London is one of the cities I adore and is home to the British Summer Time Festival. I have had the pleasure to go two three separate BST events; Roger Waters, The Rolling Stones 60th Anniversary show, and Elton John’s Yellow-brick road farewell tour. I was not disappointed by a single one of those shows and the festival itself manages to provide entertainment for the entire day leading up to the main act.
The BST festival is hosted in London’s amazing Hyde Park and takes place during the first two weeks of July. It spreads several events across these two weeks with several main acts headlining these days accompanied secondary and tertiary supporting acts. This festival caters for everyone’s taste, with acts like Elton John, Pink, Roger Waters, Robert Plant, Guns n’ Roses, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, the Eagles and much much more headlining several days of this fantastic event.
The best thing about the BST festival is that is takes place in one of the most vibrant, contemporary and exciting cities in the world, so you can really create an itinerary where you can combine the excitement of attending the festival, and all its ancillaries, with the glorious attraction hopping in London. I will be writing an article which details some of the best attractions to visit in London and will be compiling an itinerary for first time visitors which will go well with this post.
The day of your main event, you will be able to visit their several attractions within the festival grounds. You’ll find some outlets, the Malfy Gin Gardens, an extraordinary amount of food stalls, a small amusement area, and several smaller stages with secondary acts. In all honesty the entire event is very well managed and when you access the grounds early you will find lots of stuff to do, giving you ample time to find a place upfront whist filling your day getting riled up for the headliner. The food-stalls are simply fantastic and caters to a wide variety of diets. If there are 50 food outlets, all 50 will offer gluten free and vegan alternatives, which to me is simple amazing. I suggest getting your merch before the clock hits 16:00, as the lines for the merch after the main stage opens will be ridiculous. Also after the headliner ends his show, the merch stalls will close abruptly. I strongly suggest also visiting the Malfy Gardens, they make some amazing gin cocktails which cost about the same as the canned alternatives. Yes I said canned, as every drink you get here is canned. Canned JB coke, canned Smirnoff, canned Pimms, etc.
If you are there for a week or so keep in mind that the festival grounds will hold a free-to-enter midweek programme with live music, cinema, art workshops and other activities. This occurs on days when there are no concerts so you can enjoy the grounds during your stay in London (although there is a shit tonne of things to do and see around the city).
Even though this is London, the heat during the day is sometimes overwhelming, BUT always carry a hoodie with you especially the day you have the festival. What happens is that you are enjoying the heat of the day, then suffer more heat when the crowd builds up, but then you find yourself freezing your ass off as you are walking back to your hotel at midnight and it starts to rain. Yes it comes through experience. It is important to note that public transport at night during the concert days is shut down. You won’t be able to use the underground or busses since 80,000 thousand concert goers will descend upon the London streets, so you won’t even be able to call an Uber. In my opinion you should find either a hotel in Victoria or Marble Arch, I generally use the EasyJet Hotel in Victoria which is basic but good enough and within walking distance of Hyde Park.
Other than that, there are no more words of praise for this festival which I can think of. Each headliner manages to bring with them their flair, and the main stage changes between one show and the other, so really and truly every year you visit the BST you can a different experience with the same level of quality. There is something unique about shows that take place here. I don’t know if its the morbid obsession I have for the city or the gin in my system, but I hold these events in high regard. I will definitely go for the forth time here, since I have never been disappointed. So if you were planning on visiting London, why not build a week’s itinerary with a concert sandwiched in the middle… make it a memorable affair.