Tuesday, 4 September 2012

End of the Road Festival 2012

I've just got back from End of the Road Festival, held at the Larmer Tree Gardens near Salisbury. I wasn't sure what to expect from EOTR, but the festival far exceeded my expectations! My friend Pob and I went down for the weekend, but we had to travel back to Cheltenham on Saturday daytime to set up Mega Roller Disco - it was an exhausting weekend!

The attention to detail at this festival is incredible, with dozens of cool installations around the site, along with loads of quirky things to see and do. Check out the photos below of some of my highlights from the weekend.

We were delighted to discover the End of the Road Gaming Association hidden in the woods, including Table Tennis tables, giant Jenga, giant Connect 4, lots of board games and other large custom made activities.

Left: A giant walkman installation, complete with headphones made from car tyres
Right: An aeroplane made from wicker and other natural stuff

This is the Forest Disco, with LED dancefloor, mirror ball hanging from the trees and an incredible DJ booth boat at the centrepiece, complete with beautifully made staircase leading up to it at the back. We were also really impressed by this barrel below, with built in iPod for choosing your own tracks during the day when DJs aren't programmed. We had a dance to Stevie Wonder and loved the overall vibe of the area. 

We stumbled across this guy doing an amazing performance. I'm told he was on Britain's Got Talent a while back. He did a hilarious routine which involved him bouncing around inside the ball in time to music [it was funnier than it sounds!] then he goes completely inside the balloon, and in a flash the ball bursts and he appears wearing the Elvis outfit. Surreal, but very entertaining!

Left: This is probably my favourite of all the little features, yet so simple to do! Few festivals would bother 'disguising' a flooded area, but this is just awesome.
Right: Of course the simplest and yet most enjoyable form of entertainment at a festival, is a lovely big open fire. Such a nice way to relax, just a shame no one had an acoustic guitar when we were sat there!

End of the Road produced the best merchandise area I've seen at a festival. Lured in by the nifty sign, inside they'd made a really effort to make it look like a lovely little boutique. This included lots of little speech bubble signs displayed by various characters, including this Lion telling people they were doing a roaring trade and not to delay in buying your merch!

 Musically we absolutely loved Alabama Shakes, [above right] who we were lucky enough to see from the side of the stage with our backstage passes. The lead singer had such a powerful soulful voice and the intricate guitar work was outstanding. I've already bought their recent album Boys & Girls on Amazon and can't wait to give it a proper listen. Check out one of their tracks here:

We also stumbled across Deer Tick in the Big Top, who we were also really impressed by. The lead singer had a great, gravelly voice and I'll be sure to check out more of their stuff.

On arrival we heard John Grant from a distance, who Pob and I had seen support Midlake a couple of years ago. It was a shame we didn't get to see him properly again, but enjoyed hearing Queen of Denmark in the distance all the same!

We caught a brief bit of Midlake's set, a band who I've like for a long time. There are several of them in the band and so many instruments and musical layers. If you're not familiar with them, make sure you check them out. You can listen to my favourite Midlake track here:

Overall a really fantastic festival experience. Thanks End of the Road - keep up the great work!

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