Tag Archives: festivals

Melbourne | The magic of Rainbow Serpent Festival

IMG_1219I waited a whole year to experience the magic of Rainbow Serpent Festival. I arrived in Melbourne this time last year, just three days after this incredible festival took place, I was devastated to have missed it but having been deep in the outback completing my farm work there was simply no way I could make it in time. It was a worthy sacrifice – those last three days of farm work meant I got the opportunity to stay in Australia for another year. Those last three days meant not only could I come back to Melbourne, one of my favourite cities in the world, but that I could get a second chance to experience life over the rainbow.IMG_2566IMG_2547For those who don’t know about Rainbow Serpent, it’s the ultimate in hippy trippy dreamland fun. Deep in the Victorian countryside that can only be described as desert in the 35 degree heat, a few small fields are filled with around 10,000 colourful, bright, passionate and excited souls for just a few days. Reminiscent of festivals like Secret Garden Party and Boomtown Fair in the UK, the festival is the kind of celebration that brings together a huge range of people, some pretty interesting characters and some seriously beautiful souls for a few days of creativity and magic.IMG_2564IMG_2551This year celebrating it’s 20th anniversary, the festival is a veteran amongst others and you can tell on arrival, many of those pulling up in camper vans to the most incredible campsites filled with marquees, sofas, outlandish decorations and the rest, are people who have been going for years. The kind who exclaim with sheer happiness when you disclose that this is your first Rainbow Serpent, their faces light up at getting to witness you experiencing the magic for the very first time. It’s easy before you go to feel like everyone just gets caught up in the hype or that it couldn’t possibly be as good as they say. IMG_2548IMG_2562Well, as a well seasoned festival veteran, I can safely say that the hype doesn’t even do the festival justice. Rainbow Serpent blew my mind – not just the music and the stages, the theatre and the arts, the yoga and the creativity. It was the people, the incredible collection of people passionate about one cause – making it the best celebration of Rainbow Serpent yet. Time and time again we were blown away by the amazing characters we met, experienced and then parted ways never to see each other again – but the most important thing was that we shared that one moment together.IMG_2565IMG_2550I was an incredibly lucky girl during this festival – the kindness of strangers has never been more apparent. Two of my friends were determined for me to attend the festival despite my already having given up on finding a ticket. They pushed one friend into tracking me down a ticket and when that one fell through he went to the ends of the earth to find me a replacement – whats the big deal you ask? This guy had never even met me but went to an incredible level of effort to not only ensure I experienced Rainbow Serpent but that I had the most amazing time possible. I travelled up with a friend from work and we spent the next few days camping with an amazing group of people – I couldn’t have put together a better bush doof crew if I tried.IMG_2567IMG_2560The bare basics – we hired a car from Hertz who I would never hire from again, overly expensive and extremely rude staff who constantly tried to overcharge us for things they hadn’t pre-disclosed. We borrowed a tent from a friend, filled up eskis with ice, beers and boxes of pasta – going prepared saved us a lot of money on food. The festival was totally BYO so we went prepared with bottles of vodka and rum decanted into plastic bottles (no glass at the festival) and lots of ciders and beers. Costumes and a hell of a lot of glitter filled ur bags, but everything else we needed was already at the festival or in our amazing campsite. We were in North camping, just a short walk from the Market Stage which was filled with the most amazing music almost 24/7, the food stalls which had a great selection, and the chill-out areas.IMG_2563IMG_2561Although the music is the main event and I had an fantastic time watching the acts, there was a lot more to the festival with plenty of amazing fun for kids, healing and massage areas, talks on everything from depression to psychedelics and society, creative workshops on survival skills, yoga and meditation, and art. There was so much going on and so much to do, you didn’t want to sleep or waste a single second. It was an absolutely amazing event and I well and truly give it the Absolutely Lucy stamp of approval – if you’re backpacking Australia and happen to be in Melbourne around January next year, I really recommend picking up a ticket. Trust me this festival is a life-changing experience and you won’t regret splashing the money. IMG_1218

Photos provided by myself and Hannah Gunstone, even they don’t do the festival justice but they certainly give you a taste of the fun!

Have you been to Rainbow Serpent – tell me about your festival highlights? What other festivals have you been to while travelling?

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Melbourne | City of festivals, culture and life | Australia

12742300_10153292964597617_7986843509108504989_nMelbourne goes all out when it comes to celebrating the culture that pours from its streets – from street parties to festivals, there’s always something going on and yet another amazing faction of the city to celebrate. (Check out my previous post on White Night and St Kilda Festival) There’s so much to get involved with and so many ways to feel a part of the city whether you prefer to celebrate the music, art, people or history of the city. These huge events bring people from all walks of life together in that magical way that only a festival can – and we all know how much I love my festivals. Whether it’s a four day bender in the heart of the English countryside, a weekend of acoustic performances, fields filled with art installations or the atmosphere of a heaving city event – all festivals have one thing in common. They bring people together to celebrate something we all love – creativity.imageFestivals are definitely something I’ve missed since travelling – if you’ve been reading for a while you’ll know I’m something of a festival queen after my work as editor of This Festival Feeling. So after managing to miss out altogether during my travels, I was so happy to find so much going on in the streets of Melbourne. If you’ve read my post on Piknic Electronik then you’ll have already had a taste of the vibes I’m talking about. While the festivals and parties I’ve found here haven’t been quite as wild as the ones back home or up in Darwin, they’ve been plenty of fun! I’m talking about the bush doofs just outside the city, and the warehouse parties in Footscray – all with a totally different atmosphere to those I’m used to but awesome in their own right.13083223_10153463041977617_2551648419583997879_nElsewhere in the city, I gathered a few friends and headed to the Lonsdale Street Greek Festival one sunny afternoon back in February. Melbourne’s biggest Greek street party filled the city’s historic Greek precinct with the sights, sounds and smells of Greek culture. From the delicious scent of freshly fried calamari with a squeeze of lemon juice, to the students Greek dancing in the streets, to the three stages crammed with entertainment, children’s rides and activities. The street was lined with over 60 food, drink and craft stalls and the space in-between was filled with hundreds of people. The atmosphere was fantastic and the musical performances were cheered on by the waiting crowd. Just down the road in Federation Square visitors could transport themselves across the globe at the Japanese Festival where over 15,000 people gathered to honour their ancestors and celebrate Japanese culture. With traditional dance performances, traditional dress on show, Taiko drumming and sumo shows, there was plenty to watch and get involved with. Plus plenty of Japanese delicacies including sushi and bento to whet your appetite for Japanese culture.12717955_10153324143872617_3408464075534223549_nElsewhere, over on Chapel Street one of my best friends in Melbourne dragged me out to what I thought was going to be a food festival one Sunday. We were both in recovery mode from the previous night out but couldn’t resist the promise of food and fun. We headed to Windsor Block Party, where I expected a small gathering of stalls but what I found was so much more. Food stalls with huge crowds gathered around them and the smell of sizzling goodness, further along the costumes of circus performers glittered in the late afternoon sunlight. They spun flaming poi and hula hooped to the beats of a DJ set-up – think Notting Hill Carnival street party vibes – everyone was dancing and cheering at the DJ. As the sun set, the music pounded and everyone was dancing together, a perfect Sunday evening if you ask me, all rounded off with an afterparty in a nearby bar. It was one of those events that brings everyone together in the best of spirits for all of the best things in life – good food, good music and good fun.12801640_10153324143887617_8742430497768825513_nAnother weekend we just happened to walk through Moomba Festival, yet another celebration in the centre of Melbourne that had brought out crowds of thousands to the Yarra riverbanks just off Federation Square for a weekend of music, food, entertainment, all rounded off with some amazing fireworks. If you love a festival as much as I do, you’ll definitely be headed for Melbourne at some point – I know when I head back i already have a whole list of festivals I simply have to experience – I can’t wait!

What’s been your favourite Australian festival experience? Are you headed to any UK festivals this summer?

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Melbourne | Partying at St Kilda Festival & White Night | Australia

12742849_10153297889262617_2785038916657325425_nOne of the things I love the most about Melbourne is that there is always something going on. It’s a lively city full of hidden gems and quirky, unusual events and I’ve already lost track of how many unexpected treats I’ve found since exploring the city. From the tiniest little food festivals to the Mardi Gras-esque street parties, there is always something new to discover and where better than to prime your taste in Australian music than by attending St Kilda Festival? Australia’s largest free music festival, the event showcases a range of the country’s national and local talent on huge stages set against the natural beauty of St Kilda’s beach. The event attracts over 400,000 people each year and this year took place on Valentine’s Day, which also just happened to be right in the middle of three of my friends’ birthdays. A perfect time to celebrate.12729295_10153314611102617_352570379247041229_nGetting the whole gang together, we headed to St Kilda in the afternoon where we couldn’t wait to check out the huge range of performances set to take place across ten stages that day. Now we all know by now how much I love my festivals – whether they’re free or expensive, dance or reggae, camping or day events. I love them all and can always find something special at each of them. St Kilda Festival was great – a huge event that has obviously proven a great success by the crowds that poured through the streets. The performances I saw were great and the crowd were clearly enjoying themselves, who couldn’t with a main stage set against the backdrop of the ocean as the sun was setting? My favourite part of the event definitely had to be when I went down to the beach to sit and watch the sun set while listening to the performers on the main stage.12742176_10153314610592617_2808402488505373794_nBut much as we did all enjoy ourselves that day, I couldn’t help but feel the event could have done with being better organised for the of us who aren’t from the area. Being new to Melbourne, and especially to St Kilda, I found it very difficult to navigate between and even locate some of the stages and actually only ended up getting to watch performances on two of the ten stages because it took so long to find our way through the crowds. I saw little to no signs around to direct us and whenever I stopped to ask stewards they seemed to have even less idea what was going on than I did. Very late on we finally found a map of the area, but we had missed most of the things we had really wanted to see. After speaking to a few friends who went along to the event separately to us, it seems they shared some of our experiences and felt the event was a bit over-crowded. Regardless, we still made sure we had a good time, a few ciders in the sunshine and a lot of laughs.9861_10153314609857617_117124694456852418_nJust a few days later, it was White Night and the whole city was abuzz again as Melbourne CBD prepared to put on the biggest show of colour, light and music. Bigger and better than ever the radio and TV stations promised us, so after a quick drink with a friend in St Kilda, I couldn’t resist heading into the city to meet friends for a good look around at the projections. Despite spending six hours wandering around the city, I never actually saw a single one! But don’t worry, we had the time of our lives walking around and discovering the huge range of musical talents hidden around every street corner.12728787_10153314615482617_7942346077139755604_nWe actually ended up sticking around Flinders and Melbourne Central areas as every time we walked down the street we got sucked into watching another epic performance turn into a huge street party with people of all ages dancing in the streets. It was amazing and the atmosphere was electric, it kept me dancing my heart out until 6am despite being completely sober and starving hungry. I was so impressed with the quality of the performances and how diverse they were, on one corner we watched as an incredibly talented acoustic performer mixed DJ skills with guitar and even a touch of saxophone while talking to the crowd throughout. Then just down the road, a DJ had the whole street dancing and further along a fabulous group started a fiesta in the shopping mall with their Mardi Gras vibes. It was a fantastic night and even though I didn’t see what I set out to see, I found some fantastic performers along the way.

Have you been to either of these events – what did you think? Does your city have great local music events like these?

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Melbourne | Sunday raving at Piknic Electronik | Australia

12717599_10153287667397617_7100238901032237172_nNow it wouldn’t be Absolutely Lucy without some raving and staying up past bedtime would it? I’d been such a good girl and barely partied for three months – giving my liver and my wallet a rest after Darwin – but now I was ready to make up for lost time. The weekend after I arrived, a group of us headed to Piknik Electronik – a weekly summer series that celebrates electronic music in beautiful summer settings. First starting out in Montreal, now the event has expanded as far as Barcelona and Melbourne, where it runs every Sunday over around eight weeks. If you’re craving serious festivals vibes but can’t afford a weekend escape from the city, or can’t spare the time off work, this is the perfect answer! I went along to the fourth edition of the event which was featuring South London Ordnance, Secret Cinema, Dean Benson and Andy Hart, on Sunday, February 7, at The Paddock, off Federation Square.942805_10153287667417617_8534522980470638858_nAll of us were in the party mood and couldn’t wait to hit the event, it started at 1pm and was due to run until 9pm, so we headed there about 3pm. We are glad to arrive then because the day was baking hot and there was very little shade at the event – I ended up with the worst sunglasses tan line on my nose! The tickets were really reasonably priced with the top price at $30 but plenty of first, second and third release tickets starting from $15. Also – it’s worth hanging out near Flinders Backpackers and other hostels in the area because Piknic staff were handing out flyers that gave reduced price entry so getting in turned out to be a bargain! Once you’re in, they have a cash-card system for the bars which definitely helps make them less crowded – you just top up a card when you arrive and anything that is left on it at the end of the day, you can claim back. This was great because I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had money left on cards like these because the bars have been so crowded at festivals and haven’t been able to claim the money back – such a waste!12687770_10153287667517617_1080769753234931222_nThe crowds were already there and we could tell we were in for a good afternoon from the moment we walked in the gates, people were already dancing and having a great time. The event had brought a complete range of people together; from businessmen to backpackers, from teenagers to parents, and the atmosphere was electric. It was fantastic to see such a varied crowd and to see how friendly everyone was, I lost count of the new friends I made that afternoon because everyone was so keen to make new friends and know your story. We had a great day spent dancing, chatting and laughing, a lot, it was a perfect event for the Dingo’s. And the mark of a good mini-festival in the city? When it really does feel like you’re a million miles away from the skyscrapers and bustling streets – with the park nestled against the Yarra riverbank it could’t have felt father away from the tourist trap that is Federation Square. It was great to be somewhere surrounded by all the colour and fun of festivals, but barely any distance from our home and without needing to take the day off work.12651074_10153287668277617_3427740945071616279_nPiknic caters for all tastes – so whether you’re there for the music, the drinks, the food or the fun, you’ll leave satisfied. Instead of stocking the usual rubbish drinks you get at festivals you can get craft beers and summer cocktails, although they were a touch expensive. Every week the event offers a new selection of Melbourne’s own delicious food trucks. And who can forget the little ones? Creating a fun, family environment, the organisers host Little Piknic – a designated children’s area with plenty of activities for them to take part in. I read that last year there were complaints over the lack of toilets and facilities but this year there must have been a big improvement as I didn’t find myself queueing for a toilet all day – a marked improvement on most festivals or music events! Running until 9pm, its the perfect place to see the sunset and to get you ready to rave all night – just a hop, skip and a jump from the CBD clubs – there’s plenty of places to head after to keep the party going.

Can you recommend any other great city events in Melbourne? Have you been to any other great city festivals around the world? 

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Travel | #SendMeAway to Eastern Europe’s music festivals

imageAs the former editor of This Festival Feeling, and an avid festival goer – my mind never strays far from the topic. I’ve now spent over a year backpacking around Asia and Australia, but haven’t yet been to a festival! It seems shocking behaviour for the girl who managed to attend seven festivals in the year before I came backpacking and several more in the years previous to that. I just love festivals, from the amazing music and locations to the creativity and stunning art pieces, to unusual theatre performances and fantastic characters you meet along the way. It’s like entering another world where you can be anyone you want to be and everyone is just as welcoming, happy and beautiful as the people you meet when travelling. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t been too upset at missing festivals so far, because the travelling experience is much like living in a festival every single day, but I have to say, after a year I am getting a bit antsy. It’s this time of year, once Christmas is out of the way, my mind always turns straight to festival season and which ones I’m going to be attending. This year is no different, I know that there are many amazing Australian festivals going on while I’m working in the outback which is annoying timing – I’ve missed the annual Falls Festivals and will be missing Rainbow Serpent in a few weeks. But instead of moping, I’m looking at which ones I will be able to do. Just a week or two after I arrive in Melbourne the St Kilda Festival will be happening which sounds like a fantastic celebration of music, arts and culture – plus it’s free!imageimageThe team at Icelolly.com have asked me to write about my dream holiday destinations of 2016 to be on with a chance of winning £1000 towards the holiday and an Olympus Pen E-PL7 camera which would be the most incredible prize. These cameras are amazing and I’ve loved the idea of getting one for a while – not always practical for a backpacker who is living on a budget – and the £1000 towards further travel would be an incredible bonus. After reaching my one year anniversary of travelling and making the decision not to return home but to keep travelling and exploring the world around me, I started to think about my next year on the road and where I will end up. Of course all plans are always open to change as a backpacker, we are known for our habit of changing everything at the drop of a hat, but that’s one of the luxuries we gain when giving up everything to travel. I love the freedom that comes with this lifestyle. At the moment I have a vague plan that I will be returning home to England in May when my first year Australian visa runs out, it will be perfectly timed so I can spend my 26th birthday with my friends and family at home and I can’t wait to see everyone. After spending a couple of months at home catching up with everyone and heading to a few festivals, I will hopefully have a bit of money put aside for a little jaunt round Europe to visit some amazing friends I’ve met since travelling and see their home countries. Places like Paris, Berlin, parts of Holland and Denmark could all be on the list and I’ll be backpacking the whole way. I’m hoping all this works out and I have enough money to really make this happen.imageimageI know my whole life sounds like a holiday but it really will be nice by then to have a break from Australia and to get back to European culture for a little while. One thing I will really love is heading to a few festivals because the UK and Europe really has that amazingly creative and quirky style when it comes to festivals that I really love. After going to Hideout Festival in Croatia a few years ago and having the most amazing time, I was keen to explore some other great festivals in Europe but never had the time/money to do it. If I won the £1000 I would use it to visit two top festivals on my list: EXIT Festival in Serbia leading to the new Sea Dance Festival in Montenegro, followed by Sziget in Budapest, Hungary. Nestled in Eastern Europe, they are countries I’ve wanted to explore for a while and around the festivals I would use the time to see as much as possible. The multi-award winning EXIT Festival took the title of Best Major European Music Festival at the EU Festival Awards in 2013 and it’s easy to see why, held annually at the Petrovaradin Fortress I would argue it has one of the most incredible locations for this huge range of acts to perform. People from around 60 countries around the world flock to the festival grounds each year to watch the magic unfold and that’s what I love, the diversity of the people you will meet along the way. I love that EXIT has a unique purpose behind it after starting as a student movement fighting for peace and democracy in Serbia – that is what festivals are all about.imageimageBy taking part in the EXIT Adventure, you get the opportunity to attend two award-winning festivals across two countries in 10 days. I would get to party in this incredible fortress in Novi Sad followed by the stunning Jaz Beach in Montenegro – last year over 300,000 people attended. The festivals have previously hosted acts including The Arctic Monkeys, The Prodigy, Emile Sande, Andy C, Skrillex, Soul Clap, Bondax and many more – all acts I would love to see live! And the best thing about all of these, is that there would be plenty of time to arrive at the festival beforehand so I would be able to explore the fortress and the catacombs that lay beneath, to find out about the amazing history and the ghosts that lay down there. History lines the streets of this part of Northern Serbia where one building still holds a cannonball jutting from its walls where if was fired back in 1849. For the beach bum in me it would be wrong not to enjoy one of Europe’s best Danube beaches before heading to Fisherman’s Island for some fish goulash, the local delicacy. And with four daily markets across the city, I wouldn’t be able to resist a browse before heading to Laze Telečkog for some local live music. After a busy week exploring Serbia, Jaz Beach will be the perfect place to relax, this underdeveloped area will be great for unwinding and enjoying a whole other set of acts performing in the same place huge acts like the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Madonna and Lenny Kravitz have previously played.imageimageThen it would be on to a destination that has been on my bucket list for a long time – Budapest, Hungary. With Sziget Festival seen as the Hungarian jewel in Europe’s festival crown, it is an event that is often compared to Burning Man – one of my ultimate dreams to attend. Getting to combine one of the countries I most want to visit with a festival is a fantastic opportunity to see the city in two very different lights – first of all a cultural and historical context followed by seeing how they really party. With countless stunning buildings to visit and view from Parliament to the Basilica, I can tell that just walking the streets with be an experience in itself but with plenty of walking tours on offer it will be a great way of learning more about the history that lies right in front of you. There’s so many amazing museums to explore and I have to admit, I love a museum, especially the quirky ones that teach you about a history you never knew existed. I love a good trip to the spa and after three festivals I think I’ll be in need to some TLC so I’ll be heading to Szechenyi Baths and Pool for a visit and a chance to relax. All these amazing activities will take place around the iconic Sziget Festival which will take place on an island in the middle of the Danube river featuring a huge range of acts from hard rock to dance, this year’s line-up so far includes Bastille, Bloc Party, Bring Me The Horizon, Chvrches, John Newman and Kodaline. The line-up is amazing but for me the real draw would be the activities on offer and the huge range of art from The Hands of Unity to the Magic Field, the landscape is transformed by these beautiful structures.imageTo say I’m excited talking about a trip like this is an understatement – writing this has made me miss festivals more than ever and I can just imagine the amazing experience that would come with this trip. From the people you would meet and the things you would see, to the culture you would experience along the way. It would be the Eastern European trip of a lifetime and the winner would get an opportunity to capture every single moment with an amazing camera to share it with everyone who came along for the ride. The beautiful thing about blogging is that every single one of you who reads these posts would be there with me experiencing everything along the way, so let’s hope I get lucky and win so we can make this trip a reality! I have to nominate another three bloggers to write about their dream trip so I choose: Chelsea of Loving Life in Wellies, Steph of Big World Small Pockets and Nick and Amy of What the Pho Podcast – enjoy guys!

Where would your dream trip take you? Are any European music festivals on your bucket list?

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Indulge your inner festival queen with New Look

imageI’m taking a break from the travel posts today to cover one of my favourite topics – festivals! Anyone who knows me will know I’m a bit of a festival queen and that I can never turn down a chance to party on a beach, in the woods or in the beautiful English countryside. I love festivals and everything about them, but it is UK festivals that really hold a special place in my heart. So you can imagine how gutted I am not to be attending any this summer – I know, I know, I’m travelling the world, how can I be gutted about missing a rainy festival? Well trust me, if you’ve ever been to a UK music festival and completely lost yourself in the bizarre, the magic and the music for four days – you’ll understand. Becoming editor of This Festival Feeling gave me an amazing opportunity to attend as many festivals as I wanted, to experience them behind the scenes and to write about and review them. I’m a lucky girl to have this chance and it took me from being a girl who had never been to a festival to one who have been to around 15 in three years. After managing to fit five in last summer (including the amazing Secret Garden Party, BoomTown Fair and We Are FSTVL) you can imagine I feel a bit lost getting all these email updates as announcements are made and knowing I won’t get to see any of this amazing live music, I won’t get to cover myself in glitter and I won’t get to see all of these crazy things this summer.imageBut you guys will get the chance! So as many of you have been doing with my blog over the last four months, I will now be living vicariously through you as you party your way through the UK festival scene. One of the fun things about festivals is the complete freedom to be creative with the way you look and dress – I often find a stray piece of glitter while sitting at work weeks after a festival and find myself longing to be back in the fields covered in sparkles again. I love clothes anyway and am a bit of a shopping addict – don’t ask how heavy my backpack has become – but you’ll notice this is a my first fashion post! I never end up writing about fashion because I don’t really consider myself an authority on it, but New Look thinks otherwise and they have asked me to join their festival fashion campaign by picking out some of my favourite festival outfits from their new collection. In my book, New Look are a great source for affordable and cute outfits for festivals – I always refuse to spend mountains of money because let’s face it, festivals are messy and there’s no guarantee those outfits will still look good by the end. You want fun patterns, cute accessories and lots of glitter!

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So, just to help you guys out, I’ve already checked out the collection and put together two outfits I love so that you guys don’t have to do the legwork and deal with stuffy changing rooms. All of these can be ordered online from the comfort of your sofa, so you don’t even have to get dressed! My first outfit choice is this cute purple Ethnic Print Playsuit (£12.99) – I love playsuits because they’re cute and cover your modesty when you get a bit drunk, plus the pattern would look great with a tan! Team this with the Light Brown Leather Fringed Sandals (£27.99) because a sturdy pair of sandals is a must for me at a festival – I know the weather is supposed to be rubbish in England but out of my 15 festivals it has only rained at two of them. Wellies are hot and sweaty to dance in and even trainers can be a bit much – it gets hot in those tents! So why not embrace the sunshine and get your tootsies out? Do what I do and wear these in the day to let your feet breathe and then don the trainers for nighttime to keep warm. This summery combo would look great with lots of quirky jewellery, maybe a body chain or headband like the ones below – I always prefer the feathered or chain ones to the flowered. Plus plenty of rings – they are my weakness!

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My second choice of outfit is something more for nighttime because quite frankly it gets bloody cold when you move out of the hot sweaty tents and into the winds that whip across the fields in the UK. It’s always good to have a couple of cover ups – a cute jacket or kimonos are my personal favourite because of the flowing material. I love the colours in this White Tile Print Dip Hem Kimono (£19.99) and would definitely team it with some denim shorts and a bandeau crop top, which are both available from the collection. But it would be the Gold Linked Bar Body Chain (£7.99) that added the detail to the outfit along with the Gold Jewelled Drop Tikka Head Chain (£6.99) for some added fabulousness. Both of these outfits only come to around £40, as I’m sure you already have basics like denim shorts, and you could easily wear them after the festival as well which is great – if they survive! Make sure they are both teamed with lots of glitter, a dash of face paint and a hell of a lot of fun. Then load up the car with ciders, grab your mates and get to that festival!

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I’ve been super lovely to you guys and linked all of these pictures to where you can find the clothes on the website so you won’t even have to search for them if you just love them! To check out the rest of the collection, click here head to the New Look website and get that bank card ready.

Have you got any festivals planned this summer? What is your favourite festival fashion combo? Can anyone recommend any music festivals for me to check out in Australia and New Zealand? 

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*This was a sponsored post but all opinions are my own

10 awesome opportunities being a journalist has given me

580161_10151456511187617_100428838_nBeing a journalist hasn’t given some people the best reputation in the last couple of years, but that doesn’t mean that journalism is a bad career choice. If anything, I say that journalism has opened countless doors for me and has given me some awesome opportunities over the last few years. There are lots of amazing things about the job – you get to work with people which is perfect for social butterflies like myself, you get the chance to hear amazing stories first-hand and have the privilege of sharing them with the world, the trust that your readers and those sharing their stories place in you. There are a lot of tougher sides of the job as well, like having to write a tribute to one of your former best friends after a horrible accident, but that is why I think it is important to enjoy the good parts.488260_10151030389642617_308764103_nI know some don’t agree with getting freebies through journalism, but this is one of my favourite parts of the job – the privilege and extras that come with it. Journalism opens you up to a world of opportunities that you would never have had otherwise, and that is something I love about it.I know a fair few journalists who never really take advantage of the extras in the job, which personally I think is a shame considering how low paid so many journalists are. I know some won’t agree, but I tend to look at it as the tips a waitress would get. This is just a bonus to the job and, as a bit of a blagger, I don’t mind asking – I always figure if you don’t ask you don’t get. Which is clear from how many amazing things I have been lucky enough to gain – I always ask the question. So what have been my best blags and the top experiences my job has given me?

  1. My top has got to be weekend tickets to an incredible electronic dance music festival, Glade Festival, that was right on my doorstep. It was only my second festival and this experience really showed me how much I love festivals, plus it gave me a taste for reviewing and writing about festivals which then led to my work at This Festival Feeling.
  2. Close behind was tickets to Wyndstock – a Midsummer Ball, another festival, this time a more upmarket one with swing dancing, posh banquets and a fake fox-hunt – it was so much fun and again gave me a great opportunity to write about festivals. As did free tickets to the first Zoo Project Festival.
  3. I have just booked in to write a feature on a circus that is coming to town – how better to do it than to have a lesson from a Mexican high-wire expert who has been walking the wire since he was six-years-old and to interview him?
  4. Tickets to the theatre – I have pre-written and reviewed various shows at theatres across the area over the last few years. All brilliant experiences and, as a big theatre-lover, have helped me develop a working relationship with the various theatre groups because I have actually seen their work.
  5. Tickets to the ballet – a stunning night watching Swan Lake as a thanks for giving a series of write-ups to another theatre and free tickets to music events in the town.
  6. Taking on a new local bootcamp for a feature was brilliant fun and I got to take along a group of mates to get really muddy as we tried to complete an obstacle course and had a boxercise class.
  7. I’ve got another coming up – this one is Loopy Ball, which is also for a group of mates and it football but inside giant blow up balls – should be funny and I’m looking forward to it.
  8. Getting to interview and meet theatre, music and TV stars is an amazing bonus of the job and running the entertainment section, I’ve been pretty lucky.
  9. Priority screenings of the pantomime – I love a Christmas panto, and getting invited along, with my family in tow, to watch it before anyone else has is pretty good fun. Priority tickets are always a winner – running the entertainment section means I always know first when a great comedian or show is coming to town and I can usually reserve tickets.
  10. A fantastic Glamping trip with my girls as part of a review.

250010_10151043161977617_225305037_nOf course, we’re not all in it for the freebies, we do it for the love of the job and a passion for reporting news. But, being a journalist is a stressful job with constant deadlines, you work hard and if opportunities come up I don’t think we should be afraid to snap them up. Much like bloggers accepting gifts of review products. There’s plenty more I haven’t listed – so budding journalists, if anyone tells you that you are making a mistake with your career – why not ask them if their job gives them the chance to do all of these amazing things?

What’s the best freebie you’ve ever had through work? Are you thinking about going into journalism?

Ab Lucy sign off

Festivals: Where are all the female bands?

10397834_10152219575647617_2424544814853925969_nI know I seem to have festivals on the brain  at the moment, but we are slap bang in the middle of festival season, so you’ll have to keep reading these posts for a few weeks yet. Anyway, this one is slightly different to all my reviews and reminiscing posts about previous festivals – this one is focusing on an interesting infographic that was sent to me by the guys over at Farfetch about the number of female bands performing at the world’s top three largest music festivals. Despite the crowds surrounding the stages at festivals being full of women of all ages, whether they arrive in huge groups or in pairs, it seems that most of the line-ups for 2014 were dominated by male acts. Where are all the female musicians when it comes to the stage? This infographic focused solely on three of the world’s biggest festivals, starting with our very own Glastonbury Festival, which saw 175,000 flocking to Pilton between June 25-29. These figures were compared with those from Denmark’s Roskilde Festival which attracted 110,000 between June 29 and July 6. And finally, Belgium’s Rock Werchter which saw a further 110,000 between July 3-6.1004604_10151480508882617_1052791188_n

How big is the gender gap?

Let’s kick off with the figures on how many acts featured female members at each of the festivals. Glastonbury saw a whopping 83% of male performers to just 17%, but actually this was the highest percentage of female performers. Roskilde saw 88% of male performers compared to a mere 112% of females. But Rock Werchter showed the greatest gender gap with just 11% of female performers compared to 89% of males. Glastonbury may have been storming ahead, but still stood at only 17%!

Does genre matter?

As you can imagine, there seems to be a wider gender gap for some musical genres than others, and perhaps that is why some festivals in particular are struggling with the number of female artists. Women were best represented in pop, then rock acts at Glastonbury, with electronic, R&B and world music trailing behind. Over at Roskilde, pop remains the top representation of our gender, followed by rock and jazz, with further and much smaller representation in funk, experimental, electronic and world music. Rock Werchter, music like Glastonbury, went hard on pop and rock female-led acts, with far smaller numbers of electronic acts, then folk, jazz and world.

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Who’s headlining the festivals?

Another sorry result for the ladies who were distinctly absent from the headline acts, in fact entirely so from Roskilde which featured no female headliners! Rock Werchter wasn’t far behind, with just 6%, and even Glastonbury only boasted a mere 15% – although this did include the fabulous Dolly Parton!

Is it a popularity contest?

The research team spent some time looking at Facebook likes and comparing both male and female acts to see who appeared most popular – these were used as record sales information was not available. Some of the top acts at the festivals included the male-led metal band Metallica who took to the main stage at Glasto and Rock Werchter this summer and boast 37,423,683 likes. Hip-hop artist Drake took the main stage at Roskilde and has 34,000,000 likes, he was joined by rockers The Rolling Stones who have 19,000,000. Skrillex represented electronic music at both Glasto and Rock Werchter on secondary stages and has 17,514,547 likes. While rockers Kings of Leon took to the Rock Werchter main stage with 12,000,000 likes, joined by Pearl Jam who have 9,997,000 likes. Finally the ladies chime in, popstrel Lana Del Ray headed to the main stage at Glasto with just 9,461, 785 likes. Ellie Goulding took to the stages at Glasto and Roch Werchter with 9,409,676 likes, with Imagine Dragons and Ed Sheeran trailing behind.

Bucking the trend?

One of my favourite festival moments of the summer is actually one I wasn’t even there for, I watched Dolly Parton’s performance at Glasto live on TV but loved every second, I felt like I was there. She line-danced all over that stage, entertained the huge crowd of over 100,000 with her fabulous and funny stories at the Pyramid Stage. She actually drew a larger crowd than Arcade Fire and Metallica – both headline acts! So it seems that although male acts might be more popular on paper and to the booking agents – but when it comes to winning over the audience, it’s anyone’s game!

10590525_10152223383927617_4194751662331272017_nIt’s strange, this is something I hadn’t really thought about before. Considering all the festivals I have been to over the last three years, particularly this summer, I had never actually paid attention to how many female acts there were, or even what genre they seemed to stick to. After reading the infographic and really starting to think about it, I’ve certainly noticed that the majority of acts I have seen live this summer have definitely been male acts or male-led acts. I only actually remember seeing a handful of female headliners and one group featuring women taking a headline slot. While at We R FSTVL, Annie Mac was shockingly the only female act I remember seeing and while she really is a great role model and champions the female DJ, doing it alone perhaps highlights a real lack of women working in the electronic music genre.

At Secret Garden Party, one of the most impressive performances came in the form of Foxes who took a sunny, daytime slot on the Main Stage, while the powerful strains of Martha and the Vandellas had the whole crowd on their feet in one of the headline slots. This festival was probably one of the more female-friendly for acts but was still lacking slightly. BoomTown Fair actually went in the opposite direction with almost all of the acts I saw being male or at least male-led – I only remember seeing one act with a female singer, but there may have been others from times when I couldn’t quite see the stage. It’s a bit sad if there are actually all these female acts out there who are working their butts off and just aren’t being given the opportunities to perform on main stages at festivals – but is this a bigger problem with the music industry? Or is it simply a case of there are more men out there who want to be musicians to the level of performing at festivals? I’m not quite sure…10556415_10152190746577617_6474017272307128048_nWhat do you think about the figures and about the questions they raise? Do you think this highlights a bigger problem with the music industry – or are there just not enough female performers?

Ab Lucy sign off

Review: Sundown Festival – The Sun Sets on Another Success

sundown 1

After a busy summer of touring up and down the country for festivals, how better to finish up than with one that is right on my doorstep for a end of the summer blowout?

Sundown Festival was all set to be a real mind-melter, with a great line-up perfect for everybody from dance music junkies to pop princesses, and it certainly lived up to expectations. Living up here in Norfolk, it is easy to feel like all the bigger artists bypass us on their tours, so it was great to have a chance to see so many on one stage in front of 30,000 music fans. For those who happened to be camping, I hear they were in for a real treat with the exclusive opening party on the Friday night which gave campers the chance to see some great DJ’s warming up the tent that was to house the Defected and RAM labels over the next two days.Sundown 5Rocking up on the Saturday, along with a huge group of raving buddies, we were all ready to party and couldn’t wait to see the main stage all lit up by Chase and Status that night. Walking into the festival in the sunshine – luckily the rain mostly stayed away – I could see it was one of the smallest I have been to yet. This gave it a great exclusive feel and was perfect for the families with young children and large groups who wanted to keep track of each other throughout the day. It was great for us, living nearby meant there were lots of people we knew there and it was quite funny to keep bumping into them. It also meant you could quickly and easily move between the stages so there was no excuse for missing your favourite acts.sundown 2Sadly we arrived just a little too late to catch Foxes’ performance and only heard it from the entrance – but she sounded amazing and I’m sure her performance matched the incredible show she gave at Secret Garden Party.

Pusha T was up next and already the audience was packing out the area around the main stage and were singing and dancing along to every word. At this point we lost our friends in the crowd, but soon found them leaping around in the surging crowd while the others headed to the bar. Unfortunately, quite a lot of time was spent waiting in queues for either the toilets or the bar, and this was one failing of the festival. Out of all of those I have attended throughout the summer, it had the biggest queues for both which did take away from the time spent actually enjoying the acts. Perhaps for next year we need more portaloos and more staff on the bars for quicker service? Along the same lines – perhaps a better system for allowing revellers to exit the Showground after the event – it took us a very long time to get out and we couldn’t see any signs directing to the shuttle buses and taxis.Sundown 4As the sun started to lower in the sky, a special moment at Sundown Festival, we enjoyed performances from Katy B, who had the whole crowd singing along to every passionate note before the one-and-only Tine Tempah took to the stage. Having donned an all-white top and trousers combo, he shone like a beacon of cleanliness in the middle of the festival fields and it certainly meant we could see him from right at the back of the field, where our group had found a great spot to sit and watch the acts. Bringing masses of energy, attitude and plenty of cheekiness to the stage, he bust out hits like Frisky and Lover Not A Fighter. No matter whether you prefer his older or newer stuff, you can’t deny his songs are catchy and we couldn’t help but dance along with the rest of the crowd.sundown 3Of course, the festival wasn’t all at the Main Stage, there was plenty going on at Stage 2 with Defected staging a label takeover on the Saturday featuring acts like Shadowchild, Second City, Breach and Cristoph – perfect for the house-heads in our group! Sadly we missed the first few acts while we were partying over by the Main Stage, but we made sure to catch the end of Breach and the whole of MK’s set – both brilliant! It was so great to see MK live again, the last time was at Hideout Festival last summer and although amazing then, it is clear he ups his game with each and every performance. As soon as the beats drew to a close, we headed straight back to the Main Stage, all buzzing with excitement for Chase and Status. Probably the one act on the line-up that we all agreed on with no question, Chase and Status are regulars in Norwich, but it was brilliant to see them up on the Main Stage at a festival. They certainly know how to deliver an epic performance and we were right in the middle of it with mosh pits on either side – how better to end the first night of a festival?

Sadly, I couldn’t make it along the following day – but if the photos, video clips and stories are anything to go by, it was an incredible finish to the festival.

*This was originally published on This Festival Feeling – check out the original here.

Those wobbly teeth are back haunting my dreams

Photo by TarynAfter all these festivals, it’s been pretty strange but a totally amazing feeling to be back in my own bed. I don’t think you ever truly appreciate how comfy and cosy your own bed is until you’ve spent this many weekends sleeping in a field. I’m lucky that we have such a good, waterproof tent and some nice sleeping mats that keep us about as happy as could be while staying at the festivals, but it’s always a good feeling to come home and crawl into a bed with fresh, clean sheets on it. Especially when you get it all to yourself after being stuck in a small sleeping bag in a crowded tent for four nights. So needless to say, I’ve been pretty keen to make the most of my lovely bed and have been trying my best to catch up on some serious shut-eye since the last festival – after doing three in a row, I was seriously behind on my zzz’s. But for some reason, I seem to be struggling with my sleeping pattern.

When I first came back from BoomTown Fair, I actually settled straight back into sleeping at the right times, but as the days rolled by and I returned to work, I seem to have slipped into a rubbish pattern of going to bed really late and having a pretty disturbed sleep thanks to some odd and rather traumatic dreams. Going to bed late is all my own fault, I can’t put that on anybody else, I just have so much to do and I have definitely taken on more work than there is time to do it in. Working all these extra hours means I go to bed and I’m already overtired and exhausted, but because I’ve been working full pelt, I feel really wired and can’t seem to wind down early enough to get a good night’s rest before starting all over again. In the mornings, I find myself pushing it later and later to get out of bed, then rush like a madwoman to get out the door in time to get to work – just praying for the morning I get a good lie-in.Photo by Pedro Ribeiro SimõesIt’s pretty exhausting because there’s also lots of other stuff happening at the moment, and being the busy bee I am, I just can’t bear to turn anyone down. Everyone seems to want to do something, and having so many different groups of friends means I want to spend time with everyone, but it gets to a point where it starts cutting out my me-time and more importantly, my sleep-time! I keep telling myself it will be over when August finishes and I know that is the case – so that thought is keeping me going, but in the meantime, it seems I might be stuck with some odd dreams to deal with. The latest one is a dream that I have always had, on and off, throughout my life. It’s one that I’m sure many of you will have experienced and it is a horrible feeling because they seem so real. It’s the one where you dream that your teeth are wobbling in your mouth and eventually fall out or crumble in your mouth.

Loose teeth in dreams signify that you are facing a difficult decision or transition time in your life. Common dream scenarios involve discovering that a few teeth have come loose; you may feel that a tooth is not stable and you’re worried is will come loose. These dream images point to concerns about the stability of your foundations in life and the prospect of letting go of something important to you.

Photo by Susan SermonetaThese dreams couldn’t be more apt at the moment if this is what they truly mean, and I do take dream interpretation quite seriously. I just figure that we constantly have so many thoughts in our heads, just flying around, that there must be loads left over and that there are so many we spend our time trying to squash. At night when we are most relaxed they are free to roam around our heads, but they often get confused and these feelings represent themselves in different ways. The teeth dreams are ones that seem to come to me when I am stressed, overworked and tired, and guess what – bingo! I’m all three at the moment and with lots of bigger issues to think about with travelling and various other things, it’s clear that I have some big decisions to make. I guess now the reality of going travelling by myself is starting to hit me as I now have less than five months until I head off into the great unknown with nothing but my backpack for company. I’m not worried about it, I actually can’t wait, but it just shows me quite how much time I have left to organise, save and book my trip and I’m starting to panic a bit because I know full well how quick time flies.

But it’s okay – after all of the lovely comments and messages I’ve had over my Drowning in a Tea Cup post, I’ve been reminded not to feel alone or to let myself get overwhelmed as I did before. I’m keeping on top of things, just about, and am trying to prioritise so that if there are some things that can wait, I can put those off until after the next two busy weeks. Fingers crossed the dreams don’t return as I really do hate feeling so vividly that my teeth are wobbling and crumbling – it’s awful!

Have you had any strange recurring dreams – share them below? Or do you have another interpretation for me, or even some advice for how to get back on top of planning for travelling?

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