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Get your funk on this Bank Holiday at Madness’s House of Common Festival

© Lock N Load Events and Anglo Hannah Management

House Of Common, curated by Madness, takes over Clapham Common for one day only on Bank Holiday Monday
© Lock N Load Events and Anglo Hannah Management

Now we’re in August, it feels like the summer is rushing by the rate of knots. However, there’s still time for some festival fever. This August Bank Holiday Monday, chart legends Madness are hosting their very own music festival on Clapham Common.

The Baggy Trousers stars will be inviting a host of their musical pals to share the stage during the day long alfresco extravaganza. Acts include The Hot 8 Brass Band, Craig Charles, Terry Farley, Spring King, Toddla T, Rob Da Bank, and Reggae Roast. Also performing include Toots & The Maytals, David Rodigan, Norman Jay MBE, Congo Natty & The All Stars, Mike Skinner & Murkage present Tonga, Ms. Dynamite, Kiko Bun and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.

A statement from Madness reads: ‘We are honoured and privileged that London has found us a place where for one day every year we can have our very own festival, we here by name that day House of Common. See you in Clapham Madheads… For the love of the common people.’

  • House of Common takes place on Monday 29 August 2016 (Bank Holiday) from 12pm until 10.30pm. Tickets: £47.81. Clapham Common, SW4. Nearest stations: Clapham Common or Clapham South. For more information and tickets, visit the Madness website.

For a guide to London’s music festivals this summer, click here.

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

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Harlequin Euro Festival: Celebrate European culture at Devonshire Square’s free festival

© Bluemoon Venice

Harlequin EURO Festival runs at Devonshire Square this summer
© Bluemoon Venice

Europe is a hot topic at the moment thanks to the UEFA Euro 2016 championships and the EU Referendum. Regardless of your politics or football allegiance, you can’t deny the cultural gifts we enjoy from various countries across the continent.

Running in parallel with the football championships is a five-week programme celebrating European culture. From 10 June to 14 July, the Harlequin Euro Festival will bring European culture, language and folk traditions to the historic surrounds of Devonshire Square in the City of London.

The title of the festival is inspired by mischievous Arlecchino, the character from the 16th Century Italian ‘Commedia dell’arte’, famous for his multi-coloured chequered costume.

Among the highlights of the festival include:

  • 21 June: Flamenco Vision  – a stunning display of flamenco music and dance.
  • 22 June: ‘The Italian Dream’ Opera – a concert by international acclaimed tenors Alberto Sousa, Leonel Pinheiro and Alex Tsilogiannis.
  • 7 July: Parisian Moulin Rouge Can-Can themed show by Tillie’s Can Can.
  • 14 July: Portuguese Fado music concert by Ru Vasconcellos and Mario Bakuna.

Patrizia Sechi, Events Manager at Devonshire Square said: ‘The European Football Championships have provided us with the prefect opportunity to put on a vibrant selection of events to celebrate European culture through food, music and art performances. Over the next five weeks the rich tapestry of events will unfold, under the Harlequin banner, bringing together members of the public to celebrate in line with the football.’

  • The Harlequin Euro Festival takes place from 10 June – 14 July 2016 on weekday lunchtimes. At Devonshire Square’s western courtyard, City of London, EC2M. Nearest station: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.

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

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Live music in special venues as the Spitalfields Music Summer Festival returns

© James Berry

The Schubert Ensemble will be performing at The Octagon at Queen Mary University of London as part of the Spitalfields Music Summer Festival
© James Berry

Kicking off the new season is the Spitalfields Music Summer Festival. Over three weeks, a range of music will be performed in unique venues across E1. Now in its 40th year, the Summer Festival will entertain audiences with opera, folk, jazz, early and contemporary music. Interesting and unexpected venues will host concerts and gigs, such as museums, cafés and churches to markets, gardens and, even, cemeteries.

Here’s some highlights of this year’s festival:

Jazz saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings and spoken word artist Anthony Joseph will be combining their talents to tell the folk stories of the Caribbean. £5-£15.

A cross-arts show, featuring an outpouring of memories – some tender, some comic, and others painfully raw. Created through interviews with sisters around the world. £12.

If you fancy having a go at singing, sign up to a workshop based on the idea of play: you’ll get a chance to make music from a cartoon score, create a human loop station and make a body percussion piece. Free.

Step into a dark Oval Space and immerse yourself in the passing of a year. Listen to an exciting première by Anna Meredith, based on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, while watching visual projections of the seasons passing by. The music intertwines Vivaldi’s original with Anna Meredith’s own writing, using cadenzas and electronics to transform the distinct four concerti into one continuous musical experience. £15.

Romantic chamber music presented beneath an elegant high-domed ceiling. The Schubert Ensemble premieres a piano quintet by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, winner of the BBC Young Composer competition at the age of just 15, along a quintet by Louise Farrenc, the only woman to hold a permanent post at the Paris Conservatoire in the 19th century. £15.

Explore the museum after dark in this atmospheric late-night performance by the Multi-Story Orchestra. £15.

Haunting sights and sounds will seduce you down a path punctuated by unexpected encounters as you weave through the space between life and death in this East End cemetery. Led by Yaron Lifschitz and his internationally acclaimed company, Circa and with a creative team including the electronic musician Lapalux, this ethereal collaboration brings circus artists, choral singers, designers and musicians together for a summer night full of surprises. £15/£20.

  • The Spitalfields Music Summer Festival 2016 takes place from 2-26 June. For more information and tickets, visit the Spitalfields Music website.

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

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Guide to London’s music festivals this summer 2016

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Lovebox returns to Victoria Park in East London

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.

  • 4 June : Camden Rocks

Hard rock and metal festival featuring over 200 bands (big names and underground talent) to 20 venues around NW1. This year’s line-up includes The Cribs, Sikth, Escape The Fate, Billy Bragg, We Are The Ocean, Carl Barât & The Jackals and Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind. Tickets: £35. For tickets, visit the Camden Rocks website.

  • 4 – 5 June : Born & Bred

Celebration of UK and international bass culture, with acts including ILoveMakonnen, Wiley and Slimzee and Novelist. Tickets start from £20. Haggerston Park, Hoxton, E2. Nearest station: Hoxton or Cambridge Heath. For tickets, visit the Born & Bred website.

  • 8 – 23 June : Hampton Court Palace Festival

Big names perform against the backdrop of the historic palace. Acts include Tom Jones, Van Morrison, Katherine Jenkins, Art Garfunkel, George Benson, Caro Emerald, Jools Holland & his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Anastacia and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. Tickets range from £45 to £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.

  • 10 – 19 June : Guy Garvey’s Meltdown

This year’s Meltdown festival on London’s Southbank is curated by Guy Garvey, frontman of Elbow, TV presenter and DJ. Featuring gigs by Femi Kuti, The Staves, Richard Hawley, Laura Marling, among others. Tickets range from free to £45. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. For booking and more information, visit the Soutbank Centre website.

  • 11 June : Found Festival

Six stages of house, techno, disco and more. Acts include Kerri Chandler, Derrick May, Dyed Soundorom, Trade (Blawan & Surgeon), Rødhåd, Legowelt, Theo Parrish, Ron Trent, Marcellus Pitman, Petre Inspirescu (RPR), Mara Trax (Maayan Nidam & Vera), Binh, Mood II Swing, Wamdue Kids, Dream 2 Science, 808, Abandon Silence and Cubed. 11am-9pm. Tickets from £30. Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, SE24 0PA. Nearest station: Herne Hill. For more information, visit the Found Festival website.

  • 11 – 12 June : Field Day

Two day festival returns to East London, featuring performances from James Blake, PJ Harvey, Air, The Avanlanches, Formation, Goat, Hattie Whitehead, Mystery Jets, Tourist, Mabel and many more. Tickets: £49.50-£54.50. Victoria Park, Victoria Park Road, Hackney, E3 5SN. Nearest station: Bethnal Green or Mile End. For more information, visit the Field Day website. Read the rest of this entry

London A Cappella Festival 2016: World class vocal groups brighten up January

© Nedim Nazerali

Grammy-winning vocal group The Swingles will be performing at the A Cappella Festival
© Nedim Nazerali

Following the success of Glee and the Pitch Perfect movies, a cappella is bigger than ever. Returning to brighten up this gloomy January is the London A Cappella Festival. Now in its 7th year, the three-day festival is bringing some of the top a cappella groups from around the world to our capital.

Home Free

Country music group Home Free are flying over from Minnesota, USA to make their UK debut

This year’s festival at Kings Place in Kings Cross is curated by five-time Grammy-winning vocal group The Swingles and Ikon Arts Management. There won’t be an instrument in the place as singers come together with only their voices creating the music. The festival forms part of BBC’s Great Creative event, which celebrates British arts, culture and creativity.

Among the highlights of this year’s festival include co-hosts The Swingles, performing ‘Winter Tales’, inspired by the cold season. Country music group Home Free are flying over from Minnesota, USA to make their UK debut, while Tenebrae Consort will be singing as they launch their new album Sun, Moon, Sea And Stars. Other acts performing included supergroup Naturally 7 and Shlomo & the Vocal Orchestra. There will also be workshops, foyer showcases, talks and free interactive events.

  • The London A Cappella Festival runs from 28 – 30 January 2016. It takes place at Kings Place, 90 York Way, King’s Cross, N1 9AG. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. Tickets start from £9.50. For more information, visit the London A Capella Festival.

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

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Silent Disco at View From The Shard: Shaking your booty at 800ft

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Best view in London – looking at Tower Bridge and Docklands from the 72nd floor of The Shard

Silent Discos have been growing steadily in popularity in recent years. To an outsider, they admittedly do look rather bizarre to see people singing and dancing to no audible music. I’ve been to a festival with a Silent Disco before which I didn’t partake in and it was quite weird to watch the participants and trying to guess which song they were listening to. I have long wanted to go up The Shard since I watched the inauguration laser light show of the building back in July 2012, but had held off due to the ticket price. However, when I heard there was an event taking place – a Silent Disco – I leaped at the chance to buy tickets, so finally visited this week.

In conjunction with Time Out, The View From The Shard – the viewing platforms on the 69th and 72nd floor – are hosting Silent Discos on selected dates monthly. Priced at £37.50, tickets include access to the floors over four hours and a pair of wireless headphones, which can pick up three different DJs and their mixes, depending on your taste. Upon arrival at reception, we put our coats in the cloakroom and were whizzed up to the 68th floor via two lifts, with a break halfway up the building. I had totally forgotten from the publicity at the time of The View From The Shard’s opening that the toilets have floor-to-ceiling windows with views over the City of London. I must admit I felt a sort of stage fright about using the facilities against a window – something I am sure many visitors feel a bit apprehensive about – until you remind yourself no one can see you at that height.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Listen to the blue, green or red DJs through wireless headphones

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Stage fright? The toilets have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the City

The main focus of the action was on the enclosed 69th floor viewing gallery. The three DJs were linked to three colours blue, green or red, so you could switch your wireless headphones to which one you wanted to listen to. Personally, I was a Team Blue girl – listening to dance anthems and old school soul and hip-hop, but did flirt with Team Green often throughout the evening. Whatever your music taste, there was definitely something for everyone. The clientele was a mix of 20 and 30somethings, mostly groups of friends, but some couples. There were several bars dotted around, with themed cocktails and champagne besides the usual spirits, wines and beers. We opted for £7 Mile High Cocktails (Vodka, Triple Sec, cranberry, lime topped with sparkling water and garnished with orange), which was refreshing and tasty. When I first arrived, I was a bit distracted by the view as it was my first time at The Shard. However, after taking in the sights at the 69th and open air platform on level 72 (which was rather freezing I must admit!), I was ready to ‘disco’. My apprehension about dancing to music through headphones soon vanished and soon my friend and I were singing along and dancing our feet off to the familiar tracks.

Music, dancing and drinking aside, the event is also an opportunity to enjoy the stunning 360 degree views of London at a height of up to 800ft, which are of course available all year round. The 69th floor includes interactive touchscreen telescopes so you can zoom in to your favourite landmarks. During the disco, we ended up finding a spot overlooking Tower Bridge and St Paul’s – a unique view for the average London dancefloor! Despite being at such a heady height, I must admit it didn’t actually feel as high as I expected. I thought the streets below would be even tinier, but you could easily identify buses, etc. Overall, my friend and I had a really good night out. There was a great atmosphere, really fun and friendly. The combination of dancing, great music, cocktails and the best view in London made for a unique and entertaining night out.  Get tickets if you can!

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

View of the West End, London Eye and River Thames

  • The View From The Shard. Tickets to regular viewing platform £24.95 in advance, £29.95 walk up price. Silent Disco tickets £37.50, available through Time Out London. The View From The Shard, Joiner Street, SE1 9SP. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information and booking, visit The View From The Shard website.

When you’re in the area of The Shard, why not visit Borough Market?

Or for a blog post on another London viewpoint – the London Eye, click here, or if you fancy a view with some adrenalin, read about up on the roof of the O2 at Up At The O2, click here.

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