London really is a city that never sleeps. While we’re all wishing for the sun to come, there’s no better time to start planning your summer calendar. You only need to hop on the tube to experience everything from the most progressive names in music, art and design, as well as cultural displays from around the globe.
There are plenty of festivals taking place this summer in the great big city that you definitely don’t want to miss out on.
The American Dream: Pop to Present, British Museum
(9th March – 18th June)
The British Museum is heading to the US-of-A with its latest The American Dream exhibition. An explosion of pop art from the godfathers of the 1960s (Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns) and beyond, it captures racism, gun violence and gender politics over the last six decades. Shining the spotlight on dramatic events in American history – from JFK’s assassination that shook the nation, to the success and speculation of Apollo 11 Moon mission – the exhibition will take you on a riotous journey from the gritty urban slums of NYC to the glowing sunshine of LA.
The World of Anna Sui, Fashion and Textile Museum
(26th May – 1st October)
February’s London Fashion Week may be over, but the Fashion and Textile Museum is embracing classic fashion icon Anna Sui’s rock-and-roll romanticism universe with a special archive of over 100 of her looks. Sometimes daring punk, and at other times adorable kitsch, the American fashion designer sparked her own gen of pop culture with playful and glitzy clothing lines, accessories, beauty trends and interiors. Now all that’s left to wait for is September’s LFW.
Sundance Film Festival, Picturehouse Central
(1st – 4th June)
America’s biggest celebration of indie filmmaking is crossing shores in June to introduce films that are sure to be crowned kings and queens of independent cinema (Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson had their day here). A Festival Pass for Sundance gets you in to see the films of your choice, and means you can also enjoy the Picturehouse Central Members’ Bar and Rooftop Terrace for a toast in between. Ultimate film fans should consider the VIP Pass though: entrance to every film, as well as all the events, panel discussion, short films, parties and social events taking place over the four days.
Wireless, Finsbury Park
(7th – 9th July)
As one of the UK’s biggest music festivals, Wireless is the perfect way to dance into the summer. You don’t have to travel far outside central London to enjoy tracks from the biggest international acts. This year’s line-up is no disappointment, with an impressive selection of homegrown talent, including Saturday’s headliner Skepta, and the latest names in R&B and hip hop over the borders – everyone from The Weeknd and Nas to Zara Larsson and Noname.
Lovebox, Victoria Park
(14th – 15th July)
Every year, Lovebox creates an atmosphere that’s both effortlessly cool and also raucously energetic. Victorian Park welcomes Frank Ocean, Jamie XX, Chase & Status, Jess Glynne, Solange and more to the stage for this extra-special #15YearsofLove celebration. It’s not just live music and DJ sets though – there are all sorts of fun and games planned, from dance contests to pop-up fashion boutiques.
South West Four, Clapham Common
(26th – 27th August)
Attracting DJs with superstar status alongside the freshest electronic and dance talent, SW4 can almost convince you for a second that you’ve left London to party in Ibiza. Falling over bank holiday weekend, tickets sell out notoriously fast – and it’s no surprise really, with sets this year from Pendulum, Eric Prydz, deadmau5, Sigma, Example and tons more.
London Design Festival, Various Locations
(16th – 24th September)
Spanning various locations across the capital, London Design Festival always presents an impressive programme of design and architectural work, placing London right at the heart of the creation. The full list of this year’s exhibitors is yet to be revealed, but the festival is no stranger to blending both up-and-coming talent with the most esteemed names in the industry. Last year’s highlights included the kaleidoscopic glass display by Perrier-Jouët, and the MINI LIVING forest installation by Asif Khan, which sprung up among the bustling streets of Shoreditch.
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