1883 Blog

Laurent Garnier: Das Dance Music Kapital & The Need for a Musical Revolution

House and Techno music are, today, the victorious victims of their own surging renaissance. The cultures and music of both genres have historically enjoyed a, mostly unerring, symbiotic relationship with underground and counter-cultural tastes. But now the juggernauts of hyper-commerciality, forever-desirous consumption and the inescapable commodification-cum-monetization of everything have shunted techno and house music into the mainstream.

Laurent Garnier has spent 25 years in a celebratory marriage to these musics. Holding past residencies at the legendary Hacienda, the sadly defunt ClubYellow in Tokyo and the self-founded Rex Club in Paris. Producing tracks that are as differing as the lauded dance floor destroyer ‘Crispy Bacon’ and the avant-garde cultured textures of critically acclaimed soul-wrencher ‘Gnanmankoudjii’.

The acclaim he has garnered is apt reward for works that testify to Laurent’s longevity, holistic scope and uncompromising artistry. Including his 2009 genre defying LP ‘Tales of a Kleptomaniac’. A techno record flecked with obvious allusions to the dubstep insurgency of that period, interspersed with productions informed by his long held affections for jazz, hip-hop and early jungle music.

Laurent has also experimented with form: touring with a live jazz-techno-hip-hop show, L.B.S., as well as taking techno straight to the bourgeois establishment at The Salle Pleyel. Whilst his writing commitments have resulted in two published editions of the semi-autographical Electrochoc. Part encyclopedic investigation into the history and social-effects of electronic music; part travelogue; part unabashed love letter to a music he promotes so evangelically.

He has, previously made public, plans to transform this jointly-penned book [written with David Brun-Lambert] into a quasi-fictional film. Considering these polymathic artistic interests, electronic music appears to have found itself a pulsing retort to guitar-based music’s Nick Cave.

Laurent’s career, life and passion for dance music have progressed, almost interchangeably, with that of the dance music he so loves. From his formative years immersed in Manchester’s late-80’s acid-house movement – a seemingly omni-present time period for noted members of the British music press as they continue to forge an image of Laurent: the perennial Manc’ youth and yet-to-be-rightfully-returned prodigal son – to his successes as a DJ, club and festival promoter, producer, label boss, radio presenter and author-cum-music-journalist. Laurent is afforded a wholly unique vantage point.

I, however, ask the wrong first question: “How are you feeling to be headed back to Manchester [for the WHP series] Laurent?” “I go there every year, yes, it is good. [pause] They are great parties.”

Short shrift from a man whom, by the end of our conversation, I note for his passionate, anecdotal talkative nature. His blunt reply shouldn’t be misunderstood as dislike for the WHP parties. Rather a tired resignation that after 25years of artistic output, my lead question would be Manchester centric – ignoring a vast cannon of more recent experiences and projects.

Deeper into our conversation, Laurent clarifies his respect for the WHP parties. They [WHP] allow the length of set he feels should be a base standard for a DJ: “I say I want to play three hours… If I play only one hour I would feel like I’m stealing money from the promoter.”

Often playing in excess of 6 hours, Laurent transcends the traditional remit of the modern techno DJ. Dubstep, jazz and African drumming rhythms are interwound in his marathon sets. This versatility, he believes, offers creative alternatives if techno ‘were to become a big fucking circus because everyone suddenly wants to listen to over commercial bollocks.’

As it stands the current auters of techno are still active and widely respected DJs from the first generation of the genre’s explosion. Laurent names Richie Hawtin, Sven Vath, Carl Cox and Josh Wink as a few examples. Because of these guys, he doesn’t believe techno will lose it’s artistic and counter-cultural roots. Even though the genre has enjoyed recent commercial success.

The conversation shifts to a discussion of a genre that did implode under commercial strains: dubstep. Musically, Laurent enjoyed the dubstep sound, particularly TEMPA releases, and has experimented within the genre. Yet being a techno DJ his fate was not inescapably tied to the dubstep’s popular standing. Unlike those who brought the sound to the public’s attention.

Laurent laments the fate of the dubstep pioneers – especially those who kept their music credible. ‘It went so commercial at one point it was becoming something [with] no other exit. One exit was we [dubstep DJs] follow dubstep and become clowns or we make a big change now as my heart is not in it.’

He addresses the issue of Skream and the ensuing furore that followed his self-stated creative divorce from the music. Laurent is adamant that Skream has nothing to answer for because he has always been honest. ‘Skream has always done his thing and never compromised. It takes a lot of courage to say I’m big in that music but I think that music has had it and I want to go somewhere else.’

According to Laurent, this artistic honesty is shown in Skream’s techno productions. ‘He sent me loads of his last tracks and it makes so much sense music wise. His way of making dubstep and his way of making techno is very similar. [It’s] very trippy and it works.’

For Laurent, Skream has ‘always been on the good side of music.’ Yet there are too many of the current generation that he believes are making ‘disgusting’ music and ‘making an indecent amount of money.’ Putting and their ‘facebook image’ ahead of artistic vision and a true dedication to DJing.

‘It got to the point about 2 or 3 years ago where promoters were making us play alongside the super commercial people. I played with Martin Garrix. 17 years old and his music is disgusting. The year before I played with Dadalife and it was really disgusting. It was horrible. I’ve never heard of them before because I don’t listen to shit music like this because it doesn’t talk to me.’

His sensitivity is unsurprising. Laurent makes me believe that the DJ is not the product the punter should be paying for. Rather DJing is the medium of communication used to achieve the actual product: those ‘special moments’ found in the club. Moments of ecstasy. Moments of unencumbered joy. Moments of inclusive rapture whereby every being in the club becomes part of a grander synchronicity. Moments that are more likely to occur with one DJ, rather than many, playing for a longer period of time.

This utopian vision is out of step with today’s marketing of raving. Promoters are keen to have more than one and often three or four headline level acts on a bill. This, bemoans Laurent, makes the story of the night ‘chaotic.’

If not sympathetic, he understands their anxiousness at trying to fill a club. Today there is increased competition, with different festivals, club nights and concerts erupting at a sonic rate. Even Laurent has started a new annual pop-rock festival: Festival Yeah!.

Yet when curating Festival Yeah!’s line-up, he makes this clear: both of them [he runs this festival with his business partner] are only concerned with booking artists that they are ‘dying to hear live.’ Guests are treated exceptionally. Artists are greeted personally and a chef is employed to take care of their culinary needs. Though ‘there is not much money because the festival is only 1000 people’ he hopes that because he is ‘honest’ about the need to ‘create [an artistic vision], to share and to have a community’ that the acts will return to the festival in years to come.

By his own admission, this genial approach is working. ‘Baxter Dury [indie rock musician] I’ve never met him before but since [the festival] we’ve been emailing and become close in a way and he’s even [since] been on holiday around here [South of France].’

From experience, he believes most ‘promoters don’t give a shit’ [about the central vision or treating artists with respect] and this lack of respect is now being mirrored by the DJs they are now booking for shows: ‘some kids [referencing younger DJs]’ he moans ‘just want to play 50 minutes!’

‘How on earth can a DJ just play 50 minutes,’ his vitriolic monologue in full flow. ‘If promoters are stupid enough to accept that [sic] it’s their fault for not laughing in their face [DJ] and saying you must be fucking joking. What the fuck! It’s a joke. 50 minutes!’

Laurent is unrelenting in his belief that commercial interests should be subordinate to artistic vision. Adamant that if DJing resulted in anything but ‘special moments’ he would have stopped ’20 years ago.’ But Laurent is an anachronism. In the modern culture of dance music, most DJs are happy to ‘come in, play three records, take a big wedge of money and go home.’

‘For me, this a hold up.’

‘Maybe I’m part of the old school but… I cannot understand this young generation, these new guys on the scene who are like fuck I’m gonna make a lot of money! It’s not about the fucking money! It’s not!’

These anti-commercial sensibilities put Laurent at odds with the current en masse appropriation and transformation of techno and house music into a mainstream commodity. Even when Laurent himself is in danger of becoming commodified.

He applauds festivals such as Sonar, because of their creative ethos and their treatment of artists. ‘[They] want you there for sure, they don’t just want to buy you because you’re Laurent Garnier.’ Whilst disparaging other large European festivals for booking him and other artistically minded contemporaries just to sell more tickets.

‘I’ve done festivals where I’ve thought, I’m not coming back. What’s the fucking point. They don’t [really] want me. What’s the point? I’ve been on stage and the stage manager has said “What are you doing on Stage?” And I said “Im playing after.” “Oh, okay.” Ten minutes later he comes back and says what are you doing on stage and I said [he emphasizes slowly now] “I’m performing.”

Prima donna behavior? Of course it is but after holding residencies around the globe for over 25 years and having solidified beliefs about the role of the DJ, it is logical that he would be upset: ‘When you have the stage manager trying to kick you out you’re like – why the fuck am I here? You know what, that gig was horrible.’

These experiences, only serve to enhance his inherent unease at the current mania for packaging dance music within an extravagant show-cum-festival ‘circus’. ‘I’ve always found myself very uncomfortable when I’m on my own in the middle of a big stage.’ ‘Now when [he] speaks to festivals’ his feedback is frank. ‘Next year, think about changing [it] because the moment you put someone much higher on the stage the perception is different to what you can get in the club.’

‘Why in the club do you get so many magical moments? It is because the DJs are next to the people and you can touch people. You [the DJ] are with them. DJs should be with the people and they should share things with the people. It’s a relationship.’

His own vital love for techno and house was born out of those first overwhelming, and crucially formative, clubbing experiences. Experiences that still sting today. ‘I remember the very first time I saw Derrick May play in Manchester. I was very young but I remembered it for the next 20 years. And the first set I saw him play in Paris? I was crying it was so beautiful.’

But the elongated mode of Djing that was prominent in the late 80s and early 90s, the sets that reduced a young Laurent to tears, are now rare. Yet it’s a mode of DJing that Laurent believes is inarguably more interesting than playing ‘hard music for 50minutes just to kick some arse.’

Not that he’s considered unsuited to playing shorter sets. His 50 minute Boiler Room DJ set from Dekmantel Festival 2013 has recently topped 1,000,000 views on Youtube. Testament to his ability to weave a complete story and experience into, what he worries is, a too-short period of time.

Boiler Room’s recent rise, allowing music fans the choice to stay in and enjoy DJs playing, is part of an accelerating and disappointing but ultimately inescapable culture of voyeurism. Piracy has always been prevalent Laurent tells me. ‘Even twenty years ago we had guys recording on tapes, it was not as easy but you could do it.’

Now the voyeurs are aided by legal avenues which encourage people to stay at home to experience live music – as if you were in the club. Laurent finds this unappealing. ‘[Rather than experiencing the DJ it is] being in your bedroom, in your pants listening to some DJs playing music…then I find that is not exciting.’ It tempers those haloed ‘special moments’ found only when clubbing.

Commenting on the manner in which the internet has transformed music, Laurent becomes agitated. Arguing that the urban centres that became the underground base of techno music during it’s first conception, would not be so today. ‘Because of the internet, we have lost the way of each city having an identity. We are so connected that even if you want to keep it [a scene or music] underground within a couple of weeks people will hear of it – even on the other side of the planet.’

It’s due to the internet he tells me that ‘things will not be able to develop their own strong identity.’ But does the quicker saturation and subsequent ubiquitous take-up of techno bother Laurent too much? ‘No. Absolutely not. It just means that the best techno music today is made in Paris or made in Japan!’

It’s the transformation of DJing into something that is ‘like a show‘ that truely irks him. ‘You shouldn’t misunderstand our job, because at the end of the day, a DJ is someone who is playing records. It is not a show!’

‘Earlier this summer I took my son to see Skrillex, and he put on a show. But he doesn’t mix anything! It’s all from home. It was pre-recorded of course! You cannot play live with all these effects and explosions and stuff being cued. I spoke to his French manager and she said “Yes, of course, it’s a show.”’

He is careful not to criticize Skrillex directly. Not clarifying whether he accepts that the performances of artists like Skrillex should be considered part of a different musical category altogether. Rather, Laurent admonishes those on ‘his level’ that are part of a culture which he believes have ‘lost the notion’ of what it means to DJ.

‘The core of being a DJ is to improvise with the crowd because it’s a simple as this.’ He is plaintive as he re-emphasizes his sacred understanding of the role of the DJ. ‘Every single night is different and it’s not a live show. It’s not a concert. It’s something where you completely, completely improvise. You do something with the crowd. And you do not impose on them. It’s a relationship.’

He tells me that it’s this passion for the music, the belief in it and uncompromising artistry that have prolonged his career. Not money. He cites those who ‘sold out’ as evidence: ‘Who is still here after 20 or 25 years of techno music? Is Snap [commercial German eurodance band formed in 1989] still here? Are these commercial bands still here? They’re gone.They’re products and as such [they’re subject to market forces] they make a fuck of a lot of money and then they disappear.’

To empathise with Laurent’s anti-commercial leanings, it is integral to understand, at least in part, the history of the techno genre. Laurent re-emphasizes this several times. ‘Just fifteen years ago we were in a place where people were saying techno music is no music and there was a fight for us to go and fight for the music and then, then house music was everywhere. There was no more fight. You could hear it on the TV. It became something you could do without being controversial.’

Today, house and techno music have percolated into mainstream listening tastes. Yet even Laurent, with his prevalent anti-commercial ideology, can be stoic about this. He laughs, telling me that though ‘there is a lot of shit [being made]’ there is also a lot good stuff too. ‘We’re drowned in shit but we’re also drowned in good music too.’

He points to the labels which have housed the releases of his five New E.Ps as examples of those pushing music in the right direction. Telling me that he also buys everything that Warp puts out, as well as Ninjatune. Not forgetting Domino records for their rock releases.

But though there is so much techno music being made, Laurent offers a stark warning about the perennial lack of ‘musical revolution.’ ‘Kids now are listening to the same things that there parents listened to’ and though this isn’t a bad thing – he would rather his son listened to Prodigy than some ‘commercial bullshit’- he worries in the clubs, particularly in England, that kids are becoming ‘disabused and apathetic’ and aren’t going out for the music any longer.

‘What I’ve found extremely strange is that if you look at the evolution of music every single year since 1930, there has been a new thing. Rock n roll, Soul, Funk, Disco, Psychedelic, House Music, Hip Hop but since House music there has been nothing new. Nothing. There has been no strong musical revolution!’

Although he is not unduly negative about this – commenting that in France there has been a surge of positive energy in the underground music scene, if not an evolution of music itself – it doesn’t stop him reminiscing about the days when ‘we were finding tracks that were so fresh and new, for example tracks by Lee Lewis, that you wanted to play them ten times in a night.’

But he fears for the new generation coming through, because they do not have to fight the older generation about their musical tastes – just as he had to with his mother when he was listening to Sex Pistols.

‘I hope that when my son comes through he’s going to be able to live a musical revolution that was experienced in the ‘80s, ‘70s or ‘60s because I truly hope he’s not going to listen to the same music as his Daddy!’

And with his final comment on his hopes for the future of music, I have to bid Laurent goodbye. His manager explains that Laurent is on a tight schedule this weekend, playing three gigs. I’m sure they’re gigs that Laurent has selected carefully himself, lest he falls out with his manager about the ‘commercial shit’ he has to share the bill with. Because Laurent embodies a true on ‘paie de sa personne’ attitude – a maxim that all self-stated artists ascribe to.

Presently, Laurent is not only an artist and musician but a guardian and tastemaker for underground electronic music culture. Able to offer unique insights that only a select number of his acolytes are able to match. My conversation with Laurent, complete with seemingly endless anecdotes and mini-lectures on the narrative arc of electronic music, leaves me unable to shake off a quotation from Two-Face in Batman, so I’ll finish with that.

‘You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain.’

In techno music, it seems this wisdom runs in a contrary direction. The longer you stick around, the less likely it is that you’ve done the music and culture any wrongs.

Words by Dan Cave

RumFest ends London Cocktail Week

It’s in 8th year, RumFest is a two-day event founded by Global Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell. Seen as the ‘go-to’ event for the spirit in Europe, RumFest creates an experience, enabling both consumers and professionals to enjoy the world’s most established, smallest, biggest and up and coming brands.

Part of London’s Cocktail Week celebrations, it is held at London’s ILEC Centre in Earls Court today and tomorrow. Those who attend are able to participate in seminars held by several brands including Mount Gay, Diplomatico and Havana Club alongside workshops and master classes run across the weekend. These will present a history of rum discovery and the journey which it has taken whilst ambassadors Richard Seale of Foursquare Rum and Michael Delevante (considered one of the world’s best distillers) will be sharing their knowledge on the spirit. Rum, chocolate and marshmallow pairings as well as live cooking and cocktail demonstrations from the Global Rum Ambassador will too be available to enjoy. A special charity auction will also be held by Christies, supporting WaterAid.

RumFest’s newest addition are Golden Tot Tokens, which are £5 each and allow further access tastings of premium brands on offer, retailing between £80-£2000 a bottle. Obviously, stocks won’t be lingering so you are urged to get in there early. These Gold Tot Tokens also allow for one token to be exchanged for rum which retails between £80-£100 whilst additional tokens can get you the more expensive stuff.

To really make it a festival, though, live bands and souk dancers will take you into the night, performing in a finale party hour tonight and tomorrow.

For tickets and access to all areas of the two-day event along with single measure tastings, visit here.

Rebel Bingo Returns to London at Electric Brixton and The Forum

Rebel Bingo has sold out parties in 30 cities within 5 countries. From London to LA, the idea stays the same- it’s two games of bingo but on a much grander scale. Yes, there are callers, yes, there are prizes but a bit more than a bottle of wine. Think more trips to New York or juke boxes. The hosts are accompanied by glittery cannons, dancers, DJs and large cuddly pandas (not entirely sure how this fits into bingo).

Usually consisting of a select few in the middle of the day, bingo doesn’t normally find itself at the Secret Garden Party or The Masked Ball but Rebel Bingo does, drawing in crowds of thousands all poised ready to scream ‘house’. It’s fair to say then, that tickets do not linger and will often be snatched up within a matter of minutes. But you never know, with dates confirmed for London, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham for November and December you might get lucky.

With that in mind, you can get (or at least try) your tickets at here and remember, “Play hard. Win Big. And don’t bring your Grandma”.

SUMMER HIGHLIGHT: OUTLOOK FESTIVAL 2014

As the sun begins to set earlier and the temperature drops, it’s been an amazing one but it is well and truly time to kiss Summer 2014 goodbye. We reflect upon what was the best week of our summer break which was a trip not to be forgotten: Outlook Festival.

What makes Outlook different from other festivals? Is it the crystal clear waters that sparkle along the coast of Pula? Is it the mind blowing national heritage site in which the festival is held? Or is it the atmosphere-splitting sound-systems that play out amazing music for the best part of a week? We headed to Europe’s leading bass festival for the fourth year in a row and by the end of it, we had every intention of returning next year…

We had the pleasure and honour of meeting two of Outlook’s founding fathers; the name behind the stage, Noah Ball and lead vocalist of Gentleman’s Dub Club, Jonathan Scratchley. The pair told me that what makes Outlook so special is all of the above, plus the significant addition of the fact that people travel from all over the world, making the long (and at times, not so straight forward) journey to Pula. And of course not forgetting the incredible climate we were blessed with this year. Outlook festival is very much the people’s festival, with each and every attendee, organiser and member of staff being an indispensable individual, making the week long party unique and unforgettable every summer.

From it’s humble beginnings in 2008, Outlook has grown and developed into one of the most respected bass music festivals in the world, and each year draws a crowd of around 10,000 people ready for one of the most monumental weeks of their lives. The organisers of Outlook pride themselves upon their booking policy, which has remained the same since the festivals inception and supports the celebration of sound-system culture. The music of Outlook, which if you delve right into the history of bass culture, derives from strong roots in Jamaica and commemorates music of all genres. From reggae to dub, and dancehall to hip-hop, this one of a kind Croatian festival really has it all.

For those who had attended the festival in previous years, changes were definitely evident. Everything was clearer, easier and far more organised making the festival even more impressive. From the production, to the decoration, to the staff, Outlook seemed to have grown up that little bit extra making it a festival we want to come back to again and again.

When asked who they were most excited to see playing this year, Noah and Jonathan were spoilt for choice and ended up reeling off a huge list including Chronixx, Action Bronson, DJ Premier, Moodyman, Jah Shakah and Barrington Levy… to name a select few. This came as absolutely no surprise, given the fact that every single year the line-up is adorned with a list of impressive names, from headliners to boat party performers, and is always put together with assiduous consideration and careful curation.

Following from last years roaring success, Pula Arena, the ancient amphitheatre situated in Pula’s centre, played host to this year’s opening concert. Submotion Orchestra were first to take the stage, bathing the audience in a sea of iridescent lights and soul-consuming bass, playing some of their best pieces including their signature track ‘finest hour’. Front lady Ruby Wood dazzled the crowd with her angelic voice and glittering dress, warming them up for the incredible night of music that was to follow. After the heavens had opened a little, showering the crowd with a sprinkle of rain, the audience were treated to a moving cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Is This Love’ performed oh so soothingly by South London’s Soul singer-songwriter Andrew Ashong. Finally, to end the night, music ledgend Ms Lauyn Hill graced the stage and performed a catalogue of her most well known songs, each with their own unique and fresh twist.

As the sun began to set each and every night of the festival, the air was filled with energy and excitement for music lovers from around the globe, who were united by music that exuded bass. Outlook has the perfect mix of music, people and of course, sound-systems, making Pula our number one destination every September.

1883: “Can you describe Outlook in one work?” Noah: “Sound” Jonathan: “Systems”

Talks of Outlook’s possible collaboration with Ninja Tunes, who will celebrate their 25th birthday next year, are underway. For more information and to find out about tickets for Outlook 2015, click here and visit the official website

Smith & Sinclair Unveil the World’s First Alcoholic Pastille

I don’t think it would be too far-fetched to say that most of us have dreamed about it. We’ve hoped, wished even for the day when we could finally enjoy a cocktail without having to dress up, let alone leave the house. And on Friday, 3rd October, it happened. It was the first time that a food product was placed on the alcohol shelf, ready to be sold.

Founded by Melanie Goldsmith and renowned chef Emile Bernard, Smith & Sinclair has successfully launched their Cocktail Pastilles across the UK, currently selling at Harvey Nichols and online at NotOnTheHighStreet.com from mid October.  With a strong background in marketing and business accompanied by ten years of clearly successful experimentations, Smith & Sinclair’s pastilles will set you back less than £10 for a box of six (RRP £8.95). 

Now, we hear you say, “yes but will it really taste like the real thing?” and some of you may be asking, “is it enough to get me a little tipsy?” and the answer is the same for both questions: yes! Each and every pastille withholds the real deal, with 2.6 alcohol units over all six, meaning that if you really did want a liquid lunch and ate the whole box, you would be past the recommended driving limit.

They’re also gluten, diary and preservative free with six cocktails flavours incorporating rum, gin and whisky. These are the classics but with a sweeter twist; Gin & Tonic (violet infused gin and a lemon sherbet coating), Mixed Berry Daiquiri (with summer berries, dark rum and a pink peppercorn infused coating) and Whisky Sour (with a sour grapefruit coating). Whilst the taste is that of quality, its only fitting that the making is too. Each flavour has been carefully established, ensuring little alcohol is burnt off and leading for a powerful impact or “a bit of a kick”.

We have little to fear though as Smith & Sinclair’s pastilles have been appreciated at Secret Cinema, Feast and Taste of London.

And so, you can find out more about these intriguing confectioners by visiting their website.

Natural Selection – The London Series

Monday saw the launch of Natural Selection’s brand new e commerce site boasting the best pickings of their debut AW 2014 ready to wear collection. And to celebrate the launch, the brand unearthed their roots to showcase a diverse mix of 10 London based guys who embrace the raw spirit of the label.

Each subject – from the likes of David Nicholls (Design Editor, The Telegraph Magazine), Brad Pickett (UFC fighter), Karlmond Tang (Blogger, Mr Boy) and Jonathan Daniel Pryce (Photographer, GarconJon) – have styled themselves in pieces from the AW14 collection and shot in an environment of their choice, bringing a unique and interpretive look at the brands sensibility to transcend boundaries.

 View the full looks at: http://naturalselectionlondon.com/lookbook/aw14/

Photos by: Mike Drummond

Words by Sofia Khan

The Festive Town of Winterville Comes to East London

From 2nd-31st December, London’s Victoria Park will harbour a little town called Winterville. Here to celebrate the festivities in every sense, Winterville will bring Christmas celebrations mixed with East London cultures.

A family affair, the town delights with horse drawn carriages through Victoria park’s lake and pagoda, fairground rides (including a large ferris wheel), a ‘wall of death’ with vintage motorcycles and arts and crafts workshops running the span of the month. For children, though, it just gets better as Winterville presents a ‘reimagined’ Santa’s Grotto and positioned in the ‘Kid’s Quarter’ is the travelling circus House Of Fairy Tales established by Deborah Curtis and Gavin Turk.

With a back drop of London’s prettiest park, music throughout the month will come from Field Day, Bugged Out, Sink the Pink and BUMP Rollerdisco. Magnificent Bastard Productions also brings to the table Sh*t-faced Shakespeare, which will be held in the Spiegeltent. Also providing entertainment for the festive season, the Spiegeltent invites us to an hour long pantomime involving Robin Hood, cabaret, comedy, live music along with taking over every Sunday with Summer Rites- the Fairy Grotto. On offer as well is The Gay Bingo Christmas Show (Jonny Woo, John Sizzle and Ma Butcher), Horse Meat Disco, Bears On Ice, an all male Supreme Fabulettes Christmas Show with Tranny Shack DJs and a Christmas extravaganza held by Sink The Pink.

A festive town isn’t ever really, truly festive without food or hot drinks though. A street food market will therefore warm your bellies. Providing food from around the world, Voodoo Ray, Anna Mae, Dorshi’s dumplings will appear alongside vegetarian options and healthier choices at Mei Mei’s Street Cart. The perfect accompaniment to this food- a chilly December night- are hot cocktails found from a range of bespoke bars or instead try craft beers which will be available to purchase in Winterville’s own pub. Whilst this can all be enjoyed within a heated indoor space, if you’d rather be more comfortable indulging yourself in your home, you can choose your food from Winterville’s produce market, with goods locally sourced.

And so, Winterville will end a month’s worth of festivities with a New Year’s Eve ‘extravaganza’. So if you’re eager to go, you can obtain your tickets to several of Winterville’s attractions or find out further information by visiting the Winterville website. Entry into the town is free.

Studio 338 Into the Forest

Studio 338 is considered to be one of the largest and most intriguing three-floor-spaces within London. It has been the building which has been discussed the most throughout the year, holding many, many electronic music events. This summer alone, Studio 338 has seen the likes of Unleash, Krankbrother and Art of Dark make an appearance. Therefore, this autumn will be no exception.

To kick off the autumn events, Studio 338 will hold a Together at the Threshold night with a live and rare set played by The Field and with a further two incredible acts to be announced soon. Sankey’s Tribal Sessions will also partake in the seasonal celebrations alongside a Forest Rave and a party thrown by Coyu’s Suara Records who have seen a successful season in Ibiza.

The 4th October will introduce us to ‘into the forest’, the first clubbing forest. An enchanted forest, it will be similar to their urban forest held in Dalston but focusing on electronic music. Complete with a living wall, video mapping, 100s of metres of ivy, graffiti artwork and lanterns, Studio 338 has teamed up with Koppaberg so there will also be several new flavours to try. With artists Groove Chronicles and Sunship, live performances will take place from Favorite Robot, A1 Bassline, West Norwood Casette, Ste Roberts and special guest. Doors will open from 20.00 and entry is £5 on the door.

For more information of Studio 338’s autumn events line-up or to purchase your tickets, visit here.

Studio 338, 338 Boord Street, Greenwich, London SE10 0PF

Canal Mills Launch Party and Brewers Market

From the 26th September-31st October, Canal Mills will be opening up its doors to a pretty eventful autumn. A disused textile mill in Leeds until 2012, it has found itself considered to be one of the North’s ‘most pioneering cultural spaces’. Musicians and creative thinkers have flocked, leading to performances by Disclosure, Ten Walls, Scuba, Waze & Odyssey, Feel My Bicep, Bonobo and Hudson Mohawke. Its had it’s a commission too by Sheffield-based street artist Phlegm. Autumn holds no limits to this impressive list, presenting a handful of events including coverage of music, artist, film, food and drink.

So, who’s going to start us off? The 27th September sees Duke Dumont, Disclosure, Karma Kid, B-Traits, Friend Within, GotSome and Wayward entertain at the launch party. Then from the 3rd-6th October there is a three-day beer and food festival named The Brewers Market to look forward to. Feast your eyes on 24 different beers from a number of the ‘finest craft beer brewers’ throughout the UK including Siren from Wokingham, Brewers Weird Beard, Burning Sky and East London’s Red Church. Food on the other hand, will be dispensed from Trestle alongside offering Indian street food from Bundobust. All the while you can enjoy live art over the course of the weekend from Assembly House Studios.

 In between launch parties and brewers markets though, Canal Mills can be found to entertain us with a host of activities. Theatre, art, film and soundsystem culture- it’s an eventful calendar which caters for all. Reggae Roast will bring their soundsystem on Friday 10th October whereas there’s also The Brandon Street Night Market to come. The latter will offer street food, drink, specialist film screenings and art installations along with ‘Getting it’ productions from EDGES. Finally, the last little event to tickle your taste buds will be Nero’s live show and remember that Metropolis will also hold parties in the mill.

Canal Mills events start at just £5 beginning on Friday September 26th, for more information visit Canal Mills.

Canal Mills, Brandon St, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS12 2EB

Herman ze German Opens Third Shop on Charlotte Street

Six years from beginning its Deutschland journey from Brighton, Herman ze German will now be opening its third shop right in the midst of London on Charlotte Street. 2008 first saw this delicious sausage make an appearance in Herman ze German’s creators Florian and Azadeh’s local pub. Shortly after Herman ze German began its tour around some of the most popular music festivals within the UK, soon discovering its home on London’s Villiers Street in 2010. Three years later, seemingly we still couldn’t get enough of the ‘best wurst in town’ and a second shop opened on Old Compton Street in August 2013.

But what is it about the wurst that’s making us so happy at the idea of a third opening on 9th October (apart from it helping us to celebrate Oktoberfest)? Well their free-range meat, which takes shape in three different types of sausages: the Bratwurst, Chilli Beef and Bockwurst are lactose and gluten free. Hell, it’s even rumoured that a Vegan Wurst is in the pipeline.

All sourced directly from Germany in the heart of the Black Forest, the choice of freshly prepared toppings and side dishes such as sauerkraut or air-fried chips will leave you salivating. Try an Schni-Po-Salad created with traditional Schnitzel-Pommes-Salad or instead purchase rare or increasingly popular German beer (on tap or bottled) to accompany your saucy sausage too.

To choose which venue you’d like to get your sausage from or to deliberate which one you’d like (we recommend the Curry Wurst) visit the website and Facebook page. Just remember folks, “Wherever you see a Herman, you know it is a proper German”.