London dishes up some pretty amazing weekends but we are still recovering from the last one! We are in the middle of a heatwave with temperatures nudging 30 degrees (or 86 degrees) so all the outdoor events are thanking their lucky stars the rain has stopped – for now at least.
Last weekend was my big chance to spend 2 days in Hyde Park at the British Summer Time festival and follow that with a day in the gardens of Buckingham Palace for the Coronation festival. I was excited about both and rightly so.
Firstly, Hyde Park. We had 2 days of tickets and despite cancellations from Elton John and Tom Odell, it was a treat and luckily I live a short walk away so could stroll home afterwards as 60,000 people headed for the tube stations! But really it was all about the Rolling Stones, truly great stars of the pop and rock world.
A huge area of Hyde Park was sectioned off for the festival and for the most part there was plenty of space to wander around in and enjoy everything on offer: the top end food suppliers, the several stages, the excellent and plentiful toilets (always a bonus!) and, the themed areas where were were entertained between bands. We even saw a preview of the Notting Hill carnival and felt we were in Mexico by the brightly painted cantinas!
Elvis Costello was the star of the day with a storming set played at such a pace it seemed he was desperate to play every song he had for us – great fun! Hit after hit rolled by and we even sang happy birthday with him to his mother!
Ray Davies headlined the day and although we thought Elvis Costello should have been awarded that slot, it was a bit strange anyway as Elton John should have been doing his thing there until appendicitis hit him hard.
Day two was really all about the Rolling Stones and the place was absolutely mobbed from the start – such a different feel from the laid back atmosphere of day before. We were squashed into a small spot for most of the afternoon and very disappointed that Tom Odell came down with a chest infection – what is it about these music guys!! Even more squashing later in 30 degree heat and I was beginning to wonder if it was all worth it and then the sounds went up, the lights came on and ‘Start Me Up’ hit us. For the next 2 hours I was entranced by the phenomenon that is the Rolling Stones. I’ve never seen them so this was my big chance to find out what the fuss was all about and they did not disappoint. I swear Mick Jagger has stolen the body of a thirty year old and stuck his head on top! The energy and swagger were all there. They played all the big numbers and I loved it all. Here are a few photos to give you an idea of our evening of the Stones:
We were exhausted but the next day saw a complete change of pace as Sunday morning we headed off to Buckingham Palace for the Coronation Festival. The Queen opened up her gardens to the ‘warrant holders’ who are the suppliers who hold the ‘By Appointment to…’ badge as they supply a member of the royal family with goods or services. It was all very tasteful and tasty with lots of samples to try out from new Pimm’s to earl grey biscuits, through loads of whiskeys, gins and tarts, chocolates…… you get the picture. The palace looked great as we arrived although the big stage for the evening concerts obscured the magnificent rear facade. There was plenty to keep us entertained once we’d hoovered up the food and drink including an unexpectedly lovely performance by the National Youth Ballet of scenes from Alice in Wonderland with brilliant costumes and dancing – what a treat. We saw the Queen’s rose, coronation benches, a fashion show and a great new singer and explored the spacious gardens at leisure before heading home again.
Bye for now,