Best International Festivals of 2015

No tickets to Burning Man? We’ve compiled a winning list of alternative international festivals.

By Slava T Gordon

It is not just a hint of spring that is fresh in the air this week. In an alarming number of spandex-loving households around the world a real panic is setting in. We are referring to that sinking feeling when you realise that you and many of your favourite miscreants failed to secure tickets to Burning Man 2015. As the festival grows in popularity, without being able to scale-up to Glastonbury-style proportions, this problem is bound to compound each year.

Fortunately, it is nearly impossible to go to Burning Man and return to the ‘default’ world untouched (watch out for gropers… just kidding) and unmoved (watch out for epiphanies). Its impact is evident in the diverse and exciting Regional Burns that are springing up in an ever-increasing number of locations around the globe. Burning Man culture is spreading its influence and ethos like a gloriously shimmering, neon art-seeking virus.

anThis is not, however, to belittle the scab of your FOMO (fear of missing out). Your forthcoming 2015 Playa absenteeism may be due to a lack of tickets. Or perhaps you feel you have ‘graduated’ from the Black Rock Desert experience. Whatever the reason, now is the right time to be in your particular predicament. In your hands you hold the guide to the best and the brightest international festivals the world has to offer.

There is a global smorgasbord of funk and adventure on offer this year, at radical hotspots where participation and self-reliance are equally highly prized. So kick back, don something outrageous and take a deep breath… Crisis averted! All that is left is to make sure you order the right amount of Faust’s Potions natural hangover cures, to fuel and sustain your insatiable festival appetite all summer long. Game on!

 

Transahara 

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When: 8 – 12 April

Where: Morocco

Who: World-class line-up featuring full range of electronic music.

What: Calling all electronic-music-loving-extreme-adventurers who yearn to make love to the dust! 2015 is your last chance to enjoy the unparalleled experience that is Transahara. The organizers are claiming this to be the final chapter in the odyssey of their unique blend of breath-taking landscape and soul-shaking sound systems – or is it soul-shaking landscape and breath-taking sound systems? Both apply. Set in an undisclosed location in the Moroccan Sahara, the dancing, camping and art all take place for 4 days amidst dramatic sand dunes. This event attracts only the boldest and most intrepid souls on the festival scene. Transahara is one of the most ambitious festivals taking place this year.

Get in the Mood: Check out The Hedonist’s in-depth conversation with Transahara founder Abdou Elouali.

 

AfrikaBurn

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When: 27 April – 3 May

Where: Tankwa Karoo National Park, South Africa

Who: Open-source. Participant generated content.

What: With an equally stunning, brutal and remote desert location, AfrikaBurn is the closest you can get to the Burning Man experience outside of Nevada. As an official Regional Burn, all 10 Guiding Principles are abided by, including ‘decommodification’. This means that no money changes hands once you arrive. Be sure to pack everything you need to stay alive and thrive in order to have the best week of your life. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and perform. There are also a number of art grants available to support creative projects.

Get in the Mood: MORE THAN FOOD have created A Review Through the Lens of Instagram to inspire your trip. 

 

Lightning In A Bottle

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When: 21 -25 May

Where: San Antonio Recreation Area Bradley, California

Who: Flume, SBTRKT, RL Grime, ODESZA, GRiZ, Tycho, John Digweed, Panda Bear, Wolf + Lamb, Shaun Reeves.

What: LIB is the perfect festival for eco-conscious electronic music connoisseurs. If you have been to Coachella you have probably already encountered the Do Lab stage. Their jaw-dropping large-scale sculptures, pounding bass and fully immersive experience are often cited as being the best thing about Coachella. You may not have been aware that these Burning Man veterans host their own music and arts festival, but now you know, and it is a visual and sonic stunner. With an ethos as strong as their musical line-up, LIB is the only US festival to win the prestigious ‘Outstanding Award’ in each of the 5 years A Greener Festival has been running the scheme. None of the green-goodness gets in the way of fun and games. Rather, it creates an evolved playground where one feels safe to push the boundaries to their outer limits. In addition to a healthy portion of earth-shaking beats, there is a teeming buffet of workshops of offer.

Get in the Mood: The wonderful people at Locale Magazine have put together a complete list of everything you need to know about LIB including a playlist of music videos from the headliners.

 

Meadows In Mountains 

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When: 12 -14 June

Where: Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria

Who: Albrecht Wassersleben, Mo Kolours, Beat Pete, Binh, Brand New Wayo, Bruni Schmidt, DNR Viny + more TBA.

What: Truly a family affair, MITM is an intimate gathering of 1000 kindred spirits, started by two brothers on their mum’s retirement farm, situated in a lush and ethereal Bulgarian setting above the clouds. If you value Burning Man as your spiritual home but for whatever reason find yourself unable to make the pilgrimage this year, we urge you to reroute yourself to Bulgaria. A ‘leave no trace’ event, this team practices what they preach – all areas of the festival are immaculate and litter is unheard of. All the stages are constructed from locally sourced timber with limited plastic use across the site. In addition to camping there is on-site accommodation in the farm’s own abandoned village. Great find Mum!

Get in the Mood: Read this great review of last year’s festival by Meoko.

 

Þjóðhátíð (Festival of the people), Westman Islands Festival

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When: 31 July – 3 August

Where: Westman Islands, Iceland

Who: John Grant, Quarashi, Skítamðrall Jonas Sig, Mammút, Kaleo, Jðn Jðnsson, Sálin Hans Jðns Mins.

What: Going strong since 1859, this is the longest running and most unique festival on our list, Þjóðhátíð is located on a remote island created by a volcanic eruption. This Icelandic festival is known for its jovial atmosphere. Locals pitch tents on the beautiful shoreline and offer a warm welcome. Expect spectacular fire displays each night. There is also opportunity to participate in native sing-alongs to the tune of copious amounts of alcohol. This is a rocking 24/7 party without much time (and limited darkness) for beauty sleep. Mischief-makers who revel in all things fluorescent will blend in perfectly. Many islanders wear day-glo fisherman’s outfits to protect themselves from the unpredictable weather. Island transport is via festively decorated communal trucks kitted out with sound systems. Make time to hangout with the hospitable natives and to sample smoked puffin, a local delicacy. You will come away having experienced the festival familiarity in an entirely new way.

Get in the Mood: Fest300 explains the history of Þjóðhátíð, and everything you need to know on getting there and back again.

 

Symbiosis Gathering – Ten Year Re:Union

symbiosis

When: 17 -20 September

Where: Woodward Reservoir, Oakdale, California

Who: TBA.

What: Large portions of the revellers at this sponsorship-free American ‘transformational’ festival have been to Burning Man – some will be heading there straight from the Burn with their impressive art pieces in tow. With mutant vehicles, all night parties, a stunning natural backdrop and fully costumed revellers it is the perfect place to soak up the vibes if you missed out on Burning Man. This may also be your last opportunity of the summer to soak up the sun and blow away any tenacious mental cobwebs. Could there be any better way to accomplish this than by rocking a mermaid tail while swanning about at Symbiosis?

Get in the Mood: Most festival goers have dreamt about creating their own ideal festival. With this simulation game you can try your hand at creating your perfect event.

 

Wonderfruit 

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When: 18 -20 December (TBC)

Where: Siam Country Club, Chonburi, Thailand

Who: TBA.

What: Last year saw the debut of Wonderfruit festival. While still too early to share line-up details, you want to keep space in your diary for this gem. Expect dancing in bikinis until dawn, mouth-watering banquets, curiosities around every corner, large-scale art installations, a fully equipped wellness area and a jam-packed schedule of stimulating programming. We are welcoming next year’s event as brilliant excuse for a winter sun seeking adventure.

Get in the Mood: Read Bane + Antiodote’s Review of Wonderfruit 2015. 

 

WITH THIS LINE UP, YOU’D BE WISE TO PURCHASE A FAUST’S ESSENTIAL TRAVEL KIT TO EASE JET LAG AND COMBAT HANGOVERS.

You might also like: The 7 Best British Festivals of 2015 – Your Summer Curated.






Hamish Guerrini on Modern Ritual

Hamish Guerrini: white rabbit, wedding bard and celebrant. Hamish explains how he uses ritual and innovation, creating magical spaces within weddings and festivals.

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By Ace Volkers

Ritual is a very important part of my life, in an entirely non spiritual sense. There’s something about framework, tradition and process that have the ability to pull me more entirely into the present. That level of focus and care is a way of being that feels like something more than just bouncing from one sensation to the next. And when those frameworks, traditions and processes are amplified and acted out in a group setting, I find that a heightened ability to connect with others and sense of euphoria normally ensues.

Role play and costume form an important part of the rituals of my summers. When my husband and I were planning our wedding last year I began by focussing on the components of those rituals, equally the symbols of our relationship. It was then that it occurred to me that ritual had always been an important part of our relationship. So many of our best adventures had been highly ceremonial. I think we got to know each other by creating the rites of our own personal belief system together, our way of being in the world with one another.

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It made perfect sense for Hamish Guerrini to marry us. Many a summer had we spent twirling around in our field-worthy regalia at the heart of his Glastonbury wonderland. I still get goosebumps when I think about the magic that he spun for us. I could go on and on, but luckily I don’t have to, because here we have Hamish Guerrini himself, in an exclusive for Bane + Antidote on the topic of ‘Modern Ritual’.

Visit Hamish’s website to learn more about his incredible work.

Tell us what you do Hamish.

I perform wedding ceremonies for couples who don’t want a church wedding, and want something alternative to a civil ceremony. My ceremonies are light, straightforward and often quite short. I recognise the need for depth and gravitas and try to hold the space with respect, but I also inject a good helping of humour to soften the corners!

What is your philosophy?

My philosophy is very much of the perennial type, embracing all religions in the belief that we all came from one place and we are all returning to that place.

How did you first become a celebrant?Phalex_0232

It was kind of by accident. I helped the mighty Druid master Ivan Macbeth construct the White Stones of Hascombe. It’s the biggest stone circle to have been constructed using the old methods since 3000 BC. My job was to entertain the 100 strong workforce and keep the spirits up with  amusing and uplifting songs! At the end of the year long process I wrote an Inauguration Ballad, then Ivan Macbeth honoured me by naming me Bardic Druid at a summer sunrise ceremony in the middle of Stonehenge. Being a Bardic Druid allows me to write poems, songs and perform ceremonies like weddings and namings.

Why do you do what you do?

I am a strong believer in the institution of marriage as a force for good in the world, and I enjoy helping couples realise their dreams.

Are all the couples you marry spiritual?

Everyone has differing spiritual thresholds. I have incorporated Catholic, Buddhist and even atheist elements into ceremonies. This diversity is not always for the couple themselves, but also for close relatives who might otherwise feel excluded or weirded out by ‘fluffy new age clap trap’!

What is ritual to you?

Ritual is the framing of a ceremony, it’s a hanger on which the deeper content is hung. I was raised by Jesuits and Benedictines who know a thing or two about ritual and I still love to go to Latin Mass and Benediction for the sheer intensity of the form and beauty of the chanting.

Phalex_0444Tell us about the importance of ritual in wedding ceremonies.

There is need for focus and theatre in any social gathering. It has a containing effect and sets people at their ease, especially when it is explained that there will be a clear beginning, middle and end.

How important is the wedding ceremony for the quality of the celebration that follows?

The ceremony sets the tone for the entire day. I bring the family and friends together, and try invoke in them the spirit of generosity and love for the two people in their midst, who are about to embark on the greatest of adventures. The most important part of the whole ceremony is the collective agreement that everyone present is gathered, not only to witness the promises made, but also to give their own vow to support and encourage the couple in sticking to their promises, come what may. It is the instigation of a new tribe.

Is there a ritual that you always use to marry people?

Phalex_0478What I tend to do is use the ancient British Druidic form, inviting the guests to form a semi-circle surrounding the couple. Then it’s time for readings, poems and songs from friends and relatives. The rings are sent around the gathered guests in a bowl of holy water, and blessings for the couple are spoken. Then the rings are exchanged, and I often ask the couple to jump over a yew staff, which represents the two individuals jumping over the hearthstone into their new home of marriage.

Do the rituals you use to marry people come from you or from the couple?

We have meetings beforehand and discuss the couple’s life together and the elements they want to include in their ceremony. I am sometimes asked to write a poem to encapsulate their story, so quite in depth research is often needed.

Phalex_0681Have you noticed a change in the way that people use ritual over the years?

Yes. More and more people have a pick’n’mix approach to religion and spirituality. I don’t see this as a disadvantage, indeed it seems to me that mankind has been picking-and-mixing since the dawn of thought. Each religion assimilates and absorbs prior ones, bringing messages and traditions forward to suit new needs. The story of the First Council of Nicaea illustrates this well.

How can people work ritual into their everyday lives?

Work, play, coffee, pubs, music, films… They can all be undertaken ritually

Is there a place for ritual within hedonism?

I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. At the rabbit hole, a venue I run at Glastonbury Festival, there is an intricate system of initiation and revelation. It’s all a part of a ritualistic theatre setting designed to deepen the festival experience, which can easily become an empty and two-dimensional hedonistic affair. Interestingly, recent archeological research has uncovered evidence of thousands of years of crowded dancing at Stonehenge. The priest and the party have always gone hand in hand it seems.

Can parties be ritualistic in themselves?

Raves, gigs, dinner parties, weddings… They all need a framework – an ordered map of spoken and unspoken rules.

If you want Hamish to marry you, visit www.hamishguerrini.co.uk.

 






The 7 Best British Festivals of 2015 – Your Summer Curated

Find your perfect summer music festival match with our essential guide to Britain’s best small and independent festivals of the year.

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Sundown over glampers. Image by Philip Volkers Photography.

By Slava T Gordon

Spring is finally in the air. The first flowers popping up all over the country means one thing of incredible importance – the festival season is nearly upon us! Festival lovers everywhere will agree, there is no place more deliciously suited to their needs than summertime in the UK. A fact that even those lucky ducklings who managed shimmy their winter away in far flung sun-kissed locales, such as Wonderfruit festival in Thailand, will confess… one of the main reasons for their flight of fancy being to ease the withdrawal pangs felt at the end of another great British summer.

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Bane + Antidote editor Alex Volkers’ reaction to the end of the festival season. Image by Philip Volkers Photography.

Each new season brings an ever-expanding list of festivals to choose from. We know you have plenty to do orchestrating your summer party schedule, without suffering the existential crisis of wondering if you’ve chosen the right mix of festivals. As professional revellers we are attuned to your dilemma. Keeping time with the offerings, we have translated undecipherable chunky beats into a list of the juiciest and most tantalising small and independent festivals on offer this summer. Armed with this guide you can spend more time rallying your favourite mischief-makers, focussing on the mayhem and completing your fancy dress inventory. When placing your seasonal bulk glitter order we encourage you to do your body (and mind!) a favour and stock up on Faust Potions too. The Recovery Pack was designed to help you maintain your shine and keep you bouncing ALL season long.

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A happy camper. Image by Philip Volkers Photography.

Shindig Weekender

Shindig Weekender

When: 23 – 25 May 2015.

Where: Near Bath.

Who: Norman Jay MBE, The Cuban Brothers, Dub Pistols – DJ, Joey Negro, A. Skillz.

What: A low-key collaboration by Bristol based Ghetto Funk and Pussyfoot. This party ‘for friends, by friends’ features a fantastic line-up chock full of big brassy beats and funky bass lines. More of a gathering than a festival there is little danger of losing your friends at this intimate event. Set in beautiful countryside near Bath there is an all-day cocktail bar, boutique camping, and a nightclub that keeps the party going until the morning sun. This year there is also a Kid’s Kingdom with daily circus shows.

Get in the Mood: The music lovers at monkeyboxing.com have compiled a ghetto funk compilation for your aural pleasure.

Red Rooster

Red Rooster

When: 5 -7 June 2015.

Where: Euston Hall, Suffolk.

Who: Kitty Daisy & Lewis, CW Stoneking, Ian Siegal, Son of Dave.

What: An immaculately curated weekend celebrating all that is great about the American South conveniently placed in an exquisite corner of Suffolk. Posse up and get down to the finest selection of roots, country, Americana, R&B and soul bands in this here land. When you’ve danced holes in your boots you can belly up to the table with your well-earned rock-and-roll swagger. Enjoy finger licking BBQ, mouth-watering gumbo, spicy wings and mac and cheese. Wash it down with a more than ample supply of American whiskey or craft cocktails (we are drooling already, do we have to wait until June?!). Late-night campfires, buskers and woodwork complete the atmosphere. If there is no room in your saddlebags due to a plethora of fancy dress there are glamping options available too.

Get in the Mood: Louder Than War offers a full rundown of last year’s festival complete with music videos.

Noisily Festival of Music and Arts

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When: 9 -12 July 2015.

Where: Coney Woods, Nosely Hall, Leicestershire.

Who: Stephan Bodzin, Grouch, Boris Brejcha, Parasense, Victor Ruiz, Joof, Loud.

What: Noisily is a godsend to dance music fans who continue to mourn the loss of the Glade Festival each July. For those who love to dance and prefer to do it non-stop and surrounded by like-minded, shiny, happy souls, then this festival has it all. Set in stunning and secluded woodlands location? Check. Under a canopy of wild psychedelic art paired with the latest in laser-light show technology? Check! Check! Featuring a stellar electronic music line-up (including the Liquid Stage), top-notch production values and a killer Function-One sound system? Check! Check! Check!

Get in the mood: England’s longest running and most comprehensive festival guide eFestivals offers a great summation of last year’s festival.

Give! 2015

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When: 17 – 20 July 2015.

Where: Stanford Hall, Leicestershire.

Who: TBA.

What: With only 750 tickets available this event is tiny by festival standards. A gathering of kindred spirits featuring all the elements of a well-produced music festival, we like to think of it as the family reunion of our dreams. Set in some of the most beautiful English countryside on the river Avon, Give! is a place for nourishing, replenishing and sharing as well as dancing to great tunes. There are plenty of options for boutique camping and a full menu of spa services. If you look pretty in pink all the better… for this year’s group photo on Saturday all revellers are encouraged dress to impress in their pinkest pink finery.

Get in the mood: Ben the Bee has curated the delectable offering that is House of Honey Radio, available 24/7.

Secret Garden Party

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When: 23 – 26 July 2015.

Where: Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire.

Who: Jungle, Cat Empire, Angus & Julia Stone, Caravan Palace, Public Service Broadcasting.

What: An eternal favourite of Bane + Antidote. Not one to rest on its well-earned laurels, Secret Garden Party finds ways to make our collective jaw drop in awe and shriek with delight year after year. Hands down it is still one of the most exquisite and magical festivals around. This year’s theme is ‘Childish Things’. The intent is to reclaim a youth that is wasted on the young. Pack your childish fantasies and your silliest mates and get ready to revel and play like it’s back in the day, when everything was new and wonder-full.

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Image by Philip Volkers Photography

Get in the Mood: Read the latest SGP line-up news by Haptic World.

 

 

 

Somersault Festival

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When: 23 – 27 July.

Where: Castle Hill Estate, North Devon.

Who: Laura Marling, Bombay Bicycle Club, Jimmy Cliff, Passenger, Crystal Fighters, Norman Jay MBE, Angus & Julia Stone.

What: From the team behind Wilderness Festival, this is the most exciting lifestyle festival that we have encountered. Billed as the summer camp for adults, this is perfect for music lovers with a taste for the outdoors, or adventurers who crave more from their time in nature. With a full menu of daytime activities there are many reasons to make sure you get a fair amount of rest. In addition to a top musical line-up you can learn surfing, rock climbing, coasteering, kayaking, rafting and mountain biking. When you’ve worn out yourself physically you can rejuvenate in the spa from Claire Hamilton the genius behind wildwellbeing. Follow that with gourmet feasts, campfires, immersive theatre and forest parties. Rinse and repeat for 5 days and you will head home knackered yet rejuvenated.

Get in the Mood: Latest news and line-up information at the comprehensive eFestivals website.

Festival Number 6

Festival Number 6

When: 3 – 6 September 2015.

Where: Portmeirion, Wales.

Who: Grace Jones, Belle & Sebastian, DJ Harvey, Kate Tempest, Young Fathers.

What: Definitely the most unique and arguably the most sophisticated UK festival this summer. With an explosion of colour and sound, Festival Number Six stages a full takeover of Britain’s only Italianate village. Festival season is a great time of year to visit the Grade II listed village of Portmeirion, Wales. You may recognize it as the location of 1960s cult TV show, The Prisoner. Featuring a full range of arts and cultural programming, multiple award-winning Festival Number Six has much going on above and beyond its incredible line up. Plus, this is the closest you will get to an authentic coastal Mediterranean experience without using your passport. In addition to the standard glamping options, early birds can secure a room in a renovated Victorian Castle. Now that’s truly Posh camping!

Get in the mood: Gigslutz offers a comprehensive review of 2014’s festival

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A summer well spent. Image by Philip Volkers Photography

 

 

March’s Punch of the Month

March is the month of St. Patrick’s, but that’s no excuse for green beer & crème-de-menthe we say. Try this sophisticated concoction instead. 

Words by Slava T Gordon. Image courtesy of Food with Legs – check out their post on this David Wondrich tipple.

emeraldBefore parading and drinking, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland begins with a Church mass to honour the national patron saint. The tradition of wearing green is relatively recent, and is purported to help the wearer avoid being seen by leprechauns, who have a nasty habit of pinching.

St. Patrick’s Day is renowned for raucous and rowdy celebrations all around the globe, making it one of our favourite national holidays here at Bane + Antidote… parades and all night drinking are never a bad thing. Chicago once went as far as dying thier river green. But for a celebration so marked by the voracity of its jubilant troops there is a marked absence of tasteful celebratory consumption on offer. Green beer, green bagels and crème-de-menthe cocktails are the norm. That is why we are bringing you this sophisticated gem of a cocktail.

Applaud your good-taste and coopted Irish heritage this March by adding The Emerald to your repertoire. This mature and spirit-forward cocktail by David Wondrich for Esquire deserves to take its place as the rightful Irish cousin of the Manhattan.

Recipe:

  • 2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • 1 ounce Italian vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Stir well with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

You’re going to need to stock up on hangover cures this month friends.

 

Win FREE Alternative Wedding Favours for Very Naughty Guests!

In celebration of the National Wedding Show, Faust’s Potions are giving away 100 vials of their
delicious natural hangover cures, complete with a deluxe gift wrapping set!

Bane + Antidote co-founder Nina Faust created Faust’s Potions out of a realisation that an adventurous spirit depends on physical and mental wellbeing before all else. The apothecary style cult-secret natural remedies that she created combat hangovers, jet lag and fatigue… making them perfect wedding favours for naughty, jet-set, fun loving guests… and unlike the proverbial sugared almond, one that will be very gladly received! In celebration of her stand at The National Wedding Show Nina is giving one lucky couple to chance to win Faust’s Potions wedding favours for all their guests.

Enter on Facebook via the link below, but make sure to share to increase your chances of winning… if you do your name will be counted an additional 5 times for each friend of yours that follows suit! Enlist friends and family to enter for you to increase your odd still further! Good luck…

Win Apothecary Style Wedding Favours For All Your Guests!

 

Win Apothecary Style Wedding Favours for All Your Guests!

Faust’s Potions are giving away 100* of their luxury hangover cures with a boutique gift wrapping set. Find out how to enter here.

*for couples with over 100 guests, a 25% discount on additional favours will be available.

POST-CARD RETAIL 2 copyBane + Antidote co-founder Nina Faust created Faust’s Potions out of a realisation that an adventurous spirit depends on physical and mental wellbeing before all else. The apothecary style cult-secret natural remedies that she created combat hangovers, jet lag and fatigue… making them the perfect addition to your weekend, wedding and festival SOS kits. Their triple function make them perfect wedding favours for naughty, fun loving guests, and one that will be gladly received. In celebration of her stand at The National Wedding Show Nina is giving one lucky couple to chance to win Faust’s Potions wedding favours for all their guests.

Enter via the link below, but make sure to share after you do to increase your chances of winning – for every friend of yours that enters after you share the link, your name will be entered an additional 5 times!

Win Apothecary Style Wedding Favours For All Your Guests!wedding party

 

In celebration of the National Wedding Show, Faust’s Potions are giving away 100 vials of their
naughty little hangover cures, complete with a deluxe gift wrapping set. 100% natural, these beautifully wrapped cult secrets get everyone talking. The magnitude of guests’ gratitude will become apparent the next morning! Show them how much you care. SHARE ON FACEBOOK TO RECEIVE EXTRA ENTRIES!

If you liked this post you might also be interested in our exclusive National Wedding Show discount and ticket offer.

How to Create a Romantic Atmosphere with Decor and Styling

Katherine Hudson of The Arabian Tent Company, the Queen of aesthetics, explains how you can stimulate the sensual with styling and decor.

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Katherine founded The Arabian Tent Company in 2004 because of her love of outdoor parties, and a wish to be able to recreate the magic of festivals at events and weddings. Her beautiful, unique designs do just that and so much more. Our favourite are the William Morris and La Rouge. Watch this video on The Life of an Arabian Tent Party to learn more.

1. How did fascination with decor and aesthetics begin?

As a child I lived in an old house, with rooms piled full of furniture my grandparents had collected.  One of my favourite things was climbing through these rooms. I was fascinated by the old faded chaise longues, rattan bed-heads, collections of truncheons, elephant feet and chests filled with tapestries… I’d carry pieces of furniture through into my own room to ‘re-style’ it regularly.  I simply loved the way you could make the space feel so different, depending on what you put in it.

2. In your opinion, what is the connection between aesthetics and mood?

There’s a huge connection between them.  We absorb the atmosphere of our surroundings, which effects the way we feel.  Just imagine standing in a brick tunnel; now lying on the grass in the park staring up at the blue sky; and now sitting at a table in your favourite restaurant… how different do you feel in each of these scenarios?!

3. Can colours and textures be aphrodisiacs?

www.lighttrick.co.ukAlthough I wouldn’t be quite as bold as to claim colours and textures can actually stimulate sexual desire, colours certainly have an effect on our brains…especially male brains!  Several studies both on humans and primates have found that the colour red worn by females makes men find them more attractive (although this doesn’t work the other way around!) and textures can certainly encourage us to be tactile…try wearing a pair of velvet leggings and see how many people ask to stroke your legs!

4. What would you say is the number one mistake people make regarding their physical surroundings when trying to create a romantic atmosphere?

Tuning in to listen to a romantic radio station, but then having to listen to the adverts in-between the music! Major buzz kill.

5. How can one create a romantic setting using aesthetics?

Think of each of the senses and ensure you’ve thoroughly tantalised it! Lighting is very important as www.lighttrick.co.ukit affects cognition and mood.  You just can’t beat candle-light (definitely no LED lighting), but ensure you’ve got enough candles – dim lighting isn’t sexy, but soft lighting is. Scented candles can stimulate senses in one. Women have been found to have a more acute sense of smell than men do. Scents like jasmine (which is said to induce euphoria), and sandalwood (which heightens sexual excitement by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system dominant during sexual arousal), and rose (an aphrodisiac for women) would all be great choices. Then ensure you’ve got tactile materials like silk or velvet around you.

6. Is a romantic atmosphere just for two or can it be used to stimulate other kinds of love and openness?

A romantic atmosphere certainly doesn’t have to be just for two, although creating one for multiple couples, like for a Valentine’s dinner party, can end up feeling clichéd and cheesy.  It’s about generating a relaxed feeling in people in order to encourage intimacy, but you do need to start with a basic level of trust within the group to begin with. It’s best not have too many people involved. So it would certainly work for a dinner party but not really for a large gathering like a wedding.

7. What is romantic for you?

Thoughtfulness. Although oysters are most definitely aphrodisiacs!

8. What are your predicted decor and styling trends for 2015?

Pops of bright colour on white/clean backgrounds will be big this year both at events and in ourDay of the Dead Shoot - weheartpictures-0113homes, as will metallic finishes and smokey glass!  Rather than large floral displays, we’ll be using statement trees and lots of green to add architectural interest and height at weddings. More herbs, berries and woodland touches such as fir-cones will be appearing instead of traditional floral displays, as ‘rustic’ is going to be a key wedding trend this year. That means lots of exposed wooden tables with benches being used in dining areas.  And lighting will be very important – LEDs are out. Warm white is in, with a revival of old fashioned Edison bulbs accented by mirrors and other eclectic objects eclectically mixed together.

9. If everyone could only have one styling item in their Valentine’s Day tool kit, what would it be?

A sumptuous large red velvet throw!

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Bane + Antidote Reviews: Wonderfruit Festival 2014

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Sunset over Wonderfruit 2014

We love festivals. We love summer. But the downside of the summer festival season is that we have to cram a year’s worth of show-pony exhibitionism and toe-tapping exuberance into just three short months. Such syrupy, highly concentrated antics require superhuman feats of stamina. And then it’s nine depressing months before your next disco unicorn reaches full-term, and after a lengthy tutu rebirthing/mending process, it can all thankfully begin again.

You can therefore imagine our excitement to learn about Wonderfruit, which took place for the first time from the 19th to the 21st December 2014. Wonderfruit festival is brainchild of the great minds behind Secret Productions (the wizards responsible for Wilderness festival), who have exported their secret formula for fun to the sunny, smiling land of Thailand. Wonderfruit is the first festival of its kind to hit South East Asia, so we were careful to manage our expectations. This was no small feat Secret Productions were attempting. There were bound to be teething problems and challenges to overcome. It is notoriously difficult for foreigners to set up projects in the region, and it must have been especially so for an innovative project such as this.

Boy were we surprised, and in the best possible way. In a nutshell, Wonderfruit was a glorious cross between Secret Garden Party and Burning Man, with a sprinkling of Wilderness’ refinement. Voila! One Wonderfruit steak well done…

Imagine a sandy lakeside beach fringed by palm trees, nestled by a tiki bar, with bikini-clad beauties dancing barefoot to a thumping sound system under thatched parasols. Imagine a badger-set reinvented, The Quarry, the funkiest, chunkiest place to dance until dawn under a stunning Andrew Cross of AN Architects bamboo superstructure, strewn with disco balls, with luxurious daybeds and hammocks under dappled shade for disco weary souls the morning after. Imagine delicious and appetizing food stalls amidst rice paddies, serving to-die-for organic coconut pancakes and the best Thai street-food around (yum), with giant tropical crickets serenading you as you dine. Imagine flamboyant naughtiness, a cabaret cocktail tent where magestic drag queens strut, Cirque du Soleil pole dancers twirl, dwarves strike a poses in wrestling outfits and kinky 1920s porn projections tie everything together. Imagine a compelling crowd consisting of young and hip Bangkok locals, a cosmopolitan Singapore and Hong Kong set, and the diehard UK loyalists for whom no time zone is too far when it comes to a party of Wonderfruit’s calibre.

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The Quarry by Andrew Cross, built using local techniques and materials

If there were teething problems, they didn’t show. We fell for everything that the Wonderfruit shmorgasbord had to offer. It was mouth-wateringly tasteful, incredibly well thought through AND there was no litter. The bar staff were competent and there was no shortage of ice (even on the Sunday morning). The portaloos were exceptionally clean and staffed by a hoard of joyfully enthusiastic ladies. And the security guards were friendly and smiling. Thai hospitality certainly makes for a refreshing variable in comparison to the shaken-warmly-by-the-throat British kind.

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Smiles and chunky tunes

Just one last gloat… to top it all off, the legendary DJ Swamy of Burning Man/Robot Heart fame created the ultimate palace of iniquity in the form of the Solar Stage, from which he proceeded to play fabulous chunky sets all weekend. Can you honestly imagine a better way to prepare for the Christmas glutfest than getting an envy-inducing tan while enthusiastically dancing all weekend in the heat, your hardest decision being whether to have another swim or a coconut and rum to cool off? We can’t. And we hope we never have to ever again.

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Delicious food

We feel privileged to have been there for the first run and are very excited to have found a midwinter solution to our annual sparkle-hibernation period. Thank goodness it’s only a skip-hop-and-jump away from our winter base in Hong Kong. But even if you’d have further to go, we thoroughly recommend the journey. The inner festie beast must be satisfied! Otherwise those first summer outings can get ugly. We know you know what we mean.

We salute you Jo Vidler, Dickie Cohen, Ben DeVere, Tess Acheson and all the Secret Production team for seeing through this vision. We thank you deeply Pete, for opening up your beautiful piece of paradise to the public and for battling the red tape and bureaucracy that must have blocked the path at every turn. Guys, we have no idea how you managed to pull this one out of the bag. But you did. And it rocked.

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Until next year… and our next Wonderfruit Festival Review!