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

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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.

 

What to Do on Valentine’s Day if You’re Single

Bane + Antidote have sourced the funnest, quirkiest Valentines Day weekend events and shenanigans from around the world. Singletons say ‘no’ to misery and mediocrity – dust off your disco shoes and fly.

By Slava T Gordon

It may come as a surprise that Valentine’s Day was first associated with romantic love by comedian, playwright and founding father of the English language Geoffrey Chaucer in the Middle Ages. Whatever its origins, it has grown to become a global celebration of love, and a vital post-Christmas source of revenue for card manufacturers, confectioners and florists worldwide.

But what if you’re one of the millions of people who haven’t found ‘the one’? Or one of the thousands of people whose Facebook relationship status says, ‘It’s Complicated’? Should you lock yourself in your room shedding tears for good times past? Hell no! The world is chock full of people just like you, and they’ll all be having a splendid time, so why not join them? Your options are to join those uniting in mutual rejection of love, or those that are going out to find it. Either way it’s bound to beat a bunch petrol station flowers and a high pressure candlelit dinner.

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Still need convincing? This article will get you in the right frame of mind: Why Valentine’s Day Is Actually The Best For Single Girls (same goes for guys too).

Authors note: Whether you plan to drown your sorrows or to raise a toast to individualism, you’d be wise to stock up on hangover cures. Check out our shop for details.

 

 

 

London

1. The Artful Badger present Love & Lightning Valentines Ball at The VAULT Festival Lates 

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13th & 14th of February 2015

After the sell out success of the 2014 Art of Hearts Valentines Ball, the Artful Badger are delighted to invite you on another amorous adventure of exploding emotions and magnetic attractions. For two nights we, once again, infiltrate the tunnels below Waterloo Station as part of the Vault Festival 2015. Rooms of love and lust where wild music and passionate performances set the scene for mischief and match making. Secret rooms, stalls, games, alluring aerial, boisterous bands, provocative & punchy performances, delectable dancers and of course…a romantically rampant party!!

2. If sexy debauchery is what you are after head directly to the Library Members Club.

Hosted by MEATtransMISSION’s Radio Love, a night not to be missed with burlesque routines from House of Kittens, live painting by Alex Tzavaras, and cocktails and general misbehavior instigated by House of Wrong, ‘So wrong it’s left’.

3. You may be surprised to discover Valentine’s Day is a great day to try your hand at taxidermy.  

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Stop in at Horsely House to craft your own pair of ‘Anthropomorphic mice’ in their special Valentine’s Day workshop. ‘All equipment and ethically sourced animals provided. After this 5 hour class you will leave with your own pair of romantically entwined mice‘. Yes, you did read that correctly. Read more here.

4. If you just want to dance until the sun comes up, head to one of the edgiest underground party locations in the city – Hackney Wick.

Check out Number 90 Valentines Day & Night Party – they will keep you going with great House and Techno from the Half Baked Familia, ft. Bloody Mary, Konrad Black & Geddes at Number 90 Wallis Road.

5. Friday I’m in Love sing-along club at The Phoenix 

Karaoke? Pah! That’s just for show-offs. The real fun comes from 200 souls singing as one. That’s the deal at the UK’s first ever singalong club; grab a songbook and throw your arms around your friends – or complete strangers – as you belt out hits all backed by the amazing FIIL house band. Previous special guests include comedians Al Murray, Sara Pascoe, Tim Vine and Phil Jupitus’ .

If none of the above float your boat, The Londonist has found 13 Non Clichéd Things To Do On Valentine’s Day.

 

New York

Image and text courtesy of NewYork.com’s post, 7 Unique Events at New York Museums. Read the full article for many more V Day weekend tips.

1. Missed Connections Valentine’s Day Party at New York Transit Museum

‘Everyone has had the guilty pleasure of cruising the Missed Connections section of Craigslist from time to time, whether to poke fun at other people, or in the far-fetched hope of finding love with a complete stranger from the F train. Take it a step further by attending the 5th Annual Missed Connections Valentine’s Day Party at the New York Transit Museum (Feb. 12, 6:30–8:30pm), which includes Valentine’s crafts and love poetry inspired by Missed Connections posts; tastings from NuNu Chocolates, Brooklyn Winery and Brooklyn Brewery; a photo booth; and an informative talk from OkCupid cofounder Christian Rudder. Boerum Pl. and Schermerhorn St., from $15, web.mta.info’

2. MoSex Steamy Valentine’s Weekend 2015

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‘Get steamy on Valentine’s Day at the Museum of Sex. On February 13 and 14, the museum will remain open until midnight and offer spa-themed packages featuring stimulating exhibitions, aphrodisiac cocktail “treatments” (fruit-infused vodka shooters) and the debut of the museum’s new sensual bath and body kit. 233 Fifth Ave., from $20,  museumofsex.com’

3. Sensory Tour: Valentine’s Day at Brooklyn Museum

‘Discover the power of touch on the Sensory Tour: Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14, 2:30pm) at the Brooklyn Museum, which is offered to the blind or partially sighted, or simply those who wish to expand their appreciation of art beyond sight alone. A museum guide will lead guests through exhibits by including rich verbal descriptions, interactive discussions and curated sound and tactile experiences. 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, free, brooklynmuseum.org’

4. Love Cults, Drugs and the Hypnotic Arts at Morbid Anatomy Museum

‘One thing’s for sure: Your Valentine won’t soon forget this date. On February 14 (1–4pm), the museum is hosting a Valentine’s Day Special Workshop where you and a friend can make anthropomorphic insect shadowboxes together. In the evening (8pm), Love Cults, Drugs and the Hypnotic Arts  presents sex-culture historian Mel Gordon lecturing on “the erotic procedures and shameful public exposés that transformed… American courtship habits.” The lecture is accompanied by rare film clips chosen by Gordon, who is the author of Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar BerlinMorbid Anatomy Museum, 424 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, from $20, morbidanatomymuseum.org’

 

Paris

It may be the city of romance, but even in gay Paris you still have options. Check out the following articles before resorting to a candlelit dinner pour un:

 

Los Angeles

The events and text below were taken from LA Weekly’s post, 8 Valentine’s Day Events to help you celebrate your freedom. Read the full article for loads of great ‘anti Valentine’s Day’ tips.

1. Bacari PDR’s

‘Bacari PDR’s awesomely long happy hour from 5 pm to 11 pm is the place to go if you are single and live in Playa del Rey. The anti-Valentine’s Day for singles theme has inspired $8 speciality cocktails like the “Love Me Tinder” made with a spicy infused vodka, grapefruit and lime juice, dry curacao, fallernum liqueur, and cranberry and lime bitters. All small plates (excluding seasonal menu items) will be $6. Guests can also drown their sorrows in a $20 open bar all-nighter, which includes 90 minutes of all-you-can-drink red, white and sparkling wine, sangria, and house beer. Sounds like an Uber kind of night.6805 South Vista Del Mar Lane, Playa del Rey; (310) 439-2100,bacaripdr.com’

2. Anti-Valentine’s Party at Bird’s Café/Bar

5925 Franklin Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 465-0175
Date: Feb. 14, 2015, at 8 p.m.

So, you’ve been dumped and are still licking your wounds and trying to mend your broken heart. That’s all right. Bird’s Café/Bar will enjoy embracing your woe-is-me presence on Valentine’s Day. For two decades, this neighborhood dive – known for its juicy rotisserie chicken and black-heart martinis – has thrown well-attended pity parties for down-in-the-mouth souls. You’ll get a chance to engage in some righteous voodoo-doll therapy, and listen to such tunes as “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” and “Love Stinks.” Make sure your ditching story is comfort-worthy, because door prizes will be awarded to those with some of the sappiest tales.’

 

Hong Kong

Read Quintessentially’s QInsider/HongKong article on ‘Anti-Valentine’s Day Options‘ in the city. Our favourite? Anti-Valentine’s Day at Fatty Crab.

‘Kicking proceedings off a day early, Fatty Crab celebrates single-life with its Anti-Valentine’s Day evening on Friday 13th February. Think cocktails from guest bartenders, an in-house tattoo artist and plenty of hot, hip individuals’. 

 

International

CUPID’S UNDIE RUN

Put the hilarity in charity’ in 38 international cities including New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Sydney.

‘Cupid’s Undie Run is a mile(ish) run in your bedroom-best on Valentine’s weekend. No, we’re not crazy, we’re just crazy serious about raising money for The Children’s Tumor Foundation. We raised over $2.8 Million in donations last year, so come join the fun and help us double it for 2015! Brief’ run. BIG party. Millions fundraised!”’

What is the Collective Noun for Unicorns?

Alex Volkers for Bane + Antidote reviews Morning Gloryville – the early morning rave sensation that is taking the world by storm.

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When I first heard about Morning Gloryville last year I’m afraid I got the wrong end of the stick. It must have been the effect of encountering the words ‘morning rave’ and ‘East London’ in one sentence. Clammy handed flashbacks of a base seeker’s AM adventures bowled me over, as I remembered regional treasures such as Public Life and Aquarium with the glorious trepidation of hindsight. I had shut said terms firmly in the ‘Shoreditch poser’, ‘drug haze’ and ‘awkward techno’ files of my brain. And I thought nothing more of it. Until I found myself grumpily cycling through the rain in the dark at the god-awful hour of 6am, bound for Morning Gloryville London #20, to do the research for this piece.

My reluctance doesn’t last long. Upon my rain soaked arrival I am immediately accosted by a spandex-clad wing-bearing angel, and treated to a lengthy bear hug in spite of my soggy state. This angel’s name is Sean and he is one of the Morning Angels, he proudly tells me (as he strums on his ukulele). It’s their mission to ease people into the day with joy, and send them off to work blissed out, limber and open hearted. As I stop to accept a few lashings of glitter from one of Sean’s feathered colleagues I am overtaken by someone in a dinosaur onesie. Then two strapping men clamber out of a taxi to my left. The one with a huge beard is wearing a tiny nighty. His friend is sporting a neon tutu and I suddenly realised I’ve been caught off guard; ‘painfully cool’ is nowhere in sight. This crowd seems comfortable with silly.

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As I climb the external stairs of the Oval Space the picture is familiar enough: smokers’ draped over warehouse railings that rattle to a beat from within. But as I open the doors and am blasted by a cloud of sweet chunky disco funk my face bursts with an enormous grin, and I lay my eyes the delightful reality of Morning Gloryville London. There is not a sweaty palm or shifty gaze in sight. This huge, light, airy space is teeming with bright-eyed ravers and they all appear to be having the time of their lives. They are quite literally having it. There are grannies and babies, unicorns and narwhals, fairies and Yodas, yoga bunnies and stiff shirted businessmen, all bouncing in unison to the most spectacularly chunky yet playful disco set I have ever heard. That’s Plump DJs someone tells me, rendered sublime by the empowering loved-up rhymes of MC Angel, and done justice by a surprisingly impressive sound system (authors note: it takes a lot for Bane + Antidote commend a sound system).

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Lining the walls are purveyors of all things delicious and healthy. I warm up with a free massage and yoga session. After moving on to cacao and a croissant I work my way into the tightest, sweatiest nook on the dance floor that I can find. The vibes will be optimum here. All around me random bursts of swing and breakdance erupt. This is exuberance and exhibitionism on a massive scale and there’s a cynic in me that wants to object, yet it all a strikes me as extremely genuine; infectious, in fact. The stage is crammed with an eclectic mix of beautiful weirdoes, of all shapes and sizes, in varying states of disarray. They are populated by a preponderance of unicorns and all have one thing in common – they can seriously bust a move. Surrounded as I am by 700 people who are dancing like nobody’s watching, it’s near impossible not to follow suit. As I lose myself in the delights that The Loose Cannons and DJ/unicorn Miles Metric have to offer, my thighs start to burn and the sweat pours and I’m not even high. I want to know more.

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Dajana (one of the founding team members) tells me that two years ago this was just an idea. An idea that Samantha Moyo and Nico Thoemmes came up with after searching in vein for the euphoria of a club vibe without the inextricably linked communal drug and alcohol consumption. They liked to have fun but needed to find a more sustainable way of raving. And so Morning Gloryville was born. 150 people attended the first rave, most of them Samantha and Nico’s friends, but word soon got out. The elation that the frontiersman left with was enough to light the fuse. This was something that people wanted; needed, even. And with a mentor of the calibre of Felix from Basement Jaxx behind them, it’s little surprise that things got so big so fast. Morning Gloryville now happens in over 19 cities worldwide through regional Glory Agents (Dubai was the most recent metropolis to follow suit). Each is culturally attuned – in Tokyo it’s all gym gear, Paris too.

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Morning Gloryville is clearly making waves. So much so that founder Samantha Moyo was recently asked to speak at TEDxEastend (see the talk at 1:56 here). I can see why. Over the course of two hours I have smiled and laughed more than I have all week. The sweat flows in torrents (I really went for it) and my stiff and rather intelligent looking hat (fit for journalist on assignment) has melted and now drips limply across my face alerting me to the fact that this is more exercise than I’ve had all year. I have met some wonderful people. I have reconnected with at least 5 friends I hadn’t seen in years. I’ve consumed delicious and potent snacks. And I lost myself in the music, in the movement, in the heaving throng in a way I never thought would be possible without a basic level of intoxication. But it’s more than that still. Samantha, when addressing her TEDx audience on the topic of Society Beyond Borders, really brought it home. This is about playfulness and physical connectivity. We are playful, physical creatures. And when we connect through play and physical contact all the other crap just falls away. ‘Take it with you as you go,’ a Morning Angle tinkles as she writes me a sick note for work. And I do, for a time. As my jellied legs carry me down the stairs I bump into Anneke, an old friend, now a unicorn. ‘The collective noun for unicorns is a fabulous’, she tells me, and Morning Gloryville is their heartland.

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Things to Look Out for @GloryvilleHQ: 

  • Guest DJs – on top of mind blowing residents, Morning Gloryville pulls in some serious guest jockeys. Basement Jaxx recently played to 1000.
  • Regional Morning Gloryvilles – around the world in 19 early morning raves.
  • Summer – at Morning Gloryville London there is live music and yoga on the terrace for low-key ravers.
  • SleepoversMorning Gloryville London recently held a sleepover for 150 lucky flannel clad Londoners complete with cacao ceremonies, storytelling, massages and an early morning rave.
  • The Fabulous of Unicorns – these hooves for hire are professional sparkle spreaders. Catching a glimpse of them is an auspicious happening… keep your heart open and your eyes peeled.

How I kept Dancing for 3 Hours Before Breakfast:

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With a Faust’s Awake Potion health shot.

Thanks to Nicole Cataldo-Davies for the above image of Faust’s Potions keeping in real on the dancefloor.

Thanks to Sam, Dajana, Tegan all the Morning Gloryville for making this review so much fun and for being so fabulous.

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!