(Cross post from National Theatre Wales Community)
I went to Latitude Festival 12th- 15th July. It was my first festival, and a blummin’ brilliant experience. Lots of the NTW staff gave me advice for how to survive the mudbath before I went.. I’d like to pass these nuggets of wisdom on to you all, ready for the rest of the festival season.
Now, I’m not one of those girls who is good with the outside world. I get terrible hayfever, and generally do all I can to avoid mud. I had really been avoiding festivals because of all the nature and mud and stuff, but the brilliant lineup at Latitude convinced me otherwise. So here it is, my FESTIVAL SURVIVAL GUIDE.
- Only pack what you can carry. You know how you think you’ll have an opportunity to use that hairdryer? You won’t. Take it out of the bag.
- Make friends with the people in nearby tents. We had a lovely french couple to one side, and a group of lads to the other. The lads actually helped us put up our tent, which won them brilliant brownie points. It’s nice to be nice. It’s also nice to keep and eye on other peoples stuff. Someone you don’t recognise going in a neighbours tent? Ask them who they are..
- TAKE WELLIES. and, for that matter, take some good socks. long thick ones. I raided my dads sock drawer. Dads always have sensible walking socks.
- Gaffa tape. Honestly, I used gaffa tape for so many things. hole in the tent? sorted. ripped your welly? sorted. want to string battery powered fairy lights from the top of your tent? I HAVE THE SOLUTION.
- The showers are okay. honestly. There are various strategies for coping with the communal showers. First off, if you go when they open at 6am, you will have a blissful experience, there were only about 3 other women in there when I did a 6am trip, and the whole place was a freshly cleaned mud free haven. Skip forward to 9am and the place is horrid, overcrowded and muddy. If you must go at this time, take some cheap flipflops to keep the mud off your clean feet in between the journey from the shower to where your wellies are. But really, If you’re going to shower, I advise you to get up, shower and go back to bed (stopping off for free yoghurt and granola on the way back to the tent). Benefits of showers include feeling all clean and smug when everyone else is covered in mud, a friend on the last day said “have you been here all weekend? you look so clean.” SO MUCH SMUG.
- Wet wipes and that Sanitisation Hand Gel stuff. I actually found those mini packs of 10 handwipes, shoved in my handbag incredibly useful, and Soap and Glory from boots do a really nice smelling Gel which can keep your hands clean (there weren’t any washbasins at the latitude loos, everyone used hand gel).
- Print out a schedule before you go, because the programmes cost a tenner, and are dead heavy to carry round. Clashfinder is a good place to go to see all the schedules, and decide what you want to see.
- Don’t stick to your schedule. Some of the best stuff is stumbled upon. Go for a wander, I did and I found myself in Hotel Medea in the Outdoor Theatre. Which was BRILLIANT.
- Take a portable battery charger. If you’re digitally inclined like me, and couldn’t cope with the idea of no phone for a whole 4 days, take a power block. I can recommend this one as being brilliant- it can charge two devices at once, and still has power left two weeks after the festival. Also light enough to shove in your pocket.
- Talk to people. A festival is a great place to get chatting to people, I met some brilliant folk around the theatre/poetry/cabaret tents.. and had some top tips for things to go and see.
Highlights included: Doctor Brown, Curious Directive and Hotel Medea. and a special mention should be given to Elbow’s AV designer for doing something interesting on the live videofeed to the support screens around the stage.
Do you have any top tips? Leave them below: or send me a message!
Until next time, enjoy some photos:
A terrible photo of Elbow’s Video Feed
Gorgeous Neon signs were scattered around the festival site. This was a favourite
Silly Headgear is an essential
Birdboxes with hidden projections were scattered around the forest.. lovely to stumble upon
Poetry takeaway was very popular!
All photos by KatherineJewkes on Instagram.
(Apologies for the repost, moving some stuff over from Posterous, before I close it down..)
One of the great things about running your own company, is that you can take the time to develop the things that you love. For me, one of these things is singing. My undergrad degree was in music with a primary study of voice, and post degree although I chose to study an MA in business, I still kept in touch with musical stuff- I started to have regular lessons with the Head of Voice at RADA, attended workshops, and racked up the hours in the recording studio doing voice work for various people.
With a grounding in classical technique, and a retrain into musical theatre, one of the things that I find hardest to do is to sing without really singing. It’s one of the elements of my techique which is mentioned at every singing lesson, “Katherine, stop singing please- just speak at pitch for a while”.
It’s really hard. I really love to sing long held notes. And to sing something, without the ability to hide behind a super exciting vibrato makes you feel very vunerable and exposed.
Recently I had a particularly grueling lesson. near to tears, I gulped out this.
I’ve decided that singing is easy and that not singing is much more difficult.
For want of a better place to store this, here is the first verse of ‘Home’ by Scott Alan. I have audio files of most of my lessons, with the permission of my teacher I may share some more with you all.
(Apologies if you’ve read this before, I’m moving some important things over from my Posterous blog, before I close it down..)
Over the new year, I spent some time island hopping around the Caribbean with Mamma Jewkes. Here are some things that I learnt.
1. It takes approximately 9 1/2 distracted hours on a plane to draw out and cross-stitch a mustache.
2. In September of 2004, Hurricane Ivan swept the Caribbean taking 80 per cent of Grenada’s infrastructure with it and devastating the spice and tourist industries. The world responded generously to the calamity, which killed 39 of the tiny nation’s 103,000 people and left 90 per cent of the nation’s 28,000 houses in shambles, but there is still evidence all around the island of Ivan’s impact.
3. The people of Grenada, however, are unfailingly friendly and the locals are so willing to point out the island’s great views (and the spices on sale are amazing).
4. Hemmingways, on the main street in Antigua, serves the best lobster you will ever eat. ever.
5. Fruit and Veg can be made into the most remarkable things.
6. The same goes for beach towels
7. We spent two days in La Romana, and took the time to visit a family who showed us how they grew their own spices and food in their garden. The grandfather also showed us how he rolled his own flavoured cigars. He let me take home the ones I rolled- I don’t think they were done very well..
8. We also visited a school, and learnt a little about the education system in La Romana. The kids were great, although they’re in dire need of books, pens and supplies. If anyone is interested in helping out- I’m going to be organising for a shipment to be sent over to them, any donations will be gratefully received. Here is a picture of one of the classes in the schools one and only classroom (which has to be shared between 200 kids), and a photo of Cozzie and little Tia who is modelling Mamma Jewkes’ sunhat. (Mamma actually ended up giving Cozzie that hat..)
9. When we reached Barbados, there was only one place I wanted to visit; Mount Gay Rum distillery. It didn’t disappoint. The rum is sold nearly 10% stronger here- and it tastes amazing. Ask for the bartender to mix you his favourite cocktail, it’ll be amazing.
10. One pineapple plant will only produce one pineapple. Likewise, banana trees take 2 months to mature, and 9 months to produce one ripe crop of bananas - as our guide said, ‘like a woman grows her baby’. These bananas are covered in blue bags as they grow, so as to protect them from insects and diseases. The views from the plantations are amazing.
11. New Year resolutions are best made on the beach.
12. When you’re new to a city, I recommend that you walk until you get a little bit lost and then head t’ward the dirtiest looking cafe. Ask for the local food and inevitably, you’ll eat the best food of your life. This time it was Jerk Chicken, Rice and Beans- and a homemade blend of ginger ale.
13. When it rains in the Dominican rainforest, it really, really rains. We were on a riverboat when the heavens opened, and the boat filled up with water so quickly we very nearly sank! A beach towel will not offer sufficient protection from the rain.
14. In the middle of the rainforest there is, rather inexplicably, a bar. It can be reached only by boat down the river, and there they will serve you the most potent rum punch of your life. The trip back down the river in the rain seemed worth while.
15. Pregnant lady lizards are apparently very lazy.. This one didn’t move for about 5 hours. Good for her.
16. While we were ‘trapped’ at the rainforest bar (due to the rain) one of the bar staff showed me how to make a ‘fishing bird’ out of one of the long leaves. It was as fiddly as it looks.
17. The organised snorkel trips out to the reef are ridiculously expensive- costing nearly £68 a go. Don’t bother! You can rent a snorkel set for about $15, and if you get chatting to one of the locals, they’ll probably offer to take you out to see the wrecks and the reef themselves. There I encountered a Sea Turtle I was so surpised by it that I squealed into the snorkel and swallowed a load of sea water. The turtle had no reaction.
18. The fact that your iphone doesn’t work, and there is only sporadic access to wifi is actually a liberating experience. I took my vintage fountain pen out for a whirl. Travel journal: 1, Facebook: 0.
19. Nobody looks good in a life jacket. (Especially pulling that face, Mamma!)
I’ve just got back from a few days in London, and though the weather was gorgeous, I spent most of my time in various places underground.. All of these places are amazing.. go, now!
Cellar Door is an intimate bar beneath the Aldwich in a space which was once a toilet, and is now one of my favourite places to hang out.. they have an assortment of amazingly cool performers playing each night.. my favourite being Kitty La Roar and Nick of Time, who present the KitKatCaberet every thursday night from 9pm. Have a look at them mashing up Radiohead and Sinatra below;
Located underneath the railway arches of London bridge, The Southwark Playhouse is an amazing venue, putting on some great work.. Check it out!
At Greenwich, via the (admittedly slightly smelly) foot tunnel. Your best bet is a guided tour, organised by the Brunel Engine House Museum.
Okay, so this one isn’t underground- but it is in the dark.. The USP of Dans Le Noir is that you eat your meal in complete darkness, enabling you to focus only on taste and smell. Diners start in the (well-lit) bar, and can choose from four secret, colour-coded menus: blue for fish lovers, green for vegetarians, red for meat lovers, and white for ‘chef’s surprise’. Food is served in a pitch-black dining room, where you are guided and served by blind staff. Set dinner costs £39 for 2 courses and £44 for 3 courses.
The incredibly talented Belt Up Theatre have done it again, with this stunning version of Macbeth, performed underground in the haunted Clerkenwell Prison..