Reporting on Eid Festival for Winkball

Early in July, I covered Eid Festival for Winkball, an online reporter network that focuses on culture in London.

The festival was an incredible event; one filled with talented musicians from all over the world highlighting the diversity of Muslim culture. Breakdancers and beatboxers performed and thriving food stalls hosted rich traditional flavours which wafted through Trafalgar Square with delight. Not only was the event highlighting the platform of music and food in the Muslim world, but it encouraged art and theatre too, paying homage to incredible artists and supporting wonderful work of creators and visionaries.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the genius behind “Hats of Faith“, a children’s story tale of the various religious hats that people wear. I find it such an enlightening and wonderful concept which can highlight to other’s the vast amount of culture in the world, supporting and uniting each other’s differences.

I also spoke to Rachel Gasden, a disabled artist who grew up in the Middle East (and like me struggles with this unusual heritage bubble) who uses performative elements in her pieces to help drive her work.

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to the Sudanese artist Rasha, who experiments with all aspects of Sudanese styles of music and creates anecdotes from all over Sudan. I spoke to Maya Youssef on her inspirational courage and bravery to learn and play the Kanun, a challenging 78 string instrument. As well as the band Oxford Maqam, who mostly research and improvise 19th century works to create their own version with a unique modern twist, and the band Hawidro, who blend a fusion of Egyptian and Arabic sounds.

The 2 minute edit of the event can be seen here:

 

Freeze Festival

In 2009 I went to London’s Freeze Festival at Battersea power station, which is a three day event in the midst of the power station, immersed with the eclectic feel of being on a mountain in a ski resort. This dynamic festival combines professionals on boards doing magnificent jumps and twists on a massive ski jump, bars and shops adorned with plush mountain lodge furniture, a variety of stages with fantastic artists and a cinema showing snow related films.

This festival is a hidden gem in the hustle and bustle of London city life and I would advise you all to visit, as this event serves as a gentle reminder that the nail bitingly cold winter months can actually be fun. It is a must visit for any who have a chalet in Val d’Isere, Whistler or Vermont, those who ski, board or just like to party apres ski style. In contrast to most festivals, here more is less. Make sure you drag your Roxy gear or furred gloves out from the back of the wardrobe for this one, I am sure here you can meet and mingle with potential skiing partners.

Grabbing a baileys and hot chocolate or iced shots of jager you can watch a variety of great artists at a number of different locations at the festival. The year we went, my friends and I saw Orbital, who I had never heard or seen of before. Seeing a pair of torch light glasses stare back at me on a dark staging, I was bemused and thought back to my GCSE Drama performance. Although at first a little odd, this made me really listen to the music that they played, which in turn, made me fully appreciate their performance. Looks can be deceiving, and after my first impression, I was blown away by their music which combined acid house, electronica, rave and mega techno, and quickly became a fan. After their set we saw Pendulum play, who are an Australian band that unusually, combined rock music and elements of jungle with drum and bass (and did it well). Being an avid fan of their music, we saw them at the barrier whilst being crushed by the mosh pit behind us and enjoyed every uncomfortable minute of it.

My favourite track of theirs:

 

Parklife

Parklife is a festival set in Manchester and has boomed in size and popularity. Tickets sell like hotcakes and an organised mentality is one to have for this event. Although a day festival set over a weekend in early June, the organisers of Parklife continuously push creative boundaries with interesting ideas for staging and small quirky details to make this festival more than the average day festival, such as Wireless or Magic Summer Live. With a stage in a tree top, circus performers and large letters of Parklife scattered over the festival, features such as these are shown in various pictures on Facebook accounts as evidence of a great time had here.

Whilst I was studying at University up in Manchester I attended this festival (as did most of the university students there) two years in a row. I saw a number of fantastic people; Disclosure, Fred V, Iggy Azalea, High Contrast, Annie Mac, Snoop Dogg, Jurassic 5, Sbtrkt, Bastille, Soul II Soul, to name a few. And each year I paid an extortionate amount of money to ride the Ferris wheel, which is worth it to see the vast number of people at the event crawling below as if like ants. Timed well this view is perfect over the sunset. There are the usual festival rides there as well as a log flume, although Parklife was and will be the last time I go on one of them!

One thing that really let down the festival was its transport. It seems it is organised going to the festival but coming back it is an absolute shambles. The first year in no way whatsoever were the organisers prepared for the number of people who attended. You had to fight for buses (even in the city centre there were no way near enough buses running through the night meaning half of the festival walking around the city) and there was one taxi queue with a four hour wait. This year things were a little more organised but it seems that the organisers need to be more prepared for future years because this festival will just grow bigger and bigger.

Parklife is a fantastic day festival if you live up North and want to see a variety of acts from the genres of pop, R n B , house and D n B with a young crowd. Although if you are looking for something more unique, this isn’t the place. A young crowd attends this festival, punters seem to go with the “less is more” attitude to clothing and fights are beginning to happen more frequently every year. This festival is a great one to go to if you need a short day of escapism or are a young Manchester resident, although I wouldn’t attend this festival if you have a specific taste in music or don’t understand the concept of YOLO.