Looking for a festival? Leicester's Summer Sundae could be your ticket...

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By Richard Vause

On the 5th of July, 1841 Thomas Cook created tourism. An audacious claim, you may think, but Mr. Cook (now of high street AND ad-break fame) was the first to offer the public away-day excursions for a fee. The trip may have been a modest eleven-mile journey from Leicester to Loughborough, but the ball had been set rolling. Ever since, Thomas Cook, and a growing clan of travel agents, has been encouraging us all to explore those lands that fall beyond our immediate gaze.

Sometimes, though, once cannot see the forest for the trees. How many of you have ever visited Leicester? As a city, Leicester may have something to offer the younger populations who can drag their parents around the National Space Centre, or to middle-aged visitors who can visit the cities Museums or venture farther afield to nearby Rutland Water. But I am 22 (just). Where do I (and you, our most favourable “youf” audience) fit-in to Leicester’s attractions?

Having grown up in Leicestershire, I feel I can tell you where Leicester fits into youth life: Summer Sundae.

The Summer Sundae Weekender is Leicester’s offering to the nation’s festival corpus. Set in the city icon De Montfort Hall and its gardens, the tranquil and appealing environment promotes a  festival vibe that is best observed horizontally: chilling to the max. With a drink in hand. And a little cocktail umbrella in it. And the obligatory ‘festival’ straw hat.

The 2011 line-up is brimming with premium alternative-to-pop talent, epitomised by the Friday night headliners The Maccabees who look set to kick-start the weekend with their engrossing, life-affirming approach to music and performances. Add in the appearance of local Ashby-de-la-Zouch heroes The Young Knives, riding high after their successful and acclaimed third album, Everything Everything, and Blood Red Shoes and Summer Sundae is lining up to showcase a fine mix of alternative festival crowd pleasers.

Offering  a host of artists climbing their way up the ‘recognition’ ladder (see: Kitty, Daisy and Lewis; Dry the River and Admiral Fallow) in addition to the likes of Example, mass-guilty pleasure McFly (I swear they are the only band who can have an album called ‘Motion in the Ocean’ that I won’t instantly disown) and Newton Faulkner even the more mainstream (not said with the disdain that the word receives in the NME, but through a broad smile and open arms) among us will fee fulfilled  in a weekend that caters for all.

Set in mid-August (12th-14th), Summer Sundae has a good track record of falling in the best that East Midland’s summer can offer and, festival revellers are likely to actually need that ‘festival’ straw hat for practical as well as fashion/scene requirements. So that’s a positive, scenesters.

The great, the unmistakable and the unquestionable Steve Lamacq once described Summer Sundae as “The Grandson of Glastonbury” and I feel that nicely sums up the festival’s vibe. Summer Sundae is a festival that is often at risk of being overlooked but, if you were unlucky enough to miss out on tickets to the big-G, then maybe it’s time to visit Leicester for it’s very own Summer Sundae Weekender. August 12th is time for the tourists to return.

If you would like to be one of the tourists tickets are still available: http://summersundae.com/tickets

For further line-up announcements and more watch this (web)space: http://summersundae.com/

Summer Sundae: 12-14th August, De Montfort Hall Gardens, The Birthplace of Tourism (Leicester).

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