I couldn’t believe our good fortune three weeks ago when we scored tickets to see Elton John at the British Summer Time music festival in Hyde Park for only £22 each. £22 to see one of my favorite artists? And in Hyde Park, no less! Really, only one (living) band could have topped that and they played the same weekend. If only I’d had an extra £150 to see the The Rolling Stones…
Anyway, I was fully prepared to make one of those memories that come to mind when someone says the word surreal, when I found out that Elton had to cancel due to health issues. To make up for the change in plans, the festival gave us our tickets for free, and we managed to get free tickets for Sunday as well. (Free is good, but a future evening with Elton would have been better!) Despite the fact that the main headliner had to cancel, we still had one heck of a time! A weekend lounging around in the sunshine and listening to live music is pretty hard to beat, in my opinion.
On both Friday and Sunday, we got to Hyde Park early to get dinner. The British Summer Time music festival took place in the south corner, cordoned off by tall walls from the rest of the park. Inside the walls were multiple different stages, including the big stage for the headliners, carnival rides, and lots and lots of places to get food.
These were, very likely, the most unhealthy dinners I’ve had since arriving here, but fair food is fair food. I can’t turn it down. Of course, British fair food is quite different than American fair food. I’m used to fried Twinkies (or fried anything, really) and corn-on-the-cob and funnel cakes and corn dogs the length of your forearm. British fair food will clog your arteries just as fast, but with an international twist. We had the choice, among other things, of Dutch cuisine, Italian, Spanish tapas, and of course, fish and chips. We ate the calorie equivalent of two meals for dinner each time and didn’t even feel bad about it. Lexie was able to swing her calories off on the carousel swings. Calzones + too much movement would have equaled a big mistake for me, so I stayed on the ground.
While waiting for the bands to start playing, we took some family pictures that started out like this…
and quickly turned into this…
Lex is just like me – more than one picture and the crazy starts coming out. I think this was her imitating me when I’m hangry, aka so hungry that it makes me angry. I get that way every three hours or so.
On Friday, a few minutes before Elvis Costello took the stage, we headed over to the main stage to find a good spot to stretch out. The crowds were low on Friday, presumably due to the fact that Elton John wouldn’t be performing, so we were able to sit within viewing distance of the performances, but far enough away that we could lay down in the grass without getting trampled.
Just being outside around so many other people who were also enjoying the day and the music made me so happy to be living in London. I felt relaxed for the first time since we got here. I’m generally a happy person, but I love those moments when I really recognize that I’m happy.
Over the course of the weekend, we saw a handful of local bands, Elvis Costello, Ray Davies (frontman for The Kinks), Jennifer Lopez, and Lionel Richie. My favorite, by a long shot, was Ray Davies. He mainly played music from his solo career, but when he’d play an oldie by The Kinks, it would almost make up for the fact that we weren’t getting to see Elton John.
Lexie’s favorite was J.Lo, no big surprise there since she’s more Lexie’s musical style than mine. I’m not gonna lie though, when she sang Waiting For Tonight, it brought back all the 1999 memories and I was 15 again singing right along the rest of the crowd.
On Sunday for J.Lo and Lionel Richie, the crowds were crazy, so we had to watch from further back on the big screen. It was a little funny seeing everyone go nuts for J.Lo. I don’t remember her being such a big thing in the US, but here she draws the big crowds!
There was a notable difference between the kind of people we saw at the British Summer Time music festival on Friday than on Sunday. Friday’s group was older and more chilled out. Sunday’s crowd got rowdy! When an intense girl fight broke out right next to us, after whipping out our cameras (just kidding!), we decided it was time to go. At least I know where I fit in. I’ll take an outdoor concert with old hippies over the club crowd any day!
Overall, best weekend I’ve had in a really long time. I’ve felt so burdened by various things since we found out we were moving. This weekend brought me back – no more worrying about bills or houses to sell. Those things will work themselves out. It’s time to concentrate on the good. (Cory is shaking his head right now because this is what he’s been trying to tell me since we got here.) I can’t wait for the British Summer Time music festival again next year!