Steve, upon arriving at the End of the Road Festival armed with a mountain of cereal
But the End of the Road was calling (in so many ways) and I had other people relying on me to get them there too. I'd planned on having a disco nap when we arrived in Dorset, but as it turned out, it was all far too exciting. Set in the picturesque Larmer Tree Gardens, the End of the Road Festival is now in its fourth year, and fast gaining a reputation as the serious music lover's festival. Some would call the line-up alternative, I'd say fundamental. Much to my own personal delight, End of the Road is largely a festival for chin-stroking, album-buying, real ale-drinking DINKYS and empty nesters, with only the occasional obligatory festy crusty and over-excited tween.
Paul, to me, sometime in the early hours of Saturday morning.
There were so many highlights during the weekend that it would be hard to boil them down into a single readable blog post, but a few bands stood out in terms of atmosphere and sheer accomplishment. The one I'd been most excited about was the Low Anthem, who I'd discovered back in May at the Great Escape Festival and have been raving about to anyone who'll listen ever since. I was extra thrilled when it turned out they were playing not one but two sets during the weekend.
Matty, on my aversion to brandy other than in pudding
The first Low Anthem gig was in the smallest venue - the Tipi tent - which looked cute from the outside, but turned out to be a terrible space for live music. Despite persistent sound problems and noise pollution from the neighbouring tent, Low Anthem appeared composed as they delivered an intimate set, mostly of their more obscure material. But it wasn't until their second gig on Saturday that the band really shone, bringing a packed out audience at the Garden Stage to its metaphorical knees. I've never heard a quieter field of festival goers as in between songs during the Low Anthem's End of the Road performance. Rapturous applause gave way to mesmerised silence after each song as we all eagerly awaited the next. So many other bands get by on catchy tunes and adequate musicianship, that it's impossible not to be affected by the sheer arresting intensity of the Low Anthem's immense talent and potent delivery.
Nick, on our general inability as a group to pay attention
Linda, getting all teacherly on us
I was also really taken with Wildbirds & Peacedrums, who can only be described as 'Drum n Blues' - the set up being a female bluesy singer accompanied only by drums and various percussion noises. Her powerfully husky voice was enough to carry the lack of any other instrumentation, and I have not seen such fervent drumming since the Muppets. A namecheck must also go to Faceometer and his friend the Dapper Swindler, whose unofficial woodland jamming kept us all enthralled, and distracted me from the disappointment of being told not to climb trees by security. To be fair to security, they were pretty laid back in their fun-spoiling, even in the face of my loud protestation: "I climb trees all the time when you're not here. There's no law against climbing trees." All power to Nick for beautifully diffusing the situation, and winning a bet at the same time, when he offered the guy in question £50 to dance the Can-Can for him.
Michael, to Faceometer and the Dapper Swindler