Tuesday, September 25, 2007

End of the Road Festival – Friday


Taking a baby to a festival isn’t easy. We had an inkling of this when we decided to head back to the End of the Road Festival, back when it was announced at the start of the year. We thought that since The Baby Growl would be three months, she might be old enough (or maybe that we would be used to being parents enough) to take her to a festival, but also that she would be too young to take camping. So we booked tickets and a cottage nearby to act as a substitute tent. When we saw just how full the car was when we left London, we were sure that the decision not to camp was a good one.

This being the first holiday with Isobel, we underestimated just how long it would take to get all the stuff together (babies need a lot of stuff), and get down to Dorset. The festival started at around 2pm, and although we knew we couldn’t get into the cottage until 4pm, we expected to be on the site at tea-time. Fine chance. After finally rolling up at our temporary home at 6pm, then having to get some essential provisions and eat, it was just getting too late. Mrs Growl decided to stay in with the baby, leaving me to reach Larmer Tree Gardens at about 10pm, in time to miss a heap of acts I wanted to see, but crucially in time to see Yo La Tengo’s headline set. I’m so glad I made the effort.


It was a storming performance from Ira, Georgia and James, playing old favourites through to tracks from their latest album. Ira proved that getting older doesn’t mean you can’t rock out, and Georgia and James kept the rhythm pounding to superb effect. From the fuzzed out pleasures of Sugarcube, to sprightly disco-pop (I never knew James could pack such an impressive falsetto), to the all-shredding, apocalyptic noise of the closing song which just kept better and better. It was topped off beautifully by an encore of their cover of Sun Ra’s Nuclear War and their version of Sandy Denny's By The Time it Gets Dark, to send the crowds off happy, though no doubt still in search of other festival pleasures.


One of these was surely Eugene McGuinness in the Bimble Inn, playing a late set to a packed tent. So packed that I couldn’t progress past the front bar area where the noisy chatter of the drinkers stopped me hearing the subtle charms of Eugene’s songs. If I didn’t already know the tunes from his impressive debut album, I wouldn’t have picked up much. But if you can’t beat them, join them, which brings me to the other big pleasure of the evening – meeting fellow blogger Matthew of Song, by Toad fame. We did our intros, chatted and managed to convince one particularly wasted punter that I was in a band, as Eugene finished his show (accompanied by Emmy the Great), and resolved to meet again over the course of the weekend. We would of course.

Download: Yo La Tengo – Nuclear War
Download: Yo La Tengo - Sugarcube
Download: Eugene Mc Guinness – Vela

And speaking of Mr Toad, you can get By the Time it Gets Dark from his blog here.

3 comments:

Matthew said...

Have you picked which band yet?

U2? Keane?

Paul Linford said...

Impressive, but not quite in the same league as some mutual friends of ours who took their firstborn camping for a month in Croatia six weeks after he was born...

The Daily Growl said...

Matthew - It has to be Coldplay, really

Paul - I know - we did think of them when we were in our cottage. So glad we didn't camp. It would have been a nightmare...