Clive and I have had tickets to the Larmer Tree Festival since April. Here we were finally heading to the festival. The Larmer Tree Festival is not a main stream festival and it is not a folk festival either. It has a varied genre’ of music such as classical, folk, world and indie. It is not just a music festival either. It is a festival in the true sense of the word. It covers all the arts such as film, art, work and sound. The festival is located at these grand gardens that are occupied by peacocks and a tudor styled house.
On our way there we stopped in at Salisbury and bought supplies such as cider, beer and managed to find BEEF sausages. I am not a fan of Pork at the best of times and everywhere the Brits serve pork sausages as their stock standard. Blah!
Salisbury is a walled city too. All of the city is just casually built up around the remains. We stopped in at a pub there for the use of the Wifi to locate the gardens on good ole’ Google Maps.
Finally we were setting sail for the gardens.
Oh I nearly forgot!……Ont he was through Dorset and Wiltshire where Salisbury and the gardens are you wind through magical landscapes. There are trees that canvas the top of the road and the roots of the trees are exposed and climbing above you. You can see babbling brooks off to the side of you and peeping through hedged fences are large Edwardian style homesteads. I felt like I had just stepped into Wind in the Willows and toad was about to explode from the doors of these large homes creating chaos with another hair-brained scheme….Hoooo hoooooooo!
Anyway so you can understand why we were falling in love with the area. Magical and it was creating such a nice internal ambience. We wound and weaved our way through the countryside to the Larmer Tree Gardens. We went past a pub in a small hamlet called The Philosophers Tipple, this is Clive’s favourite watering hole name so far.
On arrival we set up out tent, the sun was shining. I was such a good feeling. Just near us you could hire camping packages. They had tee-pee’s and yurt’s for hire. They looked very posh and where the trendy people go. I don’t think I belonged there in my 3 black singlets I have rotated with everyday since arriving.
We wandered inside to check it out. There was a didgeridoo place and Clive found the home made fudge shop. So excited yet so hungry we went back to our tent and cooked up our BEEF sausages.
There wasn’t much on that first night except for C W Stoneking. He was great. A pom behind me was just bagging the hell out him. The Pom was about 5 ft tall and then started going on about Australians and how they are lazy so and so’s. Well that went down well with me. I spoke loudly to Clive my opionion of someone who stands 10ft from a stage of an artist just to bag him out when he could just leave and let others enjoy it, this was also served with a dirty look towards him. I think he got the hint and left shortly after. See I was making friends! He just really got my goat. Stoneking was fabulous, we got to see him again at the festival too.
After that we took an early night.
During the day nothing really started until 12noon which was handy as the shower queues were huge. However staying in a tent you get up early so we laid in the sun under our hats reading and playing chess on our mini-chess set we had picked up at Woodbury camping site.
Next morning after perusing the program we selected a few things to do. Such as yoga and bollywood dancing on the Saturday and Sunday.
The festival had 6 stages. 2 under separate marquees, one under an oversized marquee (this was called the Social and took daily booking and also had poetry readings too.), one small stage in the open air and another in the same area which was a massive stage, it was called Main Stage and there was an impromtu stage in the Lost Wood.
Ok the Lost Wood. You know how I mentioned the festival was in a grand garden. Well the Lost Wood was an area you wander through and they had trained the trees to grow over in an arch and they had a local visual artist cover it with a sound and light display. Very surreal and haunting at times. Just past the Lost Wood was the stage that was near an open fire that sat just inside an outdoor sculpture and some nights it was surrounded by people listening to story tellers tell the tales of yesteryear.
Throughout the garden they had created little mini doors about 4-5 inches high in the base notches of trees. There are 10 in total. These are memorials of those who have passed who have helped with the gardens preservation and development. One door for example had a little red and white candy stripe awning and on the tiny door it is written, “Open Till Late, LIVE JAZZ”. These have been great by an artist who actual does this all over the world. Sorry I have forgotten his name but I will find it and update this.
We got to see Spiers and Boden on the Thursday night and Bellowhead. I throughly enjoyed it. It gave such a great energy and it was nice to get up and dance to my own lost beat. Afterwards we played at the Social and then went to the Lost Woods as it was the first night the light display was being shown. (It was also only on from 10:30-12:30pm)
Near the main stage they is a oversized disco ball in the tree, walking past this sober or not it makes the ground seem like it is moving when it is only you under its moving flickers.
The next day we set off for some more fun and then the rain started.
Fortunately enough Clive and I located a surplus store in Exeter to pick up some gum boots. Most people get designer ones that cost from 30 pounds to 75 pounds. We picked up ours for 10 pounds a pair, we we also lucky that they had size 13’s for Clive. Most shop assistants were shocked when we asked for his size shoe and look at him like a freak. Our funtastic gum boots looked like we were there to clean the port-a-loos.
So we stomped on!
We saw a collective of bands, ones that we can recommend were The Joker and the Thief. Great band, have a look at the link I have provided.
So it rained and rained and we danced (sensibly in gum boots and rain coats).
The next morning we were meant to do Yoga and a dance class. We stayed in bed. It was still raining.
Everything was getting quite muddy but we embraced it. We sampled different foods and I got hit was a soccer ball covered in mud that then covered me, I must have been in a good mood as I didn’t even try to yell at them for it. I think it was this morning I had to duck back into town to access the internet so I could transfer money and post Charlotte’s card we were sending as she had broken her arm. Silly billy.
The 10 mile drive took me 2 hours. But it was fun as I got to go back to The Wind and The Willows again.
For the next few days we danced, ate, stomped in sooooooo much mud, watched 2 films, 1 talk and about 10 more bands. (We watch a BBC film called Random, Wallace and Gromit, a talk on Bob Dylan during 1974-78 and listing the bands…I can’t remember them all I will get back to you).
On the Sunday evening we got to see musician Cosmo Jarvis, who unfortunately only had a really small set but was still one of my festival highlights, then we packed up and hit the road.
We wound back through The Wind In The Willows bound for London.