Latitude Festival 2016

Unlike the poor Glasto crowd, Latitude 2016 attendees were blessed with brilliant British sunshine for the 2016 edition of the festival. Henham Park in Suffolk was looking its finest for the 11th year of Latitude, a festival which celebrates the best music, comedy, dance, theatre, film, cabaret, science, art and poetry.

Latitude Festival 2016Latitude Festival 2016

We lugged our tents, sleeping bags and provisions to the campsite, enviably passing the charming field of striped boutique tents. Thanks to my convenient pop-up tent, it took a matter of minutes to set up my little temporary home.

Latitude Festival 2016

It is impossible not to smile walking through the Latitude entrance gates, the cheerful neon pink sheep greet you as you walk over the bridge into a fairground of activities, food stalls and stages and tented arenas.

Latitude Festival 2016Latitude Festival 2016

French band Christine and the Queens performed on the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage on Friday, and was a real highlight for me. She mesmerised the enthusiastic audience with her unique dance routines and catchy pop tunes. Grimes performed a triumphant set on this stage too with her inimitable sound and impressive vocals.

Latitude Festival 2016

On the main stage headliners included The Maccabees, The National and New Order, who each illustrated the variety and range of their music with long 90 minute sets. The music didn’t cease till 3am and I had great fun dancing along to rave karaoke in the Cabaret tent.

Latitude Festival 2016

The comedy tent was always busy, despite the great weather, and was jolly and rumbling with laughter. On Saturday I watched Joe Lycett perform a wonderfully risqué set, walking amongst the audience and picking out people to victimise to rapturous applause.

Latitude Festival 2016Latitude Festival 2016

It is difficult to eat badly at Latitude with the huge variety of delicious cuisines dotted around the fields. I was delighted to discover Blixen were setting up a temporary restaurant serving indulgent brunch classics, filling lunch plates, dinner feasts, great coffee and cocktails. I popped over for an exotic juice, strong coffee and stack of waffles with fruit on the Sunday morning. It was as tasty as it looked, and definitely made me forget I was eating at a festival. Good and Proper Tea Co are one of my go-to breakfast cafes in London so I was glad to wake up in the morning with their fragrant brew and a cheesy marmite crumpet.

Latitude Festival 2016Latitude Festival 2016

Other foodie favourites at the festival included rich and creamy ‘Don Macaroni’ from Anna Mae’s truck, and the amazingly inventive Pan-n-Ice ice-creams, which I’m hoping will make an appearance in London soon.

Latitude Festival 2016Latitude Festival 2016

It is rare to find a festival with such a variety of acts and talents, Latitude caters to creative people of all ages and interests, a cultural weekend unlike any other.

More information on Latitude Festival 2016 here.

Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled to Latitude Festival with Abellio Greater Anglia trains, London Liverpool Street to Diss.

Abellio Greater Anglia offers Advanced Fares from just £9 one way. If you travel on the day for that last minute day out, you can still purchase a great value Off-Peak return ticket, and children aged between five and 15 also travel for just £2 (£2 tickets only available to purchase at the station). See www.abelliogreateranglia.co.uk for more information.

Barbu, Southbank

Every summer merriment and circus talent arrives on the Southbank to contribute to the weird and wonderful Wonderland programme. This year Cirque Alfonse from Montreal presents a wacky show which explores the origins of circus performing and curious eccentricities.

Barbu on Southbank

The company describe Barbu as ‘Electro trad cabaret’, a show which combines dry humour with astonishing circus performances. The cast is made up of four bearded men, two strong and flexible ladies and (a rather unnecessary) older man, used as the brunt of many of the show’s jokes.

Barbu which translates to ‘bearded’ is a patchwork of acts, which the team perform on a small circular stage surrounded by audience. It is a petite platform for many of the tricky routines, whether its on roller skates, precariously balanced human towers or aerial acrobatics. Sitting alarmingly close to the performers I often felt we, as the audience, could be most at risk of an act toppling over the edge of the stage.

There are some motifs in the show, which I just didn’t get. A hamster is a recurring theme, carrying around the stage frequently for no reason I could understand. And nudity plays an irrelevant and unfunny part in the storyline. Despite this I found circus performances exhilarating and exciting, especially with the feel-good accompaniment from the live on stage band.

Barbu runs at London Wonderland until 25 September, book tickets here.

Things to do Las Vegas

vegas

It is easy to feel acquainted with Las Vegas; the neon city so often depicted in films and TV shows. But nothing could prepare me for the reality of this money-driven, party town in the middle of the desert. A dream world of lights, music, drink and gambling… It is easy to get caught up in the seedy glamour of it all, but once you examine the culture under the surface, there are some exciting places to discover.

To Stay

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas – There are plenty of five star hotels in Vegas, but the Mandarin Oriental is in a league of its own. Focusing on beautiful design, ultimate luxury and the highest level of service, it is a temple of sophistication to return to after a night out on the town.

To Eat

Hakkasan – If you walk through the doors of a Hakkasan restaurant, anywhere in the world, you are guaranteed a great meal and this branch of the fine dining Cantonese chain is no different. Enjoy the glamorous venue, sip on a strong Buddha’s Palm cocktail and don’t miss the signature Crispy Duck Salad. Upstairs is one of the Strip’s most exclusive nightclubs.

In’n’Out Burger – This Californian burger chain is renowned for its super cheap, but delicious burgers. Customise your burger or pick from the not-so-secret menu, my favourite was the ‘animal style’ burger (additional thousand island spread, mustard grilled patty, grilled onions and extra pickles). Fresh, fast, food that is perfect at the end of a night (especially if you’ve lost all your money gambling!)

Luv-it Frozen Custard – If you didn’t know where to look you would miss this cute retro frozen custard vendor. A tiny hut in a car park, it is a favourite with locals who line up at the window for the delicious sundaes. I tried the pecan-flavoured custard with caramel sauce and pecan chunks.

To Drink

Commonwealth – An atmospheric prohibition style bar in downtown Las Vegas. Choose from the main bar with live music, the breezy rooftop or text a secret number and try to find your way inside the Laundry Room, a secret backroom speakeasy. Expert mixologist, Dan, will make you a classic or conjure up a unique recipe to suit your tastes. We tried immaculately made Clover Clubs and Old Fashioned cocktails before letting Dan loose to create original concoctions for us to enjoy.

To Do

High Roller at The Linq –As the tallest observatory in the world at 550 feet, this wheel offers the best panoramic views of Vegas. It takes 30 minutes to take one round trip, and many say dusk offers the best views of the illuminated strip.

Neon Museum – Neon lights have been the life and soul of Las Vegas since the birth of the city in 1905. The Neon Museum holds a remarkable collection of old disused signs from the last hundred years. Tours run every 30 minutess and cost $18 (or $25 for the nighttime tour) but make sure you book in advance, as it can get extremely popular. My tour guide was the hugely informative Mitch, who gave the group a thorough history lesson on Vegas, explaining the magical signs from downtown casinos, motels, restaurants, small businesses and the strip.

Mystère – Mystère was the first show to arrive in Las Vegas in 1993. 22 years and 10,000+ performances later this magical show is still considered by many to be the best show to see in Las Vegas. With a host of circus acrobats, comical clowns and group acts, the 90-minute show is awe-inspiring and entertaining from start to finish.

Eiffel Tower Experience at Paris – A half height replica of the original, travel up in the 90 second lift to the top and admire the 360 degree cityscape below.

Gamble at Casino Royale – You can’t leave Vegas without trying your luck at the tables. Avoid the expense of the prestigious hotel casinos and visit Casino Royale, the only place on the strip with a $5 minimum on blackjack and $1 chips on Roulette… I lost 3 times in a row on black!

To Shop

Vintage Vegas Antiques – Pick up a little piece of Vegas history at this retro memorabilia shop. I bought a pack of old casino cards for $3 from renowned strip hotel and casino, Imperial Palace. You can also buy old neon signs here.

To See

Fabulous Las Vegas Sign – Commissioned in 1952 and created by Betty Willis, this iconic welcome sign is your first glimpse of neon splendor as you drive into Vegas. There is a handy car park so you can grab a photo along with all the other tourists.

Graceland Chapel – For the ultimate rock’n’roll wedding head to Graceland Chapel where couples can pay for a marriage on the spot. For an extra special ceremony, an Elvis impersonator will escort the bride down the aisle and serenade you with some of his most famous hits.

Guardian Angel Cathedral – The perfect place to repent your gambling sins. This striking cathedral was designed by architect Paul Revere Williams, who also created homes for stars such as Frank Sinatra. I loved the unique and colourful fresco on the exterior of the building. When I visited the church it was completely empty and hauntingly beautiful.

Casino Displays – The top casinos on the strip offer elaborate shows to entice the visitors in to bet. Don’t miss the exploding volcano at The Mirage and the beautifully choreographed fountain display at The Bellagio.