Posts Tagged festivals

Exeter Vibraphonic Festival 14th-29th March

Exeter is hosting the Vibraphonic Festival for two weeks starting this Friday 14th until Saturday 29th March.

The festival covers reggae, soul, urban, jazz, funk, blues, hip hop, drum & bass, electronica and experimental music across the city. There are around 20 live music venues taking part, including the Exeter Phoenix, the Cavern, Barnfield and many more.

A wide variety of artists and DJs are expected and there are also workshops, demonstrations, dance performances, films and graffiti art.

The first acts announced are Dreadzone, Son Of Dave, Get Rich Quick & Festival Scratch Orchestra, Larry Miller, Craig Charles, Lee Scratch Perry, Tcha Limberger’s Budapest Gypsy Orchestra, and Salsa Celtica. Ticket prices vary and can be bought at the venues or through local ticket outlets.

Once you’re all danced out, you could rest your weary feet at nearby Ottery St Mary in this lovely Helpful Holidays Grade II listed town house (sleeps 4). Smart and comfortable with wooden floors throughout, a long, elegant hall leads to an L-shaped living/dining room and kitchen. French windows open to a small patio area. There’s a downstairs loo then oak stairs lead to the first floor with with one double and one single room and a luxurious bathroom. On the second floor there is another double bedroom with en suite shower room with 2 steps to a small, private roof terrace with views over the town.

Situated right in the heart of Ottery St Mary, you are minutes away from shops and have a perfect base for exploring the gardens and beaches of East Devon.

Front view

Kitchen/dining area

Double bedroom

Beautiful private roof terrace

 

 

 

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e-Luminate Festival Cambridge

'Colour Shift' at e-Luminate. Picture by Elisa Artesero

‘Colour Shift’ at e-Luminate. Picture by Elisa Artesero

I had the pleasure of visiting Cambridge for the annual e-Luminate Festival of light art and technology this weekend (the festival continues until 23rd February).

It was my first time in the pretty city and it was a flying visit, quite literally at times, as it was windy! We started with a Trail of Light, a walking tour of the Cambridge College Chapels. All participants were given an LED flashing light to create a line of light as we walked across from chapel to chapel. Once inside, we were given a performance by either a choir, or my personal favourite, organ music, which echoed through the candlelit chapels and their high vaulted ceilings.

There were quite a few light installations and projections throughout the city, the most impressive was Colour Shift by Susie Olczak, a wash of changing colours across the facade of King’s College. It really highlighted the architecture, creating harsh shadows to emphasise the detailed cuts of the stone.

Saturday was a bright and sunny day, and really gave us the chance to explore and get a feel for the place. There was a market selling local produce, second-hand LPs, clothes and jewellery. The city is famous for its literature festival and in keeping with this, there were plenty of bookshops to be discovered down tiny side streets and in hidden courtyards, many selling rare books of antiquity.

We had a lovely lunch of fish and chips at The Eagle pub. Dating back to 1667, the pub is most famous as the place where James Watson and Francis Crick first announced they had ‘discovered the secret of life’ – DNA. Regardless of that, it was popular yet cosy once you found a seat. We were quite lucky to get one, and would advise getting there just after midday if you’re to find a table also, as many visitors who arrived after 12.30pm were disappointed.

All in all my visit to Cambridge was a success, and anyone interested in interesting architecture, particularly religious buildings, would do well to visit. I think it would work well as part of a longer visit to the area, so it would be a good idea to rent a holiday cottage outside of the centre to allow for visits to the surrounding countryside. 

Orchard Cottage (sleeps up to 7) is a beautifully restored and tastefully furnished 18th Century cottage with half an acre of garden of mainly trees and lawn where you can, if you wish, play croquet, badminton and quoits. It is in a rural situation with a farm opposite and fields around, but is close to travel to Cambridge, Rutland Water and Stamford.

The cottage has three double bedrooms (master bedroom has en suite shower room), study, sitting room with inglenook fireplace and well-concealed television; large kitchen with Rayburn, microwave oven, dishwasher, washer/drier etc, and conservatory. The furniture is antique even the bathroom has Victorian fittings.

Orchard Cottage

Orchard Cottage

Beautifully presented bedroom

Beautifully presented bedroom

 

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Lumiere Durham 2013

Keyframes by Groupe Laps

Keyframes by Groupe Laps. Photo by E. Artesero

Yesterday we drove from Manchester to Durham to see the light spectacular that is Durham Lumiere festival, probably one of the most prominent light festivals currently in the UK.

Its popularity showed, as thousands upon thousands of people were walking around Durham’s streets in search of the series of light-based art installations spread across the city.

We did not have reserved tickets for the central portion of the trail, so had to explore the outer pieces first. This worked out well as there seemed to be many queues for the central part, and had we started there first we might not have had time to go around the outer pieces.

Platonic Spin by Nathaniel Rackowe. Photo by E.Artesero

Platonic Spin by Nathaniel Rackowe. Photo by E.Artesero

Favourite pieces on the outer part were ‘Keyframes’ by Groupe Laps, a large collection of illuminated stickmen climbing the former Durham Miners’ Hall. Platonic Spin by Nathaniel Rackowe was a lovely patterned light sculpture going through sequences which drew out the space into lines and rectangles floating in the gardens.

[M]ondes by Atsara. Photo by E.Artesero

[M]ondes by Atsara. Photo by E.Artesero

The long wait to get in to the central part of the festival was worth it however, particularly for the illusory ‘[M]ondes’ by Atsara at the Cathedral Nave and The College. Lights like fireflies flitted across the gardens in a beautiful dance and hypnotic concentric circles and other projections formed the space into something quiet but magical.

Well worth a visit, but be prepared for crowds as the festival will only grow in popularity!

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Lumiere Durham 14th-17th November

Deadgood Studio 'Rainbow'

Deadgood Studio ‘Rainbow’ Lumiere 2011

Starting tonight and running each evening until Sunday is the incredible Lumiere Festival in Durham. One of the UK’s largest and most spectacular light festivals of the year, Lumiere promises to be every bit as exciting as previous years, and what’s more, it’s free to attend!

There will be some of the most innovative uses of lighting technology, from the most complex 3D projections in the form of a huge Elephant walking through the urban environment; and Crown of Light, video-mapping at its best on the cathedral; to simple technologies such as Litre of Light, which uses old plastic bottles and refracted sunlight to create a solar bulb bright enough to light up a home.

There will also be all manner of neon delights, stained glass cars, ghostly lit up dresses and musical tents. Perhaps one of the most impressive installations of the festival will be Solar Equation, an impressive simulation of the sun hung over the Durham University Science Site which will feature projections generated by live mathematical equations that simulate the turbulence, flares and sunspots that can be seen on the surface of the sun.

This year there are free tickets to the central part of the festival up until 7.30pm. This is to ensure that it does not get too crowded in the most popular areas at the busiest visiting time. Unfortunately all tickets have been reserved, however there are plenty of artworks outside of the central zone to visit before being allowed in without a ticket after 7.30pm.

I went along in 2011 and had a brilliant time. I wrote up my experience and pictures on my personal blog, which you can view here. I intend to go again this year and will report back for those of you unable to make it! However, if you are able to get to Durham this weekend, I certainly recommend you go.

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North Devon Clovelly Herring Festival

This Sunday 17th November is the Clovelly Herring Festival in North Devon. Once a major centre for herring fishing, the popular festival is held to celebrate the town’s heritage and support sustainable fishing by traditional methods.

There will be herring specialities, cooking demonstrations to get the perfect fish supper, street entertainments, crafts, stalls and traditional shanty singers!

Mike Smylie’s ‘Kipperland’ exhibition will also be included and he’ll smoke his delicious kippers and bloaters. There will also be net making, flax processing and a curragh on show provided by ‘Flaxland’.

K3 Cottage in Stoke

K3 Cottage in Stoke

Why not stay at this detached, thatched, Grade II listed 16th century house (sleeps 10) in the pretty village of Stoke. A lovingly restored property formerly owned by the Abbey, the holiday cottage has a slate-floored hall;  beamed living/dining room with inglenook fireplace (woodburner), TV/DVD; well-equipped fitted kitchen with tiled floor and stable doors to back patio and courtyard. Down from kitchen to the twin bedroom; second living room with inglenook (woodburner); double bedroom; two shower-rooms. Stairs up to three more bedrooms – a beamed double, one with double plus single bed, and a single. Bathroom (suite plus hand-shower). Tumble drier in shed. You even get a games room and an indoor heated swimming pool!

You’re also only 3/4 mile from spectacular cliffs at Hartland Quay, close to some excellent sandy beaches at Westward Ho!, Bude and Instow, and lots of other pretty villages to walk to.

Lovely inglenook fireplace

Lovely inglenook fireplace

 

Heated indoor swimming pool

Heated indoor swimming pool

 

 

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Teignmouth Jazz and Blues Festival

This weekend (15th-17th November) is the annual Teignmouth Jazz and Blues Festival!

Managed by the newly elected Jazzteam, there are many gigs and events to get you in the mood for a groove. For example, Jim Mullen will be playing with the Zoe Francis Trio already featuring the great Dave Newton on piano!

With four main venues plus many more fringe events alongside, there are a variety of tickets to cover your needs, be it for the full weekend experience, or selected days. If only one of the gigs catches your eye, then each event is £10, unless you’re a student, in which case you can get a bargain at £5 per gig.

B6 Cottage Shaldon

B6 Cottage Shaldon

Still with availability is this ancient Grade II listed cob and thatch semi-detached farmhouse (sleeps 6). Set in the pretty village of Shaldon at the mouth of the river Teign estuary you’ll be well placed for the festival. You’ll also be near a lovely sandy beach, boats for hire, birdwatching, windsurfing and some great pubs.

The property has a depth-of-house living/dining room with beam and inglenook (‘living flame’ gas fire), TV/DVD, DVDs and variety of artefacts/furniture from the owners’ travels. A smart kitchen/dining room with polished granite worktops, butler sink and Chinese slate floor. Utility area with Belfast sink, washing machine; door to back garden. Downstairs loo. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms – a double (6’ bed), a twin, and a room with two sets of bunks; bathroom (suite) and shower-room (suite).  At the front of the property is a fairly large, enclosed walled garden with a partially hidden den and patio with table/chairs; at the back, an enclosed garden with large patio (table/chairs), steps down to a lawn.

Kitchen/dining room

Kitchen/dining room

Bedroom

Bedroom

Link road between Teignmouth and Shaldon

Link road between Teignmouth and Shaldon

 

 

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Oysters and Thundercats this week!

Two Cornish events this week – the first one is the Falmouth Oyster Festival this Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th October, and the second is the Thundercats (sorry, not the cartoon) Power Boat Racing at Watergate Bay 11th to 13th October.

So, to start off the oyster dredging season, the Falmouth Oyster Festival promises to offer some of the finest oysters to be found, along with a diverse mix of additional Cornish seafood caught in the region. There will be many activities such as cooking demos by leading local chefs, local ale, children’s shell painting, a town parade, live music and much more!

If that doesn’t ‘float your boat’ (excuse the pun!) then there is always the Thundercats Power Boat Racing where spectators can watch the action-packed races from the shore to see who will make world champion!

With views over Watergate Bay, this 2 bedroom apartment (1 double, 1 twin) on the Porth side of Newquay still has some availability for this weekend. A brilliant location for sea, sand, surf and that all important beachside pub 400 yards away!

Nicely decorated kitched/diner and living room

Nicely decorated kitchen/diner and living room

Double bedroom

Double bedroom

Spectacular view from the living room

Spectacular view from the living room

 

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August bank holiday in the West Country

Newlyn Fish Festival picture by Flickr user pandrcutts

Newlyn Fish Festival picture by Flickr user pandrcutts

The August bank holiday is nearly upon us, and if you are visiting the South West for a holiday then here is a selection of just some of the fun things happening this weekend and beyond.

The Watchet Festival (23rd-25th August) is a family friendly music festival with amazing views of the stunning West Somerset coastline and beyond. If you’re looking for a last minute break for the family, then day tickets are available at the festival and this stunning newly converted barn (sleeps 8) is a short drive away in the village of Winsford.

The Newlyn Fish Festival (26th August) is held at one of Cornwall’s most distinctive fishing ports. What better place to see live cooking demonstrations and a seafood auction than at the place the fish was caught! The festival hosts a variety of entertainment and fun for all the family.

A little after the bank holiday from the 27th-30th August is the Bude Jazz Festival. A mix of free parade sessions across the pretty little town and ticketed events available to purchase on the day at various venues, it’s a good chance to get your jazz stomp on! Search for holiday cottages in Bude.

The Great Dorset Steam Fair (28th August – 1st September) boasts over 200,000 visitors to this extravaganza of an event, dubbed “THE” National Heritage Show of the year. Entertainment is spread across 600 acres of the enormous show ground at Tarrant Hinton, near Blandford Forum. Many interests are catered for, from steam engines to heavy horses, ancient farm crafts to stunt displays, the list goes on! Stay at this beautiful Helpful Holidays semi-detached Grade II listed cottage in Okeford Fitzpane (sleeps 4) or search for more Dorset cottages on our main site.

If you can’t make it to the Newlyn Fish Festival, or if you had a taste and want more, then on 1st September travel to Clovelly, North Devon, for the Lobster and Crab Feast in the iconic harbour. Not only that, but you can enjoy folk music, arts and crafts and some street theatre to keep you entertained. Still with availability is this single-storey house (sleeps 7) with views of the sea to Welcombe Mouth.

 

 

 

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