Toronto, Reading and London

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Afri Village Fest in Toronto takes place on Bloor Street which becomes transformed into an African Village and music provided by a west African dance and drumming troupe called Twisted Hair and Zeinab from Somalia amongst others. Check out the Afri Village Fest facebook page – fyi it takes place on August 23rd and 24th.

Also in Toronto at the end of August is the Urban Music Week featuring Dilated Peoples, Crazy Crew and 2 Badd . Held at the National Exhibition Bandshell Park, the event showcases the best in Canadian and international urban music as well as an Urban Art showcase, a film festival and music conference – more information at the Toronto Urban Music Festival website.

From Canada we head to the UK for two of the biggest British music events – The Reading Festival and the Notting Hill Carnival.

Taking place on the last holiday weekend in August, Reading turns 20th this year and is celebrating with 150 acts  over 3 days featuring The Killers, Metallica, The Raconteurs and my new pals the Friendly Fires. Reading is sold out so if you have tickets but haven’t decided where to lay your weary head during the weekend festival you can hire a Podpad – think cute garden shed decked out with an airbed, curtains, fitted carpet and lighting generated by solar panels so you can rock hard by day and be cosy eco friendly by night.

Lastly we head to one of my favourite festivals in the world – The Notting Hill Carnival in London. Taking place over the same weekend as Reading, this huge west Indian celebration is free so no worries about tickets selling out. In addition to the colourful street procession, there’s loads of local sound systems with massive speakers outside peoples homes belting out great reggae , soca and soul music. My favourite spot is DJ Norman Jay’s double decker bus which always has a great crowd dancing to his tunes. There’s plenty of food stands selling west Indian delicacies such as curried goat and spicy patties which you can wash down with fresh coconut juice or Jamaican Red Stripe – great taste and guaranteed to have you dancing in the streets!