Preview: BrisFest 2011

There is life after Ashton Court Festival!

Click the image to see what's on this year

 

… and with over 500 bands, DJs, comedians, cabaret acts and circus performers, her replacement is not to be sniffed at. From 23rd – 25th September Bristol is host to the third BrisFest, which will be transforming the centre into a colourful mish-mash of music, comedy, street theatre, circus and art.

 

When the Ashton Court Festival closed down in 2007, after more than 30 years trading, Bristol was bereft. Attracting around 60,000 people each year, the locally-minded event was one of the largest free festivals in the UK and the highlight of Bristol’s summer calendar.

Fortunately a group of dedicated volunteers stepped up to create an “accessible, affordable festival” which they hoped would be “an asset to the city”. BrisFest also gives back to the community in a big way, feeding Bristol’s rich music scene: industry talks and demo panels are available to which aspiring bands and DJs can bring CDs to get feedback and network. The team is even putting up the organisers of nearby festivals such as Boomtown Fair and Shambala in hotels and setting up a VIP meet-and-greet service, allowing local acts to showcase their talent and gain slots at summer festivals.

 

This year’s performers are a diverse bunch, including representatives for hip-hop, jungle, drum & bass, punk, dub and reggae: big names include Nicky Blackmarket, Congo Natty, Rodney P and Skitz, Laid Blak and First Degree Burns. If the music doesn’t grab you there’s plenty more to see and do: a wander through the festival will throw up stilt walkers, jugglers, fire shows, a silent rave and even boat parties. What’s more, the entire site has been painted head-to-toe by internationally recognised street artists and will be brought to life after dark by interactive light projections.

 

 

Tickets start from just £8 (and the boat parties from £6!), so if you’re in the area there really is no excuse not to go down and explore. If you’ve just moved here to start at University of Bristol or UWE you can consider this an induction to your new city. Welcome to Bristol.

 

For tickets and further information visit www.brisfest.co.uk.

Written by Lucy, Bristol.

What to expect for a Leeds Met Fresher

As it gets closer to Freshers week, or Re-Freshers week, the atmosphere surrounding any University is one of apprehensive suspense. For a Fresher, coming to University is one of the most terrifying, yet exciting experiences, therefore one cannot receive too much advice and information on what to expect.

Says it all really.

Firstly, always remind yourself that the majority of your fellow Freshers are in the same vulnerable ratio as yourself, and therefore why shouldn’t you be a little nervous? If you remember this, then you will find it so much easier to start a conversation with them, its just as effective as the ‘imagine the audience naked’ technique! It can be frighteningly overwhelming upon first enrolling at University, you find yourself panicking in those few weeks leading up to moving to University, and checking the post twice a day in impatient suspense for your welcome pack, but don’t worry if you still haven’t received it a week before packing up and moving, I got mine three days before I set off to University, and almost fainted in relief when I saw that beautiful purple and white envelope.The amount of paperwork they send you is borderline ridiculous, just looking at the pile almost makes me shed a tear at the thought of how many trees they had to cut down just to give you a paragraph on each separate piece of paper. Make sure you keep all these piles of papers safe however, you never know when you might need them, if just for a reference.

A bit of an overstatement of the amount of paper Uni sends.

Your Induction day is simply the staff and current students at Leeds Metropolitan University welcoming you to our family, you are provided with all the important information such as; Timetables, reading lists for your course, and your very important Carnegie Card which you will need for your library sessions, and also to gain entry to some parts of the University. You will have previously set up the information for this card online, after following the information in your welcome pack, if you haven’t already, click here set up your Campus Card now to avoid delay upon arriving at University.

An example of a Leeds Met Carnegie card

If you are feeling overwhelmingly nervous there is always someone waiting and willing to help, there is even a Buddy event in Freshers week in the Rose Bowl building of the City Campus, with free food and lots of friendly faces to talk to and ask questions it is a great reassurance for particularly nervous Freshers. To find out more about the Buddy event visit here. Family and Friends weekend is a brilliant opportunity for you to dip your toes into shallow Leeds Metropolitan waters with family and friends before starting your swim in the deep waters. There are lots of fantastic activities on such as the Leeds Met climbing wall, The Marvellous Tea Dance Company, the partnership tent, and street performers. This is also a chance for your close ones to get a feel of the place in which they are surrendering their loved one to, helping them to feel more confidant that you will enjoy yourself, and be well looked after by everyone.

The Well Fair event is an opportunity for you to register at important health facilities in Leeds, for example; Doctors, Dentists, and Opticians. Leeds Metropolitan University cares about their students health, and encourages each Fresher to make sure they have such important facilities on hand.

Then Freshers Festival begins. A personal favorite; this event is a chance to take advantage of local businesses and shops, there are so many deals, and freebies you will be blessed with, you will think you have been granted as royalty. Last years Freshers Festival even had a double-decker bus, with students being provided with free drinks and makeovers, it really is lots of fun, and not one to be missed. These events are also a chance for new students to meet people in the same position, and make many new friends. So don’t resist and take advantage of everything on offer to you, and enjoy yourself before the hard work begins!

Written by Charlotte Owen, Leeds Metropolitan University.

And where should I eat?! For the Newcastle Foodie

So you are due to arrive in this North-East city within the next couple of weeks. You are all set: you already think you know the best spots to party and are looking forward to the heaving night life scene. But have you thought about food? Of course you have, what else do students think about?

Newcastle has all the normal fast food restaurants you need for your night out, along with a massive selection of chippies and take-outs. In the city centre, you have your KFC, McDonalds and Burger King, and then the more stereotypically Northern Greggs. If you want some, ehem, local food, you can always head down to Greggs and acquire a sausage roll for a little under a pound, always making it ideal for the student budget.

But what about when you fancy someone and want to impress them, or when your parents come to visit and they say they’ll take you out to a meal, wherever you want? You can’t just mutter ‘Greggs’ at them, can you?

Here is a handy guide for some of my favourite restaurants in Newcastle. It is a surprisingly multicultural city, with China Town at the centre of it, and places scattered around everywhere.

Paprika Tandoori – Indian Takeout – Gateshead

Paprika Tandoori is located about 15 minutes away from Newcastle by bus, on Old Durham Road. Although take-out and delivery are available, this is also a small, well-lit restaurant that has recently undergone refurbishment, and the prices are reasonable. But where Paprika shines is its food and customer service: always delicious and always willing to go the extra mile.

Nudo Japanese Food – Town Centre

Nudo is a Japanese restaurant in the middle of the town centre which serves sushi and other japanese plates. The food is reasonably priced, and the concept of the place inviting and relaxed: someone will keep coming to your table to get your sushi orders, or you can order a main if you are short on time. The food is very high quality and the servers friendly and helpful, as I can attest after looking at a bottle for about 30 seconds somebody came and explained what it actually was.

Da Mimmos – Italian – Town Centre

Also located in the town centre near the comedy club, this genuine Italian restaurants offers all sorts of Italian food, from risotto to pizza. It also has very good promotions on occasionally, from 3 courses for £10 pound, making it ideal for the broke student. It has a much posher interior than its atmosphere would let you to believe, but don’t let that intimidate you! Everyone is more than welcome.

The Charles Grey – Pub Food – Town Centre

The Charles Grey is the epitome of the town centre pub, situated up four flights of steps right next to the famous Newcastle monument. It is a great pub to go have a drink at, but they also do food, and it is surprisingly nice. Their opus magnum, however, is their home-made chips, which are only available during the weekdays. They also do student discount so it isn’t painful.

If you are already in Newcastle and have some more recommendations, please do not hesitate to leave them in the comments!

Music venues in Leeds

An openly proud Gig addict, I thought it was about time I shared with The Student Channel my favourite haunts in Leeds, where you can usually find me getting my latest fix of live music, in an ecstatically dreamy state, and basically just singing and dancing along like a giggly thirteen year old high on sugar. Leeds has a brimming box full of tools enabling you to fully immerse yourself in to the music scene and become another valued note in the song of Leeds music fans.

The Cockpit

Having already previously expressed my love for The Cockpit, I can not fathom to you how important this venue is for myself, and for other fellow music fans in Leeds, knowing the importance of new music, and fresh new bands, The Cockpit is never low on baby faced, innocent acts, ready to throw themselves to the wolves, and dip their aspirational feet in to the water of career. With cheap drinks, and the dark atmosphere, there is nothing more magical than when the headlining acts shimmy their way through the crowd, on to the stage, and the fogged light spreads and kisses each cheek in the crowd, teasing their apprehensive ears until the first beats of the song echoes and rebounds off the unique walls and in to your chest.

Its only Darwin Deez at the cockpit!

Brudenell Social Club

Formed as a gentleman’s social and recreational club in 1913, and originally popular for its cabaret and bingo, the Brudenell is now an extremely popular venue for students in Leeds. On the outside, this place looks like the typical “Frank Gallagher” kind of haunt, but on the inside, it comes alive. I must admit, the first time I turned up to a gig at Brudenell Social Club, I had to swallow my pride, and reluctantly walked in, wishing I had brought my pepper spray, but after the gig, I walked out with my head held high, and utterly smitten with those two small rooms. The size of the social club ensures that the capacity is a low number, and therefore it is a mutual affair between the act and the fans, you are in touching distance with the geniuses on stage, and afterwards it is typical for the acts to join the crowd for a pint and have a nice chat. The relaxed atmosphere of this venue helps everyone to feel comfortable, ensuring the gig runs as smoothly as possible, without any negative rowdiness. The staff here are always pleasant and ready for a chat, meaning that once you have visited this venue numerous times, you form a relationship with them, and feel even more enthusiastic about the beloved Brudenell. Music is valued highly at this place, and it was even voted Best Small Venue in Yorkshire/North East recently by NME and I can understand why. Tickets are priced reasonably for acts, which is perfect for students living nearby, and the drinks are easy on your pockets. The Cribs have repeatedly played here, and continue to revisit, other such big acts that have played here are Kate Nash, Keiser Chiefs, and Franz Ferdinand, this place really is a hidden pearl for live music enthusiasts.

Frank Turner at Brudenell Social Club

Nation of Shopkeepers

Romantically charismatic, and utterly seductive with the sensual glow of the candles scattered around the bar and stage, you feel almost warm with a heart full of love upon entering this venue. The sophisticated tone of A Nation of  Shopkeepers perfectly emphasises the beauty of live music, with an intimate stage for the acts, like Brudenell it is popular for the acts to join with the crowd after the gig, and maintain the magic of a mutual love for music. This venue is popular with customers with a passion for Art, Music, Food or Drink, and welcomes you with a friendly and sociable environment to engulf yourself in these passions. The average customer can spend just under £10 for food and drink, and in such an attractive venue there is regular live music from acts such as Yuck, Admiral Fallow, Two Door Cinema Club, and many more. Situated in the centre of the City, it is easily accessed, and even fantastic for a pre-drink destination to catch some culture before you head to a club. The website for this venue is extremely helpful, providing customers snippets of artists songs before they decide to book tickets, and just echoing this passion for music in which Leeds accentuates so well.

O2 Academy

This venue is extremely popular for many of musics big names, such as Vampire Weekend, Bombay Bicycle Club, Katy B and many more. A bigger capacity than the previously mentioned venues, O2 Academy has more chance for tickets, and bigger names, although it does not harbour the same intimacy as the other venues. Also in the centre of Leeds, this venue is surrounded by bars and clubs, and also has numerous bars surrounding the outskirts of the dance floor ensuring you are well hydrated, or always have a pint in your hand. The atmosphere when you walk in to the main stage area is extremely catchy, and if you are stood in the mosh pit it is hard not to join in with the maniac dancing of the crowd. This venue also holds many hugely popular student nights and therefore sometimes you can just stay after the gig and party on all night.

Sunshine Underground at O2 Academy in their hometown of Leeds

Leeds Metropolitan Student Union

Extremely popular with Leeds Metropolitan University students, this venue provides great acts such as Foals, The Guillemots and White Lies at a student friendly price. This venue is relatively low capacity, with the people at the back still being able to see exactly what is going on on-stage, aswel as hear it. While you wait to enter the main stage area you are welcomed in to the union with its usual comfort of couches, pool tables and a bar. With this venue being primarily for students, the prices for drinks are affordable, and the staff are always friendly. This venue also has a balcony area for the lucky fans who manage to fight their way through the crowd, and on to a level that looks over the stage, I once managed to get a spot on the steps leading up to such area, and spotted one of my lecturers drunkenly dance away to The Guillemots, it was a site to behold.

Grizzly Bear at Leeds Met

Leeds Union

Although, due to the two Varsity Rugby teams of the Universities and the extremely popular Rugby match which this entails, there is an unspoken rivalry between Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University students, however, it is worth having a nights taste of humble pie to experience live music in their union. With student prices, everything is affordable here, and the crowds in which the acts bring are of a big capacity, although it is not as intimate a venue as Leeds Metropolitan Union (hmm hmmm) it is a great venue to check out, with captivating light shows magnifying the riffs of the guitars and the lulls of the vocals.

The Futureheads at Leeds Union.

Written by Charlotte Owen, Leeds Metropolitan University.

The Banksy Tour of Bristol

Banksy Tour Route

Possibly Bristol’s coolest export (along with Massive Attack and Portishead), Banksy’s darkly political stencils have catapulted  him to a level of stardom previously unheard of for a graffiti artist. His art is peppered all over Bristol, from Clifton all the way down to Eastville, conveniently spread out in what is more or less a straight line. Thus the Banksy Tour was born.

Different websites offer different routes, some stretching all the way out to the most faded, little-known sketches on the outskirts of the city. However, being students, the majority of us don’t have access to a car. With this in mind I’ve drawn up a more compact version, showcasing the most central (and most famous) of Banksy’s work.

 

 

 

 

 

1. We start with the ‘Mild Mild West’ piece on Stokes Croft, a fitting place to begin a tour of Bristolian culture. The mural features a teddy bear throwing a Molotov cocktail at the police, and has probably been here for around nine or ten years. In 2009 it was restored after being vandalised with red paint.

2. Next, head down Jamaica Street to the BRI and children’s hospital. Standing uphill and looking back in the direction you came from, you can see the stencil: a sniper preparing to fire, with a boy standing behind him about to pop a paper bag.

3. We’re getting into student territory now, so chances are you’ll be seeing this one on a regular basis. On the side of a sexual health clinic on Frogmore Street(at the bottom of Park Street) is a picture of a man hanging naked from a window, while his lover’s husband looks out.

4. Moving down to Bristol harbour, this stencil is best viewed from the other side of the water. The image of the grim reaper in a boat, painted onto the side of The Thekla, is said to be based on a 19th century drawing named ‘The Silent Highway Man’.

 

If this tiny snippet of Banksy’s work has captured your interest, why not tackle the full tour? You can find a handy map of every single piece of Banksy graffiti in Bristol here.

Written by Lucy, Bristol.

Eight Great West Country Treats

Exeter is a great city in which to be a student, however, it also attracts huge crowds over the summer as tourists flock to Devon for family holidays. I’d say there are few other universities where you have so many great accessible activities on your doorstep.

1) Go for a cream tea at Tea on the Green

Tea on the Green is a traditional cafe which overlooks the beautiful Cathedral offering amazing Devon cream teas. It’s a great place to take parents- show them how civilised your student life is, or to bond with new friends in Fresher’s Week. It provides a stunning view of the Cathedral and has a great atmosphere that transports you away from student life.

2) Go to Exmouth

Exmouth is the closest beach to the University of Exeter; it takes approximately 40mins by train or 20mins by car. It’s a huge beach and is a favourite destination for students in summer after exams are over for a traditional seaside haunt. Great for a beach bbq or game of volleyball, and although it can be a little chillier in winter it’s a lovely place to escape to for a walk along the beach.

3) Head South to Blackpool Sands

Blackpool Sands is a popular beach close to Dartmouth in South Devon, it takes a little longer to get there from Exeter, probably about 1hour 10mins but you will be rewarded when you do by a beautiful cove and fine shingle beach.

4) Explore Dartmoor

Dartmoor is an enormous national park which is brilliant to visit for the day. Although there are some buses which go up there it is fairly remote so the easiest way to go is by car. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the outskirts from Exeter and some particular highlights include: Chagford- a wonderful twee unspoilt village which has a couple of traditional pubs, Castle Drogo- a “modern” castle set upon the top of a hill with fantastic views and Widecombe in-the Moor which is, as it says, right in the middle of the moorland in a beautiful location.

5) Go for an afternoon beverage at Double Locks

If you walk along the river from the quay for about a mile and a half you come to Double Locks, a pub situated by the river. It has a huge beer garden and is a lovely place to spend a lazy afternoon. They also do a big event on bonfire night which is reportedly worth checking out.

6) Go shopping down by the Quay

Along the Quayside are a row of little shops, selling a variety of things from bicycles to beautiful furniture. This assortment of shops is great for pretty and unique gifts.

7) Go for lunch/ dinner at the Waterfront

The Waterfront is a restaurant situated by the Quayside, they do enormous pizzas and great food. You can sit outside on large benches and although a little further away, it makes a pleasant change from the restaurants in the city centre.

8) Spend a day exploring campus

Exeter University’s Streatham Campus spans 350 acres and has a whole range of beautiful outdoor spaces. The gardens of Reed Hall are particularly nice to spend a sunny afternoon as are the fields and wood behind Lafrowda Halls which provide a pleasant setting for a break from studying.

Written by Alice, University of Exeter

Leeds Pride

In a time when the collapse of your own society is imminent, with thugs and hooligans scuttling  the streets on the lookout for any freebies in which they can grab in the war like zone of riots, it is worth clasping on to the positive side of your community. Leeds Pride is more than positive, it is oozing confidence, and freedom for all, not in the ‘I’m here to claim my taxes back’ way either. Whether you are straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, transsexual, or just fancy a brilliant day out, Leeds Pride caters to you.

In the six years it has been running, Leeds Pride has proven popular with the crowds, bringing in 23,000 people on to the Leeds streets, and earning it’s fantastic colorful status. With the marchers proudly waving the rainbow flags of diversity, the atmosphere is exceedingly high. It is times like this in which you stop, look around, and finally see the true meaning of acceptance, and, once again, I fall further in love with the city of Leeds. The rush of solidarity seeps through the streets of Leeds City Centre with the march, and the enthusiastic vocals of the acts on show provide an even louder voice of achievement, and diversity. This event will never have one bored with popular DJ’s, entrancing cabaret, and celebrity drag acts to name but just a few of the events exciting goings on.

Walking through the wet streets of Leeds, under the ruling of a grey blanket in the sky, you almost want to crawl back into your bed, to the guaranteed warmth, however, as you get closer to the centre, and the streets start to become wallpapered with rainbow flags, it is hard to remain frown faced, as the feeling of ease in which many of the Leeds Pride followers feel, is inspiring. It is increasingly rewarding just to see such feeling of contentment on every individuals face in these crowds. With fantastically outrageous outfits, this years theme for the festival is ‘Glam and Glitz’, and everyone competes for the most shiny, glamorous outfit.

This event is free, meaning that you have no excuse not to join to in with the fun, even if, like me, it is just to show your support to the LGBT community. In this day and age, it is great that we can all celebrate our differences, because afterall, it our differences that tell us apart, and make us all special, Leeds Pride knows this, and not only shows the pride in their individuality, it celebrates individuality itself, hell it is the emblem of individuality! So come on down, and join in on a great day, you have a whole year to prepare your jazzy outfit for the next Leeds Pride, but you also have a whole year to make sure you grab a day off to join in on the fun. Take my advice and do not miss out on this event, bring your friends and make the most of such a bright, sunny day, no matter what the weather.

Written by Charlotte Owen, Leeds Metropolitan University.