Just back from the first ever End of the Road festival. Well, I got back a couple of days ago, but I’m just getting round to posting now. What a brilliant festival! If I was wearing a hat, I’d take it off to the organisers Sofia Hagberg and Simon Taffe for putting on such a great event. But I’m not, so words of praise will have to do. And I’m not the only one speaking of it in glowing terms.
I feared a bit on Friday afternoon though. Things got off to a shaky start with queues of people at Salisbury station all waiting for one small 16-seater minibus. Needless to say we didn’t all get on. But a taxi shared with some friendly people was a nice start to the weekend.
The long waits at the station were the only hiccup in an otherwise perfect few days. The music was excellent (much more on that to come), the location was lovely, and the whole thing was quite intimate. I heard that nowhere near the allocated tickets had been sold. That wasn’t a problem for me – small is good in my book – but I hope the festival was more than just a success in the hearts of all who were there. It just has to be on again next year! It’s a real joy to have a festival which is all about the music (and other related fun) and not a huge marketing exercise to sell mobile phones or crap lager.
Apparently EOTR was inspired by the Green Man festival in Wales. Looking at the line-up, the influence is obvious. The majority of the acts here could easily also play at Green Man (or might even have already). But there are others like British Sea Power, Semifinalists and Metronomy, who I can’t really imagine at the Welsh festival. The dance tent till 2am probably makes it different as well. According to the couple I shared the cab with, it’s strictly lights out and shut up at 12 at Green Man.
The highlights were numerous. Larmer Tree Gardens are secluded, quiet and beautiful with a load of (very tame) peacocks wandering about (including cute baby ones). Don’t know if anyone saw the male birds do the full plumage thing though. The Garden Stage (above) was in a very fine setting – there’s a old 19th century stage with a big mural, which served as a big seat all weekend. Apparently the Gardens were created in 1880 for “public enlightenment and entertainment”. Nice to see that tradition’s continuing.
There was good food on supply, most notably the ever-excellent Pieminister, serving up top-quality pies and mash – surely one of the finest types of British food. One visit was definitely not enough. Big up the Pieminister people who probably didn’t get much sleep over the weekend, keeping the masses happy with pastry, fillings and potatoes. All washed down nicely by some of the fine ales for sale elsewhere.
The Bimble Inn was a welcome addition to the festival. Not only did it serve as one of the stages for gigs, but it was a bar (with decent organic ales) and general hanging-out area with big comfy cushions and giant games. We spend a happy Saturday night here into the wee small hours…
Oh, I could go on, but I don’t want to bore you. It was a great festival, and I’d strongly recommend going next year if it’s on again. Just not too many of you, OK?
More music-related stuff to follow very soon. In the meantime, check out my growing collection of photos at my Flickr.
Someone else has been onto the EOTR blogging thing much more quickly than me.