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Festival Exclusive: Pack Your Attitude We’re Off To Latitude

July 17, 2012
I now know why UK music festivals are a summer highlight, rain or shine, after a weekend at Latitude Festival in Henham Park, Suffolk, with 35,000 other festival goers.
At California’s Coachella festival, all you need is sandals, a Cali cool summer outfit, and binoculars to check out all the gorgeous people. Contrastingly, at Latitude, you need wellies for the very thick and gooey mud, a waterproof jacket (rather than water-resistant as learned by yours truly), shades just in case the sun comes out, and a refreshing beverage in your hand.

3 girls, 5 pints, 6 wellies

For the real festival experience, make sure you have a VIP backstage pass (duh), so you can fist pump and strike a pose with headliner Lana Del Ray.

My buddy George teaching his muse, Lana, some new moves

You will also need bundles of Red Bull infused energy because at Latitude there is a LOT of ground to cover.

Latitude from altitude
Most festival goers camp out with the crowds – in style like this VIP tent below – ideally, not near a mud patch, which might turn into a mud lake by the end of the festival.
If you haven’t had the chance to go, you should know that Latitude lives up to its motto and is truly “more than just a music festival” – really. No matter what you fancy experiencing at a festival, Latitude has something to whet your appetite. From elaborate sand sculptures…
 … to psychedelic statues made from trees…
New accessory for your garden?

… and live rock balancing. Who knew this geological vocation existed, right?

Funky coloured sheep are sure to catch your eye as they say ‘baaaaaa’ and flock to the beat at Latitude.
I have to admit, I was a big fan of the sheep and had to pay them several visits during the festivities.
Festival chic. Festival sheep.
If you are tired of walking, why not chill out in a punt from Cambridge, and drift around the Henham Park lake?
For those less mature adults, or if you are festivaling with your kids, then I highly recommend the bubble tent. I’ve never seen such amazing bubbles before!
Fashionable festival fillies who forget a much-needed festival accessory don’t need to fret, because there are multiple pop-up shops selling bright beads, funky face paint, stylish kaftans, and flower crowns. I’ve decided festivals are one of the only circumstances when tie-dye is somewhat appropriate… but don’t get too carried away!
Stand out in the crowd with bright accessories & floral crowns
A full day of dancing to music and walking the grounds of Latitude is sure to make you work up an appetite. Although I do admit to visiting Kebabylon for a much needed kebab in the wee hours, I would highly recommend trying the ostrich burger stand, which was delicious.
Ostrich burgers: Healthy & yummy festival fuel!
It goes without saying that the real reason you go to Latitude is for the music! Take a look at this year’s line-up here. Seeing Lang Lang work his magic on the piano at the Waterfront Stage was truly incredible.
Nearby the Waterfront Stage is the Magical Lake, which is where the amazing Latitude water projection show is displayed at night. Feast your eyes on one of these floating apparitions above the lake, in my home-made video below.
There are so many different types of shows and artists at Latitude that it is hard for me to pinpoint my favourite performance. I think one of my fondest memories from the weekend was dancing at the Lake Stage to Moshi Moshi DJ with excellent company, as it started to bucket down with rain.
It was at this moment that I saw the crowd in their finest festival form – singing, dancing, and laughing… while gradually getting drenched in the pouring rain.

Strange British Traditions To Try This Summer

June 26, 2011
You know it is summer in London when glorious sunshine is suddenly replaced with a five-minute downpour, leaving you soaked & revealing more than intended in your silk summer Reiss jumpsuit. Other indicators of summer in London are the endless event opportunities to be outdoors, dress to impress, and drink refreshing pitchers of Pimms with strawberries and cream. Royal Ascot, Wimbledon, Glyndebourne, country fairs, and music festivals are the more common British summer traditions, but Blondon has discovered some of the less well-known spring and summer events that will really make you wonder what it is that makes the Brits so nuts!
 Festival friendly feather shades: a must
If you’re worried about getting too muddy at Glastonbury, then you’re probably too prissy to enter or be a spectator at the annual Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake near Gloucester in the town of Brockworth. Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling contest is a 200 year-old plus tradition that draws in spectators and contestants worldwide. Essentially, a Double Gloucester Cheese is rolled down a massive 200 yard long hill. Contestants throw themselves off a cliff chasing after the cheese and whoever crosses the finish line first wins. Sounds pretty harmless right? Guess again. Ambulances and paramedics are lined up at the finish line for a reason!
Coopers Hill in full cheese rolling glory
After countless injuries and several deaths, the annual Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling competition was called off in 2010 due to safety concerns. Did that stop this eccentric tradition? Of course not. Apparently, the event still took place without the Cheese Rolling Committee -yes, such a committee does exist! Over 500 spectators showed up for the unofficial race and six time local champion Chris Anderson won the Cheese Rolling race once again. Mark your calendar on the last Monday in May (Spring Bank holiday) next year for the opportunity to sacrifice your body and potentially your life for a Gloucester Cheese. 
A Double Gloucester Cheese: worth risking your life for?
Don’t believe such a competition exists? Watch it for yourself!

Next time you sting your leg on stinging nettle, imagine eating 26 feet of it and no, I am not referring to a cruel Fraternity initiation. Every June, the town of Marshwood in Dorset holds the annual World Nettle Eating Championship, where contestants have one hour to eat as much stinging nettle as possible. This tradition started in 1986 when two farmers discussed which of their fields had the longest stinging nettles and one farmer promised to eat any nettle which was longer than his.
Like any serious sport, there are rules at nettle eating championships. Contestants aren’t allowed to use mouth numbing substances and must eat the provided nettle rather than supply their own. If your body expells the nettle then you are automatically disqualified.
Nettle eating contests: a good way to get more than your daily dose of greens?
Contestants are encouraged to drink beer as they munch away on the piles of stinging nettle and are cheered on by a large crowd of spectators, who are known for local cheers and strange costumes. Stinging nettle not only turns your mouth jet-black but the plant is described as tasting like “a mixture of spinach and cow-pat.” Hungry yet?

Most of us can admit to playing spin the bottle at some point during middle school, but have you ever experienced bottle-kicking? Easter Monday is the blood thirsty Bottle-Kicking & Hare Pie Scramble, an annual battle between Melbourne and Hallaton, two Leicestershire villages, which is a tradition first recorded in the late 18th century. The bottle kicking event is similar to a rugby match with no rules and a lot more injuries. The object of the match is to wrestle the bottle to your village’s stream, scoring a point each time you reach one of the two brooks. The first village to score two points wins.
Let the bottle-kicking games begin!
This tradition wouldn’t be complete without 3,500 plus spectators, over 300 competitors, tons of testosterone and paramedics and ambulances at the ready once things start to get messy.
A Vintage Shot of ‘The Scramble’
To make this match between two villages even stranger, there is also a town parade where locals carry a massive hare pie, which is blessed by the vicar before it is cut apart and thrown to the crowd. Clearly this event is a great place for a first-date, since most ladies just love having hare pie thrown on them. 
A ‘hair-raising’ hare pie
After hearing about these bizarre British traditions, it made me think that American rituals like 4th of July fireworks or trick or treating are actually rather dull! You have got to admit, the Brits really know how to celebrate for the sake of celebrating. Who cares if you are violently ill from eating too much stinging nettle or lose an eye chasing a Gloucester cheese down a hill? Traditions like these are a sacred part of British culture and further validate the theory that Brits go a bit bonkers once the sun comes out. Of course another difference is that the Brits can rely on the (free) National Health Service, while Americans might be bankrupted by the medical bills caused by such exploits!