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Love Monster is Always (Pretty Much) Worrying About Everything.

19 Jul

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.

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!

Larmer Tree Saturday let the sun shine

19 Jul


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.

Duvet Biscuits and No Romance (In General) at the Open Mic, in The Social.

18 Jul

It’s very chilled in ‘The Social‘ at Larmer Tree 15 and there’s an Open Mic on.

First to go on stage is Sara, who reads a poem, a long poem of duvets, dads, sex and biscuits. I never mix sex and dads, it’s just wrong. “He told me there was no romance in general and I tell him my dad was magic – the biscuit turns into some sort of cramy shared thing, split in two kind of metaphor and some folding happened, and bruises – a mix of metaphors. This was performance poetry!

Next up gentle yoga lady, playing handmade glock, and we all feel a bit more chilled, even sleepy, and social in the Social. Lovely.

A young girl plays as singer song writer with a belting Ed Sheeran voice into Sam Smith . She’s very good. I’m impressed with this open mic and the atmosphere it maintains in the tent, in the social at Larmer Tree and it’s sunny outside and cool in here. It has something to do with the generous Justin MC (of Bella Figura), I am sure. Lovely. Yes Lovely again.

Nathan sings an original song with a very little guitar. He on the other hand is very tall and once had a romance with a woman in Cornwall who he never met. The original song is about ending it with the woman from Cornwall. “221 miles just to see you again.” The Social is confused, we thought he’d never met her … Oh – pen – mic – mo – ments. Next song, Nathan requests backing vocals and audience participation: some are seen to shuffle to the beds at the back ( yes beds: Larmer has it all). “Somebody, somebody, somebody, somebody find me … Somebody to love.” In a non-Freddy voice. He had somebody, somebody he never met and ended it all with.

Paul Ecentric reads us a story and it’s pretty good. He has a book for sale 😉 about Fleur and her man, and some flowerpots they call a garden. she gets abducted by aliens and it’s still chilled in the social until …

The Anti- Poet is mixed with Jake Bird and Paul Ecentric is playing a washing board. They all knew the same song so their open mic slot was combined because, The Social was all out of time.

Everyone was in the Social today because it’s nice in there, Larmery lush, a bar, soft floor, beds and even some peacocks.


Distracted by Seven Million People and Nudybronque at Larmer Tree 15

18 Jul


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.

Larmer Tree 2015 – Friday

18 Jul

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.

Larmer Tree Festival next week

7 Jul
The carnival procession at Larmer Tree Festival near Salisbury

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.

Larmer Tree Festival – ploughing on through the mud

19 Jul

What Larmer Tree Festival lacks in big names (and firm ground) its makes up for in smiles, as Chronicler Pete discovered.

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I’ve been going to music festivals for twenty two years – exactly as long as Larmer Tree Festival has been in existence.

Yet until this year I’d never been to the five-day boutique festival, which is held practically on my doorstep in the grounds of a Victorian pleasure garden near Salisbury. Continue reading

Larmer Tree Festival – a bit muddy…

17 Jul

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So…why didn’t we put our six year old in a wet suit?

Saturday (day three of the Larmer Tree Festival near Salisbury /Shaftesbury) was the ‘All at Sea’ themed fancy dress day. So: tons of mud, sea theme and an aquarian outfit which keeps a body warm and one which can be hosed down at the end of the day. I saw one clever parent who’d thought of this which made me slap my hand on my forehead, accompanied by ‘oweeeee.’

I’d been at the festival since Thursday and my son turned up Friday afternoon. And immediately jumped up and down in the muddy gunk before scooping it up in his fingers. Sigh.

On the whole the kids loved the mud. Usually accompanied by resigned looking parents, desperately trying to keep the mud on their wellies and nowhere else.

Okay, I realise I’ve nearly got to the end and haven’t mentioned music, comedy, art or even toilets. But the mud is all pervasive. It splats and slops and it’s really hard work to walk through. Whine, whine, whine.

That’s it, enough about mud. It won’t pollute the other posts.

Paloma Faith at Larmer Tree – Jessica Rabbit?

13 Jul

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“Marry me!” yelled an admirer of Paloma Faith, on stage last night on day two of the Larmer Tree Festival.
“What do you look like?” she replied in her little girl voice, peering into the crowd. “Oh quite handsome. What do you do?…A student? Oh dear. Come back when you’ve graduated.” Moving back from the crowd and flinging off her white stole, she added: “I’m not a gold digger. I don’t want you to be intimidated by my success.”
Charming and entertaining as well as good tunes, she glittered in a sparkly blue dress, all womanly curves. Add the white fur and flowing red hair and – a thought struck chronicler Pete – “It’s like watching Jessica Rabbit.”
She dedicated a song to hers and other people’s curves. Giving the finger – or the wiggling bum – to the red top media who have commented on her so-called weight. No complaints from the crowd or the marriage-proposing student.
So – day of firsts for me, chronicler Louisa:
1. First time at a full-on mud-fest. It’s like wading through chocolate.
2. First time in the ‘pit’ with proper press photographers.
3. First time it took so long to put up the tent (see point one) that Paloma Faith was the only thing I saw on my first day here. #Epicfestivalfail. We’ll never speak of it again.