The West Country’s elysian Larmer Tree Gardens hosted a feast of exciting new and old musical talents. Known for its impeccable taste in live music, this year’s End of the Road festival saw David Byrne and St Vincent pull off some serious moves with a skilful nine-piece brass ensemble in tow during their impressively choreographed headline act. Sigur Rós filled a lengthy Saturday night slot with conjuring dramatics, and Belle & Sebastian delighted a crowd of adoring fans. However, it was MONEY and their front man Jamie Lee who may have bagged ‘scandal of the weekend’ by snogging a member of the audience and hitting a girl in the face with a jettisoned shoe.
We were swallowed up with each musical furor in the dark and murky depths of The Big Top, before stepping back out into the forgotten sunshine. Although its acoustics were a little off the mark, this starry womb billeted some exciting thrills, including euphoric electronica from the prodigious 22-year-old East India Youth, the soulful Deptford Goth and one of our personal favourites Merchandise, who journeyed through an unerring low-key, entrancing performance. The Tipi tent offered more intimate gigs, from the looping and layering of Julianna Barwick’s ambient lulling to the humorous looney tunes of Japanese one-man show Ichi. The most striking performance of the weekend, however, was Swedish singer Anna von Hausswolff’s, who led her band through a transfixing, shiver-inducing ritualistic set.
The woodland was home to fairy lights, a cosmic vibe shed and a collection of quirky set ups by artist George Myers entitled ‘Washed-Up’ that was reminiscent of Beasts of the Southern Wild. Rough Trade signings and a tandem ice-cream-churning bicycle cohabited prior to a DJ set by Jarvis Cocker in a wooden ship overhanging a light-up woodland dance floor, where hordes amassed at the end of each evening to sail into the early hours of the morning.