Category Archives: Music

Live music, freebies, shopping and more at Spotlight Festival in Seven Dials

© Matt Alexander/PA Wire

The Spotlight festival returns to Seven Dials, a one-day festival of comedy, music and arts.
© Matt Alexander/PA Wire

Enjoy a free festival of entertainment, shopping, eating and drinking in London this weekend. This Saturday 19 August 2017, the Spotlight Festival returns to Seven Dials. The streets will be closed to vehicle traffic so visitors can relax in the sunshine on the pop-up lawn.

The open-air stage, hosted by author and presenter Laura Jackson, will feature a great line-up, including performances from the cast of West End musicals The Lion King and Aladdin, Some Voices choir, Whinnie Williams, Old Dirty Brasstards, Marawa’s Majorettes, Five Guys Named Moe and the House & Garage orchestra. There will also be further smaller stages throughout the area featuring performers and DJs, such as Sax and Bongos, burlesque performances from Circus, acoustic sets from Version and magician Neil Henry.

Visitors can really get into the festival spirit with chill out areas, free glitter stations to decorate your face and hair, a GIF photobooth and free fashion illustrations. Among the freebies on offer include cocktails from the Monmouth Kitchen pop-up bar, flower crown workshops, cinnamon buns from the Nordic Bakery and dog grooming from Malin & Goetz in collaboration with Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

Fashion fans can get their retail fix at the various stores and boutiques, which will be offering in-store discounts and promotions. Among those taking part are jewellers Laura Lee, watch brand Larsson & Jennings, Neal’s Yard Remedies and glasses specialist Ollie Quinn.

  • The Spotlight Festival is on 19 August 2017. 12-6pm. Free entry. Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H 9HD. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. Register for free on the website for your free glass of Monmouth Fizz cocktail from the Monmouth Kitchen pop-up bar on Earlham Street. For more information, visit the Seven Dials website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.

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Guide to London’s music festivals this summer 2017

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Festival season kicks off again for the summer

This summer sees some of the biggest music acts and DJs in the world converging  on London – and the Home Counties – for the festival season. Here’s a one-stop guide to what’s on and where to get tickets. However, be aware that most will sell out in advance so I would recommend getting your tickets asap.

  • 3 June : Camden Rocks

Hard rock and metal festival featuring over 250 bands (big names and underground talent) at 25 venues around NW1. This year’s line-up includes Feeder, The Coral, The Damned, The Rifles, Milburn, Reverend And The Makers, The Professionals, Royal Republic and many more. Tickets: £39.50. For tickets, visit the Camden Rocks website.

  • 3 June : Field Day

Popular festival returns to East London, featuring performances from Aphex Twin, Dr John Cooper Clarke, Lady Leshurr, Flamingods, Omar Suleyman and many more. 11.30am-11pm. Tickets: £64.50 (online). Victoria Park, Victoria Park Road, Hackney, E3 5SN. Nearest stations: Bethnal Green or Mile End. For more information, visit the Field Day website.

  • 4 June : Mighty Hoopla

A pure pop extravaganza comes to north-east London, featuring live music, DJs, bingo, fun fair rides, giant ball pit, karaoke, cooking talks, bars, food and more. Acts include Years & Years, All Saints, Will Young, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Fleur East, Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon, Snap!, Alison Limerick, Jodie Harsh and more. Tickets from £30. Finsbury Park, Harringay, N4. Nearest station: Finsbury Park. For more information, visit the Mighty Hoopla website.

  • 7 – 24 June : Hampton Court Palace Festival

Big names perform against the backdrop of the historic palace. Acts include Bryan Ferry, James Morrison, Amy McDonald, Will Young’s Jazz Sessions, Van Morrison, Jools Holland, Bjorn Again, Corinne Bailey Rae, Ricky Astley and Michael Ball with Alfie Boe. Tickets range from £39.50-£95 depending on act. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (trains from Waterloo). For more information and tickets, visit the Hampton Court Palace Festival website.

  • 9 – 18 June : Meltdown

This year’s Meltdown Festival is curated by M.I.A. Acts include Young M.A., Tommy Genesis, Young Fathers, Soulwax, Afrikan Boy, Block Party with Rinse FM, Giggs, Yung Lean, Princess Nokia, Hip-Hop Karaoke, Crystal Castles and more. Ticket prices vary. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • 10 June : Bushstock Festival

One day music festival across Shepherd’s Bush. Acts include The Staves, Áine Cahill, Basia Bulat, Benjamin Francis, Leftwich, Bruno Major, Colouring, Cortes, Gordi, Isaac Gracie, Jade Bird, John Joseph Brill, Jordan Mackampa, Krusoe, Liv Dawson, Methyl Ethel, Noctürn, Outlya, Rhys Lewis, Spring King, Ten Tonnes, Tender Central and The Wandering Hearts. Tickets: Tickets from £30. At multiple venues across W12. For more information, visit the festival’s website.

  • 10 June : Southport Weekender Festival

Long-running music weekender comes to London for one-day only. Featuring Kerri Chandler, Roger Sanchez, David Morales, Tony Humphries, Julie McKnight, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Jazzie B, LTJ Bukem, Fabio & Grooverider, Detroit Swindle, Osunlade, Delano Smith, Derrick Carter, Joey Negro, Grant Nelson, Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson, CJ Mackintosh, Booker T and many more. 12pm-10pm. Tickets from £45. Finsbury Park, N4. Nearest station: Finsbury Park. For booking, visit the Southport Weekender Festival website.

  • 15 – 18 June : Live At Chelsea

Long weekend of open air concerts at historic home of the Chelsea Pensioners. Featuring Ludovico Einaudi, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Belle & Sebastian. Tickets from £38.50. Royal Hospital Chelsea, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, SW3 4SR. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For tickets, visit the Live At Chelsea website.

  • 30 June – 2 July : Love Supreme

Jazz festival in leafy Sussex, featuring The Jacksons, George Benson, Gregory Porter, Herbie Hancock, Laura Mvula, Corinne Bailey Rae, the Robert Glasper Experiment and many more. Tickets: Day £59.50, Weekend camping £165. Glynde Place, Lewes, Sussex, BN8 6SX. Nearest station: Glynde (trains from Victoria or London Bridge). For more inforation, visit the festival’s website. Read the rest of this entry

Brixton Beach: The spirit of Cuba comes to South London with cocktails, food, music and more

© Brixton Beach

The spirit of Cuba comes to South London at the Brixton Beach this summer

As the weather gets warmer and the nights get brighter, there’s not much better places to be in London than a rooftop bar. This summer, city slickers will be able to enjoy a slice of Cuba at Brixton Beach. The open-air hotspot comes from the award-winning team behind South Pole Saloon, Big Apple Brixton and last year’s popular Brixton Beach Boulevard. Londoners can step away from city life for a few hours as they are transported to a tropical paradise with plenty of food, drink and entertainment.

Revellers will be entertained by a series of events and experiences, including day or night parties, DJs, film and beach barbeques. As you would expect, the bar will be serving up a plethora of tropical concotions with a Cuban-inspired menu. Expect to sip on classics including Rum Daiquiris, Piña Coladas, Cubanitos and Mojitos from Bacardi while you inhale the scents of mint and other hanging, fresh and fruity foliage. While fans of Jamaican beer will be able to visit the dedicated Red Stripe bar, others can quaff Argentine sparkling wine from Moët Hennessy at their exclusive beach side lounge bar. As the nights draw in, guests can dance the night away at The Clubhouse – a covered area inspired by iconic venues such as La Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio, which will play host to live music, dancers and cabaret performers.

When revellers are feeling peckish, there will be a choice of street food stalls, including Mac and Cheese experts, Mac to the Future, Nanban’s Japanese soul food, Del 74’s Mexican tacos and STAKEhaus. There will also be weekly BBQ pop-up residencies from some of the capital’s most smoking venues every Thursday, such as Mama’s Jerk and Negril.

Every weekend there will be a beach party with entertainment from a range of genres by live DJs, traditional Latin American brass bands and exciting cabaret performances. This summer’s line-up includes Ben Pearce, Norman Jay MBE, Late Nite Tuff Guy, Maxxi Soundsystem, Paul Woolford and PBR Streetgang. Meanwhile, Sunday Sessions will be hosted by the likes of SolidGrooves, Metalheadz, Midnight Riot and Supa Dupa Fly. In July, the Brixton Beach will be hosting Cuba’s biggest holiday, Carnival de Cuba, with their Beach Carnival, featuring Cuban dancers and afro-Cuban drum music.

  • Brixton Beach, Pope’s Road, Brixton, SW9 8JH. Nearest station: Brixton. Brixton Beach opens for the summer from 26 May to 1 October 2017. Open Thu: 6pm-11pm, Fri: 6pm-12am, Sat 2pm-12am, Sun 2pm-11pm. For more information, visit the Brixton Rooftop website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.

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The spirit of old Mortmartre comes to Underbelly Festival with the Black Cat Cabaret

© Black Cat Cabaret

Showgirls, acrobats, music and more as the Black Cat Cabaret pitches up at the Underbelly Festival this summer

Bringing a bit of sauce to this summer’s Underbelly Festival is The Black Cat Cabaret. The Parisian-inspired show will be at the pop-up venue on London’s South Bank from 20 May 2017 throughout the season.

The dark and daring cabaret extravaganza will be reviving the spirit of vintage Mortmartre at the Underbelly’s Spiegeltent. Guests will be wowed by the high-kicking showgirls, jaw-dropping acrobats, comic street singers, a fire-breathing siren and daredevil aerialists. Compered by the fabulous Dusty Limits, a talented array of performers will take to the stage, including absinthe-addled artistes, flame-haired courtesans and bittersweet comic chanteuses. Expect to be entertained with a combination of high skills circus, original music and choreography.

This summer marks the fourth year the Black Cat Cabaret have wowed the Underbelly (previously known as Udderbelly) crowd. This year’s run will feature the BCC’s original ‘after-hours Montmartre’ show for the first time since 2014. As well as Underbelly, the BCC have also appeared at a host of London’s top nightspots including Café de Paris, Hotel Café Royal, the Hippodrome Casino,  and the former Pigalle Club. The show will also be pitching up at Live At Zédel in Piccadilly with their more intimate ‘Salon des Artistes’ dinner and show.

  • The Black Cat Cabaret will be at the Underbelly Festival once a month from 20 May – 22 September 2017. At Jubilee Gardens, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. Tickets from £22.50. Over 18s only. For more information, visit the Black Cat website. Tickets can be purchased on the Underbelly website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in June, click here.

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Dulwich Festival 2017: Feel like ‘Home’ as the celebration of arts and culture returns

© Helen Jermyn

A celebration of arts and culture returns at the Dulwich Festival this May
© Helen Jermyn

Returning for its 24th year is the Dulwich Festival, a 10 day celebration of arts and culture in the leafy south London suburb. A host of concerts, talks, fairs, walks and more will be taking place across SE21, SE22 and the surrounding areas over 12 – 21 May 2017. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Home’ and what that means to people.

Kicking off the festival on 12 May will be the Festival Of Choirs featuring performances from three very different choirs – Note-Orious, The Barberfellas and Gospel Essence. Meanwhile, Jazz fans will enjoy the Harlem Meer Cats, bringing the sounds of icon Duke Ellington to Dulwich, while indie-folk quintet Patch And The Giant will be rousing the crowd at Belair House. Classical aficionados are catered for too at a performance of ‘Façade’, William Walton’s setting of Edith Sitwell’s poem sequence.

© Barberfellas

The Barberfellas will be performing during the Festival Of Choirs

Among the talks on offer will be broadcaster and journalist Robin Lustig in conversation with BBC Deputy Political Editor, John Pienaar and new Dulwich Picture Gallery director Jennifer Scott. For those looking to get some exercise and education at the same time, there will be several walks on offer, including history walks and the Street Art Walk; and for nature fans the Bat Walk or Dawn Chorus Walk.

There will be plenty to keep the children entertained, including the charity Clown Without Borders, which encourages homeless child victims of displacement to laugh and play. Meanwhile, acclaimed Tangram Theatre Company will be performing ‘The Element in the Room: A Radioactive Musical Comedy about the Death and Life of Marie Curie’ for children aged 8-10 years.

During the festival there will be three fairs, representing each area of Dulwich – East, West and the Village. The Festival Fair on Goose Green on 14 May, Love West Dulwich Fair on 20 May and Dulwich Park Fair on 21 May.

In addition, over 250 artists will be opening their doors to their homes and studios during the two weekends of the festival. Visitors will have the chance to view their artwork and talk to the artists.

  • The Dulwich Festival is on from 12 – 21 May 2017 at various locations across Dulwich Village, West Dulwich and East Dulwich, SE21 and SE22. Nearest stations: West Dulwich (12 mins from Victoria), East Dulwich and North Dulwich (15-17 mins from London Bridge). For more information and booking, visit the Dulwich Festival website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in May, click here.

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Celebrate National Tea Day with a tea dance at St Katharine Docks

© St Katharine Docks

Celebrate National Tea Day with a tea dance at St Katharine Docks

Brits’ love affair with tea looks unlikely to be slowing down any time soon. So it’s probably no surprise to hear there’s an annual National Tea Day this April (apologies if it’s an important part of your calendar already…).

This year, St Katharine Docks will be hosting a celebration of the mighty cuppa with a tea dance. Following the success of their first tea dance last year, the Docks will be marking National Tea Day, which coincides with the Queen’s 91st birthday. The Ragroof Players will be hosting two tea dances, featuring vintage music from the 1920s to the 1950s, glamorous costumes and stunning dance displays. People of all ages and abilities are invited to join in one of the two-hour participatory tea dances.

Meanwhile, Tom’s Kitchen will be serving Canton tea and homemade lemonade accompanied by a selection of sandwiches, scones and cakes for those feeling peckish between 12-7pm. The Friday World Food Market will also be on site with stalls serving foods with a British twist from 11am-3pm.

  • The National Tea Day Tea Dance is on 21 April 2017, with tea dances taking place at 12-2pm and 5-7pm. At St Katharine Docks, 50 St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Tower Gateway. For more information, visit the St Kats website.

For a guide to what else is on in London, click here.

To find out about the history of St Katharine Docks, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in February 2017

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Celebrate Chinese New Year at the Magical Lantern Festival

Gloomy January is over so by now you’ve hopefully got used to the cold weather and your finances have recovered after the festive season. With winter in full swing, February gets a little injection of colour (well, pink and red) in the middle of the month with the saccharine fest that is Valentine’s Day (more on that in another blog post!). There’s also half-term holidays so no doubt parents will be looking for things to occupy their little ones. Here’s a guide to what’s on in London this February.

For a guide to Valentine’s Day events, click here.

  • Now until 2 February : Broadgate Ice

Temporary ice rink at Broadgate Circle in the City of London is open for over three months. There is also a rinkside bar and street food stalls. Open 10am-10pm. Session times last 1 hour. Adults £13.50, Children £9.50. Broadgate Ice Rink, Exchange Square, Broadgate, EC2A 2BQ. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit Broadgate’s website.

  • 2 – 5 February : Destinations – The Holiday & Travel Show

Presented by The Times, the Holiday and Travel show is full of inspiration for your next adventure or holiday. As well as lots of travel companies, there is photography masterclasses, health advice and meet the experts. Open 10am-5.30pm. Tickets: £11 in advance, Under 12s free when accompanied by paying adult. Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Destinations – Holiday & Travel Show website.

  • 3 – 4 February : London Remixed Festival

A two day celebration of emerging talents from the worlds of ghetto funk, drum and bass, reggae, anarchic hoedown, Latin breaks, brass band hip hop, electro-Afro music, Balkan beats, blues remix, electro swing, tropical bass, Ethiopian dub, DMC scratch masters +and more. Open: Fri 8pm-1am, Sat 8pm-4am. Tickets: £8-£15. Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Old Street. For more information, visit the London Remixed Festival website.

  • Now until 4 FebruaryLondon International Mime Festival

Festival at various events across London including performances of physical theatre, dance, circus, puppetry and live art. Workshops also available. Tickets range from £9.50-£29. Venues include the Barbican, Jacksons Lane, Platform Theatre, Soho Theatre, Southbank Centre, Shoreditch Town Hall and The Peacock. For more information, visit the London International Mime Festival website.

  • Now until 4 February : Amaluna by Cirque du Soleil

The newest touring production from the Cirque, a spectacular re-telling of The Tempest. Tickets range from £20-£115. Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP. Nearest stations: South Kensington, Knightsbridge or High Street Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the Cirque Du Soleil website.

  • 4 – 5 February : Fare Healthy

Feel good festival of food, exercise and wellbeing. Featuring Deliciously Ella, Skye Gyngell, Anna Jones, Natasha Corrett, Martin Morales, Dale Pinnock, Madeleine Shaw, Melanie Sykes, James Duigan, Gaby Roslin and many more. 9.30am-6pm. Tickets: £25. Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street, Liverpool Street or Aldgate East. For tickets, visit the Fare Healthy website. Read the rest of this entry

Valentine’s Day 2017: Guide to what’s on in London for lovers and singles

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014Is it that time already? Christmas feels like yesterday, and now it’s time to splash the cash again on that special person in your life. Or perhaps you’re single and dread this time of year? With Valentine’s Day taking place midweek this year, there’s a host of themed events taking place on both weekends either side of the date. If you’re happily single or looking for love, then there’s also plenty of anti-Valentine’s events on around town too.

For a guide what else is on in London in February, click here.

  • Valentine’s Masked Ball of the Full Moon (10 February)

A masked ball featuring four stages, three immersive realms and a huge cast of performers. Including walzer-meister Troylus Searll, London Gay Symphony Orchestra, Electric Swing Circus, DJ Rockit Riyad, Chivaree Circus, Morpheus’ Masseuses, the Blue Moon Cabaret featuring Benjamin Louche, Ungewinster, Syban V, Lolo Brow, Cynth Icon and Sacha Dieu, hot tub movies, and food. Dress code: Surrealist, fairy tale, futurist, lace, Mardi Gras, Venice Carnival, tribal and animals. Masks optional. 9pm-4am. Tickets: From £15. Coronet Theatre, 28 New Kent Road, SE1 6TJ. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. For more information and tickets, visit A Curious Invitation website.

  • Valentine’s Candlelit Late @ Sir John Soane’s Museum (10 February)

Late-night opening of the Sir John Soane’s Museum, the former home of the 19th century architect, which is full of his sculptures, painting and antiquities. Also including two complimentary cocktails and some more surprises. 6.30-9.30pm. £30. Sir John’s Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn, WC2A 3BP. Nearest station: Holborn. For more information, visit the Sir John’s Soane Museum website.

  • Galactic Love (10 and 11 February)

Feral (aka The Artful Badger) are hosting another amorous adventure in The Vaults below Waterloo station for both singles and couples. As part of The Vault Festival, there will be live bands, DJs, FERAL performers, dating games, face painting, stalls, games, treats and more across the tunnels. Fancy dress code: ‘Tron Toads, Rocket Man Racoon, Binary Star Bear, Moon Monkey, Planetary Pet, Spaceflight Fox, Intergalactic Insect, Frisky Fighter Pilot, El-Wire Weasel, Pluto Pop Star, Astronaut Aardvark, Amorous Alien, Starfleet Stork, Interspecies couple, Barbarella Bear, or any galactic creature.’ From 10.30pm-3am. Tickets start from £16 (early bird) or £22 (advance). The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit The Vault Festival website. For Metro Girl’s blog post on The Vault Festival’s highlights, click here.

  • Valentine’s Day @ Aquum (10 – 14 February)

Enjoy a romantic foodie feast for two at Clapham bar and restaurant Aquum. Featuring eight meze sharing plates, a starry-eyed sharing dessert, and a complimentary bottle of Prosecco. Dishes include Pork Rib Eye Steak, Lemon-Oregano Chicken, and Greek-style Fries (veggie option also available). £27.50pp. Aquum, 68-70 Clapham High Street, Clapham, SW4 7UL. Nearest stations: Clapham North, Clapham High Street or Clapham Common. For more information, visit the Aquum website. For Metro Girl’s review of Aquum, click here.

  • Shaggers: Valentine’s Special (11 February)

For those with a naughty sense of humour, head for some stand-up comedy on the subject of sex. 7-9pm. Tickets: £15. Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, Chinatown, WC2H 7BX. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For booking, visit the Leicester Square Theatre website.

  • Valentine’s Events @ Keats’ House (11 – 12 February)

A series of Valentine’s events at the stunning house where poet John Keats fell in love with Fanny Brawne, who inspired his most romantic verses. Late night opening on Sat 11 Feb from 6.30pm-9pm, Afternoon Poems: Love Is… on Sun 12 Feb from 2-3pm and Valentine’s Guided Tour: ‘Love is my religion’ on Sun 12 Feb at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Ticket prices vary. Keats’ House, 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead, NW3 2RR. Nearest station: Hampstead Heath or Hampstead. For more information, visit the City of London website.

  • Film & Fizz at One Aldwych (12 and 14 February)

Enjoy a three-course dinner at Indigo, a glass of Champagne Lallier and watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the hotel’s private screening room. Sun 12 screening @ 4.30pm, Tues 14 @ 6.30pm. Tickets: Dinner, drinks & film: £55pp. One Aldwych Hotel, 1 Aldwych, WC2B 4BZ. Nearest station: Charing Cross or Temple. For more information, visit the One Aldwych website.

  • Making Love in the Queen’s House (14 February)

Enjoy a Prosecco afternoon tea while listening to the love stories of the royals who lived in the stunning 17th century Queen’s House in Greenwich. 2-4.30pm. Tickets: £25 (£22 members). Queen’s House, Romney Road, Greenwich, SE10 9NF. Nearest station: Maze Hill, Cutty Sark (DLR) or Greenwich. For booking, visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website.

  • Black Cat Cabaret / Joey Arias at Live @ Zedel (14 February)

Live At Zedel at the Crazy Coqs are presenting two shows for lovers. The Black Cat Cabaret will be performing their Salon des Artistes show at 7pm, featuring comic song, live music, showmanship and burlesque. Tickets: £35 (show only), £52.75 (show and three-course meal at Brasserie Zedel). The second show of the night will be New York based cabaret singer and drag artist Joey Arias with his Valentine’s special Love Bites at 9pm. Tickets: £18. Crazy Coqs, 20 Sherwood Street, Soho, W1F 7ED. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Brasserie Zedel website. For a review of a show at Zedel, click here.

  • Sing-a-long Moulin Rouge! (14 February)

Watch and sing-a-long at a screening of Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! 8.30pm. Tickets: £16. Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, Chinatown, WC2H 7BY. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information and booking, visit the Prince Charles Cinema website. Read the rest of this entry

Vault Festival 2017: Music, theatre, film, comedy, parties and more at London’s fringe festival

© Will Hazel

The Vault Festival kicks off in Waterloo from 25 January – 5 March 2017.
© Will Hazel

Returning to Waterloo this winter is the biggest Vault Festival to date. Now in its fifth year, the six-week long fringe event will be expanding to two further local venues in addition to its home beneath Waterloo station. There’s something for everyone with music, theatre, film, comedy, parties, food, drinking and more.

Among the highlights of the festival, will be the chance to step into Jay Gatsby’s world in an immersive theatrical experience of The Great Gatsby.  Meanwhile, Superbolt Theatre return to the Vault Festival with two productions; their 2016 hit The Jurassic Parks, a hilarious spin on Spielberg’s blockbuster, and Mars Actually, a physical and funny vision of life on the red planet.

Turning circus on its head is Becoming Shades, a reimagining of the myth of Persephone using live music, aerial acrobatics, fire, dance and mime. The thought-provoking Thought To Flesh is a theatrical investigation into motor neuron disease (MND) using spoken word, multi-media and movement interpretation.

Vault Festival © Will Hazel

Head to The Vaults every weekend for the late-night parties
© Will Hazel

Meanwhile, movie fans will be able to enjoy the Vault’s Film Festival, featuring 20 different screenings. Among the premiers include dark_net staring Johnny Vegas and Love Comes Later, starring Sarita Choudhury (Homeland). There will also be a special screening of Red from award-winning director Branko Tomovic, a crime thriller about illegal backstreet surgery.

For party animals, the Vaults will be hosting late-night revelry every weekend, including the Galactic Love Valentine’s Ball, Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), The Nudge’s Great Gatsby Party, as well as the festival’s opening and closing parties presented by Time Out London.

Aside from the entertainment, there are plenty of opportunities for drinking and eating. The Balkano Kitchen will be serving dishes inspired by chef Martin H Shaw’s travels in Eastern Europe. There will be five bars across the three venues, with two themed bars presented in collaboration with Meantime beer and Campari. One of the more intriguing drinking spots will be The Neath, an immersive, subterranean members bar for the supernatural produced and curated by the team behind The Crystal Maze.

  • The Vaults Festival takes place from 25 January – 5 March 2017 at The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN and Network Theatre, 246a Lower Road, Waterloo, SE1 8SJ. Nearest station: Waterloo. Shows will also be on at Morley College, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7HT. Nearest station: Lambeth North (open from mid-Feb). For more information and tickets, visit The Vault Festival website.

For a guide to what else is on in March, click here.

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Brighten up gloomy February at the Ealing Music and Film Festival 2017

© Philip Taylor

The Tippett Quartet will be performing at the Ealing Music and Film Festival in February
© Philip Taylor

Brightening up gloomy February is the Ealing Music and Film Festival 2017. Returning to the West London suburb for the fifth year, the festival’s theme is Ealing’s cultural heart. The five-day event will bring together world talents and home-grown artists performing a range of genres from across three centuries at venues across Ealing.

© Chris O'Donovan

The Tenebrae Choir will be performing with the English Chamber Orchestra and conductor Nigel Short
© Chris O’Donovan

Classical fans will be entertained by the world’s most recorded chamber orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, who are teaming up with the Tenebrae Choir and conductor Nigel Short, to perform Allegri Miserere, Mozart Clarinet Concerto and Mozart Requiem on 9 February. Meanwhile, a day later, the Ealing Youth Orchestra and conductor Leon Gee will perform Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 with soloist Martin James Bartlett and Mahler Symphony No.1.

For those who like the blues, The Ealing Club presents The Blues Band’s Paul Jones and Dave Kelly at the iconic Red Room venue, where the Rolling Stones famously played in the ’60s. Other musical acts include pianist and Head of Classical Performance at the London College of Music, Emilie Capulet with a free lunchtime piano recital and the Tippett Quartet and Festival Artistic Director, composer and conductor Julian Gallant will be giving a public concert on 12 February.

Film aficionados will enjoy the concert by Ealing Symphony Orchestra and conductor John Gibbons as they perform iconic scores from movies with Ealing connections. Meanwhile, there will be a screening of David Cronenberg’s Spider (2002) starring Ralph Fiennes, Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson and Lynn Redgrave, in partnership with Classic Cinema Club Ealing. Playing on the area’s cinematic history, there will be a guided location walk and film screening of historical comedy drama Pride (2014) at the ‘Island Triangle’ in North Acton on 11 February.

  • The Ealing Music and Film Festival takes place from 8 – 12 February 2017. Events range from free to £30. Venues include the University of West London, Church of St Barnabas, The Red Room (formerly The Ealing Club), St Mary’s Church and The Collective Old Oak. For more information and booking, visit the festival website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in February, click here.

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