We have been loving the Lost Wood at Larmer Tree 2015. So many surprises, small intimate installations, things to interact with. Some highlights: Party?
A front door that reveals the most narrow party ever organised. Look through the letter box and see a pair of eyes, hear a dog barking when you ring the bell, and on the other side a peephole where the party is viewed in full swing.
Elsewhere, disco balls of all sizes hang in the rhododendrons, there is chess and a web of words, exotic lighting of all colours which makes a night-time trip very thrilling.
Disco balls in trees
Music makes drawings!
Just out of the wood today, we found the spoken word tent and it happily revealed Rachel Bright drawing and talking with families. I think this was the most calm, lovely moment of the last few days. We sat and drew characters with Rachel, sometimes she read a story, sometimes she told us how to make stories and sometimes she showed us how to draw characters. We met Love Monster and his chocolate box and social conscience. Rachel explained that, Love Monster is always (pretty much) worrying about everything. She helped us draw him with some all important worry-type eyebrows. We were also introduced to Lion and Mouse from The Lion Inside. I want to do this session all over again. Later we met fairies, had our faces painted, did rag-weaving in the trees and witnessed … knitting in public!
Unlike England in the 2nd test or the weather at The Open, Larmer Tree Festival on Saturday did not disappoint. The day began as all days should begin with breakfast on the top deck of a London bus. First stop was storytelling from the sun and the wind, the audience of children (and adults) enjoyed the story and the show, why wouldn’t we, it was funny and as the sun shone the crowd was in a happy place.
Further stops took in Naomi Bedford with special guests in the Arc, great set, beautiful voice and an appearance from Del Amitri legend Justin Currie and Paul Simmonds, the man they still cannot hang. A quick jog over to the main lawn and the Caribbean infused rhythms of Kobo Town created the perfect vibe for late afternoon on the lawn.
Meanwhile as I dashed about the festival the joy of bumping into street art was a pleasure. From walking flowerpots, men at work heckling festival goers, a piano playing nun and my personal favourite, the bemused ladies covered in pigeon poo, completely original and I keep laughing thinking aboutm.
Respite came with dinner, a wide variety of choice that made selection the hardest part of the weekend. We took the twins for a rest at the campsite, I was happy to kickback for an hour before hitting the Social for Saturday night. A gentle start from the glorious Cate Ferriis, followed by a trip to the Big Top to see Pronghorn whip the crowd into a frenzy. From young to even older than me the tent was bouncing and I swear I saw a hipster smile.
The Social was our base for the rest of the night. Bella Figura with their west coast laid back blues got the tent into a blissful state before Simon Panrucker turned it upside down. His energy levels and sheer joy matched only by Clarence soon had the Social filling up and dancing, one of my highlights of the weekend.
Follow that was clearly the message to a the enlarged 8 piece Nudybronque. They did with yet another blistering high energy tongue in cheek rock and roll performance. What an end to the best Saturday since Larmer Tree 2014.
The atmosphere at Larmer Tree Festival 2015 was a buzz with everything good and then add some Nudybronque and a whole tent is smiling and dancing and laughing and gaping in did-they-just-do-that? Lead man Aidan is adorned in flarey jeans, cape and girly top to strut the stage in a million personas that we can’t quite put our finger on. He’s got friends too in Luke (bass) and Wolfman (drums) both dressed to the sparkles and looking handsome and bright. Add John on keyboards, Faye Rogers on Sax and Connor on guitar plus glitter, and add a NudyExtraSomethingAmazing to this immense set.
This was a magic, mesmerising show pulling together their own creative mix of 70’s Avant-Garde, Post-Punk and Britpop boogie in a new rock opera Graffiti & Her Friends: Against The Never Ending Sadness. The tent was rocking with little kids at the front and teens going crazy forming a moshy mess of arms, legs and sweaty hair. The place was full – “They are amazing,” says the guy behind me, due at the Magic Numbers 5 minutes ago. he was late but I get the impression it was worth it.
We made it to Larmer Tree 2015 on Friday evening a little frazzled. Our twins were hooligans in the car and I was fretting about erecting a new tent sans instructions. Arriving in the gardens lifted our spirits and even our 7 year olds started behaving like 8 year olds. The festival is an amazing space, a spectacle for all the senses. Particularly visually alluring from Larmer tree statues, glitter balls in trees and peacocks through to the music and art.
Nudybronque from Swindon were the first stop on our agenda, more on their set in another blog, followed by the Magic Numbers who tore up the main stage in their understated but captivating way. A short pause to check in with Lucy and the very helpful press team, a scamper round lost wood, quick drink and a dance with the Nudys in the social and back to see Rodrigo y Gabriela. They were the closing act on the main stage and warranted their headlining status. Musically perfect with a well paced set leading the audience along to fitting evenings climax.
With tired twins in tow we headed back to our campsite, mercifully our tent was still standing, unlike the twins, to prepare for Saturday and another great day at arguably the best and friendliest festival in Britain today.
The 2012 carnival procession at Larmer Tree Festival near Salisbury
Next week is the big family party known as Larmer Tree Festival, down, down at the bottom of Wiltshire barely squeaking into the county. We’ll be there for the whole thing (slipped disc permitting) hoping, for its quarter century birthday, that it will be more like a garden of pleasure and less like a mud pool. Anyways, here’s our highlights from 2012:
- the garden’s peacocks – they like an audience more than comedians
- parading to the sun – who eventually got his hat on – with a colourful sculpture made at an art drop-in session
- Paloma Faith
- pockets of poetry
- local beer
- shaking a tail feather in a tent full of people to Shake a Tail Feather.
- blearily enjoying The Artist at Mark Kermode’s Film Club
- the home-made pizza tent
Alongside highlights Tom Jones, Bill Bailey, Jimmy Cliff, Femi Kuti, The Magic Numbers, Ed Byrne (etc), is Nudybronque who are awesome and partly made by the son of chronicler Hilda.
See what we made of 2012.
All good things must come to an end, and this good thing ended with a bunch of crescendos, and some climaxes courtesy of poet Jo Bell.
Swindon Festival of Literature is about authors, and books, and thoughts, but the Festival Finale traditionally throws music and poetry into the mix, allowing the festival faithful a chance to kick back, rest weary brain cells, and wallow in entertainment. Continue reading