We show you some of the capital’s biggest events of the summer, but also the more unusual and quirky festivals.
The British have a strange concept of ‘enjoyment’ when it comes to the summer. Festivals see thousands descend upon various fields around the UK where, under a comforting blanket of cloud and refreshing showers of lukewarm rain, they enjoy some of the world’s best music. It suits some.
And London is no different, thankfully. This summer, we’ll witness an enormous variety of music, books, art and general “we’ve got some pretty great culture”ness.
The world’s greatest classical music festival returns to the Royal Albert Hall for another season of grand and absorbing compositional wonder. There’s the usual selection of crowd-pleasers such as Beethoven (symphonies 5 and 9) and Bach (the Well-Tempered Clavier), but this year has a particular Russian focus as part of a broader cultural recognition of the anniversary of 1917, with all four of Rachmaninov’s piano concertos. An institution in itself, this is one not to miss whether you’re a seasoned prommer or listening for the first time. The Proms run throughout summer, with standing tickets always available on the door.
The artiest festival taking place this summer sees the capital transformed for over a week of art, design, and creativity throughout London. Big-hitting institutions such as the V&A are involved in the London Design Festival with a range of exhibits, alongside showcases of the work of new and upcoming designers such as O&A Design, based in Chancery Lane. Individual artists are also featured, such as David Elia, a Brazilian-based designer presenting how cultural fusion has inspired his sumptuous furniture.
For something more quirky, you can find everything film-related (and we do mean everything) in east London this summer. Premieres, pop-up screenings, interactive exhibits and masterclasses, it’s not hard to see why the East End Film Festival is now one of the UK’s largest film festivals. In particular, the organisers have framed the event to focus on first- and second-time directors, so there will be a lot of new (and experimental) features being shown – all the more reason to see the future hits, before anyone else.
Now in its fourth year, We A FSTVL is a recent addition to the UK scene but continues to go from strength to strength. The Upminster -based electronic dance festival will provide an exhilarating start to the summer, taking place over the May bank holiday weekend (27-28th May). This year they’ve even bringing in camping to add more of a ‘real’ festival vibe you can reach by tube.
Line-up includes: Dizzee Rascal, De La Swing, Basement Jaxx, Duke Dumont