The big one: End Of The Road Festival
Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset. 12-14 September
Photographer: Michael Gregory10 September 2008
What is it?
The winner of the Best Independent Festival in its inaugural year - 2006 - is bigger and better for its third annual event. The 5,000-capacity sold out festival still has no corporate branding and features the crème de la crème of independent bands.
When and where
Set among the lush surrounds of Larmer Tree Gardens, near Salisbury on the Wiltshire/Dorset border, where wild peacocks roam free and exotic parrots inhabit the tall trees. 12th-14th September 2008.
Ones to watch
The Young Republic – Friday night, Big Top Stage – mixing country sounds with guitar rock, this unique act are bound to be on taste makers radar very soon.
Noah & the Whale – Saturday night, Garden Stage – They have taken UK festival audiences by storm this summer with their sunshiny indie pop. If you somehow missed them this year, do not miss them here.
Two Gallants – Saturday night, Big Top Stage – The San Francisco duo produce epic stories set to punk blues. A joy to watch.
Zombie Zombie – Sunday night, Big Top Stage – Dark and dirty French electro duo with the most infectious beats. Worth sticking around for.
Hawk & A Hacksaw - Friday, Garden Stage - Jeremy Barnes' beguiling channelling of stirring Klezmer and Balkan folk has led to collaborations with Beirut and Neutral Milk Hotel and feels like your senses have been taken over by the intense celebrations of a gypsy wedding.
Bon Iver - Saturday, Garden Stage – A sound of heartbreaking loss, soulful intimacy and remoteness that was created over four snowy months in self-imposed log cabin exile. Take a handkerchief to catch your tears.
Low - Saturday, Garden Stage - Low's ethereal, fragile harmonies and desolate meditation will enchant and haunt you as the sky dips his hat and puts on his night clothes.
Jeffrey Lewis - Sunday, Big Top - Lewis's engaging lo-fi aesthetics, lyrical dexterity and wit make him a compelling troubadour of anti-folk. Watch him because "Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror" is a folk classic of our time.
Kimya Dawson - Sunday, Garden Stage – Her sweet, endearing, voice and ear for beautiful storytelling will feels like she’s giving you a massive, comforting, bear hug.
One to miss
Sorry, this is End of the Road. Leave your cynicism at the door and revel in the inspired spread of great music. You absolutely have to see everything on offer.
Playing a rare festival date
Mercury Rev - Saturday, Garden Stage - Mercury Rev are back with a new album “Snowflake Midnight”, a delicious return to the luminous, shimmering songwriting and spectral majesty that always used to carve cold spots down your spine.
Christopher Rees - Friday, Bimble Inn – Chilling tales of woe, passion and hope played out under a swelling Americana sky and delivered with a desert blues voice picked up somewhere on a windy, lonesome highway.
Mountain Goats verses Tindersticks dilemma on Sunday night will make any fan of sweeping, euphoric,
melancholy cry with despair. So quite apt then.
New this year
2008 sees the addition of a Cinema Tent, curated by the uber trendy film magazine Little White Lies, who promise an eclectic mix of programming to suit all tastes.
Special festival features
Don’t miss the surprise art installations set in the woods among hundreds of thousands of fairy lights. You can also visit the Healing Retreat for a bit of relaxation or search for the mysterious Library In the Woods for bit of light reading.
Go to End Of The Road if…
…you are laid back but deeply into independent music, as this is an extremely friendly festival full of like minded people who are all there to discover new music.
Avoid End Of The Road if…
…are uptight, your music taste is based on commercial radio and the V Festival is your idea of a good time.
Alcohol of choice
The Somerset Cider bus is once again in attendance and serving up their yummy organic cider.
Take Your Mum Score
8/10 - She’ll love the beautiful setting and hey, bring the kids too while you’re at it. It small enough to keep an eye on them, plus there is loads for them to do.
Can I Still Get Tickets?
Nope, sold out. However, you can try their myspace and facebook group pages where fans are selling to other fans for face value.
Alison Kerry and Kai Jones