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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sea Dance Festival in Budva, Montenegro (15th-17th July)

Friends who camp together can do anything together!

Sea Dance Festival took place at Jaz Beach in Budva, Montenegro; this was the first year EXIT decided to do a sequel festival in Montenegro to celebrate their 15 years of successfully running EXIT Festival. Which was a great way to continue the festival spirit! Throughout the time spent in Novi Sad, Serbia you already knew who was going to both festivals. You just had to see the threaded baby blue wristband with woven in white thread reading ‘Exit Adventure’ on a wrist for you to know if they were also going to the second festival.
The boys kindly packing our tent..
Jaz Beach - Budva, Montenegro

On beautiful Jaz..

The vibe at Sea Dance was so different in comparison to EXIT festival but I expected so with the change of scenery and access to a beach especially. The time we arrived I could hear Jamiroquai doing their sound check, as they were the first to headline at the three-day extravaganza at midnight. Before watching the band’s performance at the main stage we thought we would explore the Sea dance ground, which was easy to do as everything was so close to each other. Three stages were lined up on the beach the Dance, Reggae and Latin Stages. I would say I spent an equal amount of time at all of them but preferably the Reggae and Latino stage as the Latino stage was nearer restaurants whereas the Reggae stage was just simply where the tunes and vibe were! In the 30 degrees heat the dance stage it just seemed that more of a stretch and effort to go to regularly during the short stay. It wasn’t far at all but we all have our preference’s I guess. Each stage had a connecting bar that were selling a good variety of cocktails Long Island, Mojitos, you name they were all available at your request (6€ each) alongside beer and ciders. Inside the Sea dance compound that was directly behind the beach included the Cinema stage, which was a screen that showed previous Exit Festival performance.  I thought was a good idea, I heard Fatboy Slim’s set was incredible at a previous Exit so the cinema stage gave returning Exit fest people the chance to relive the past and rave to other previous Exit acts such as Snoop Dogg, DJ Frank and even a ‘the best of Exit’ edit. They also had the silent disco that was conveniently in between the chill out zone filled with colourful hammocks and dimmed lighting. On the other side of the silent disco were two to three 24-hour food stands selling pizza slices and crepes.

Even thought we had the same mobile showering and sink facilities as we did in Novi Sad, I think I preferred the one’s in Serbia, only because they had set up a reasonable amount of 30 more shower cubicles there than they did at Sea Dance, which meant there was always a morning queue to use the facilities. As for the toilet cubicles, I choose to do remember the damage of many of the ones I entered. I will never know how people manage to miss the toilet in a cubicle; surely there is not other distraction? Luckily they were cleaned out daily.

I don’t actually remember going to see a lot f the acts I was more or less just enjoying the atmosphere most of the time on the beach and camp site where I would meet other new people or have a drink up in someone’s tent before the main act. I did purposely make sure I saw Jamiroquai’s set (who remembers them!?). Their songs always remind me of my early childhood before they disappeared off music radar. I could not believe the amount of songs I had forgot about. I thought I just knew Cosmic Girl and Virtual Insanity – which I was gutted they didn’t perform. However it turned out I knew a lot more as the packed out field at the main stage sang away, I felt as if Jamourquai was a reminiscent for many people not just myself. Although I do wish Jay Kay actually finished a song, I can’t help but feel like we the audience were doing half of every song as the lead singer never got tired of pointed his microphone to the crowd.
The following night Example headlined however after keeping us waiting an hour and a half from his scheduled time ( he came on stage at 01:30am) I found I only had the patience to listen to listen to 2 of his hits, which was a shame because he has a few bangers when you think about it, But I really didn’t appreciate the wait so it was a early night for me Wednesday night/Tuesday morning? The morning on camp was interesting, as many people had mixed reviews on Example’s set. It sounded decent from my tent.
Jay Kay from Jamiroquai on the Main Stage

On our last day we jived and Zumba danced the whole day away even when the rain began to pour down. As two of the Latino dancers smartly encouraged everyone who laid on the stone like sand across from the stage to follow their moves as they instructed us in the sea before relocating in front of the stage where the DJ played and crowd continued to dance. Unfortunately I had to leave the last night early in order to catch our flight in Serbia back to the UK so I missed the last day headlining act Underworld. I loved how similar to Exit festival there was so much variety for music, I wasn’t too upset I missed the last night I think I most defiantly got my money’s worth baring in mind we bought one festival and got Sea Dance free!

Friends who camp together can do anything together!

 The fun bus!
Sea Dance Fest 2014!!

Au revoir Budva!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Exit adventure: My time in Serbia and Montenegro

Novi Sad, Serbia
I seriously do not know where to begin with this post. For those who do not know, I had spent the past 10 days (9-18 July) camping in Eastern Europe (4 nights in Novi Sad, Serbia – 2 nights in Montenegro) all in the name of a music festival! I always try not to have expectations of countries I have never visited before as it makes your travel more of an experience and you are then less prone to disappointments during la voyage. Exit festival without a doubt is the largest festival I have ever been to with 200,000 people filling Novi Sad’s Petrovaradin Fortress every night. Exit village/campsite was located just a 20-30 minute walk away from the festival venue making the walk back to camp at 6am alongside other EXIT festival goers bearable. I am so glad I camped as camping only added to the adventure.

En route to the Petrovaradin Fortress

After arriving at Belgrade airport we took the Exit Trip coach to the campsite in Novi Sad, which is a 2 hours journey from the airport. When noticing the streets and shops after we had set up our tent on camp I felt as if I had been teleported back a decade or two as many of the architecture and designs didn’t look as modern as a lot of the structures we are used to seeing do in the UK, I liked this stripped and laidback aspect of the town. During my time in Novi Sad, I found that the local people were very friendly (as well as fascinated by my complexion). They were willing to help a lot of the time even though many people spoke solely Serbian. In Serbia they use Serbian Dinars as their currency, which works out as 147.00 RSD to the British pound. We visited a Serbian bar with some German friends we met on camp before making our way to see UK act Rudimental headline the second night of the festival.  We unfortunately missed the first half of their show. I wish I got to see more of Serbia, but the honest truth is a lot of my time spent there consisted of sleeping or eating before or after 5-6 hours spent living it up at Exit fest!

Some Serbian apartments

After the 12 hour coach ride to Southeastern European country Montenegro from Novi Sad, we finally arrived in the hours of the morning around 10am and I couldn’t believe the country’s scenery of ever lasting atmospheric mountains surrounding us as we arrived at Jaz Beach, where the sequel festival Sea dance took place. After we put managed to put our tent up successfully by ourselves at the campsite, which was only a few yards away from the Sea Dance main stage. We decided to take a tour into Budva town with our newly met camping neighbours who fascinatingly were from different parts of the globe, Australia, Poland and USA. It always nice meeting people of different nationalities abroad, I find there is always a lot to converse about and you are not worrying over an awkward moment. Budva was only a 5 minute bus journey from Jaz beach costing 1 euro each way (yep – different currency here! Overall the scenery here is stunning the landscape set up almost resembled Freetown, Sierra Leone to me, with the odd dotted houses built throughout the a staggering levels of greenery before viewing mountains. Montenegro was slightly more costly than Serbia but I had predicted so as they use Euros. However I say this, we managed to find a nice family owned restaurant that were serving a 2-course meal for 6 euros. Montenegro which means ‘black mountain’ are well known for producing the fruity yet strong brandy names ‘Rakija’ which the restaurant boss generously gave us multiple dosages of on the house. Although I cute finish 1 and a half out of the three cute potion glasses they were served in. It was not a bad way at all of welcoming us to Montenegro!

Camping neighbours go out for lunch
Grape Rakija! 
Us and the lovely waiters at Pero's Restaurant, Budva Montenegro
Sea Dance Festival camp site - Budva, Montenegro


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

En route - 'The Exit Adventure'

This time tomorrow I will be on my way to Novi Sad, Serbia for EXIT Festival! (10-13th July). I'm so excited not only is this the first festival I am attending abroad, it is supposedly the best European Festival. With probably the most random and alternative line up set I have ever seen. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the musician who is very influential in my 'learning French whilst on work placement in Senegal', that is Belgium singer Stromae. I also look forward to seeing my favourite 4 piece Rudimental and many others as well as discovering new music. Inside the Exit Adventure includes believe it or not an additional 3 day festival 'Sea Dance' in neighbouring country Montenegro! This will be an adventure for sure, until my return.. photo


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Spitalfields Africa!

I recently went to the Old Spitalfields Market in London (near Liverpool Street Station) which was take-over by all things African inspired, as every stall had businesses and companies selling's different items and ideas from the motherland. There were a collections of clothing from different countries in West and South Africa. I saw trousers in alternative print and cloths from Ghana, organic tights from Kenya, African print textured cushions and other home decor as well as fashion garment and accessories, the list goes on! There was a wide range in prices throughout the market space, garments stalls were near enough similar in pricing and some stalls were even resembled in style. Saying that it was exciting to see all that was in surrounding me. The thought that I no longer have to wait until my next trip to Africa to get outfits made, it's already here in London.

*I have a minor confession, I have stupidly misplaced the business cards and contacts I collected on this day in order to mention them on this post. I will put them up as soon as I find them, hoverer in the meanwhile, if you recognise any of the following images below. Let me know and I will happily link the imagery to the brands website or social network. 

'Spitalfields Africa' takes places the last Saturday of every month. Check the Old Spitalfields Market website for more details. It goes without saying but this is most definitely a cheaper option for exotic travel and buying.

Chin Chin!

Fabric coated earrings

Prints from Ghana


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Holi Festival of Colours! 29/06/2014

Over the weekend I went to the Holi Festival of Colours at Queen Elizabeth's Olympic Park. I didn't really have a clue about which artists or DJ's were going to be there it was more of concept believe it or not, of everyone being covered in paint which sold the experience to me! (Not gonna lie).

Despite the rain in the non-existing old fashion orderly queue (there was no queue just a heap of people moving forward until we saw the entrance marquee), the rain was not going to spoil the day, as we suffered the worst of it whilst waiting to get inside the venue. Even though the entry into the festival was not as organised as it should have been, weirdly enough everything seemed to have a system of some sort once you reached the other side of the marquee and were finally inside Holi Festival! They had a setup like many theme parks/fun fairs do now. They replaced the use of money (£) with tokens, to buy whatever you please within the festival (food and drinks). As for the colour! Depending on the ticket you purchased everyone receives an average sized draw string sac in exchange for your ticket which contained 6/7 different coloured powder sachet pink, orange, purple, green you name it.

This is how the action happened, whilst in the crowd the DJ would do a 10 second countdown every hour before everyone would dash their powder in union creating a euphoric colour clashing cloud. Which looks rather cool from a bird's eye view.  Although we were throwing paint from the moment we got hold of it like many of the other festival goers as Tim Cullen, Superflu and alternative DJs performed.

Luckily for me I didn't need the toilet throughout the festival so I would be lying if I gave a review on those. But we all know festival toilets or as you can imagine are not the one. Avoid using them as long as your can!
Overall it was a fun day and an experience I wouldn't mind participating in again (maybe the original Holi Festival in India?). Your company always helps and luckily for me went two care free mademoiselles. I think everyone will know if this sort of event is for you or not just on the concept alone. I would definitely try it out, there is a first time for everything. Even if people do look at you strangely when you are leaving the festival to get on the train home. At least you are not alone!

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