As an animal lover my visit to see the sea lions at La Jolla Cove was hands down my highlight from San Diego this time around. And being there as the sun went down made it especially magical.

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La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya – it means ‘the jewel’ in Spanish) Cove is part of La Jolla Underwater Park, a marine refuge area.

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La Jolla Cove really is beautiful. It’s a popular spot for swimming and snorkelling because the high cliffs mean there is rarely high surf. There was on my visit mind you, as San Diego was recovering from El Niño (a strong band of warm water in the Pacific Ocean near the equator increasing the likelihood of rain storms), and there were plenty of surfers taking advantage of it!

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The small cove inside the cliffs has a white sandy beach, and you can often find sea lions there, or on the rocks. The cove was originally meant as a protected swimming area for children, but it attracted the local wildlife.

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lajolla4There does seem to be an ongoing argument as to whether the sea lions should be removed as they’re apparantly multiplying quite rapidly. Personally, I’m on the side of the sea lions – why mess with nature just so kids can go swimming?

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Above the cliffs is a lovely big grassy area, the perfect picnic spot. I definitely plan on returning to La Jolla when the weather is a bit better.

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There is so much more to see and do there than just observe the sea lions, so watch this space!

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L xx

All photos my own.

 

After spending Saturday at Aftershock, which you can read about here, we made the 6 hour drive from Sacramento to San Bernardino for Knotfest (who knew California was so big?!)

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The Music

We arrived a little late so missed some of the earlier bands but made it in time to catch a little Cannibal Corpse. After that we skipped the music for a bit to check out what else was around.

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The line up for me later in the day was basically the same as that at Aftershock. Clutch were excellent, again. A MUCH bigger stage for them this time.

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Bring Me The Horizon played the exact same set that they did at Aftershock, and got pretty much the exact same crowd reaction. I’m still surprised that they’re so popular in the USA (not that it’s not well deserved) and also that Americans don’t know Chelsea Smile. But maybe the lack of knowledge of their older stuff is more of a new fan thing, rather than an American thing? Whichever.

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After the little bit of a disappointing show at Aftershock, Slipknot were back on form at Knotfest. It seemed much more of an enthusiastic performance, from Clown in particular – he actually walked through the audience at one point. And I was happy that they changed up the set list.

The sound at San Manuel Amphitheatre, in the actual fixed main stage area, is excellent and I think that made a massive difference. I actually really like the way the main stage is set up – it has a semi circular pit area (on concrete – ouch!) with tiered seating behind, both of these areas are for premium ticket holders. General admission ticket holders can watch from the lawn area at the back – but with the MASSIVE screens, that is by no means a bad view. I’ve been in both the pit area and the seats (because I’m a bit pathetic and girly and also sometimes my feet hurt) for varying bands, and both were great.

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As usual, apologies for the awful/lack of photography. Taking pictures just isn’t at the front of my mind when I’m watching a band. I know I need to improve on that…

Knotfest Museum

Despite being at Knotfest for the whole weekend last year, I managed to miss the Slipknot Museum, and this year I got lucky – I didn’t realise they were closing it at 7pm on the Sunday, and I managed to be the last one in!

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It’s basically a circus tent with a load of Slipknot paraphernalia (with no explanations), curated by the band themselves from their own collections – old jumpsuits, masks, art, previously used equipment etc.

I’ll leave you with a few photos.

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Outside the entrance are frozen goat heads on spikes – I was so lucky that, just as I was about to kiss one for a selfie, one of the security guys pointed out it was real…

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Here’s the outtake, haha!

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Vendors

One thing that struck me about Knotfest 2015 was that it was almost exactly the same in terms of layout as it was in 2014 – even the majority of the vendors were the same.

Quite a lot were generic festival stalls, and having browsed similar at Aftershock I didn’t spend too much time on them.

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I did buy the most me tshirt ever from the Bring Me The Horizon merch stand though. It’s a really colourful sublimated print with the umbrella motif, new for this tour. I absolutely love it.

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VIP Area

Like with the vendors, the VIP area was the same as last year, even down to having the same (very good!) Mexican food truck. The only real addition this year were clown statues, and not particularly Slipknotty ones.

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I like the VIP area at Knotfest a lot. It is handy to be able to access it – unlike Aftershock, Knotfest has no real shaded areas in the main arena, so the sun can get a bit overbearing. The VIP area has a lot of gazebos and covered areas. It also has a pool table, sports on TV and a decent bar.

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It is however a lot more expensive (about $100 more I think) to upgrade to a VIP ticket, but I think if you can afford it (especially if you aren’t used to the heat, like me!), do it.

Food

Last year, as it was my first American festival, I was really impressed with the quality of the food. The choice wasn’t huge – basically Mexican, Chinese or Italian, but it was all really good! And it was EXACTLY the same this year. I won’t talk about the food anymore really, other than to leave a pic, as I posted in details about what I ate here.

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And I really like the drinks on offer at Knotfest…

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Camping

Now, I didn’t actually camp at Knotfest this year, but I did last year, so I wanted to stick in a little section about that experience. It was completely different to camping at a UK festival – well, general camping anyway. It follows the format of VIP camping at UK festivals, where you camp next to your car. Except you pay for a camping pass per car, rather than per person, and it allows for up to 6 people. I think it’s around $120 per car. You can see here how idyllic the setting was! It did get surprisingly cold at night though.

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Other Stuff

Knotfest had a lot of other attractions on offer. I didn’t have time to see them this year, but they were repeats from last year so I didn’t miss out. They included the Ring of Fire ride, flaming carnival games, the Thunderdome fighting arena and steel drums. If you’re interested you can read more about them here.

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Overall, Knotfest is a great festival, and a must do for a Slipknot fan. But I do think that once you’ve been once, you don’t necessarily need to go again. I think I’ll give it a miss next year for an alternative event.

L xx

All photos my own.

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been AWOL for a bit, having been on an epic mini American festival roadtrip which I’ll likely be boring you to death about with posts for the next few weeks.

I may as well start by telling you about day one, so here goes! We had a ridiculous 16 hours of travelling from London to Sacramento (via Amsterdam and Seattle). It started off quite interesting, on the first leg of the journey (London to Amsterdam) I was sat next to an ex convict who was being deported back to Ghana. We actually had a really nice chat, about mistakes, positivity and looking to the future. His crime wasn’t horrific, and I believe in second chances – I think he was pretty happy that I didn’t just recoil away from him in horror when he told me his story! He’s actually keen to give blogging a go – to help get him through an unwanted move back to a homeland he hasn’t visited in almost 20 years.

And I had to take a picture of these really cool pillars at Sacramento airport…

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Anyway, I digress. As soon as we’d arrived in Sacramento, picked up our hire car and checked in to our Motel 6, we headed straight to Slipknots Scream Park where they were holding a little pre party for Aftershock Festival.

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Image from http://www.hellorhighwaterofficial.com/

We’d missed most of the bands, but were in time to watch Hell Or Highwater – a band I’ve never come across before but really enjoyed. It was quite a bizarre setting for a gig to me, it was basically a stage in a parking lot. Everyone was so into it, none of this standing at the back on your phone that I’m used to seeing. It felt really American!

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I spent ages trying to figure out why the vocals were so familiar, and then I realised it was Brandon Saller from Atreyu. We had a nice chat after the show, and I even bought one of their shirts for $10. Bargain.

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Image from http://www.hellorhighwaterofficial.com/

Onto the bit I was looking forward to – Slipknot’s Scream Park. I love Halloween, I love horror, I love being scared and I love Slipknot. So it couldn’t really fail, right? But if I’m honest it was a bit of a let down.

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For what it was – just 3 horror mazes, it was decent. Not hugely scary, although the clown following you around in Clown’s Playhouse was creepy as.

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I guess I just had higher expectations? Named the Best Haunted Attraction in the West by Forbes, and being described on the site as ‘produced by the twisted minds of Slipknot, Slipknot’s Scream Park features outrageous haunted houses and live horror entertainment.’ I was anticipating a bit better production, a bit more elaborate settings and for it to be not just in a pitch black empty building. I thought it would have some atmosphere, a bit of smoke setting the mood, or some people in costume wandering around making people jump. Still, I had fun, and I’m glad I went.

You can check out the trailer below if you’re interested…


L xx

All photo’s my own unless stated otherwise.