What Festival is for YOU?

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V Festival

22-23rd Aug

Wireless

3rd-5th July

The Secret Garden Party

23rd-26th July

Filled with acts we all know and love V Festival is perfect for that summer feeling. The festival takes place on two sites located at Hylands Park in Chelmsford and Weston Park in South Staffordshire, artists perform at one location on Saturday and then swap on Sunday. The likes of Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora and Sam Smith have all played V Festival making it a star studded event fit for the whole family. The atmosphere is much more relaxed here than say Reading & Leeds because diehard fans tend to make more of an appearance, plus the chances of a mosh pit forming are low! Hip Hop more your thing? How about R&B? Wireless is the one for you. Happening in London Finsbury Park and Birmingham’s Perry Park. Artists in attendance this year are the likes of Nicki Minaj, Drake and Labrinth all surely going to bring the house down. The more urban festival is a rarity here in the UK and is nice to see Wireless Festival  paving the way for hip hop music’s exposure. Calling all art lovers and those who go to festivals for the vibes! The Secret Garden Party might be the thing for you. It is seen as an alternative to the mainstream music festival. It is an annual independent arts and music festival which takes place in Abbots Ripton near Huntingdon. This location is on the grounds of a Georgian farm house and has its own lake, river and landscaped gardens making it very picturesec for all you photographers out there. If you’re looking for somewhere a little bit different to spend your summer then I would certainly suggest heading there. Not to mention each year the festival has an obscure theme the festival and festival goers play into, this years theme is ‘Childish Things’ where we are asked to ‘escape the world that wants us to grow-up (and behave); and explore what we all left behind.’

 

Reading & Leeds Festival

August Bank Holiday Weekend.

Dot To Dot

22nd-24th May

Reading and Leeds Festivals are a pair of annual music festivals that take place simultaneously on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the August bank holiday weekend. Reading Festival is held at Little John’s Farm on Richfield Avenue in central Reading. Leeds Festival is held in Bramham Park. Reading Festival, the original and senior of the two, is the world’s oldest popular music festival still in existence. The festival is a host to some big names such as the Arctic Monkeys, Blink 182, Muse, Bastille and many more.
Now if money is no object and music is your passion then Reading & Leeds might be right up for street. With neclectic acts varying from the rock, indie, dance, punk, metal and alternative genres there is bound to be something for everyone not to mention the funfair that takes place every night and the huge array of food and drink vendors dotted around the festival.
Talking from experience I went to Reading festival last year (VIP in fact) and I must say apart from rubbing shoulders with the stars the whole atmosphere was very relaxed. There is a real camaraderie I find with festival goers because you’re all there for the same thing, especially when you’re in the midst of a really good set and you- or should I say I- got sucked into a mosh pit and had some lovely guys I’d never met before dive in and save me!
Fancy a festival without the mud? 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. 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.

At just £20! You get to enjoy amazing acts without burning a hole in your pocket. Dot-to-Dot festival is known for picking the best future acts in indie, electro and alternative music. If you wanna stay ahead of the game and impress your friends with your sparkling music knowledge. Or if you just want to discover and try something new this is definitely a festival worth checking out.

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. 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.

JAWS a Band With Bite!

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Indie Pop Rock band JAWS are definitely ones to watch. Hailing from Birmingham the band are clearly influenced by the B-Town scene, touring with other Birmingham based bands such as Peace.

The band are played the Institute in Birmingham on the 7th of March and I was lucky enough to see them at their London show at nightclub Heaven. They started off the show with an interesting entrance, coming onto the stage to ‘In Paris’ by Kanye West and Jay Z, hyping up the already energetic crowd.

The lights go dark and Donut plays; one of the bands first ever songs. The twang of guitars and happy-go-lucky tune is at odds with the self deprecating lyrics. Another classic from their first EP, Surround You has familiar aggressive synth driven beat causing the audience to chant the opening of the song, the chorus falls into dreamy indie at it’s finest with an underlying dance pop theme. From their album they played the single Swim, the start to the song can only be described as the sound of raindrops- if rain with a synth sound. The chilled vocals from Connor Schofield the bands frontman make this a perfect lazy day listen.

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Even though the bands debut album has been out for less than a year JAWS let us know they have been hard at work in the studio making new music, so much so that they then continued to play us not one but two new songs.

The first being Bad Company which sounded very unlike a typical JAWS song which confused the crowd momentarily as it was rather slow without their trademark synth sound. The second was Simplicity, very bass driven perfect easy listening music and had the crowd nodding and swaying in time.

To bring the end the night to an end JAWS played Be Slowly their album’s title song. It is even more furiously upbeat and guitar driven than previously heard tracks, with synth sounds taking a backseat for this one. The last song of the night was crowd favorite Gold a mix of hard-hitting guitars and building drumbeats turning the fans into a frenzied mass and almost knocking me down! The boundless energy from the audience and music alike make JAWS a band with an added bite.

Ed Sheeran Gig Review

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One-man band Ed Sheeran hit up the LG Arena in Birmingham three nights in a row from the 18th-20th of October. I was lucky enough to see him on his final Monday night appearance with folk and roll acoustics; turning the crowd into his very own “gospel choir” plus rapping skills even the likes of Jay Z would be impressed by.

The night kicked off with the first of two opening acts Jamie Lawson, relatively unknown Irish singer-song writer. His striped down acoustics and love related lyrics match those of Ed Sheerans even managing to get the crowd to sing along to the chorus of one of his songs ‘Dig A Little Deeper’. As the night went on the highly anticipated Saint Raymond aka Callum Burrows singer-songwriter and his band took center stage. His glittering indie pop rock sound mixed with catchy lyrics won the crowd over, having them sing along in minutes. This might have something to do with the fact Saint Raymond earlier that day came out to greet queuing fans and acoustically sing a few songs. The spanglely guitar sounds and ringing tingling drums in catchy chorus of the song ‘I Want You’ had the crowd thoroughly warmed up, just like a support act should do.

Then Ed Sheeran promptly appears on stage casual as ever opting to walk from side stage and immediately start playing ‘I’m A Mess’. Without any build up or overly compacted entrance Ed Sheeran continues to be his humble self later he explains this is his third and finial night playing the LG Arena and how privileged he felt. Particular highlights of the show were when Ed did an impressive mash up of his hit single ‘Don’t’, Chris Browns ‘Loyal’ and RnB classic ‘No Diggity’, managing to combine his love of RnB music with his own acoustic set. Ed also managed to get the crowd to put an arm in the air and bounce a hand up and down during the chorus of Bloodstream where he explained it’s “like the rappers do” and will “look really cool” which too his credit it did.

A sea of phone lights swarmed the arena during ‘A Team’ (undoubtedly his most famous song). Thus making all 14,000 of us look like little twinkling dots. Ed’s eyes misted over and smile graced his face letting everyone know how much of a special moment it was for him before stating that this was his last song before clarify ‘technically its not my last song, I have two more but pretend it is’ then walked off stage to await an encore.

A stamping of feet and screaming fangirls lead to Ed’s reappearance. Strolling on to center stage with ‘You Need Me I Don’t Need You’ showing off his rapping prowess and the crowd impressively matching him word for word. The night ended with Ed Sheeran’s first number 1 ‘Sing’ where he instructed the crowd “do not stop singing” and to “scream it out”, which they did. The infectious chorus had people singing long after the show ended proving that Ed Sheeran even though seemingly plain on exterior can really put on a spectacular show with just his raw talent.

Young Kato- Sunshine EP Review

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Young Kato the six member strong band from Cheltenham are back again with new song ‘Sunshine’. Aptly the lads unveiled the song in the July heat with the Sunshine EP up for pre-order with an expected release of the 14th September. The song first offers you the usual Young Kato style synth but with an unexpected brassy saxophone sound that throws you off for just a second. However this is quickly forgotten as singer Tommy Wright’s district and high range vocal takes over lulling you into the song, even throwing in a few happy-go-lucky whistles. The building tempo leading into the fun and energetic chorus is a key feature often found in Young Kato songs, making them feel-good tracks perfect for the summer sun and wind in hair sort of thing. When the chorus hits you cant help but crack a smile, which is followed by an even more enthusiastic endorphin enhancing instrumental, leaving you with an idiotic grin on your face. 8/10

Hopeless With Hair- Festival Styles

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When at a festival the last thing you want to be dealing with is hair resembling the likes of a birds nets. Trapped on a field without your usual hair products and utensils can leave your hair looking a bit worse for wear. So these are my top 5 festival hair accessory picks for those of you, like me, are completely hopeless with hair styles and just want a quick and easy fix.

1. Flower clips

Now these are great for those of you wanting a more classic festival boho style without having to otp for the clique flower crown. This is a best of both worlds where you get the flowers-in-your-hair look without looking like a bumble bees wet dream. These are very versatile and can be styled in number of ways depending on the number of clips you have and the size of the flowers. I have gone for two middle sized flowers clumped together to create a bigger statement. Another option would be to collect lots of smaller flower clips and cluster them together or a simple large flower. These work well with hair up or down or even hair half up half down. Since its summer festival season I chose warmer coloured flowers to bring the look together.

2. Bandana

If you’re not one for flowers perhaps a bandana is a way to go. Bandanas, a blast from the past, having been making a come back into fashion, along with 90’s style crop tops and chokers (which would all work well together!). Wearing a bandana can definitely give you an edge and thankfully they are pretty cheap and easy to get a hold of, the one I am wearing I got for one euro in a tourist shop while on holiday in Turkey. They too are pretty versatile I mostly wear bandanas in a headband style by folding one edge diagonally inwards to make a triangle then folding the material in on its self then tie the ends together or I twist the bandana and tie the ends. Prefect choice if you are aiming for more of a rock chick look.

3. Hat

Easy enough right? Just pop a hat on. Well not exactly. I personally thinking finding the right hat is a difficult thing to do. It depends on a lot of factors such as: face shape, hat size, colour, material and type. (Some people just don’t suite hats.) I’ve gone for a large floppy black hat from Topshop, this is rather a pricey one at £28. The other hats I’ve tired similar to this just didn’t have the same dramatic bend in the brim I was looking for. Also the fit in this hat is very secure which is what I want when walking around a festival site.

4. Gold Leaf Headband

This is an interesting piece rather than flowers going for leaves this time but hardly lacking in style as these have a gold colouring. Again really easy and simple to style if you rather more of a glam look.

5. Flower crown

Finally the classic flower crown. No festival season would be complete without it. I have gone for a more subtle style with pale yellow flowers spread widely apart for a natural look. I find flower crowns have a tendency to look tacky and artificial but this one is very simple which is what I like. I actually brought this at a festival about 3 years ago for around £5, its lasted a long time surprisingly. I think its even subtle enough to wear as a day look not just a festival one.

Have a great festival season guys! I’m lucky enough to be going to Reading festival this year which is now sold out! But if you didn’t manage to get tickets don’t worry as Leeds fest still has some tickets available.

 

 

Experience

Knowledge-vs.-Experience-vs.-Creativity

Its something we all need to gain in order to move forward in life. Whether it be the fundamental biological experience needed to physically grow or the experience needed to grow in terms of your career. Something I desire greatly is a flourishing career with lots opportunities waiting to be picked (are you picturing a garden now because I am).

Anyway the reason I am writing this is because for the past month or so I have been on the lookout to gain work experience and this is easier said than done. Raising unemployment has also meant rising competition for not just jobs but internships and even voluntary work. In turn you now need experience to get experience but you can’t get experience because you have no experience. Are you following me? No? Okay then put it like this, to build up your CV you would need some sort of work experience if you have any hope of getting a job but now you need to rethink. Start from the bottom. Work experience positions require you to have prior experience, even getting a voluntary role requires you to have had other experience.

You have to take time on your applications and never turn down an opportunity given to you. You have to be prepared to work hard and fight for your dream. Dreams don’t die, people just give up. I intend on not being one of those people that give up and take the easy way out. I am finding it a challenging trying to get work experience but I will not give up. Perseverance is key and I’ve used passed knock backs as motivation to try harder. Even in this seemingly impossible cycle I just need to remember nothing is really impossible. You just have to keep on doing what your doing in the hopes someone sees something in you that the others didn’t.

But I suppose the most frustrating thing is the fact I am not out there learning new things about the industry and doing what I love; which is exactly that. Anyway just a quick up date on what headspace I’m currently in right now and a small rant/pep talk.

 

 

Lewis Watson – the morning (Album review)

Lewis Watson

Singer-song writer Lewis Watson finally released his long awaited debut album ‘The Morning’ this July. Following in the footsteps of Jake Bugg and Ed Sheeran this acoustic guitar-playing lad displays some real raw talent. Watson has been collecting himself fans from all over the world, thanks to the five EPs he has produced in the space of only just two years. The first track on the album ‘Stones Around The Sun’ takes a different approach to the usual strumming of chords with the use of a spacey synth opening which makes you question where exactly this album is going to take you. ‘Holding On’ is another delightful surprise on the album with a slight backing vocal and an overall more direct melody as sometimes acoustic guitar driven songs can seem like watered down versions of a good songs. The gravely rasp of Lewis’ voice brings some depth to the album along with fan favourites ‘into the wild’ and ‘sink or swim’ being included. However, lyrically, there are only so many ways to express melancholy; listening to a full album of wounded self-pitying can draining to say the least.  7/10