West End Live is such an amazing event. I truly recommend everybody to go if you like musicals, because it’s an unforgettable experience. Everything is great, the atmosphere in Trafalgar Square, the chance to see all the West End stars so close to you, live on the stage, listen to the different songs again and get surprised by the performances… The event means a lot of things but especially it’s a celebration of British theatre.
Here you can read a few tips for the West End Live weekend, according to my experience last year (the first time I went there):
- Lots of people:
It’s a very popular event, about 500,000 people will be in Trafalgar Square this year. That’s a lot, and means lots of queues and lot of people in a small space and somebody can feel burden. If you are looking for a relaxed plan, I think that going to West End Live is not the best option. But if you don’t mind, you can enjoy lots of musical performances for free.
- Comfortable clothes and weather:
The festival runs for many hours. On Saturday from 11am to 6pm and Sunday from 12noon to 6pm. This means a lot of hours, so it’s better to wear comfortable clothes. It’s important to check the weather for that. Last year was extremely hot, I had to buy some sunscreen because the sun was shinning a lot, which was great, and some sunglasses. But in London weather changes everyday. So this year, who knows? It can rain, so it’s better to bring the umbrella with you.
- Food and drinks:
Yes, something that I found quite annoying. How is it possible that there wasn’t any food store inside the square? You need to go outside to buy something, or take it from home. There is a Tesco Express, some Pret A Manger and a McDonald’s just in front of the square, but I recommend not leaving the square while you are inside because you’ll need to queue again to get in. So it’s better if you carry your own food and drinks before.
- Wake up early:
I know it’s hard but it’s worth it too. The celebration is in Trafalgar Square, which means it’s free and no ticket needed, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t queues. There are a lot. The square is closed with fences, so you need to queue to get in. Last year I was queuing at 9 o’clock and I was quite far from the stage. The performances started at 11, so two hours earlier was enough to get inside the square, but people usually go very early.
It’s a wonderful event, I’m sure you’ll be part of the emotions of the crowd. It’s great to share with the people all the love for musicals performance after performance. It’s important to know that it’s a standing event, so be prepared to enjoy the experience without seating. What I did last year was to stay standing most of the time, watching the shows I liked it, in front of the stage, and the ones I wasn’t that excited, seating on the floor next to the crowd, watching from the screens.
On the official webpage of the event, you can check all the information you need. Basically, I think that the most important thing to know is the schedule. It hasn’t been released yet, but sure will be soon. It’s good for you so you can organise the performances you prefer to watch, if you want to stay all day or not… It’s up to you!
And the last thing: have fun! All the shows are great and all the songs are fantastic. It’s going to be a great weekend, the waiting is also great, waiting for the news of the shows that will perform, the schedule… And it’s going to be so sad once it’s finished, but with good memories and waiting for the next year! It’s a good opportunity to discover new shows in London if you haven’t seen anything about it. So, I’ll see you in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st.