Sep 12, 2014

British Music Festivals That Are Infinitely Cooler Than U.S. Music Festivals

Maybe it's my infatuation with British culture. Maaaybe it's because I live in Southern California, so Coachella is the preverbial beaten dead horse. But I feel like music festivals in Britain are so much better.

Don't get me wrong — ACL is fantastic, and I've heard rave reviews of Lolla and Governors Ball, but whenever I see photos from across the pond, I get an overwhelming sense of "this is a magical music land!" and not "these people are all there to take selfies and wear flower crowns."

That being said, I know I'm not in the thick of these Brit fests (hopefully nexty year!), so I'm sure there's a whole slew of things people hate that happen at those festivals... but we're not here to talk about that.

If you're deciding to hit a festival, here are the major music weekends over in the UK.

Radio 1'S Big Weekend
If you're not familiar with Radio 1, it pity you. Besides being the home of two of my favorite DJ's, Nick "Grimmy" Grimshaw and Fearne Cotton (MAH GIRL), it's also the station responsible for giving us gems like these from their Live Lounge:

First things first: this is my dream job. Hosting a show and getting bands to do covers like this.

Can Sam Smith just stop already? He's making it hard for anyone else to compete with him. And this cover of "What Makes You Beautiful" by The 1975 — who I might actually be an offical groupie of at this point — makes the One Direction song tolerable for people who hate bubblegum pop.

This year, Radio 1's Big Weekend was held in Glasgow, and the headliners are enough to make a woman go mental:

Headlining was Coldplay, Tiesto and Katy Perry — but don't get it twisted, because they had major artists proceeding them: ONE DIRECTION (love), Ed, The 1975, Rita Ora, Kings of Leon, Bastille... Calvin Harris, and my girl Lily Allen.

By the way, if you haven't get Sheezus - one of my favorite albums this year. L8 COMMR is my top pick. I used it in my reel! And if you haven't had a chance to see her live, you'll be able to watch one of her shows online, tomorrow, September 13th. Lils really bring it out on stage... it's hard not to love her. I know she had some drama back in the day with the tabloids, but she's uber talented. (That's the end of my LA PSA.)

Back to Big Weekend: we should have seen the "In New Music We Trust" stage lineup. London Grammar, Clean Bandit, XO, Kasabian, The Kooks; Lorde. I wouldn't want to miss any of these acts. Phenomenal.

I know that Coachella and other U.S. fests are great because there's a wide array of music with hundreds of artists and bands, but it's rare that I see a lineup and start strategizing how to see every band that performs.

iTunes Festival
I'm shocked that iTunes Festival didn't make it's US debut until this year. Over in London, this is a month-long music festival. HELLO? One month for one festival. I would be exhausted, as I would be depraved of all sleep, and probably broke from taking off work and spending all my money tickets.

Held in Camden Town, the festival is this month — September. Each day, 2-3 artists or bands perform.

Here's a look at a few dates — this is an amazing lineup. David Guetta, Jessie J, Rudimental, PLACEBO — I'm getting flashbacks of high school just looking at the name. David Gray, Foy Vance and Lenny "Cinna" Kravitz.

Additionally, what's awesome about this festival is that you can watch it online, should you not be able to attend. (Might help with that bank account situation.) And because it's streaming through iTunes, you know it's going to be better than the bush league antics other stations have set up.

V Festival
V in V festival standards for Virgin Media, aka the mecca in terms of music and flying. This festival just went down in August and the one feature of this fest that separates it from most is that it's held in two different parks. So one bill plays one park on Saturday, when swaps with the other bill for Sunday.

The 18-year-old event has five stages, and Virgin Media has partnered with MTV on this one, giving them not only a stage but also the accessability to broadcast the lineup. This festival is known to be way more commercial than the others, but who cares! They can be. They've got Justin Timberlake and The Killers headlining.

Lily, Ed, Rudimental and Sam (the festival darlings) all performed as well.

I'd say Glastonbury is most on par with US festivals. Tons of tents and stages, so if you're not interested in seeing a band, you can head over for some DJ action. People camp out. It's a spectacle.

Originally a blues festival that launched the day after Jimi Hendrix died, this festival encompasses all kinds of music: EDM, pop, alternative, rap, etc. In addition to all of the music you can consume, the festival is chock full of art installations, too.

Which ones did I miss? Let me know!

Thanks to my friends at Yahoo! Live for sponsoring this post. 

Sep 9, 2014

Things You've Got to Stop Doing on the Plane (Plane Etiquette)

"One reveals thy true self during air travel."

(I made that one up.)

But isn't it the truth? When it comes to finding "the one," many say to take trips that require flights so you can see if your significant other can really hack it. Nothing like high altitudes, screaming babies and delayed flights to prove if it's true love or not.

 I've gotten flying down to a science, so my experiences are relatively stress-free. However, that doesn't mean there aren't loads of imbeciles that plague the flying experience. And now, apparently "Air Rage" is a thing. I believe it. I've seen perfectly sane, tactful men and women turn into bona fide psychopaths on airplanes.

Perhaps we can eradicate random acts of insanity and keep the peace if we can we all agree that these things need to stop happening. Immediately.

1. Moving excessively.
I know this sounds a little strict, but all you should be doing is sitting in your seat. That's it. Novel concept, right? Pull out your computer, take a nap — whatever. Don't start aggressively pressing the touch-screen in front of you. Don't turn around and talk to your friends in the row behind you. Because regardless of if you're bothering the people immediately to the front of you or beside you, wiggling affects the rows around you, too. Just sit down already!

2. Not waiting your turn.
This peeves me more than anything else. There's a reason why there are numbered rows and aisles:
A) To stop the chaos when it comes to taking your seat and
B) To allow a safe, orderly exit from the plane.

If you are in the row behind me, do not try to squeeze in front of me once we land and the seat belt sign turns off. I am in front of you, therefore, you shall wait for me to gather my things and let exit the plane in peace. Just because you were in Group 1 onto the plane doesn't mean you're in Group 1 off. If you are in the back, sorry about it, but you get to wait until the rows ahead of you clear.

There are so many times that I'm on a flight and people from the back of the plane start stampeding towards the front. In one case, a family was going to miss a connection, so some people in front of us let them through as a courtesy and because they're human beings with beating hearts. But this caused the domino effect, and soon almost everyone from the back was trying to bypass us. I finally stood in the middle of the aisle to block the flow of traffic, let the people in front of me gather their belongings, and then exited myself. Is it that hard to wait your turn? Didn't wear learn these manners during our formative years?

Just stop.
3. Asking for the window seat.
Just don't, unless you're offering a better option. (Which, in this case, would be an aisle seat towards the front of the plane of something in first class.) Chances are, the person you're asking paid extra money for the window, or got lucky. They want to stay there. If you ask to switch seats because you have a small child, I would understand, but only if that small child was separated from you originally.

I watched a woman ask a passenger to take her middle seat across the row so she could sit next to her friend, taking the window seat. The woman obliged begrudgingly — and I would too.

4. Hot foods.
I don't want to smell Schlotzky's or pulled pork for the duration of my flight.

5. Taking over the row.
If you're in the middle seat, you have to be observant of those beside you. Just because you're stuck in the middle doesn't give you the freedom sprawl out...

And with all of these commandments followed, flying should be friendly as can be.

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