End Of The Road Festival Review
It has long been my opinion that a festival’s success lies more in its atmosphere than the quality of the music. I have had some wonderful times seeing absolute bollocks at great festivals, and an awful time seeing great acts at terrible ones (Leeds festival, always the Leeds festival). A good lineup is needed to tempt the crowds, but it is the good vibes that their satisfaction ultimately rests upon.
This was my first time at End Of The Road, a festival that has been running since 2006. The atmosphere was definitely one of the best I have experienced. The beautiful setting of Larmer Tree Gardens and the sunshine helped a lot. Folk-tinged Indie fans are generally a very jovial bunch, far removed from the “Kasabian/Kings Of Leon loving” piss chuckers at Leeds/Reading. The ever-present family atmosphere proved to be more pleasant than irritating, and most people seemed to feel safe enough to spend their time napping in the sunshine.
Obviously I’m not going to claim that music doesn’t play an important part in obtaining these required good vibes. The music I experienced at EOTR was (almost always) brilliant. Headliners Joanna Newsom, Beirut, Mogwai and Okkervil River are already among my favorite artists and they all consistently delivered. Other artists I like such as Lyyke Li, Laura Marling, Zola Jesus and Josh T. Pearson all turned in great sets. The only musical misstep were the bland Midlake, who sounded particularly dull next to the extra quirky Joanna Newsom. There was nothing particularly offensive about them, but nothing particularly memorable either.
One of the best things about a festival, the bit I look forward to most, is discovering great new music. Beth Jeans Houghton, James Yorkston and Jolie Holland are all artists I will be checking out in the future. I can go even further and say that I enjoyed every artist I saw on the scenic Garden Stage and spent most of my time sat there watching, reading and drinking festival ale. The number of CD’s I will be purchasing will stretch my usual budget to breaking point!
EOTR is deservedly bucking the festival trend by increasing in popularity and profits. This was definitely one of my highlights for this summer, and a festival I will consider again next year.