Monday, 11 July 2016

British Summer Time in Hyde Park

Last weekend Rob and I were lucky enough to have a very rare night away from the kids as we headed down to London to go and see Florence + The Machine in Hyde Park as part of Barclays BTS concerts. The idea behind the couple of weekends of live music in central London is the opportunity to bring all those festival vibes of the countryside into the big smoke and make it accessible for city folk. And what a fantastic central venue! Is there any better place than Hyde Park for this kind of thing in the centre of London?

So there are 3 days of gigs, all with a list of supporting acts with music starting early afternoon leading up to the headline acts who perform around 8.30pm. We had never been to one of these events so it was amazing to see the whole "arena" unfold as we entered. As expected, really high security, which is nothing to criticise but loads of stations to enter so there was no queueing to get in! The whole area was cordoned off with high walls so once you were in it was all very secure. Around the edges were loads of places to buy your extortionately priced drinks from and then more in the middle of the vast space were loads, and I means loads of more independent food stalls. Our wood fired pizzas and fresh meatballs and chips were amazing and it was great buying from the cool and kooky venders who were there. You had all additional event sponsors' kind of stalls, but apart from them and a fantastic swing seat ride, it was just a massive area of grass and a huge stage. Having never been to a festival, I had nothing to compare it to, but it had that vibe, lots of flower crowns and floaty dresses, people wearing wellies (not that it was muddy) but all those things really lend to the spirit of it all! With only one massive downpour between all the sunshine all day, the ground was dry and there was no mud so you could easily just sit on the grass and soak up the atmosphere.

In front of the main stage was "The Pit": an area for the die hard fans, or more, ones who don't mind being squeezed in and jumping around on top of each other. We obviously were in there, what's the point in going if you are not going to try and get close?? It was great though, we had made our way to an edge where there was a barriered walkway and on the other side was the VIP section. Nearing the beginning of the concert a few people and kids walked past, I could only presume they were family and friends, people who had come to see Florence finish her year-and-a-half long tour.

Moments before the concert began, a platform was put right next to where my elbow was leaning. To our surprise and that of some newly made, mature Essex girl friends and two very keen, well singing German girls, we all started to get a little excited when we were told Florence would preform right there, next to us! No Joke, 3 songs in she runs round and was there, like, in front of our face, right next to us. It was such an amazing moment and what was more amazing was that everyone around us were just so happy. There was no sudden surge to reach her, we all just kind of gazed up and just sang along, just watching her really close. And it wasn't a quick thing, she was there for what felt like ages so there was no rush for photos or anything, we were all just enjoying the music. What was amazing too was a older woman came and stood by her and she bent down to hold here hand. They shared the most gorgeous moment together, and you just knew it was her mum. It was just amazing to watch, we all just stopped and it was like watching pure love and pride right there, right in front of us. They just looked at each other as Florence sang and it was a beautiful moment to witness. 

The rest of the concert was filled with all their hits, songs we knew, song that reminded me of some happy moments in our life. I wouldn't say we were massive fans, it was just a great opportunity to see them. 

As far as recommendations go, next summer it is so worth a trip, I would think older kids would love it and it would be a great way to introduce kids to festivals.

We stayed in a hotel about a 10 minute walk away, which was so easy to get to. We stayed in Henry VIII Hotel which was nice for what we needed. It is a bed for the night at the end of the day, breakfast was included and it had a pool and sauna all for a good price. 

For a tiny over night trip, this date turned out to be really lovely and it just meant that Rob and I had some nice time together, just us, which is always lovely.


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