Friday, 22 May 2015

Festival Fever in London

Caffeine junkie, sci-fi geek, cocktail queen or literary buff - whatever your tastes, at some point, somewhere in London, there will be a festival/convention going on which suits you down to the ground. What's a girl to do when presented with this cultural smorgasbord? Grab a spoon and tuck right in of course!
Since moving to London, I have been arrested by Stormtroopers for wearing a Star Trek costume at the London Film and Comic Convention, created my own amazing (*admittedly just amazing in my own opinion) plasticine animation at the Animate the World Festival at the Barbican (check out the clip at the end of this blog post) and met celebrity chef Rachel Allen whilst sampling some fantastic food, wine and live music at Jamie Oliver’s first and only Big Feastival in London, and so much more!

There seem to be multiple lists dedicated to music festivals across the city, but what if you fancy trying something a bit different? If you aren't sure where to start or if you are simply lacking inspiration, here’s a quick round-up of just a few of the festivals happening this year -
Damn, just missed it……….
Asia Festival, Tobacco Docks (15th – 17th May)
Last weekend I decided to explore the Far East by heading to London's biggest festival celebrating the sights, sounds and culture of South Asia/South East Asia.  Much of my time was of course spent sampling the food (the most delicious beef rendang) and enjoying the entertainment, which included Chinese Lion Dancers, Taiko Drummers and Bollywood dancing. However when I popped my head round the different breakout spaces I noticed there was lots more on offer - from Asian healing ceremonies (I assume that’s what it was – there was lots of chanting and swaying going on!), to Chinese calligraphy classes, henna tattoos, and the opportunity to have yourself immortalised as a manga character. Unfortunately the festival is completely unsuited to the venue space but hopefully they can sort that out before next year’s show.
In the meantime, below are a couple of photos which help capture the day. Still in need of an Asia fix? Check out Alchemy (Southbank’s annual celebration of dance, music, literature and comedy from South Asia).

Catch it while it’s still fresh……….

London Wonderland & Udderbelly Festival (10th April – 13th July)
If you walk along the Southbank you can’t miss the giant upside down cow that is the Udderbelly Tent. Next to this huge purple mass it’s easy to miss the comparatively low-key 1920’s inspired Spiegeltent.

This is the first year I have been to see a show at this festival and I am so glad I did because Scotch and Soda were brilliant! Yes, it’s essentially circus, but not as you’ve ever seen it before - combining physical theatre and comedy, music and acrobatics, it is so much fun and leaves you open-mouthed at some of the physical feats on display.

At one point (clearly not part of the show due to the looks on the performers' faces) one of the moves went badly wrong and one of the acrobats was dropped on his head with an almighty thud (resulting in gasps of horror from the audience), which really brought home that this stuff is nowhere near as easy as they make it look (ps. like a pro he got straight back up, gave the thumbs up to indicate he was alive and kept on going). And if that doesn’t convince you I should probably mention the show has a fair bit of male nudity thrown in for good measure too. Sold yet?

Some dates for the diary…..

Hopefully I've helped encourage you to join in on London's festival fun, so I thought I'd end with a list of some of what's on during the rest of this year -

MCM Comic Con (22nd – 24th May) -
Greenwich Book Festival (22nd – 24th May) -
Camden Rocks Festival (30th May) -
Taste of London (17th – 21st Jun) –
East London Comic Arts Festival (20th – 21st Jun) -
City of London Festival (22nd June – 10th Jul) -
Notting Hill Carnival  (30th - 31st August) -
Greenwich Comedy Festival (16th – 20th Sept) -
Thames Festival (1st – 30th Sept) -
London Cocktail Week (5th - 11th October) -
Frieze Art Fair (14th – 17th Oct) -
London Jazz Festival (13th – 22nd Nov) -
Latin America Film Festival (27th Nov – 4th Dec) -
London Chocolate Festival (4th – 6th Dec) -

Before I sign off here is the promised clip from the Animation Festival I attended. Check out my 'masterpieces' from 28secs-30secs and 1m26secs-1m22secs.

I actually think they are right up there with 'Frozen' and 'Lion King' as best animated films of all time. All that is missing is a rousing theme tune about homicidal snowballs. Surprisingly I'm still waiting on that Oscar nomination..........


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