The Festival at the End of the Road

The Festival at the End of the Road, at Larmer Tree Gardens, sounds like a book and seems like a dream. This year the guys and gals at EOTR looked to surpass last years headliners, which had included Grizzly Bear, Grandaddy and Patti Smith. Along with Glastonbury it is one of my two must go to festivals. Different ends of the scale but both wonderful. The Park at Glasto is dear to me, but my favourite festival stage must be the Park Stage at EOTR - when the weather is good and the bands keep coming there’s nowhere else to be.

The festival site is easy to get around, but the paths and various hidden gems in the woods make it feel bigger - you just need to keep an eye out for the wild wild life.

The Tipi tent in the almost constant sunshine

Food at the festival is varied and excellent - not the dirty burger and a plastic cheese slice of some fests, decent ingredients and food with flavours from India, Mexico, France and even the Balkans. There was plenty of real ale in the bars across the site and of course the Somerset Cider Bus is on hand too.

Cleanliness at the site was notable and special mention goes to the
AndyLoos teams for their hard work - no emergency toilet paper required here. The festival goers themselves no doubt helped too.

This years weather was very kind again with sunshine almost constant. Even the rain, which came on Friday, was nicely accompanied by a double rainbow.

The music line-up was strong throughout and it’s not easy to pick out just a few highlights, but I’ll try:

After the truncated
Eels set at V we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to see a full set on the main Woods Stage on Friday night. The Adidas track-suited band rocked out - throwing in some Pete Green era Fleetwood Mac - and the crowd lapped it up (as did the weather gods who signaled their delight with a double rainbow).

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Rainbow for the Eels on the Woods Stage

Headliners David Byrne & St Vincent came on with their fantastic brass to an expectant if slightly damp crowd. We were not disappointed and the choreography of the group was something to behold, really adding to the experience. The biggest cheers of the day were undoubtedly to the Road to Nowhere finale.

In the afternoon
King Khan & the Shrines had entertained with the mighty Khan channeling something between James Brown and Ronnie Barker, but in the early hours of the Saturday morning they claimed the Tipi as their own (despite seemingly having Brian Blessed on drums and the angel from Barbarella on keyboards).

King Khan & the Shrines

Saturday began with the simple charms of singers with guitars including Ethan Johns and Angel Olsen on the Park stage and Night Beds (I must now purchase that album). After the straightforward joys of the singer songwriters the evening ended with the light, video and blustering soundscapes of Sigur Ros. The band on tip top form lit up the cold starry night (the hot spicy cider from the Somerset Cider Bus was an essential accompaniment on the night).

All too soon Sunday was upon the happy festival goers.
Damian Jurado on the Park Stage was a great start with his class tunes interspersed with some jaunty banter. Then it was over to the Woods to let Heartless Bastards rock us before the rightly popular Caitlin Rose came out to delight with her fragile-cum-unbreakable country voice. Lovely.

Woodpecker Wooliams
Woodpecker Wooliams on the Park Stage - after getting dressed

The early evening brought us Jens Lekman back at the Park, which became something of an enjoyable dancing flash mob - great moments. Then it was time for the last headliner Belle & Sebastian who’s buoyant performance were an uplifting end to the main festival performances.

Following the headliners it was inevitable that it had to be continued via the disco in the Woods then it was onto the Tipi for a couple of fab performances from the
Barr Brothers and Caitlin Rose, who despite struggling with a sore throat was awesome.

So the audience, including the resident macaws and the peacocks, are already looking forward to next year and I for one have already nabbed an Early Bird.

Thank you once again
EOTR and I’ll raise a cider and an ale to you this week!

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