Calling all music lovers! Fancy a festival without the mud, the tents and the down right dubious portaloos? Well the Dot-To-Dot festival is just the thing for all you city slickers who don’t fancy slumming it in the mud but want just as much live music and fun as anyone else headed off this festival season. Dot-to-Dot festival has been voted the UK’s best metropolitan festival and hits Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham. And here on my blog we want to bring you up to date on all the top festivals around that country-because we’re nice like that. The Dot-To-Dot festival is set in the heart of these cities with acts dotted (see what they did there) around in various venues all within a reasonable walking distance of each other. So hey no willies required and no hideous bin bag rain mac to cramp your style, just a quick hop skip and a jump to any venue of your choice.
Cheap and Cheerful
Unlike most festivals this one doesn’t cost you the earth *phew*. At just £20! Yeah you heard right-£20! You get to enjoy amazing acts without burning a hole in your pocket. Meaning you can use the money you have spare to travel up to the festival and get a round in for you at your mates when you get there.
Finger on the pulse
Dot-to-Dot festival is known for picking the best future acts in indie, electro and alternative music. With the likes of: The 1975, Ed Sheeran and Ellie Goulding all performing at the unique event. If you wanna stay ahead of the game and impress your friends with your sparkling music knowledge of cool up and coming bands. Or if you just want to discover and try something new and different this is definitely a festival worth checking out. This year the headliner was the aptly named band Peace, their psychedelic rock sounds got the crowds going and is definitely a band you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the future. So to be first in line to see brand new and exciting acts Dot-To-Dot is the festival to head to.
The atmosphere throughout the music filled day is a generally relaxed, unless you suffer from a case of the clashes (no that’s not some band). There is always the risk of having one or maybe more of you favourite acts playing at the same time so its up to you to toss a coin, put it to a vote or what I tend to do, run between both sets like a headless chicken in a vain attempt to watch both. I would not recommend this behaviour though as most of the venues at the Dot-To-Dot festival have a limited capacity and fill up fast. You don’t want to be hanging around outside waiting for someone to leave so you can get in. Best to get to acts early and get a good spot.
So in conclusion what have we learnt here? Well, for a start, we now know that festivals don’t have to mean a soggy field in the middle of nowhere. Festivals can happen in a city slickers paradise, located inside all your favourite bars and clubs far out of reach from the unpredictable British weather. We have also learnt that you don’t have to fork out major cash to have fun-£20 will do nicely. And lastly have fun and lets go! Leave those willies at home my friends.
I have been staring at this blank page for days now, trying to put into words what has happened to me in the past 9 months. I feel I like have experienced everything and nothing at the same time. I feel wiser yet still so naive. So you see writing a logical and chronicle recount and analysis of this first year at university is proving to be difficult.
At the start of the year I was excited, nervous and driven. And at the end of the year I am driven. I have learnt new skills during the course of the year in journalism but not nearly enough as I expected, maybe because I’m only in the first year and they didn’t want to overwhelm us. I don’t feel challenged enough and I don’t feel guided enough. I feel like I’ve learnt basic practical skills I could have taught myself if I had the mind to and the equipment to. What I feel is mentally unfulfilled, I thought we would be learning writing skills and journalistic techniques; things that improved my work. But instead we were haphazardly thrown out onto the streets of Coventry and told to ‘find a story’ without any indication what kind or what even is considered news until the very last minute of putting the final product that what you have collected to be told ‘it is not news’ or ‘not what they are looking for exactly’. This was incredibly frustrating but defiantly drove me to better myself and use my own mind to find a story of interest and create something from it whether that be: audio, visual or written.
One tour of the TV studios doesn’t mean you are suddenly capable of using them. Nor does a class full of people crammed into a radio studio being drowned at by an expert make you an expert. I still have a lot to learn in the practical aspect but that comes with time that I simply haven’t had yet at first year.
What I enjoyed was the theoretical side of the course the essays we were given-mainly the research I did prior to the essays, really expanded my knowledge on specific aspects I only wish we were taught more in class and brought the theoretical into practice like we did with the law module. I did not receive much feedback throughout the year which if I had been given mid level grades would have been frustrating as I wouldn’t know how to improve but luckily I have been awarded firsts in most essays which has been feedback enough.
What the course has done for me outside of the classroom has boosted my self confidence to consider myself as an actual journalist. I secured my first journalistic job with studentcom writing and actually getting published and payed! (With concert tickets and festival tickets but thats fine by me). I secured my second job with venue Kasbah interviewing artists and reviewing events. Now I am currently working on securing an internship and expecting an interview with one of the companies very soon!
Overall the year as been a year of firsts and a realisation of just how capable I am.
The likes of Michelle Obama, David Cameron, Cara Delevingne, Anne Hathaway and so on have been showing their support for the return of over 200 African schoolgirls taken by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. What I find really interesting about this story is that there is less of a focus on the Islamism extremists that have taken theses girls, burt whole villages to the ground and kill dozens of people but the mainstream media initial reaction not to cover this story at all. I fear racism is still in the media is still rife and if this were over 200 white European schoolgirls the story would have gotten a lot more coverage or any coverage at all than the original story initially got. Only now when people of importance make a point of this tragedy such as Michelle Obama (seen above) do others also hop on the hashtag twitter facebook bandwagon to prove that they too are in touch with their politics.
Campaigns like this have pros and cons. Yes it is a wonderfully effective and fast way in order to increase awareness but awareness isnt exactly going to #BringBackOurGirls. We, the ordinary citizens of the world do not have the power to ensure the safety of theses kidnapped Nigerian girls, we use the hashtag because we do not have the power the leads of the world have and by making it an issue for us it ever becomes an issue for them. For example on BBC Breakfast David Cameron was approached to be part of the campaign live on TV were of course he accepted and then not only held us the hashtag like millions of powerless people did but took steps to find the girls by ringing the Nigerian President offering anything that would be helpful and agreed to send out a team that includes some counter-terrorism and intelligence experts to work alongside the bigger American teams which is a massive step in the right direction.
The problems however occur when as the message becomes viral it also becomes blurred and inaccurate of the original message almost like a game of Chinese whispers. One of the most tweeted and prominent posters for the hashtag campaign features a girl from Guinea Bissou, a country more than 1000 miles away from Nigeria with a photoshopped tear on her face. This girl was not kidnapped and the photo was taken years before the incident yet has been tweeted out by many famous faces such as Chris Brown and Kim Kardashian.
Though there are mistakes made in online campaigns the intentions are still good and still call for a united front to create a positive change. And I’m sure with time hashtag activism will become a powerful way in which to take a social and or political stand in society.
On the 2nd of May at the LG Arena Birmingham self titled super group McBusted performed to a sold out venue full of people from all walks of life. This was surely the most eclectic group of people I had seen at one gig in a long while, from little kids from as you as 7 to middle aged mums to you’re average barely teenager like myself seeking to relive a bit of their childhood. The extended band brought us all together for one last hurrah for Busted with a helping hand from Mcfly.
A weird combination? Think again actually both bands are weirdly intertwined Tom Flectcher lead vocalist from Mcfly was briefly the fourth member of Busted in 2001. But just two days later, the band made the decision to be a trio and gave Tom the boot. As we know not all was lost for Tom as he found his current Mcfly band mates; Dougie Poynter, Harry Judd and Danny Jones. The Mcfly boys also opened for Busted back in 2004 so really their bands have been intertwined long before Mcbusted became a reality. All the original members agreed to take part in the venture apart from Busted front man Charlie Simpson who is focusing on a solo career.
The show gets underway with a short video on screen showing a mock up on the two remaining Busted stars Matt Willis and James Bourn announcing Busted’s split and deciding to go back in time to stop that from happening in turn meaning Mcfly never exist and the four lads careers lose focus (are you still with me??). Long story short going back in time means you need a time machine in the form of the car from Year 3000 undoubtedly Busted’s biggest hit. Matt and James fly on the stage in said car and 2394506 smoke machines causing the crowd to go crazy followed by the Mcfly boys to popping up from the stage.
The show was lively and fee good with an interesting stage setup meaning some lucky fans were positioned literally in the middle of the act called my ‘OMG zone’ and honestly I would be screaming OMG too if Danny repeatedly spat water on me!
All the classic Busted and Mcfly songs were played including ‘Glad I Crashed The Wedding’ featuring Matt Willis in a very fetching wedding dress and Star Girl featuring a massive floating UFO they band performed on. The lads seemed like genuine friends, buddies just enjoying their job and mucking about in the process it was really lovely to see. The few touching moments came from James Bourn’s solo rendition of Sleeping With The Light on which had the whole audience doing the modern day version of putting a lighter in the air aka turning your iphone on torch mode and sway your arms.
The show ended with the song everyone had been waiting for Year 3000 and Im sure making childhood dreams were fufilled that night with laughs and even more laughs from the superest of groups McBusted!
On the 1st of May I attended the CUSU Source awards where all walks of media life; TV, newspaper and radio. Societies joined together to congratulate all its members for their hard work and dedication put into the year and give special recognition to members who have particularly put in a lot of effort or have created amazing content. The event took place at the university owned venue Hush transformed from a night club to a make shift Oscars with little tables dotted around the room with Source pens for each person, a buffet table, a stage and a huge projector screen.
I surprisingly really enjoyed the event the atmosphere was a relaxed and friendly one. I often find forced social interactions/gatherings awkward but this wasn’t the case. I attended the event as I have a radio show on Source and had nominated a few fellow students to receive an award for the work they put in. What I did not expect was to be nominated myself! I was completely shocked and so were my friends as they looked at me quizzically especially for being nominated for the newspaper section of the awards ceremony for Best Contribution. I had only ever written one article for the paper which must have really knocked their socks off it seems. This has definitely made me want to contribute more to the paper next year. Unfortunelty I did not win not that I would have been able to make it on to the stage to collect my award anyway as I was completely immobilised by shock of even being nominated, however next year I am determined to win something relating to the paper as I would want to brach out more into this aspect of Source and leave my mark.
As the speeches were made, some good and sum alcohol induced. I actually learnt quite a bit about Source and how getting it to were it is now took years and years of effort and with key members of Source graduating it was up to us to carry on making it as good as it can be. I feel there is a lot of potential in these societies that haven’t been fully exercised yet. I do really want to be a bigger part of this next year and this year mainly focused on me getting my bearings living alone in a new city and so on. Now it is the time to focus on my career and do things to better my employ ability as a journalist but also to do things I enjoy. I really enjoy writing so being a bigger part of the student paper is a goal. I also enjoy music and radio so being more disciplined and dedicated to the student radio station is something I want to maintain.
Overall the Source awards were enjoyable and not just because of the free food and drink though that is always a plus! I got to chat with the head of the newspaper in person which I hadn’t done before and bonded with my friends/co hosts on our radio show and just really enjoyed the atmosphere. The event defiantly inspired me to become more involved next year and hopefully then I shall be me stood on stage with a rather dashing glass trophy like award.
When at university there are a million and one things you’re expected to do and cooking is one of them. Now if your busy like me having cook a full on meal every single day is not ideal. So to fix that why not pick a simple and delicious recipe last can last you the working week easy.
- Ready rolled Puff pastry
- Tin of thick mushroom soup
- A packet of ham
- Herbs and seasonings of your choosing
- 1 onion
- A clove of garlic
- First preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Then peel and dice the onion and garlic and sweat off in a pan with the bay leaves and a shot of oil.
- Now cube the ham into bite-sized pieces and slice the mushrooms, dumping them both into the cooked onions for 3-4 minutes. Then leave to one side.
- Pour the soup into and ham mix.
- Season to your liking.
- Put the newly combined mix into a oven proof dish
- Unroll the pastry on a floured surface and cut out a piece just larger than the pie dish.
- Crack the egg into a bowl and use to brush around the edges of pie dish, before draping the cut pastry over and pushing down to seal.
- Brush the entire pie with egg wash and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden all over.