July 4, 2015 by Robb Powell
Well, I failed miserably at keeping up with my own schedule for this festival series and regrettably missed sharing a post about the fantastic free Northampton Music Festival so apologies for that. Next and the penultimate on the list is Larmer Tree Festival which I wanted to cover due to a rather massive and incredible line up including quite a few of my regular favourites. It is strange that this particular festival hasn’t really presented itself on my radar before this year. I mean, there are Llamas (okay not those kind) and trees – I’m in. How I can’t have heard about it before now is absurd, especially as we both celebrate our 25th birthday this year. Okay, I may be lying about my birthday year there but hey, this is my space, my blog so I can still be 25, right? Anyway, as there is literally (now less than) two weeks remaining I still wanted to share some of the massively marvellous music gracing the stages. The more I read, look and check out I’m close to sobbing that I am not going to be in attendance. I could have even applied for press, perhaps – had I been in time. Two weeks to go really isn’t the time to be doing this but a good old competition to win a full week pass for two staying in the luxury bell tents is worth a shot. EVERYTHING crossed please folks. Chant, prey and BELIEVE!
What an incredible week it would make to win that and actually be there. I would blog the most extensive but enjoyable review I have ever done and that you would ever read. Tingling with excitement at the mere thought of it but hey, it’s all up to chance. Whether I get lucky or not, this is one I do hope you’ve not missed out on because nestled on the Wiltshire/Dorset border it is a perfect way to get the most out of your mid-summer jollies.
As you should know and as can be expected the music is ALWAYS of huge importance to me but the extra activities and things on offer which help immerse you into the whole ethos can never be ignored. At Larmer Tree there’s not only Spoken Word and Storytelling but also Street Theatre and a full on Carnival complete with its own theme. Not only this but to keep the little ones fully engaged and occupied there are Children’s Shows and Workshops – this particular element does also extend to the adults with shows and workshops for grown-ups too. If it’s all getting a little bit too much you can even retire to The Retreat for some much needed R&R. Perfection! Something for everyone at any point in any state.
Right, time to jump straight into sharing music from some of those on the bill then. Some favourites of my own who have featured on the blog before (some many times), others names I’ve touched upon here and there, while others still who I am enjoying discovering for the first time myself. Brace yourself, there’s a lot coming at ya.
TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY
This Country duo have really been taking off lately. Fresh from their debut at Glastonbury they will be wooing those early Larmer crowds.
I can’t say that I’ve actually seen Tom Jones per se, but I have heard him live. How so, you may well ask? At the end of the street on which I live sits Northamptonshire County Cricket Ground and Tom was the most recent big name to have a show scheduled a summer or two ago. I’d heard some of the sets of Elton John in 2011 and then Madness a few years later but I believe the stage was located differently for Tom’s show and with the wind blowing in a favourable direction it was possible to hear every single word. He is notoriously famed for the energy and vibrancy of his shows and it sounded just so. What a legend to have open this festival.
Surely I have no need to explain my love for this band as regular readers/listeners will have come across them numerous times across this blog and my music podcast. I’ll be seeing them twice at their own festival Beautiful Days of course but Larmer attendees are lucky indeed to get them performing on the Thursday night.
Following the recent news that this folk juggernaut will be effectively disbanding later this year, they are definitely ones NOT TO MISS. I was lucky to see them at last year’s Beautiful Days but would relish the opportunity to experience their energetic set once more.
WOW! New to me. WOW! I want more. I want this live. Larmer, please let me in!
NOAH’S HOUSE BAND
Another (of many) newbies to me. Liking the sounds from these guys muchly.
WILL MCNICOL & LUKE SELBY
With a record named Hitchhiker, I’m on board and ready for the live experience please! Some stunning instrumental wizardry here.
BETH PORTER AND THE AVAILABLES
Another new one for me. Words fail to do justice to the beauty of it. Just stunning! I’m not even at Friday and the quality so far has been top notch!
There’s something wonderful about seeing a comedian at a festival. There’s a somewhat different feeling to what might be a regular theatre show. I actually saw Ed Byrne at a small gig he did in Wolverhampton way back in about 1999, I think. Wow. So long ago. Back then he was just about breaking out and making his name which of course now enjoys ‘household’ status. My advice is take tissues as you’ll be crying with laughter.
RODRIGO Y GABRIELA
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
I’m a huge fan of bassist Michele Stodart‘s solo work but I do love me some (okay, a lot) The Magic Numbers too.
I finally got to see this chap a few months ago at a solo show he did locally. I had been waiting for nearly two years and was not left disappointed. I cannot wait to experience his crisp, refreshing and quality live performance again either solo, with perussion and/or band. DO NOT MISS Blair Dunlop if you are at Larmer this year folks.
As with Blair – DO NOT MISS this! I first saw Winter Mountain as a duo opening for Seth Lakeman in Lemington Spa – what a quality gig that was! It is now Joe Francis working his musical magic and it is mighty magic at that.
TOBIAS BEN JACOB & LUKAS DRINKWATER
Again, likewise to the above. NOT TO BE MISSED. MUST SEEs. I am yet to experience the magic of this dynamic duo in live action but it will come to pass even if mountains must be moved to make it so.
A huge crowd puller Mr Brookfield is proving to be and having seen him perform live it is perfectly understandable why. Add him to this Friday MUST SEE list! Make sure you hit play on Gaz’s brand new album below while you’re here, it is SUPERB!
I’ve seen Sara pop up on QI and some hilarious show on Dave chaired by Alan Davies – on both she has had me in fits of such powerful laughter medical attention was almost required. I’ve not seen her solo stand up but I have no doubt at all it would render me a complete laughing mess.
Okay, time runs away as always so as we hit the remainder of the weekend there will just be the awesome music for you to check out. Then you best get packing because it will be here before you know it!
FEMI KUTI & THE POSITIVE FORCE
ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE BARBES
SHOW OF HANDS
BY THE RIVERS
HUNTER & THE BEAR
COCO AND THE BUTTERFIELDS
Well, what a tremendous feast for your ears as far as the music goes. Such an incredible diverse mix of quality you will not want your Larmer Tree Festival experience to end. The comedy too. When you’re not soaking up the magnificent live music you will be howling with laughter, rolling around the floor unable to get up. I’m really rather jealous of all you ticket holders. Enjoy! http://larmertreefestival.co.uk/