Something for the Weekend: May bank holiday lockdown edition
- Deborah Chu
- 21 May 2020
Celebrate the May bank holiday with a virtual world ceilidh, drop-in singing sessions and an 80s yoga party
Another weekend in May, another bank holiday weekend spent in lockdown. Though the outside world and seeing friends in the flesh feels like naught but a fever dream at this point, there's still plenty to keep our spirits up and at 'em this long weekend. From live gigs, yoga dance parties, homebound nature and a slew of new TV and film releases hitting our screens, there's more than enough here to keep the existential angst at bay. So gather your quaranteam and delve together into the wonderful world of virtual events and streaming content.
Knockengorroch – Scotland's annual celebration of music from across the Celtic diaspora – will be kicking off their virtual world ceilidh this weekend at Virtually Knockengorroch (Fri 22–Mon 25 May), featuring live streamed performances by Mungo's Hi Fi, members of Afro Celt Sound System, Mary Macmaster of The Poozies, Samedia Shebeen and more. Another well-loved festival going online this weekend is Hay-on-Wye's HowTheLightGetsIn (Fri 22–Mon 25 May), whose seven virtual stages will be hosting performances and punditry from the likes of politicos John McDonnell and Shami Chakrabarti, writers Meg Rosoff, Will Self and Paul Muldoon, as well as comedians Laura Lexx and Alfie Brown.
For the little'uns, Beverley Puppet Festival (Fri 22 May until Sun 12 Jul) will be hosting free puppetry activities every week this summer, based on simple materials that can be found around the house. This weekend sees German-Greek company Merlin Puppet Theatre transform household recyclables into incredible visual spectacles (Sat 23 May), and English company Circo Rum Ba Ba build a leatherback turtle puppet for homebound performances (Mon 25 May). Likewise, the Play at Home Festival (Sat 23–Sun 24 May) will be offering up two days of digital family-friendly fun, with entertainment from Captain Fantastic, The Giggle Doctors and Glastonbabies, as well as an Aardman model making workshop with Merlin Crossingham.
Elsewhere in the world of online events, Glasgow's Platform will be hosting drop-in singing sessions with their Platform Singers Choir (Fri 22 May), a relaxed and friendly group that's open to all ages and abilities. Marvel at the natural splendour of Cairngorms National Park at Cairngorms Nature at Home: Big 10 Days (Fri 22–Sun 24 May), with the chance to learn more about iconic species like the wildcat and the capercaillie, hear from conservation experts and get creative with children's art competitions. Or bring Club Tropicana to your yoga mat at FRAME's Bank Holiday '80s Yoga Party (Mon 25 May), a 90-minute vinyasa flow set to golden hits.
The Music Venue Trust's #SaveOurVenues campaign has announced that, due to the incredible effort and generosity of so many, 140 grassroots venues have been taken off their 'critical' list. Though we can heave a sigh of relief for the time being, the charity warns that this doesn't mean that these venues are truly and permanently out of danger, however, as the lockdown continues to grind on. So please do keep checking back on their website and find out how to help keep the lights on at your local venue.
Thankfully there's still plenty of new music heading our way, as our need for sonic escapism has never been more dire. This week we caught up with Russell Mael of Sparks ahead of the release of their whopping 24th album A Steady Drip, Drip Drip, while up-and-coming singer-songwriter Maebh chats to us about her dreamlike new single 'Fingertips' and what the future looks like for her post-pandemic. We also talked Bollywood, the music-making process and staying productive under lockdown with multi-instrumentalist-extraordinaire Kapil Seshasayee, upon the release of his second single 'The Gharial' from his upcoming album.
Live music-wise, you're spoiled for choice this long weekend, as the Tolbooth Saturday Shindig (Sat 23 May) spotlights Gary Innes of Mànran, and Everton FC's Lockdown Sessions (Fri 22 May) brings us tunes from She Drew the Gun, The Wombats, Red Rum Club, Zuzu and more. Edinburgh's own indie-pop four-piece Swim School (Sat 23 May) perform live on Facebook over at Sucker's Quarantine Fest, and Julia Jacklin (Sat 23 May) takes the helm at La Blogotheque's Stay Away Show on Instagram Live. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra will also be hosting their third benefit concert (Sat 23 May) in support of the People In Need Foundation, with a live streamed performance of Mozart classics over on their Facebook page.
There's plenty to keep your funny bones a-janglin' over the bank holiday, with another edition of Gilded Balloon's Sofa Set List (Fri 22 May) coming down the pipeline, with this week's line-up including Rich Wilson, Jayde Adams, Lost Voice Guy, Steen Raskopoulos and more. Also, Paul Foot, Barbara Nice, Rob Auton, Dave Fulton, Robin Grainger, Stuart Mitchell and Jessica Fostekew confirmed for this week's Saturday Night at the Stand line-up (Sat 23 May). Meanwhile, over at the Covid Arms, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Tim Key and Sindhu Vee will be plying their trade to raise money for The Trussell Trust, whose network of food banks have been working overtime to help those currently struggling to put a meal on the table.
Other comedians lending their gags for a good cause include A Night of Comedy for Grief Support (Fri 22 May), which sees Jen Brister, Angela Barnes, Rhys James, Evelyn Mok and more host an online comedy night in support of The Loss Foundation, which is providing vital services to those who have lost a loved one to coronavirus. You can also get those little grey cells going with Robin Ince, who's hosting a virtual pub quiz in support of the charity The Bike Project (Sat 23 May), which works to support refugees who've been adversely affected by the closure of charities and community centres during the pandemic.
Page and Screen
Our lockdown book launch series continues this week as we chat to authors Samantha Clark, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, Dr Golnoosh Nourpanah, Thomas Legendre and Extra Teeth editors Heather Parry and Jules Danskin about bringing out new work in this strange time. This Friday is also the last day of Glasgow Women's Library's Open the Door literary festival (Fri 22 May), which will see the coronation of the Digital Poetry Slam winner, discussions on writing and the environment, and a Q&A with children's author Emily Ilett. You can also join Taika Waititi and a few of his famous friends at an online reading of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach (Fri 22 May and Mon 25 May) in support of Partners in Health. A few episodes have already aired, and we're happy to report that the Hemsworth brothers and Meryl Streep seem to be weathering the pandemic very well indeed.
Over on our film screens, we have some very glowing things to say about Mark Cousins' 14-hour epic Women Make Film ★★★★★, and Bosnian dramedy Take Me Somewhere Nice ★★★★☆, both of which are available to watch from this weekend on the BFI Player and Mubi, respectively. Director Grímur Hákonarson will also be in the hot seat for this weekend's instalment of Curzon's Living Room Q&As (Mon 25 May), as he discusses his Icelandic tale of guts and glory in The County. Meanwhile, on the virtual stage, The National Theatre at Home will be broadcasting the great Gillian Anderson's star turn as faded Southern belle Blanche DuBois in the Young Vic's searing adaptation of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.
If you're needing a guide to content worth streaming into your eyeballs this long weekend, The List staff are here with a few recommendations of shows available to watch on BBC iPlayer as well as new TV and film releases coming out this week, including unforgettable South American drama Monos, Terrence Malick's A Hidden Life and the final farewell to American telly juggernaut Modern Family. The adaptation of Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere will also be released this Friday on Amazon Prime, though no doubt overshadowed by the sudden passing of director Lynn Shelton, beloved for indie features such as Your Sister's Sister, Touchy Feely and Outside In.
Follow The List's Staying In is the New Going Out articles for more kids TV recommendations, alternative online events, press releases, refund policies, restaurant deliveries and further general information.