Showing posts with label Festivals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Festivals. Show all posts

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Do Book Company and Lectures

Last week I went to a great event held at Bristol's independent record and book store Rise. I've actually been to a few really good in store gigs there - often musicians performing shows in larger music venues around Bristol will do a short set or a couple of acoustic songs to promote the release of a new album or encourage fans to come to a later gig. Personally I much prefer, smaller more intimate venues so sometimes I will prefer to watch the Rise in store performances (especially seeing as they are often free!)

This event was to promote the launch of a new book series released by the 'Do Book Company' - an independent publishing house based in Shoreditch. 'Do Books' are a series of 11 inspirational pocket guide books which aim to create positive changes be it through learning a new skill or craft, a shift in thinking or by giving you the inspiration and encouragement to achieve a goal or dream. Each book is only about 100 pages, making them quick and easy to read and focusing on the practicalities of 'doing' rather than the background theory.

The books are written by speakers from the Do Lectures - which form part of a 3 day festival/conference founded in Cardigan, Wales. Fans of the world famous TED talks will love the Do lectures as they are very similar - the lectures cover a huge range of themes and subjects given by people from all walks of life.

During the promotional launch at rise, the authors of the following four books each gave a 15-20 minute lecture summarizing their book and how they came to write it:

  • Do Breathe - Calm your mind. Find your focus. Get stuff done. - Michael Townsend Williams
  • Do Disrupt - Change the status quo. Or become it. - Mark Shayler 
  • Do Purpose - Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more. - David Hieatt
  • Do Fly - Find your way. Make a living. Be your best self. - Gavin Strange

Each author was so engaging and interesting in different ways and although they only spoke for a short amount of time, I could have happily sat there and listened to them all night! I could have bought the whole series of books there and then but the one that really caught my eye (partly because of the awesome name of the author!) was Do Story - How to tell your story so the world listens. (Written by Bobette Buster)

I'm really into true story telling events at the moment and am pretty addicted to podcasts and blogs like The Moth, Humans of New York etc... Bobettes book offers some great advice on how to tell your own story and how the skills used to do this can be really beneficial to other aspects of your life, be it personal or professional.

The evening was rounded off by a great musical performance by Luke Sital Singh who I had been wanting to see again since watching him perform in the pouring rain two years ago at glastonbury - it was nice to watch him in the warm and dry comfort of the rise record store!

The books are definitely worth reading - as I said they are pretty short so they are accessible for people who are not really into reading and cover a wide range of subjects. I would love to attend the Do Lectures festival and the other events that they are now holding all around the world - however I was slightly dismayed when I went on their website and discovered that tickets for the 3 day event cost over £1200! So I guess for now I will stick with my slightly more affordable paperback book! On a serious note this is something that has been irritating me a lot lately ( - events which are apparently aim to "inspire and encourage discussion and debate between young people from all backgrounds" but are then priced so that only really high earners can possibly afford the tickets) and is something I will write about in an upcoming post.

However I should say that there are a lot of videos on the do lectures website that you can watch for free so do check them out here:

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Experimental Travel Part 3

So to round off my 'Experimental Travel' posts - here are a few more weird and wonderful festivals around the world! 


White Nights FestivalThe White Nights festival is an arts held annually in St Petersburg during the arctic season when the sun can still be seen at midnight. The festival includes a series of classical ballet, opera and music events with performances by Russian and international dancers, singers, musicians and actors. The Scarlet Sails show is famous for spectacular firework displays celebration is the culmination of the White Nights season and the largest public event anywhere in Russia with the annual estimated attendance
about one million people! The White Nights festival aims to promote cultural exchange between Russia and the rest of the world and strengthen St Petersburg's reputation as a world centre for culture and the arts.


Burning Man - Black Rock Desert, Nevada.

The Burning Man Festival is an annual event held at the end of August where up to 48,000 people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock desert to create art and express their individuality. It takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy, which is set alight on Saturday evening. The Burning Man website lists the following ten principles:

  • Radical inclusion
  • Gifting
  • Decommodification
  • Radical self reliance
  • Radical self expression
  • Communal effort
  • Civil responsibility
  • Leaving no trace
  • Participation
  • Immediacy
The event is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. Festival goers often say that you cannot truly understand Burning Man without attending - however be warned this festival is not for the faint hearted!


Up Helly AA

Occuring once a year in the Shetland Islands, this fire festival marks the end of the yule season. Costumed participants march through the streets carrying torches,followed by hours of performing acts and dancing in halls throughout Lerwick. The procession culminates in the torches being thrown into a life size replica of a Viking longship or galley.


Cheese Rolling

The final festival on my list is in my hometown of Gloucestershire! However although it is so close to where I live I have never actually been to watch the bizarre spectacle of cheese rolling....

The cheese rolling race/event takes place annually on the Spring bank Holiday on the incredibly steep Coopers hill in Gloucester. Traditionally it was done by only locals but over the years it has become world famous and now attracts participants from as far as Japan and America.

So what is cheese rolling? Well from the top of the hill a 9 lb round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled, and competitors start racing down the hill after it aiming to catch it. The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese!

There have been many many injuries from the event and every year the ambulances will be stationed nearby ready to treat those who hurt themselves! Due to strict health and safety rules, as well as the difficulty of trying to control the large number of people who come to watch the event is no longer officially managed by an organisation and authorities will try to discourage people taking part or going to watch. However this has had very little effect and hundreds of people will still assemble to hold spontaneous races, risking life and limb to catch the cheese!

So that concludes my posts on alternative festivals around the world - the few I have featured are just a snippet of the many that are out there though and you really could spend a lifetime visiting them all!

As for experimental travelling - perhaps I will use my book and decide to take on some of the challenges when I next go on an adventure!

Check out my previous posts on experimental travel and weird festivals below:

Experimental Travel Part 1

Part 2

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Experimental Travel - Part 2

Following on from my previous post on experimental travel and after a conversation with friends, I have come up with my own experimental travel adventure that I would love to do! This one isn't really something that could be done in a weekend or a few months though as it would be pretty costly and would probably take a lifetime to complete!

It all began with a discussion about La Tomatina Festival in Spain - which in case you didn't know about it is a huge tomato fight in the streets of Bunol in Spain which is held in late August everyday. My friends and I all agreed that we would love to attend and then got to thinking about how great it would be to attend all the weird and wonderful festivals across the globe... 
Well once I began my research I discovered there were so many that it would be impossible to list them all! But here are a few that look especially fantastic....


Holi Festival - Also known as the festival of colours or the festival of love, Holi is an ancient Hindu festival which is primarily observed in India. It is celebrated in spring at the approach of the vernal equinox on a full moon. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships, and is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest.

Whilst you are in India why not visit this festival too:

Jaipur Elephant Festival: The Elephant Festival is an annual event held every year at Jaipur the capital city of Rajasthan. It is organised according to the Indian calendar on the full moon day of Phalgun Purnima (February/March), this coincides with day of Holika Dahan, just a day before Dulendhi, which the Indian festival of colour and joy Holi is celebrated! As the name suggests elephants are the centre of attraction at the Elephant Festival Jaipur. Pachyderms are washed, painted and groomed in all finery by their loving grooms or Mahouts as they are called in India. Elephants are specially decorated for the elephant festival, with chunky elephant jewellery, large anklets decked with bells grace their feet, their bodies are painted with traditional Indian motifs, gold embroidered velvet rugs grace their backs along with silver and gold plated Howdahs and gold embroidered velvet parasol’s.


Thailand has become very popular as a gap year destination and is well known for its infamous full moon festival! However if you are looking for something a bit alternative how about this:

The Monkey Buffet Festival is a really a unique and bizarre Festival held in in the province of Lopburi, North of Bangkok. During the festival 4000 kilograms of fruits, vegetables, cakes, candies is set down in front of temples on tables, in pyramid or just on a simple mat for the delight of the 3000 monkeys living in the area.
The Monkey Buffet Festival also host plenty of activities in relation with monkeys: music and dances with young people dress like monkeys and hand made monkey costumes, masks and monkey sculptures are all created for the occasion.
The Festival was invented in 1989 by a local business man in order to boost the tourism in the Lopburi province. Since thousand of visitors come every year to see the numerous monkeys filling their stomachs!


Home of the quirky and mad, Japan has plenty of festivals to choose from! Here are two I like the look of:

Konaki Sumo: Konaki (crying) Sumo or Nakizumo (sumo of tears) is more than 400 years old tradition organized in some Japanese temples. Konaki Sumo takes place every April in the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo and includes almost 100 babies.Two Sumo wrestlers, both holding a baby, face each other and wait whose baby is going to cry first.There is also a priest who shouts and waves at the babies. If both babies start crying at the same time the winner is the one who cries louder.If all this sounds a bit mean, it should be noted that the festival is also time of praying for baby's health. There is a Japanese proverb stating that "naku ko wa sodatsu" or "crying babies grow fast". It is believed that louder the baby cries the more gods' blessing she or he get!

The Fuji Shibazakura festival is a festival of flowers which gives colour to the Mt Fuji. Around 800,000 shibazakura (moss flox) bloom in beautiful shades of pink at the bottom of the mountain in late springtime every year near the scenic Fuji Five Lakes area, and sees more than 9 million visitors pass through annually.The festival takes place from mid-April through June, but the best time to see the five different kinds of Pink Moss flowers, usually takes place in early to mid-May.

Since I found so many weird and wonderful festivals I am going to split this into a few seperate blog posts - so stay tuned for my next one which features festivals around Russia, America, Europe and some a bit closer to home!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Upcoming workshops!

On Sunday the 21st of June I will be running a craft workshop in Bristol to create unique accessories for the upcoming festival season! For details and information please visit my website here

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

DIY Festival bum bag

It's an exciting thought that this time next week I will be with all my friends at Glastonbury Festival! Hopefully I will be sat on a stone of the Stone Circle - watching the sunset and enjoying the buzz of the crowd. Last year was my first time at Glastonbury and I was so apprehensive before I went, however like most people do I fell in love with it and could happily spend every summer going!

I thought I'd share with you a DIY I made last week in preparation for the festival - an essential accessory for carrying any valuables or vitals that you need close to hand. Bum bag/fanny pack -whatever you want to call them, they are definitely a must have for any festival.

Mine was made using completely recycled materials - the embroidered fabric was from an old dress that I used to love but had a stain on it; the lilac fabric was from a throw that used to cover my sofa!

Ralph my Cat helping me make the bum bag!

You will need:

Pretty fabric or material  (at least 25cm x 10cm)
A zip that measures the same length as your chosen fabric
A belt (this can be a belt you already own or a new one. You could also use some brightly coloured bias binding or some pom pom trim would look great too!)
Extra fabric for belt loops (7cm x 2cm)

Step 1 
Cut two pieces of fabric so that they are the same size and shape. You can make the bum bag as big as you need - the one here measures 15cm x 30cm which is quite a nice size as I can fit my purse, ID, phone and anti bacterial hand gel in it!

Step 2
Pin your zip in between the two lengths of fabric making sure that the front of the zip is on the same side as the front of your fabric

Step 3
Sew on your zip. I used a sewing machine but you could hand sew ; just make sure you use strong thread and perhaps do more than one line of stitching to make sure it is secure.

Step 4
In order to create belt loops, take two strips of fabric and cut them into equal lengths measuring roughly 7cm x 2cm. The length of these can vary depending on how thick your belt is but don't make them too thin as they need to be strong.

Step 5
Pin the belt loops onto each end of one of the rectangles of fabric. Make sure they are at least 1.5cm away from the edge to allow for seam allowance. Once you are happy with the position, stitch across the end of each loop several times so they are firmly attached. It is important that the belt loops are strong enough so if your fabric is quite thin it may be worth doubling it up to create the loops which is what I had to do with mine.

Step 6
Pin together your bum bag around each edge so the front side of each rectangles are facing each other and on the inside. At this point make sure you open the zip so you will be able to turn your bum bag the right way once you have finished!

Step 7
Sew neatly around edges making sure the seams are even. Turn the bag inside out through the open zip. It should now just resemble a finished purse!

Step 8
Thread your belt through the loops and ta da! One complete festival bum bag! The good thing about this design is that you can either change the belt or make more than one bum bag for the same belt so that you can have one to match every pre planned festival outfit!

I did have a photo of me modelling the bum bag but I looked a bit weird so I'll upload a better one of me using it soon!

I hope you enjoyed the DIY - make sure you also check out my DIY festival water bottle holder here

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Pushkar Camel Fair

It seems inevitable that after just accepting my place on a new university course (which means making a committment to staying put for another two years), I seem to have gotten a seriously strong bout of wanderlust and itchy feet...

There are so many magical and exciting places I want to visit that I have no idea where I would even go first! However I was browsing through a Selvedge magazine when I saw an advert for art and textile retreats/tours in India and this alongside watching the brilliant film 'The Darjeeling Limited' has got me seriously wanting to explore India!

Pretty much all the trips offered through the company Tulsi Travel sound amazing (I have no idea of the prices mind you - they seem to have tactfully omitted those on the website) but the one that looks especially great is a craft tour of Rajasthan including the Pushkar Camel fair!

I did some research and this camel fair sounds pretty awesome! It takes place on the first full moon of November every year and is a time for all the tribal groups to gather and pay respects at the Brahma temple, to bathe in the holy waters of Pushkar lake, to arrange marriages and of course to trade camels!

For five days over 25, 000 camels (!) converge at the festival and are decorated and dressed up, entered in beauty contests and races and then traded. There is a huge carnival with musicians, magicians, dancers and snake charmers. 

Here are some more images I have found from searching - clicking on them should take you to the original  websites/sources which also provide a lot more information on the festival.

The only downside that I can possibly think of is that 25,000 camels probably smells pretty bad?! But that doesn't put me off and it has definitely been added to my long list of places to visit and experience first hand.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Music I love...

Last Friday I was lucky enough to see Laura Mvula perform at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which was such a great gig. She sung all the tracks of her recently released album 'Green Garden', as well as doing a surprise duet with Jamie Cullum and as an encore a beautiful version of Michael Jackson's 'Human Nature'. Her band (who were equally brilliant) were made up of her brothers and sisters so I guess she comes from a pretty talented family!

To be honest I wouldn't class her music as Jazz - (it has such a unique sound that it's difficult to put it into any sort of genre) but I was very grateful that she was at the festival performing none the less. She seems to be getting lots of publicity so to have the chance to see her in such a small and intimate venue was really good. Thanks to my Mom for getting tickets!

Also on a separate note she looks so good with a shaved head! I wish I could get away with such a bold (no pun intended) hairstyle but I fear that I have a massive egg shaped head under my hair.

Another musician that I discovered this week is blues/soul artist Valerie June.
I saw her album recommended by a staff member in a record store and just by chance decided to give it a listen and I haven't stopped playing it since.

The song below (Workin' Woman's Blues) is probably my favourite but Somebody To Love is also a beautiful track. She is actually touring the UK at the moment and plays Birmingham on Monday... tempted to get a last minute ticket!

Listen and love :)

Monday, 13 August 2012

Up, Up and Away

Every summer there is a hot air balloon fiesta in Bristol, where 150 of balloons of every imaginable shape and size take to the air - weather permitting! There is also an amazing night glow where the balloons glow in time to music as well as a fireworks display. The fiesta is held in Ashton Court Estate - a beautiful part of Bristol which is actually right next to my University campus. I went last year with friends but unfortunately the weather was so bad it wasn't safe for the balloons to ascend. This year it was a beautiful weekend for the fiesta and I have seen some great photos that friends from Uni have taken. I was hoping to see the balloons from the garden but apparently the wind was blowing in the opposite direction as I didn't see any!

So here is my own little balloon with the hope that next year I will get to see them all!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Latitude Fesitval

Sorry for the absence - just got back from spending an amazing weekend away at Latitude Festival in Suffolk. The festival setting (a farm with a lake and woodland) was absolutely beautiful and there was so much to see and do! The line up this year included the majority of my favourite bands and I can't even begin to describe how spectacular and moving some of the performances were. There are some seriously talented musicians out there and for me it really highlighted how completely unbeatable live performances are - especially when shared with good friends and other fans.

The weather wasn't the best (what else can you expect in this country?!) and inevitably things got very muddy!  However although there were showers on and off - for the most part it remained dry and it definitely could have been a lot worse!

Below are some photos of my favourite performers and features of the festival - some of these are taken from the official Latitude website and some of them are my own.

Bat for Lashes - Photo taken by Pooneh Ghana

Bon Iver - Photo taken by Andy Sheppard

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Photo taken by Andy Sheppard

Elbow - Photo taken by Andy Sheppard

The Lake - Photo taken by Marc Sethi

The Lake Stage - Photo taken by Marc Sethi

Rufus Wainwright - Photo taken by Marc Sethi

Pink and blue sheep!

'Film Postboxes' - These were amazing little post boxes that came in various forms and could be found attached to many trees in the Faraway Forest. Inside them tiny film shorts were projected - often out of the windows of miniature toy cars!

A beautiful acrobatic/ballet performance. The dancer was attached large tethered balloon that changed colours as it floated in the sky over the lake. Truly spellbinding.

The good deed tree. Festival goers wrote down good deeds that they or others had done throughout the festival and hung them in red berry/baubles in the tree!

Latitude was my first proper festival experience and it really was a positive one. Luckily I came pretty well prepared as some of my friends who I went with have been to many festivals! However here are my top tips!

1. Bring wellies! Seriously - at an English festival it is unlikely you will survive without them even if it is a summer festival. The mud was unbelievable - I witnessed several people lose shoes/boots in it and a very upset little boy who was submerged up to his knees! 

2. Expect to spend a fair bit of money on drink and food - bring with you what you can but be aware that you may not be allowed to take cans or bottles into the arenas that have not been purchased on the site. We all became pro's at smuggling drink in passed the attendants who would search bags etc at the arena gates.

3. At the beginning of each day note down the times and places of all the performances you want to see. You don't want to miss anything due to lack of organisation!

4. Prepare a fancy dress outfit! Some people go all out at festivals. There are some crazy outfits and hats you can buy but its good to have something that no one else is wearing. Face paint is easy to pack as well as lots of glitter! I would say though don't bring clothes that you would be really disappointed if they got ruined... 

5. Baby wipes and anti bacterial hand wash!! Lots of it! 

6. Arrange a good meeting place and time in case you get split up from friends. If you have a mobile phone great - but there is not always a signal and batteries will quickly run out. It's also pretty hard to hear your phone ringing at a music festival...

I will most likely do more posts featuring my favourite songs from the festival with some background information on the artists so watch this space. Including a weekly music feature is something I hope to get going regularly on this blog soon! :)

Thursday, 28 June 2012

DIY Festival water bottle carriers

Hello! With all the summer music festivals approaching, I thought I would create a DIY tutorial for an essential festival accessory... 

Carrying a handbag around at festivals is pretty impractical and it can be annoying when you want to dance etc, using a rucksack is one way of keeping your hands free, but for quick access to your drink, this pretty bottle holder should come in useful!

These are really quick to make and can easily be customised to personal taste. I have included a step by step guide below.

You will need:

1. Roughly 12x 12 inches of plain coloured fabric, 12 x 4 inches of patterned fabric. The size can depend on how big a bottle you are intending to carry around. 

2. Three different colours of bias binding or ribbon roughly 48 inches long

3. Brightly coloured thread or cotton.

4. Fabric scissors or pinking shears if you have them.

Step 1

To begin with, fold the plain fabric in half. This will help strengthen the water carrier and gives a neat finish to the top edge and will stop it from fraying.

Cut the patterned fabric (using pinking shears if you have them) so it comes to about the third of the size of the plain fabric and sew it so there is a 1.5 inch of plain fabric showing at the top. I machined stitched it which speeds the whole process up, but it would also be quick to sew by hand. Alternatively you could use bondaweb to adhere the two fabrics together.

I also did a simple running stitch about a cm from the top of the fabric. This isn't essential but if you use a bright coloured thread it does make the carrier look even prettier :)

Step 2

With the right side of the fabric on the inside, fold it in half and stitch down the right hand side leaving an inch seam allowance. At this point you could just check that the sizing so far is right by using a standard empty water bottle - adjusting the seam allowance if needed.

Step 3

In the same way that you would wrap a present, fold up the ends of your carrier, pin them together and sew! Strong thread is needed here - don't worry about it looking too neat as it won't be seen but its important that the ends are secure so you don't lose your drink!

Step 4

Tie your three colours of binding or ribbon together and plait them - ending with another knot. Sew each end   on to the insides of your carrier - again make sure you use strong thread and go back over your stitching several times as you don't want the strap to break.

Step 5

Cut off any lose threads and ta da! Your drinks carrier  is complete!  Enjoy!