0131 226 0000;
It's a festival in mid-September in homage to the patron saint of Barcelona. There are several traditional Catalan cultural features, including Sardanes (dancing in circles), Castellers (human castles) and parades of Gigants (papier mache dolls two storeys high). Apart from that, there is usually a parallel cultural programme involving live music on stages in the city and/or club events. Apart from celebrating La Virgen de La Merce, it is the first major event after most Catalans come back into town after the traditional exodus to the coast or the mountains in August, a hellishly hot month when locals usually leave the city to tourists who don't know better.
September in Barcelona - all over the place
The festival takes place in late August, on stages around the city centre, to cheer up the locals when they get back from their summer break. It starts with a crayfish and beer party with hundreds of people standing at long tables. There's also an array of pop, rock, folk and world music on offer. It goes on for around ten days each year: the local tourist bureau will know the exact dates. Good lively urban summer fun.
2006 dates: August 18-25
Anybody considering taking young children to a festival this year may want to consider buying a plain children’s tee-shirt and writing on it in permanent marker – “If I’m lost please call my folks on...” followed by your mobile number. A friend of ours dresses her little ones in them at every festival she attends, and while she has always managed to keep them together, they do have, as she tells me, “a habit of wondering away to look at all the glittery things like little magpies.”
Forget the wine-in-a-box idea, don’t worry about a sleeping bag, and bother not with baby wipes… The ultimate tip for a fun-filled festival is: wear costumes. Dressing up makes the festival merry-go-round. All you need is a theme (take inspiration from your favourite band, the festival ambiance, your best loved animal) and a friend mad enough to join you in the dressing-up shenanigans.
Two years ago, my friends and I had ‘nu-rave’ day at Leeds. This was when (obviously) new rave was starting to get a bit of press. However, we were surprised to find that we were the only group of people dressed in day-glo cycling jerseys, plastic visors and glow sticks. Who would have thought it?
Last year, I spent the whole of Sunday at Leeds Festival wearing an owl costume I’d made from vintage bed sheets. This costume had paisley-printed wings and feathers; all lovingly sewn on by my good self a week before the event. I completed the look with a plastic owl mask (£1.99 from Glossop Indoor Market) and a stick with a twig sellotaped to the end of it (found in the field at Leeds Fest). It was AMAZING. I’ve never danced so much, or spoken to so many unusual and interesting people in my life. Fellow fanciful festival folk spied my twig-on-a-stick and gravitated towards me all magnetic like…
Better still, a few hardcore British Sea Power (AKA: the inspiration behind the Owl Outfit) fans remembered me. I took the costume to the BSP Tan Hill Festival a few weeks later. Even when I wasn’t wearing it, people were coming up and saying, “Hey, you’re the girl that dressed as an owl at Leeds. I saw pictures of you on the internet.”
You can’t really describe the joy that comes from being recognised as having dressed up as a nutter. Nor the embarrassment – but that’s all part of the fun. It goes without saying that it did take much guts and alcohol to be an Owl for a day. But it was so worth it. It was even worth the aching arms the day after. This was from thrusting my twig-on-a-stick triumphantly into the air whilst absolutely battered. Dressed as an Owl. For twelve hours.
This year, my intention is to sew a couple of jumpsuits in an homage to Karen O. Sparkles, floral, stripes – you name it, I intend to wear it. Now, I wonder if I can convince anyone else to join me… Let’s face it – you’ll get more fun out of wearing costumes than Boots’ own brand babywipes. Fact.
Your own hardworking skills,
Your sewing machine,
I have been to the last two Cheltenham Science Festivals and I cannot wait for this year's to start! With a huge range of events from the family-friendly Experitent to the adult-orientated debates and discussions, the festival really does cater for anyone and everyone. This year the festival braves taboo topics, which is sure to spark passionate debates, active discussions and controversial arguments.
If you haven't done so already, get out there and buy an event ticket or three - you won't be disappointed!
A three day event held in the midst of the trees and rolling fields of Stradbally House. Tickets are only sold for the whole three days, stopping daytrippers, who are such a problem at Ireland other festival Oxygen.
I'm not going to describe the whole shebang, go to the website; its quite exhaustive. Instead, here's my highlights from last year;
The big tree, an acoustic stage, where the Dublin gospel choir, amongst others, duet with anyone hanging around, and the last music of the festival is played.
The cinema tent - fantastic for when you want to crash after a long night etc, it plays a decent mix of art films and slacker comedies - Ferris Bueller's Day Off was a real highlight.
The Crawdaddy tent - really good, full of atmosphere. themed on old New Orleans, and great fun.
The food, really really good for a festival. Nearly every type of food was represented, and there were a lot of vegetarian and organic options. the only thing lacking was a fry up.
A bit of advice - get there early and if you're camping in a tent go for the quiet section- it's a bit away from the music etc and you're able to sleep. I'm bringing my van so pop over and say hello, it's the 1966 VW camper. Bring loo roll and some antibacterial hand cream. Plastic bottles only, so decant that shizas.
Around an hour from Dublin
Up to 2 million visitors in Fallas to watch some of the most incredible firework displays, both day and night.
Yes, daytime fireworks, or Máscletas, a display of noise and smoke mainly, so loud you are advised to keep your mouth open to avoid bursting your eardrums!
To see examples of a Mascletà, click the link, if you are not at work, turn the volume up to experience them properly!
Renowned Bristol jazz joint named after Duke Ellington. The live music every night ranges from traditional New Orleans to more modern interpretations. The walls and ceiling are plastered with old and new jazz posters evoking memories of gigs and artists. Each year over the August Bank Holiday weekend The Old Duke holds its own jazz festival which takes over the lower end of King Street.
45 King Street BS1 4ER
I took my then 2 year old daughter to Fruitstock (the Innocent Smoothie festival) last year and it's one of the best things we did last summer. We just took a picnic and met up with a bunch of friends (none of them had children with them) and there was plenty to do for adults and children alike. There was a wonderful play area for toddlers and lots of other activities. I expect it'll be even better this year now that she is three.
This year is is on 5&6 August in Regents Park, London.
I'm just a previous attendee, with nothing to gain from publicising this other than sharing the fun!
Based this year in a deer park in South Wales, this indie-folk festival will feature Field Music and the Brian Jonestown Massacre alongside a medieval village and a jousting display.
Margan Park isn't far from the steelworks of Port Talbot, which creates a dramatic view at night - belching flames across the bay, it's very strange and beautiful, the park itself has lots to offer but it's only a short drive from some great beaches namely Rest Bay and a slightly longer drive to the mumbles and Gower Peninsular.
Tucked in the corner of the city's main family park, the Midlands Arts Centre is a cultural oasis providing art-house films, intimate theatre productions and various creative courses. But by far its quirkiest and most imaginative space is the compact open-air Arena, a miniature concrete mock-up of a classical amphitheatre. Lying dormant for much of the year, it fills to its 470 capacity for the Sounds in the Round summer music festival.
Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston - visit www.macarts.co.uk or call 0121 440 3838 for more details.
At the end of certain festivals, its sad to see,
a sea of tents, well meaningly left for charity.
The organisers don't have the time or resources to take them down properly so they'll end up in landfill, not helping the more needy.
I have a tent circa 1983, which each year I recondition lovingly.
So my top tip for festivals is take your tent home with you.
Roads are closed in the city to make way for over six large outdoor stages dotted on and around the city centre roads.
My favourite tip - take your own beer.
There's all music, not just the Beatles. I was very excited about the Brit pop acts but some of us headed for northern soul dancing fun while my 'down south friends' enjoyed the Beatles/Merseybeat tours.
Watching a Brazilian Beatles cover band. Bands come from all over the world and their performances are superb.
Were you an original mod/rocker? The live bands could have been plucked right from the 1960's, they make the effort to dress the part and banter with the audience as though we're just hearing 'Do wah Diddy' or 'Needles and Pins' for the first time
If you're booked up for Creamfields the same weekend then you can carry on your festival fun on the Sunday as the Matthew Street festival is over Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday (and its only a 30min train ride away.)
If you're not into cover tribute bands then visit the fringe festival that runs at the same time and watch all new signed and unsigned bands
My Personal favourite bars can all be googled:
Korova; I enjoy the bands Hot Club de Paris and Elle S'apelle and they are playing here this year. Check their myspace.
Heebie Jeebies: Dance to Northern Soul all night.
JR's Bar and Grill: right by Central and Lime Street Station for excellent grill food with various heavy and light options. Plus they have live music.
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