Events Featured Music

Glastonbury Festival 2023: The Highlights

The 53-year-old event, dubbed “UK’s biggest musical festival,” was filled with drama, stage shocks, and huge surprises. Glastonbury’s gate flung open on Wednesday, 21 June 2023, and welcomed over 210,000 people who trooped into Somerset’s Worthy Farm to experience the anticipated occasion’s glitz, glam, and glory. 

Here are seven highlights from the event before the curtains closed on Sunday, 25 June 2023.

The Churnups? What The Hell!

Mystery band, The Churnups were announced as headliners, leaving speculations on their identity. But the atmosphere roared with life when Dave Grohl came on stage and revealed The Foo Men as the missing piece of the puzzle. The band’s frontman dedicated their last song on the setlist, Everlong, to their deceased drummer, Taylor Hawkins, and introduced Josh Freese as his replacement. Friday night also saw performances from Arctic Monkeys, Kelis, and Guns N’ Roses.

Blimey! Is that Cate Blanchett?

Two-time Oscar award-winning actress Cate Blanchett got the crowd wild on Friday night when she appeared on stage with US pop duo Sparks. Glastonbury has a reputation for pulling off surprises, but no one was ready for the 54-year-old Australian superstar dressed in a yellow suit and buzzing with vigour. Sparks performed “This Girl Is Crying In Her Latte” while Cate replicated her energetic dance routine in the song’s music video. 

Confession Time With Lewis Capaldi

Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi announced his struggles with Tourette’s syndrome in September 2022. While singing his final song, the worldwide hit “Someone You Loved,” on Saturday, the 26-year-old pop artiste lost his voice in an emotional atmosphere. He took the backseat, allowing the crowd to fill in for him as his band played the outro, signifying an end to his one-hour set. On Tuesday, the singer announced an indefinite break from touring to focus on his health. 

Headliner Lana Del Rey Cut Short On Set

Lana Del Rey’s performance at the Glastonbury Festival got cut short after she arrived 30 minutes late on Saturday. The technical crew muted the 38-year-old’s mic before she could perform anticipated tracks like “Summertime Sadness.” But the fans protested and sang “Video Games” a capella, while the critically acclaimed American songwriter joined them just in time before security led her off stage. 

Jacob Collier Brings The Church To Town 

English multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier led the audience at the West Holts Stage on a soulful rendition of Queen’s “Somebody To Love.” He split the crowd of 30,000 into various sections and directed them to sing in different harmonies, waving his hands like a skilful choir director to signify unison, change in keys, and up and down scales. The 28-year-old Jazz singer was left dumbfounded at the magical result and thanked the audience for being unbelievable and surreal.

Debbie Harry Shows Up In Style

On Sunday, the 77-year-old lead vocalist of the ‘70s band Blondie rocked the Glastonbury Festival in an all-black mini dress. Debbie Harry paired the dress with a black jacket and a black inner t-shirt. She also wore dark visor sunglasses to match her striking outfit and started her performance with the band’s smash hit “One Way Or Another.” However, some online and onsite viewers complained that they couldn’t hear the American rock legend.

Elton John Bows Out Gracefully 

On Sunday, Sir Elton John came out in a gold suit and delivered an impeccable performance on what may be his last gig at Glastonbury. With hits upon hits like “Rocket Man,” “Tiny Dancer,” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” the 76-year-old British legend didn’t disappoint, taking the audience on a nostalgic ride into every era of his 50-plus-year career. 

John was joined on stage by Brandon Flowers, Stephen Sanchez, Jacob Lusk, and movie debutante Rina Sawayama. The Beatles legend Paul McCartney watched from the wings as the singer dedicated his single “Don’t Go Down On Me” to his deceased friend, British legend George Michael who would have turned 60 on Sunday. 

These were the memorable events of the just concluded festival. Early this week, organisers Michael and Emily Eavis confirmed that there would be Glastonbury 2024 when they shared a picture on Twitter with the words “See you in 366 days”. Although the dates are not confirmed, we look forward to more surprises as we anticipate next year’s event. 


5 Must-See Destinations In Europe by Toren On Tour

Good Morning, Afternoon & Evening to you all! It’s your boy Toren on Tour here to provide you guys with one thing – A go-to guide for where to travel and where to be in Europe this year, specifically for young black travellers and holiday goers looking to experience new places and have a great time whilst doing so! Whether you’re looking to unwind, explore or immerse yourselves in what Europe as a continent has to offer, I can guarantee that there’s something for everyone in this travel guide.

As you read through, I am going in-depth with five locations across Europe that are must-visit destinations. Some are hot spots, others are for those who love to hear about a nation’s history, whilst a few are usually favoured in the warmer seasons. However, what all have in common are their distinct cultural identities, beautiful in their unique ways and most importantly are places I deem safe, suitable and sealed with the stamp of approval from your boy who is always touring!

1. Madrid, Spain
Madrid is a beautiful city and one thing that stands out for me about Spain’s capital is that it is a ‘rooftop’ city. Many of its bars, hotels and even restaurants provide scenic views for you to see Madrid’s landscape, stunning both day and night. I travelled to Madrid last year for a weekend Baecation, and it did not disappoint one bit! The city is extremely welcoming to tourists and as a black traveller, I felt comfortable, at ease and ultimately like I was at home away from home. Madrid offers some of the best tourist activities with the option of being able to go on a hot air balloon ride in Segovia, which is an hour’s drive away from the city centre where I stayed. The Sangria at literally every restaurant and bar was 10/10 and was my go-to drink 90% of the time! One activity that you have to make time for whilst in Madrid, is to go to a Flamenco Show! Flamenco shows are a combination of singing, music and dance and are a major part of Spanish culture and entertainment. Lastly, for those who love nature and scenic walks, El Retiro Park is a must-visit. El Retiro is a public park in Spain that previously belonged to the Spanish Monarchy up until the late 19th century. The park consists of many statues, monuments, a lake and galleries from time to time. Madrid is perfect for a weekend getaway and can be done as a solo trip, a couples getaway or one to travel to with a group of friends. With its offering of cultural activities, rooftop bars, nightlife and home to one of the greatest teams in the world Real Madrid – there is something for everybody! The weather is usually warm in the capital even through September and early October when prices tend to be a little cheaper!

2. Split, Croatia
Croatia is a beautiful country with beautiful people and even better vibes! Upon journeying to Croatia when I travelled there a few years back, I was very aware that Croatia ultimately did not have any form of black community/population whatsoever. Although I was aware that in previous years Croatia had been host to a range of music festivals including Fresh Island & Outlook Festival, with quite a few of my friends having visited the country beforehand and giving positive reviews. Split is a phenomenal city, from its architecture and small market villages to its peaceful beaches. The locals in Croatia are extremely helpful and friendly and the food is second to none (I can only speak for Split though, don’t hold me accountable for the rest of the country!). One of the stand-out experiences that Croatia has to offer was a tour of Krka National Park that came with Wine tasting and food. The Park is massive and boasts waterfalls, plant life and the chance to go on a boat excursion – which I would highly recommend! I tried Octopus for the first time and met a lovely older couple who were also on holiday at the time. Croatia is an undiscovered gem, especially for black travellers as it’s not considered a desired destination, but it is worth a trip! The weather from spring into late September/October is usually warm and flights are going for as cheap as £52 in June. Depending on when you go it’s perfect for a mixed group holiday, as well as a couples holiday. 

[Krka National Park – Taken By Toren in 2018]

3. Malta
Malta, Malta! The place to be, especially for black travellers and holiday goers in their 20s I’d say in the last 2 years or so. Malta has quietly become a party destination for many events over the last few years, including the likes of DLT, with the event having had its second Malta offering this year and already putting the dates out for its third. I must say the most recent DLT was one for the ages – a movie! Malta is known for its picturesque landscapes, many of which are used as film locations. It’s also a perfect spot for seafood lovers as the country is big on seafood, due to it being surrounded by water, although it is also big on pizza and pasta due to its proximity to Italy and many Italians living in the country. However, a side note after having visited last week is that a lot of the country is underdeveloped, especially its buildings and roads, to my surprise, but the food, nightlife and activities make up for it! Malta uses Euros as its currency, but when doing my research and speaking to those that have travelled to Malta within the last year, the cost of living is considerably low and your money can stretch further than the usual European destinations, I’m talking €4.50 cocktails, you can’t complain! Malta is suitable for those who want to have a good time, but also experience fine dining and relaxation – with 35 Michelin-star restaurants located on the island! Finally, a big bonus for my U.K. travellers is that the Maltese drive on the same side as us – a rare find for European countries.

[A picture of Blue Lagoon in Malta sourced via Malta Paradise]

4. Paris, France
Paris, the capital of France and one of the ‘litest’ cities in Europe if we’re ranking nightlife, vibes and culture, especially for black folk. For many Black Londoners Paris feels like a home away from home – it has a similar feel, and a heavy black population (just take a look at the French national team). The Eurostar makes the journey feel like a breeze, with flights to Paris also a viable option. Paris at night is a beautiful city, simply going for walks along the River Seine and getting to see the Eiffel light up at night can make your trip worth it. Buddha Bar is a restaurant I’d recommend for a 5-star pan Asian dish. One thing I must say is that you haven’t had a French fry until you’ve had a FRENCH FRY! Even down to the fries in McDonald’s, they just hit differently out there! Paris specifically has a massive African Community, for reasons we won’t go into today, but you can feel the influence in the clubs and via French music with the likes of Aya Nakamura, Koba LaD & MHD. A visit to Disneyland for those who have kids or those that want to relive their early childhoods is worth a trip & and for football fans and most importantly those that want to see the likes of Mbappe & Neymar, some of the world’s best. A ticket to watch PSG at Parc Des Princes is very attainable. Ultimately Paris is a must-do and 100% recommendation for young black travellers. Whether you go on a solo trip, as a group, with family or on a couples holiday, you can cater your trip to the city of love for your palette.

[Champs Elysees – Taken by Toren in January 2023]

5. The Greek Islands
Last, but not least Greece & It’s Islands! Santorini & Mykonos are the two ‘high-end’ Greek islands. The two are usually deemed honeymoon destinations due to their notable list of 5-Star Hotels. I took a trip to Zante a few years back to mark my anniversary and it was most definitely a trip to remember! The Greek islands gave a similar vibe to Split in that the locals were extremely friendly and welcoming, especially the hotel staff and tour guides when it came to excursions. The Greek Islands are where you go for relaxation and rejuvenation. A holiday to unwind and destress, however, what I loved about my trip is that with one side of Zante came the beaches, restaurants, clear oceans and great weather, but on the other side of the island there was a strip – full of bars, clubs and arcade style street games. A thumbs up for black travellers as a holiday to look forward to. One thing I will say is to look into the islands and decide which island is the right one for you! Each has its own identity and features, whilst some are more expensive than others, however no matter the island – for the majority of the year you can guarantee good weather, good food and a good time!

[A picture of Santorini sourced via TripAdvisor]

There we have it people. 5 destinations for black travellers and holiday goers to visit in Europe. These all have the Toren on Tour stamp of approval and are one’s to add to your bucket list for 2023 and beyond! If any of you do manage to take a trip, let us know what you thought and give your boy a shout with your trip highlight. Until next time, stay touring!

Words by: Toren on Tour – @Tor9n

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Can David de Gea Save His Manchester United Career?

David de Gea, Manchester United’s goalkeeper — and legend — is out of contract at the end of the current campaign. With just ten days left in his contract, de Gea finds himself in a sticky situation. 

While the club hasn’t made any concrete decisions, Erik Ten Haag’s comments about the goalie after the FA Cup final loss against Man City aren’t the most convincing. 

He said, “We are in the right direction. But there are occasions in the game, issues in the game, we have to improve if we want to make the next move and win trophies.” 

It is yet to be seen if United will make the next move with de Gea at their goalpost by the time the new season rolls in by mid-August.

Contractual Dispute and Decision

Last week, United released a list of their retained players, and de Gea’s name was conspicuously absent. In his stead were the other goalkeepers, Tom Heaton and Nathan Bishop. Although United could trigger a one-year extension to his contract, they have declined. 

On the one hand, doing that would further increase his mammoth £375k-per-week wage. With United in the Champions League, all players were due to a salary increase as they were previously hit with a 25% salary reduction after finishing sixth in the 2021/2022 season.

Secondly, the club is actively trying to replace its long-standing goalkeeper. The 32-year-old, who became the club’s most-capped goalkeeper last season, was criticized for multiple mistakes. He made some high-profile mistakes that potentially cost the club two trophies. 

De Gea was culpable for errors in the Premier League against Brentford and West Ham, in the Europa League quarter-final against Sevilla and in the FA Cup final against Man City. His distribution in the latter was disastrous and summed up his inability to ‘play out the back’ as the coach would like.

In addition, the lack of clarity regarding the club’s ownership has made the de Gea situation more sketchy. No one knows what plans a new owner — if found — would have on the club’s summer transfer plans.

It is common knowledge that United is looking to move on from their marriage with the Spanish-born shot-stopper, yet there are reports that the club are still in talks over extending his contract. Consequently, there are talks of possible transfers across and outside the league.

Potential Transfers Across the EPL and Europe

While United plan to sort out Dean Henderson’s future, their on-loan keeper who played at Nottingham Forest last season, there are reports they would replace him with fellow EPL goalies.

David Raya

The Brentford keeper is on United’s wishlist and also came out to indicate his interest in playing in Europe. The Spanish international, who has also courted interest from Tottenham Hotspur, is good with his feet and is a solid shot-stopper. Raya, 27, has a market value of £26M and would provide much-needed premier league experience for the Red Devils at the back.

Jordan Pickford

Everton and England’s number 1 has found himself on the ever-expanding list of players United wants to buy. The 29-year-old, worth £19M, would fit like a glove for United due to his knowledge of the English game. However, there are doubts about his aerial ability and discipline.

United could also go overseas with interest brimming from Italy and Portugal.

André Onana

The 27-year-old Cameroonian is one of the most exciting new crop of keepers playing the game currently. He stood out for Inter Milan last season, most especially in the Champions League final. Although they lost to Man City, his eye-catching distribution saves and confidence dazzled overall. Worth about £30M, he has played under Ten Haag at Ajax and would understand what the coach would expect of him.

Diogo Costa

Just 23 years of age, Costa has seen his stock rise at Porto, where he has also claimed the number 1 jersey at the Portuguese national team. He is known for his long passing and accurate reflex, worth almost £40M. He could easily play for a decade at United and form part of a Spanish-speaking contingent with some players already there.

For a club like United, there would always be speculations on transfers. But with de Gea’s contract entering its final weeks, the club has to decide.

Thought + Opinion

Paediatricians Call For A Ban On Disposable Vapes

disposable vapes

Source: Pexels 

Last week, children’s doctors in the United Kingdom RCPCH expressed discontent against disposable vapes. They claimed it was bad for the environment and was endangering young people. So they called on the government to completely ban the items. 

That was in response to the larger conversation at hand – the increased level of use among young people.

Growing Rate Among Young Children

A recent YouGov survey for Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) shows 11.6% of 11 to 17-year-olds now experiment with vaping in 2023. It is a 3.9% increase from the 7.7% recorded in 2022. Reports further prove that some students struggle to concentrate in school due to the rising addiction. 

Earlier this month, a BBC investigation uncovered the confiscation of harmful levels of lead, nickel, and chromium in vapes from a secondary school. RCPCH vice-president and paediatric respiratory consultant Dr Mike McKean said that youth vaping is fast becoming an epidemic among children, and he fears that the nation will sleepwalk into a crisis unless there’s a regulation in place.

Calls For a Ban as It Could Cause Untold Damage

The children’s commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, urged the government to regulate the advertisement of vapes to children. She said, “Children deserve to lead long, happy, healthy lives, which is why I am unequivocal in my view that no child should be smoking or vaping.”

Dame Rachel further said stricter regulations should be enforced in the market, which she termed the “wild west”. She believes marketing vapes to children, both online and offline, is a subtle attempt to indoctrinate them into a slippery slope of addiction.

The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that selling vapes to underaged children is illegal. “We are taking a bold action to crack down on youth vaping through the £3m illicit vapes enforcement squad to tackle underage sales to kids.”

Organisers of the Glastonbury festival showed solidarity with the cause. They asked fans to refrain from bringing disposable vapes to the venue. The event, with the next edition kicking off from 21-25 June 2023, has actively supported environmental health since its inception in 1970.

PM Sunak Takes a Stand Against It

The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, agrees that child vaping is harmful. He expressed concern about his two young daughters potentially being targeted by vape marketing. The government has now decided to review the situation and fine shops caught illegally selling vapes to children. A move that would see local regulation officers issue on-the-spot penalties to offenders. 

There are no nationwide legal restrictions to outdoor vaping for adults presently. The electronic device is permitted in the UK except in specific organisations or public places with standing rules against them. The government allows individual businesses to decide their policies regarding vaping.  

However, an anti-smoke campaign group, UKVIA, feels differently about the situation. They believe the prohibition of electronic cigarettes would negatively affect adults trying to quit smoking and increase the use of illegal vapes. 

Source: Twitter

While both paediatricians and the UKVIA have solid arguments, the reality is that as long as young people keep accessing vapes, they’re a danger to themselves and the community.


Bea Anderson: Artist On The Rise

Bea Anderson’s talent and dedication as an R&B singer-songwriter have propelled her to new heights in the music industry. From her early love of music in South East London to attending The BRIT School and studying Music Management with Studio Production at Buckinghamshire New University, Bea’s journey has been one of passion and perseverance.

Despite personal challenges, including her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Bea Anderson has remained committed to using music as a tool for good. She has set up studios to provide a space for young people to create music and has visited referral units across London to spread positivity through music.

Bea Anderson's talent and dedication as an R&B singer-songwriter

Bea’s debut single ‘Easy’ was released in February 2021 and has surpassed one million streams in less than nine months. Her EP ‘Eden,’ released in May 2021, showcases her authentic, unapologetic, stripped-back R&B sound with a catchy ingredient. ‘Easy’ was featured on Spotify’s editorial cover of ‘Fresh Finds,’ cementing Bea’s place as an emerging artist to watch. ‘The Eden Project’ represents the opening chapter of Bea’s music career, symbolizing hope and new beginnings. With her impressive skill set, drive, and devotion to inspiring others through her music, Bea Anderson is poised to shape the music world profoundly for many years to come.

To see our previous Artist On The Rise features click here


Dave and Central Cee release tHEIr joint EP ‘Split Decision’

Dave and Central Cee have wasted no time in releasing their joint EP, ‘Split Decision,’ shortly after dropping their initial collaboration, “Sprinter.”

This exciting release features not only “Sprinter” but also three fresh tracks, including the intriguingly titled “Our 25th Birthday.” Interestingly, the two artists share a close age proximity, with Dave celebrating his birthday on the EP’s release date (June 5th) and Central Cee’s birthday occurring the day before.

Dave’s musical prowess has been recognized with prestigious awards such as the Mercury and Brit Awards for his debut album, ‘Psychodrama,’ released in 2019. His 2021 follow-up, ‘We’re All Alone in This Together,’ garnered a MOBO Award and secured him another Brit Award for Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Act.

Central Cee made a splash in 2022 with his chart-topping mixtape, ’23,’ which featured the smash hit “Obsessed With You.” He continued his success with his most popular song to date, “Doja,” and earlier in 2023, he unveiled the single “Me & You.”

In the coming weeks, Central Cee is scheduled to perform on the Other Stage at Glastonbury and make an appearance at the Governors Ball Festival in New York.

Now, let’s delve into the track listing for ‘Split Decision‘:

  1. Trojan Horse
  2. Sprinter
  3. Our 25th Birthday
  4. UK Rap

Central Cee x Dave ‘Sprinter’

Central Cee x Dave ‘Sprinter’ released last night. The long-awaited moment that fans have been eagerly anticipating has finally arrived! Central Cee and Dave, two influential British artists, have unveiled their latest masterpiece, “Sprinter,” a fresh and exciting collaboration that is sure to make waves in the music industry.

Both Central Cee and Dave have established themselves as some of the UK’s most prominent talents, having successfully propelled the distinct UK sound to global recognition. This collaboration between these two titans is nothing short of monumental and marks an extraordinary day for the entire music scene.

The creation of “Sprinter” involved a talented team of individuals including Jo Caleb, Jonny Leslie, Jim Legxacy, TR, Kyle Evans, and Dave himself, who is also known as Santan. With such an impressive lineup of producers, it comes as no surprise that the production of “Sprinter” exudes exceptional quality, meeting and surpassing the high expectations we have for these accomplished artists.

Now, it’s time to experience the brilliance of “Sprinter” for yourself. Listen to the track above and allow its captivating melodies and thought-provoking lyrics to immerse you in a musical journey like no other. Get ready to be swept away by the sheer talent and creativity that Central Cee and Dave bring to the table with this incredible collaboration.

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Interview Music

Madi Saskia: The hometown hero

Madi Saskia: The hometown hero. Born in the late ’90s and based in Smethwick, Madi Saskia is an exciting talent emerging from Birmingham’s creative scene. Influenced by Jhené Aiko, Erykah Badu, and Marsha Ambrosius, her style combines socially conscious lyrics with an R’n’B flair. 

With just under six years of music-making under her belt, Saskia has launched her own event called “Madi’s Lean Up Ting,” aiming to spotlight misunderstood and overlooked artists. Giving Madi Saskia the title of ‘hometown hero’. She is undeniably an artist to watch in the coming years.

Madi Saskia’s music blends socially conscious themes with soulful R’n’B melodies. Drawing inspiration from influential artists, her songs delve into societal issues, personal experiences, and deep emotions, reflecting her commitment to meaningful music.

The future holds great promise for Madi Saskia as she prepares to release her debut project. Her distinctive blend of socially conscious lyrics and R’n’B influences continues to captivate audiences, positioning her as an emerging force. With her talent and dedication to highlighting overlooked artists, Saskia is set to make a significant impact not only within the local music scene but also on a broader scale.

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