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Kew the Music - Outdoor Concerts at Kew Gardens

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by Kym Hamer (subscribe)
Kym is an Aussie sheila who came to the UK, set down her swag, and stayed. Check out her everyday moments at
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One of the things I love about London in the summertime is the amazing assortment of outdoor concerts you can choose from. True, you have to take your chances with the weather but there's nothing like a picnic to the tunes of swing, classical, pop, jazz or any other genre you care to choose from, to lift your spirits and celebrate this amazing and vibrant city we live in.

So it was in this spirit that I found myself at Kew Gardens this year for the fourth time. My love affair started with Summer of Swing (as it was formerly known) and the dulcet tones of Claire Teal, Sam Brown and Jools Holland. The next year, it was Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club and the year after that, Gipsy Kings so I was really looking forward to this year's picnic soiree with the Buena Vista Social Club again.

Image appears courtesy of the Kew the Music webpage
Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club

Reborn this year as Kew The Music, a title more reflective of the range of artists and music on offer, this year's line up embraced 'old' favourite Jools Holland and those cool dudes from Buena Vista while new additions to the program included The Noisettes, The Feeling, Bryan Ferry, Blondie, Sophie Elllis-Bextor and Jamie Cullum (who, by the way, was utterly amazing when I saw him live last year at the London Palladium).

To really make the most of an event like this, here's my top tip - get a group of friends/family members together and organise an everyone-brings-a-plate picnic, whether it's the home-made variety like ours (marinated chicken, walnut and rosemary bread, chocolate whoopie pies, raspberry and coconut cake and a jug of rum cocktail) or a quick stop in Richmond to stock up on supplies should time run short. (There's a Waitrose and a Tesco a couple of minutes walk from the train station.)

Image appears courtesy of the Kew the Music webpage
Everyone brought a 'plate'

Whether it's two of you or twenty, it's the same laid-back family atmosphere with room for everybody. You can dance at the front near the stage or in your seat or even loll about on the grass, and there are a couple of big screens so if you are not at the front of the queue when the gates open - or like to sit further away from the loudspeakers (we 'young at heart' like to chat), you can still feel close to the action.

Image appears courtesy of the Kew the Music webpage
The atmosphere is chilled

There are also plenty of opportunities to stock up if supplies run low - I saw wine, cider, beer, cheese and ice-cream on my short reconnaissance early in the evening - there may have been more but quite frankly, once I saw wine followed closely by cheese, I noticed little else so that may say more about me than the actual array on offer. Make that mean what you will.

And on some nights, there are even fireworks - what's not to love about that?

Image appears courtesy of the Kew the Music webpage
Summer of Swing 2010

This year's event is over but I'd urge you to get yourself on the mailing list for next year's pre-ticket-release. They sell fast - at somewhere between 32-38 (this year anyway) - to help you out, click here and you'll find yourself on this year's event page where you can register.

So get your dancin' shoes on, dust off the picnic hamper and Kew (cue, geddit?) the music.
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Why? If you love food, friends and great music
When: 1 week in July each year
Where: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, United Kingdom
Cost: 32-38 (based on 2011 prices)
Sounds like my kind of fun
By Carole Kelly - senior reviewer
Monday, 25th of July @ 03:57 am
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