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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 what’s on in London in August 2017

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Fancy zorbing at St Katharine Docks?

Summer is in full swing… Schools are closed, there’s weddings and festivals up and down the country. However for those staying in the capital, there’s plenty of alfresco – and indoor – fun to be had around town. Of course, the final Bank Holiday weekend of the year takes place from 26 – 28 August so London will be buzzing.

  • 31 July – 27 August : Camden Fringe

The Camden Fringe returns for its 12th year, bringing over 270 productions of theatre, comedy and fringe fun to 22 venues across the borough of Camden, including Camden People’s Theatre, Camden Comedy Club, Canal Café Theatre and the Hen And Chickens. For more information and tickets, visit the Camden Fringe website.

  • 3 August : Zorbing @ St Katharine Docks

Try your hand at Zorbing with Hubbub. Time TBC. St Katharine Docks, 50 St. Katharine’s Way, Tower Bridge, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Tower Gateway (DLR). For more information visit the St Kats website.

  • 3 August : Summer Fete @ Paddington Basin

A lunchtime fete featuring stalls, games, photo fun, music and more. 12pm-2pm. Free. The Lawn, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Edgware Road or Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.

  • Now until 3 August : Future Forest @ Westfield Stratford City

Food and drink wizards Bompas & Parr are creating an immersive forest experience for both adults and child. For children, the Forest Zorb Lagoon provides the chance to walk, tumble and jump on water, while both young and old can walk through the Fruit Cloud – a walk-in fruit-flavoured mist. Opening hours vary. Free to enter. Future Forest, Westfield Stratford City, Olympic Park, Montfichet Road, Stratford, E20 1EJ. Nearest station: Stratford. For more information, visit the Westfield website.

  • 4 August : The Fakery

Learn how to pass off store-bought bakes into looking homemade with a masterclass from ‘star faker’ Juliet Sear. The Food Network are hosting a pop-up ahead of their new show Bakers Vs Fakers where you can learn how to glam up your cake so it looks like you made it yourself. Classes at 11am-1pm, 2pm-4pm and 5.30pm-7pm. Free, but register for a place. Food at 52, 96 Central Street, EC1V 8AJ. Nearest station: Old Street. For a free ticket, visit Eventbrite.

  • 4 – 6 AugustLondon Craft Beer Festival

Forty-five breweries from London, the UK , Europe and USA will be showing off 100s of beers. Also including food stalls, live music and DJs from Hot Chip and Foals. Times vary. Tickets: £35-£42.50 (includes free glass and unlimited small pours). Shoreditch Electric Light Station, Hoxton Square, Shoreditch, N1 6HD. Nearest station: Old Street. For more information, visit the London Craft Beer Festival.

  • 4 – 6 August : Summer In The City

The UK’s largest online video and YouTube event featuring Jack Maynard, Oli White, Emma Blackery, The Gabbie Show, Dodie, Nathan Zed and more. 11am-9pm. Tickets from £28. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For tickets, visit the Summer In The City website.

  • 6 August : King’s Cross Sports Day

Get sporty with a range of activities, including yoga, bootcamp training, rock-climbing, tightrope walking, sack racing, or egg and spoon. 11am-4pm. Free. Granary Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4AA. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the King’s Cross website.

  • 8 August : Summer Evening with the London Philharmonic Orchestra

A free concert by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, including Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. 7pm onwards. Free. Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14 5AH. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website.

  • 8 – 12 AugustGreat British Beer Festival

Up to hundreds of real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers with be available to try, while there will also be plenty of entertainment and food. Tickets start from £11. Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Great British Beer Festival website.

  • 9 August – 3 September : London Bridge City Summer Festival Theatre – The Odyssey

Watch God and Monster’s epic production of The Odyssey in three parts at this open-air free theatre. Wed-Sun 6pm-10pm (Pt 1 6pm, Pt 2 7.30pm and Pt 3 9pm). Free. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website.

  • 10 August : Dance Off

Different styles of dances will battle it out to be crowned the crowd’s favourite. 12pm-2pm. Free entry. Fountains at the Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.

  • 10 – 12 August : Mr Black Espresso Martini Fest

Fans of the Espresso Martini will love this three-day festival, from Drink Up London (London Cocktail Week, London Beer Week, London Wine Week). Over 50 bars across London will be offering £5 Espresso Martinis and other Mr Black cocktails. Wristbands: £10. For more information, visit the DrinkUpLondon website.

  • 12 August : River Rat Race

Watch the wettest obstacle race in the UK as participants swim, crawl, jump and slide through 35 obstacles over 10km. Money raised goes to Children with Cancer UK. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For more information, visit the Rat Race website.

  • Now until 13 August : Cubitt Sessions

A series of free concerts in King’s Cross, spanning music, immersive theatre, surreal comedy, movement, street culture, experimental jazz and improvised opera. Times vary. Free to watch. Lewis Cubitt Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4AA. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For listings, visit the King’s Cross website. Read the rest of this entry

Tales of Silk and Music: A festival of Indian dance at Devonshire Square

© Patrizia Ilaria Sechi

The Tales Of Silk And Music festival takes place this summer at Devonshire Square
© Patrizia Ilaria Sechi

With 2017 being the UK-India Year of Culture, there has already been a host of events across the country celebrating our cultural exchange with India. This July and August, London is honouring that special relationship with a six-week long Indian Dance Festival. The Tales Of Silk And Music festival will take place in the historic 18th century surrounds of Devonshire Square on the fringes of the City.

Over the summer, London’s leading performers will take audiences on a retrospective journey through a range of Indian dance styles, from traditional to contemporary. With Devonshire Square’s origins as the former warehouse complex of the East India Company, the setting could not be more apt. The entertainment programme has been jointly curated by Akademi South Asian Dance and the Bollywood Co. a team of professionals based at the renowned Pineapple Dance Studio.

Patrizia Sechi, Events Manager at Devonshire Square: ‘We have scoured London to find the very best artists and the programme features dancers who have performed at high-profile events such as the launch of the UK-India Year of Culture itself, at Buckingham Palace, film and TV performances, as well as Bollywood Film Festivals. In staging Tales of Silk and Music, we hope to create an opportunity for new audiences to enjoy this beautiful and vibrant art form as part of London’s diverse cultural scene.’

Among the highlights of the festival include:

  • 6 July : Rainbows in Motion – a spectacular and uplifting fusion of modern and classical Indian dance by Bollywood Co.
  • 13 July : Odissi (ancient Indian classical dance from East India) performance by professional dancers Maryam Shakiba and Katrina Rute.
  • 27 JulyDancenbeats perform Dandiya Raas – the traditional folk dance form of Gujarat and Rajasthan, in Western India.
  • 3 August : Debanjali Biswas performs Manipuri dance, one of the major Indian classical dance styles.

During the festival, Cinnamon Kitchen will be hosting a Summer Pavilion and Bombay Sapphire Gin Garden, featuring a bespoke gin bar, luxury gazebos and an inventive Indian-inspired menu.

  • Tales Of Silk And Music performances take place every Thursday at 12.30pm from now until 17 August 2017. Free to watch. Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.

For a guide to what else is on 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