Thursday, 11 July 2013

Barn On The Farm Festival 2013

From 6th-8th July, I was at Barn On The Farm, a folk/acoustic festival held on a farm in Gloucester, with only around 1000 attendees. It was totally worth the amount of travelling I had to do to get there, including lugging a huge rucksack on public transport in sweltering heat. I'd never previously been to a festival before, as I have a very peculiar music taste, and I prefer smaller gigs anyway. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed BotF'13!

The line-up [pictured above on the official poster] was a who's-who of current acoustic talent mixed with some people you have definitely never heard of. It's a great place to find new artists to listen to. Regardless of whether you've heard of them or not, everybody on the roster had great talent and style, something sadly missing in chart music nowadays. Headliners: Benjamin Francis Leftwich [Saturday] and Matt Corby [Sunday]. I was there for the Saturday and Sunday, but there was also an 'intimate' Friday night set - the whole festival itself was very intimate anyway! I was stood watching JP Cooper in the 2nd stage barn when I looked over and saw Lewis Watson enjoying it too, like you do. It's such a cosy atmosphere, everyone is really friendly and relaxed. There weren't even that many overly drunk people!
There was the main campsite, which was in between the entrance to the farm and the stages. It was nice and small, and at night you could always hear groups of people crowded round a guitar singing. Everybody seemed passionate about music, and weren't just there for the 'festival experience'. On the Sunday, all around the camp you could hear the beginning of Matt Corby's 'Brother' being sung everywhere! The camp was really safe and secure, even the toilets were nice (well, nice for festival portaloos).
As the name suggests, it is literally some barns on an actual farm. There was strawberry picking and a farm shop, so there were strawberry punnets everywhere (I may have nabbed some from the silly security guys). It is safe to say that most of us were enthralled/intimidated by/amused by the animals on the farm, mainly the ostriches.
A frequent occurrence was the conversation of 'What's the difference between ostriches and emus?' It still remains mostly unanswered.
Gloucester Old Spot pigs are adorable, especially the piglets. Regardless of their cuteness, there was still a van in the café area selling sausage rolls...
Ah yes, the food! Along with the bar full of local ciders, there was a courtyard full of people selling drinks, snacks, and meals, all homemade and really tasty.
Pork roll with crackling and stuffing, yum! (and only £3!) I also had a lunch of egg mayo wrap, apple juice, and a huge slab of chocolate cake, all for £5. Ice lollies were a £1, as were bottles of water (a true necessity in the heat).
 The most expensive thing I bought was a large mixed berry smoothie for £4.50. Sometimes you gotta have something more interesting than water!
(Love the bunting.) This was the food courtyard, and there was another café and food van round the corner. This courtyard led onto the 2nd stage barn, so whenever you had your meal you could hear lovely music.
This is the view from the main stage. The barn in the background is the second stage, the one on the left is the one containing the bar and backstage things. Because the two main stages were close together, you didn't miss many performances, and it was easy to pop out to get an ice lolly or something between sets.
Yo, just hangin' out at the Main Stage lookin' overheated.
A much-appreciated 'No Gangnam Style' sign on crates at the main stage. The main stage was airy, and it was easy to get to the front, though being tall, I could see even from the back. Teehee.
The third stage, however, was between the campsite and the main arena - The Nunney Acoustic Café. This dinky gazebo café sold cakes and drinks whilst little-known performers did their stuff with just a guitar, in a tiny corner set.
The only person I saw perform there was Freddie Dickson, and I got his EP for free! (listen here)
Hi. I found the festival side of the festival really good. I hate the idea of somewhere smelly, huge, and full of rowdy drunk people. Barn On The Farm is so lovely and genuine, with friendly staff and people. My favourite places are ones with a good vibe (as odd as that sounds), and BotF had a great vibe that really suited the folk music. I had such a good time, I'd love to go again.
Musical Highlights
Despite the minimal clashes, of course I didn't see everyone perform. Due to the intense heat and something that plagues me called Orthostatic Hypotension (low blood pressure when standing for a long time, it makes me faint and dizzy), I missed Benjamin Francis Leftwich completely, and had to leave my position at the barrier have a sit down further back during Matt Corby. Boo! Still, I saw some great people. Here's my favourites:
Young Kato
Known by a few people from their feature on 'Made In Chelsea' (here), these guys are shouty indie pop, and the lead singer Tommy Wright really gets the crowd going with his dancing about.
More: 'Break Out'

JP Cooper
Woaaaahhhh this guy can sing! I hadn't heard of him before, but he mixes a true soul voice with slick guitar plucking in a way that gives you goosebumps. (Also, a fellow Mancunian!)
More: 'Whenever You Hold Me'

Hudson Taylor
These adorable young brothers from Dublin make really accessible folk-pop with a violin overlay that gives it a delicious Irish edge.
More: 'Drop In The Ocean'

Matt Corby
(sorry for the bad photo, I was far away! see better photos at Hannah's [who I went with] Flickr, she was right at the front and is a better photographer than me anyway!)
My, what a beautiful man. Voice of an angel, and a supremely talented multi-instrumentalist.
More: 'Resolution'
So that's my festival season adventure! I love my folk music, and if you do too, you should go to Barn On The Farm, it's brilliant!

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