Lounge on the Farm 2011 review

'Now a glitzy, corporate, pop soiree'

Photographer:Siobhan Boyle

Phil Brady - 11 July 2011

Lounge On The Farm has gone under the knife. A facelift has helped the six-year-old festival, which sells out for the first time ever, transform from a perfectly low-key, community-based affair into a more glitzy, corporate, pop soiree.

Atmosphere is sparse but the 'let's have it' attitude shines through as Mike Skinner leads The Streets (8/10) into a swan song. Wielding a hammer, he smashes Lounge on the Farm apart, literally.

Standing gallantly on a speaker at the front of the stage he belts out 'Don't Mug Yourself', the crowd lapping up his interactive banter as the band go on to play a selection from ‘Computers and Blues’. Audience favourite ‘OMG’ is led by the guitarist, whose voice defies his appearance, singing the ethereal chorus beautifully.

With acts like Ellie Goulding, Katy B and Example alongside CW Stoneking, Devlin, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Everything Everything and Echo And The Bunnymen, the line up now delivers a broader spectrum of entertainment to a wider audience. An excellent family-feel is retained too as the Little Lounge, the festival's kids area which is always in full swing.

With the appearance of a 1920's American Ice-Cream vendor, CW Stoneking (9/10) plays to an intimate audience. He swoons them with his hypnotic, heart melting vocal tones, deeply bluesome, echoing the sounds of King Swinger Louie Prima, Robert Johnson and Leon Redbone. CW with his well oiled band play their respective instruments like each note is delivered on their dying breath, producing remorseful, swinging dusky delta blues. Certainly one VF will be adding to our record collection.

The stage plan has greatly improved too. The Cowshed, that was the main stage, has been transformed to a Hacienda-flavoured dance arena adorned with Saville-style graphics, retro lighting and a sound system you can hear booming in the centre of Canterbury, while The Main Stage has been given a 3,000 capacity field of its own.

Devlin on Friday night whips the crowd into a frenzy as he comes on armed with a microphone and a bottle of Jack Daniels. This man's talent sees no end as a three-minute accapella shows who he has evolved from an underground grime artist to become a heavyweight showman. A young, street-savvy audience soaks in every word.

On Sunday, Echo And The Bunnymen’s (7/10) Ian McCulloch chain smokes his way trough the best of their 11 album career. With his iconic dark glasses, leather jacket and token swagger, he rolls through 'Roadhouse Blues' by The Doors, before building to highlight 'Killing Moon' as the clouds disperse to reveal a blood red moon low in the sky. The Bunneymen seamlessly flow into 'The Cutter' before leaving the stage, with its sitar-like guitar melodies that echo throughout this arable land.

They return to a roaring ovation from a crowd dwarfed by it's arena blending 'Nothing Lasts Forever' with Lou Reed's 'Take a Walk on the Wild Side' to put Lounge On The Farm 2011 into a slumber for another year.


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