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Contest Watch: Iceland's Airwaves Music Festival

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Iceland’s Reyka Vodka is running a contest for two lucky bands to win an all-expense paid trip to Iceland to play the stage at Iceland Airwaves October 30th through November 3rd. Reyka asks that potential bands, DJs, and musicians submit up to three of their own songs and then Airwaves will select the contest winners based solely on skill. You better move (and play) fast though, the last day for entry is August 19th. 

Find out more and how to enter here.

Gabrielle Blitz is the Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Christian Kerber

Rite of Spring Redux: 100 Years of a Stravinsky Masterpiece

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One hundred years ago on May 29, 1913, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring exploded onto the European scene in a celebrated, riotous premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Ever since, dance companies have taken up the challenge to stage a work that captures the power and the sweep of Stravinsky’s revolutionary masterpiece. 

On the day of the centennial anniversary, May 29, 2013, the Richmond Ballet, as part of the Virginia Arts Festival, presents the Rite, in Salvatore Aiello’s sensual staging. While in Paris, the Mariinsky Ballet returns to the scene of the crime, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, with a reconstruction of the imagined, original production, choreography and décor newly realized by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer.

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Legoland's Disco Elevator Takes You Higher

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Unless you’re allergic to primary colors—or LEGOS, of course—the biggest problem with the new Legoland Hotel in Carlsbad, California, may be that it’s not taller.

For a lot of grown-up guests, the coolest part about the otherwise kid-centric, three-story hotel may be the “disco elevator.” Inside, the walls are decorated with nightclub-ready LEGO characters, a strobe light hangs from the ceilings, and when the doors close, the lava floor panels light up and the music kicks in: ABBA, the BeeGees, the Village People. It makes you think: How many elevators out there have wasted an opportunity to be fun? (The hotel has figured out how to make everything enjoyable: there’s also a jump-able whoopee cushion corner in the elevator lobby.)

Nigel Woods, the project designer who created the elevator, told us that he felt he had to up the ante set by the elevator at another theme park hotel, the Alton Towers Splash Landing Hotel, in the UK. “It plays some ‘Hawaii Five O’ music,” he told us by email, “which my children (Emily, 9 and Lucy 6) and I loved to dance to as we went up to our room.” Then, he recounts, he saw a YouTube video of a disco elevator, “and fell over laughing. From there, the Legoland disco elevator was born.”

While at least one reviewer has pooh-poohed the elevator as a little intense for toddlers (or parents who haven't had their morning coffee)—most guests at the hotel's opening in April seemed to love it. Some of us may have wished the ride lasted longer than just two floors up from the lobby. Then again, some guests booked on the ground floor were guilty of mere joyriding.

See: World's Greatest Elevator Views.

Photo credit: LEGOLAND California Resort

From a Window Seat: Fans Take Airplane Window Photos for L.A.-based Band Dawes

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If you’re anything like me, fighting with travel companions for the window seat—whether in a plane, train, or automobile—is a rite of passage. And with the proliferation of photo apps and filters, it’s never been more tempting to snap a shot of the view (and, of course, post it on Twitter, complete with a humblebrag).

The Los Angeles-based country-roots-rock band Dawes has taken this idea to new heights, inspired by their latest single "From a Window Seat." For the last few weeks, the band and their fans have been tweeting and Instagramming photos taken from airplane windows (and cars, trains, buses, hotel rooms, etc.), using the hashtag #fromawindowseat. Next came a dedicated website, which compiles the photos and highlights the band’s favorites. But before you start snapping, check out these T+L tips for getting the best view in the sky, and don’t miss our recent slideshow of reader-generated photos taken from planes.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Photo credit: caliswag111

"We’re Just Trying to Connect People" Q&A with DJ Armin Van Buuren

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The world’s number one DJ ambles into the rooftop lounge PHD at Manhattan’s Dream Downtown hotel, a soft midday light filling the clubby space that was chockablock with the city’s party-set just hours before. Armin van Buuren shoos away a fruit plate from his publicist and goes right for the coffee. He looks a tad sleepy and who can blame him? At this point, he’s on the tail-end of his massive Expedition tour—a celebration of his 600th podcast, A State of Trance—that’s taken him to far-flung locales in every corner of the globe: Minsk, Belarus; Sofia, Bulgaria; Kuala Lumpur; Beirut; Mumbai; Guatemala City; and onto his hometown Den Bosch, Netherlands.

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3 Great New Orleans Music Venues

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We asked Alison Fensterstock, a consultant for HBO’s Treme, for her top three venues in the Big Easy—winner for Best Music Scene in our America’s Favorite Cities survey.

D.B.A. has a great mix of local rock, soul, and brass in an intimate setting.”

“The corner of St. Claude and Elysian Fields is a burgeoning music district. Drop into Hi Ho Lounge for acoustic bluegrass.”

Saturn Bar, a dive in Bywater with a thrift-store feel, hosts casual sets from neighborhood musicians.”

Photo by Cheryl Gerber

Cruise Conference Update: Norwegian Cruise's Magical Getaway

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Passengers aboard Norwegian Cruise's Getaway can sign up for a truly magic dinner in the Illusionarium, a domed space where Hogswarts meets Jules Verne. The experience, priced at $35, will feature a magic show and dinner, the company announced Wednesday at the Cruise Shipping Miami conference. The project was designed by Broadway director/choreographer Patricia Wilcox, Tony Award-winning scenic designer David Gallo and veteran magician Jeff Hobson.

And get ready to rock. The Getaway, which launches in January 2014 with sailings from Miami, will feature a Grammy Experience venue, with memorabilia and live performances from Grammy winners and nominees. In fall 2014, the ship will host a Grammy Experience themed cruise.

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The Empire State Building Goes Blue and Yellow to Welcome Swedish House Mafia

Empire State Building Welcomes Swedish DJ Trio With Blue and Yellow

When New Yorkers glance across the Manhattan skyline tonight they may notice an unfamiliar color scheme illuminating the Empire State Building: a radiant blue and yellow hue will gleam from the midtown monolith, a symbol of Sweden's flag. The unusual combo is a salute to electronic music trio Swedish House Mafia, who begin a five-show run tonight with a Hurricane Sandy benefit at Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.

Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello are on the tail end of their massive international One Last Tour, a last hurrah for the Grammy-nominated group before its members diverge onto solo careers. So far they've touched down in world capitals from Johannesburg to Delhi, togged out in their trademark black leather jackets and whipping rock star-scale crowds into euphoric hysteria.

The New York invasion proceeds with a quadruple-header of sold-out stadium shows—Friday at hallowed Madison Square Garden, Saturday through Monday at Brooklyn's new state-of-the-art Barclays Center—before heading west.

SHM will head off into the sunset March 8th and 9th at Historic Park in Los Angeles where concert-goers will take part in the deejays's famed Masquerade Motel, a costume concert that has been a hallmark of their meteoric rise to stardom.

Nate Storey is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo © n8n photo / Alamy.

U.S. Pushes for 'Musical Passports'

UPDATE: Changes have been made below to the original post to clarify certain details about the import and export of musical instruments that were made using endangered species.

As individual musicians and orchestras make their plans now for the summer touring season, many face the distinct possibility are concerned that their rare and antique instruments may be confiscated when the musicians travel abroad or return to this country they cross international borders. That's because an international convention called CITES prohibits places restrictions on the import and export of musical instruments made from  endangered materials like ivory, sea-tortoise shell, and Brazilian rosewood, among others. Enter an unlikely musicians' friend: the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which announced today that it will propose issuing "musical passports" that would permit international transport of such instruments made before the prohibitions were enacted.

This would be a huge relief to musicians with such instruments as vintage guitars and violins, as well as ivory-keyed pianos, since they currently have to file lengthy and complicated import and export forms every time they travel, for each and every country visit. If the proposal passes (and a FWS spokesperson seemed optimistic at a press conference today), musicians will be able to get an actual passport for their instruments, complete with a physical description on one page and spaces for entry stamps on another. The musical passports would be valid for three years. The proposal is expected to be made at a CITES conference in Thailand on March 3.

This post was updated February 26, 2012.

Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter.

 

British Composer Thomas Adès Takes New York by Storm

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One of the most highly anticipated events of the New York cultural season—The Tempest by British composer Thomas Adès—blows onto the stage of the Metropolitan Opera this week.  The work, based on the Shakespeare play about betrayal, retribution, and the redeeming power of love, had its premiere in 2004 at London’s Royal Opera House and garnered for the 32-year-old Adès critical acclaim and popular success. Since then, the contemporary work has made a strong bid for a place in the operatic repertoire, and after productions in Germany and the American premiere by the Santa Fe OperaThe Tempest arrives in New York, in a staging by Robert Lepage.

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