Apex Hotels Blog

Dare ProtoPlay

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Dare ProtoPlay computer and video games festival (10 - 12 August 2012)

Dare ProtoPlay is a free festival of computer and video games held at Caird Hall, just a short walk from Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa.

It's also the finale of the UK's most prestigious games design competition. Every summer, 15 teams of talented students travel to Dundee from around the world to build brand new computer games in just nine weeks. All the games then go on show to the public at the Dare ProtoPlay games festival for three days.

Check out the video below to find out what happened last year:

You'll get to play brand new games, meet their young creators, and vote for your favourite. At the end of the festival, three winning teams are announced. Those games will go on to compete for a unique BAFTA award, launching them into the exciting computer games industry.

It's a high profile event, with strong support from the big hitters of games industry, who often bring along their latest games for visitors to try.

There's also a kids Video Games Workshop, with experts from BAFTA and Abertay University teaching you how games are made. By the end of the three days, you'll have created a short piece of an animated game!

Last year saw over 9,000 people of all ages – from toddlers to grandparents – enjoying the fun-packed weekend. This year Dare Protoplay will be even better, with the addition of an Indie Games Festival to showcase the great young games companies coming out of Dundee and the rest of the UK.

Entry to Dare ProtoPlay is free, but there is a charge for the Video Games Workshop - pre-book soon if you want to take part.

Find out more at the Dare ProtoPlay website.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe (3 - 27 August 2012)

This August the Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival, will be delighting and enthralling visitors with a staggering 40,000 performances and more than 2,500 shows packed into 250 venues across the city.

Whether it is comedy, children’s shows, music, exhibitions, theatre and so much more, the festival offers a veritable treat for all city visitors over three actions packed weeks. Just be prepared to be surprised as sticking to its original values the Fringe is entirely open-access meaning anyone is allowed to perform as shows are not auditioned or vetted.

This founding value has been at the heart of the Fringe since it was established in 1947 by a group of theatre companies who had not been invited to participate in the Edinburgh International Festival, but decided they would travel to the city and perform anyway. It became known as the Fringe as it originally occurred on the edge or ‘fringe’ of the International Festival.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe street performer

So if you are visiting Edinburgh this August make sure you take in a show or three and take the opportunity to see famous faces, discover new artists and shows, and soak up the electric atmosphere that the Fringe is famous for.

The 2012 programme has now been announced and you can take a look at what's coming up on the official Edinburgh Festival Fringe website.

Notting Hill Carnival

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Notting Hill Carnival (26 – 27 August 2012)

Every August bank holiday the streets of West London come alive for the Notting Hill Carnival – Europe’s largest street festival! The Caribbean theme sees the streets packed with steel bands, Calypso music and tempting food stalls; the Notting Hill Carnival is a huge party and everyone is invited!

Notting Hill Carnival performer

Originating in 1964, the festival encompasses the Caribbean spirit which attracts visitors from all over the world. The streets are lined with hundreds of stalls serving mouth-watering Caribbean dishes; whilst the main parade exhibits astounding floats and sounds from the talented steel drum bands.

The carnival started as a local festival set up by the West Indian community in the Notting Hill area and has since grown to be of London’s most exciting annual events. With over 20 miles of vibrant colour made from dazzling costumes and hundreds of Caribbean food stalls, it is no wonder it attracts over one million revellers each year.

If it's a family event you're looking for, then that family-friendly Sunday is the best day to bring along the kids to the carnival as the costume prizes are awarded. The main parade takes place on Monday, beginning on Great Western Road and winding its way to Ladbroke Grove.

Whichever day you decide to attend the festival, you can be sure on great crowds and a vibrant celebration of music and movements with Caribbean food stalls serving jerk chicken and friend plantain, whilst the series of sound systems allow for alfresco dancing. The Notting Hill carnival is a remarkable display of sounds, colourful sights and social solidarity. Whether you want to join in on the fun or watch the crowds go by, don’t miss the chance to be part of London’s biggest carnival.