Monday, September 24, 2007

End of the Road Festival


I’m back from the End of the Road Festival! The eagle-eyed among you may spot that I’ve taken my time since the festival actually finished last Sunday, so what kept me? Don’t worry, the festival didn’t turn into a week-long acid trip. It was just that I extended my sojourn in Dorset for a few days longer. I’m now glad to have returned to the city. I mean, the countryside’s a nice place to be, but I sure as heck couldn’t live there. For starters although undoubtedly lovely there isn’t a lot to do. That’s fine for a week to relax and recharge batteries, but then I’d get itchy feet. Then there’s the people. On a visit to Blandford Forum (a place which surely lives up to the first syllable of its name), there was the casual racist remark extended towards Mrs Growl. Sure, it might have just been a kid, but these attitudes must come from somewhere. So with that in mind, I’m glad to be back in civilisation.


But the festival? It was a brilliant weekend again, living up to expectations. Full marks for another year to Simon, Sofia and the crew for putting on a top-notch event. The line-up was even better than last year, and shows both impeccable taste on their part and an impressive resolve to get all these amazing bands and artists together.

I’ll be going through each day again and giving a full review, but there will be a bit of a difference to previous Daily Growl festival reviews. That’s because my life this year is a bit different. So as well as describing the bands and the music, my posts will be as much about what it’s like to take a three-month old baby to a music festival. It’s not that easy y’know. At least not as easy as we had envisaged. None of the running between stages of old, to catch all the artists we wanted to see. Not when you’ve got a pram and armfuls of unwieldy baby baggage. And none of this down-the-front lark either. We were mostly positioned at a strategic distance to avoid crowd entanglement and the full force of the sound system. I’ve never been that concerned about how loud music is at gigs, but now that there are tiny ears to worry about, I definitely am.


Anyway, I’ll stop going on here and save the rest for upcoming posts. I’ve posted some non-band-related photos of the festival, and now here are some non-band-specific highlights.

The location. I said it last year, I’ll say it again. It’s such a beautiful place for a festival. My friends who were making their EOTR debuts were struck by how lovely it was. Almost too lovely for a festival. For those of you wondering exactly where it is, check it out here.

The sound. Surely the best sound at a festival I can remember, and I’ve been to a few. It was excellent last year, and they’ve kept up the standards this year. Just goes to show that it can’t be that hard to get it right. So why do so many venues and festivals consistently get it so wrong?

The food. Again, an impressive selection of gastronomic delights, none more popular than Pieminister, purveyors of fantastic pies, mash and mushy peas to the hungry festival masses. They had totally sold out by Sunday lunchtime, just when pies were required!

The Bimble Inn. Again, this tent-cum-bar-cum-stage was a big hit. I didn’t spend as much time there as last year (it just wasn’t logistically possible), but it was still a fine place to be, as my friends testified.

The programme. None of your rip-off, charging inflated sums for a glorified timetable here. No, a modest £2 got you a decent mini-magazine, which as well as the necessary stage times also had a load of decent features and interviews with select artists, all expertly put together by the people at Plan B magazine. Plus a CD sampler and a badge. Bargain!

And just the general vibe of the place. Laidback and friendly with a high count of people who were there for the music, and a low (pretty much non-existent) count of idiots. It’s also a pleasure to be at a festival where there are no corporate sponsors trying to sell you stuff. And the weather, for the most part, was perfect.


That’ll do for now. For a sneak preview, my musical highlights were Yo La Tengo, My Brightest Diamond, The Young Republic and David Thomas Broughton. More on them (and more) soon. To end this post I’ve got some music from the aforementioned nice little CD sampler – from Boy Scout Recordings. There will be more about this label on The Daily Growl in the future, for sure, but for now here are a couple of tracks.

Download: Turner Cody - Hey Jim
Download: Dawn Landes - Picture Show


8 comments:

Matthew said...

Now I wish I had pictures too. Dammit, they turned out nicely.

And racist remarks? Fucksake, glass the little fuckwits like you would back home. It's not like being Scottish is all that exot.. oh, wait, sorry, wrong racism.

Simon said...

Can't disagree with anything there (bar the Bimble Inn based on straining to hear Monkey Swallows The Universe over the bar noise) - even though I've been to a few festivals that pride themselves on family friendliness and laidback atmosphere there seemed to be less human traffic going on and fewer in a constant rush to get someplace.

Sorry we didn't meet up in the end - I don't know how that happened given we didn't know what the other looked like or have any mode of contact on site. I saw a couple with a tiny child talking to John Brainlove at the top of the path down to The Local midway through Friday and somehow thought it might be the pair of you but thought I'd better not risk it.

The Daily Growl said...

It wasn't us in the end (it was only me there, very late on Friday as shall be revealed in my next post), so your restraint was worthwhile.

Robin said...

Hi, I've visit your blog on and off for a few months now and have always thought it was good stuff, so just thought I would finally put up a comment....

I too have kids (now 8 and 6 respectively) and they started going to festivals from 6 months, including Glasto at age 4 and 2.

Festivals do take on a different angle when you have children, and these days there are some I will take my kids to, and some I won't. The one thing I would say, is start 'em young, because it gets easier as they get older. My kids are now actually at the age where they are hassling me to go down the front (which they are still too small for at anything other than very small festies) and actually watching lots of bands. I've never been to end of the road festival, but fully intend to next year, with such a good line up that it has had the last 2 years and by the looks of your photos, plenty of space for kids !

If you want to look at the Festivals I went to this year, check out my myspace blog at www.myspace.com/breakingthewaves. Lots of pics and write ups !

Keep up the good work !

The Daily Growl said...

Thanks Robin. I would totally recommend End of the Road for kids - there's plenty for them to do as well as the music. And I'm sure they would be fine down the front there, especially earlier in the day when most people are sitting down anyway. Maybe next year ours will be old enough to appreciate some of it.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I can you guys tell me if there's much going on later at night at EOTR festival? It mentions DJ's playing late night sets on the festival website but doesn't go into details.

Thanks,

Phil.

The Daily Growl said...

Not really, though the flyer would suggest that there is. You'll probably have to wait until nearer the time to get the full running times. Or contact the organisers.

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