Larmer Tree Festival ends on a high note | FESTIVAL REVIEW

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Wednesday 11th-Sunday 15th July 2012

Despite very tough conditions (there’s been rain, rainbows, some sunshine and a whole variety of different mud!), Larmer Tree Festival’s five day event drew to a sensational close last night, with audience members leaving the festival in high spirits and with smiles on their faces.

Hundreds of artists performed over six stages during the festival from big hitting headliners Paloma Faith, Tim Minchin, Jools Holland, Levellers, Amadou & Mariam and Roots Manuva to comical, quirky street theatre and some of the hottest comedians on the circuit – there has been a wide and eclectic line-up of entertainment to amuse all.

James Shepard, Co-Director of Larmer Tree Festival said: “Despite some very challenging weather conditions, we’re extremely proud to have had a fantastic festival, with upbeat audience members dancing, singing and thoroughly enjoying themselves. We’re lucky to have an absolutely amazing team and endlessly dedicated volunteers to help us put on such a great five-day event.”

On Wednesday, Jools Holland kick started the show in his own unique style
welcoming the crowd to Larmer Tree with a little help from special guest
former Fine Young Cannibals’ vocalist Roland Gift. To get everyone in the
mood Vintage Trouble flew in from LA to warm up the audience with their
live-wired blues music. Plus shameless street theatre act The Pigeons
entertained the crowds.

It was a superb line-up on Thursday which saw the main lawn packed to capacity as people enjoyed music from new band Yes Sir Boss featuring special guest Joss Stone, followed by comedy genius Tim Minchin who went down a storm, and Paloma Faith finishing the evening with her original and theatrical flair. Thursday also saw funny man Russell Kane headlining the ARC stage once again, entertaining audiences with his wild antics, and of course Salisbury Arts Centre opened the doors of their Media Dreamspace – an inspiring hotbed of media activity for festival-goers to explore.

The first of two Big Top theme nights kicked off in an explosion of energy on Friday with The Correspondents headlining the White Mink Speakeasy night. Levellers rocked the Main Stage with their own brand of folk and The Horne Section’s unique jazz infused comedy raised the roof of the ARC. Street theatre act Musical Ruth was entertaining kids and adults alike as she whizzed about the festival on her motorised piano. And, back by popular demand The Legendary DJ Derek also made a return to the Garden Stage – sadly this year was his last appearance at Larmer Tree as he retires from the festival circuit after many, many great times.

The festival was awash with pirates, sailors, mermaids and many more aquatic
costumes for All At Sea Dress-up Saturday. There was a Bollywood Nights
theme in the Big Top and headlining on the Main Stage were world superstars
Amadou & Mariam, which was followed by an amazingly energetic performance by
Caravan Palace. YouTube sensation and comedian to watch, Daniel Simonsen
could also be seen wowing the crowds in the ARC.

The final day of the festival saw sunshine and the very first offsite performance take place. A select number of audience members boarded a big red Routemaster Bus to be taken to Festival Co-Director, Julia Safe’s nearby allotment to see the award winning play Allotment by Nutshell Theatre. Audience members returned to the festival full of praise for the moving play and many shed a few tears at the end of the performance! Auctioneer Ronan Leonard started a bidding war for signed merchandise in the charity auction raising funds for the MS Society and the United Colours of Larmer Tree Carnival Procession swept through the gardens in a big blur of bright colours, with the Mother Ukers and Sambatastic providing the music. The costumes and props were made over the past five days of workshops; which were packed with adults and children alike.

The Larmer Tree production team and volunteers once again have delivered one of the friendliest and fun festivals in the UK. Bring on 2013!

Look out for a link on our website to the Songs From The Shed film clips of over 50 artists performing one song totally acoustically in a garden shed, hidden away backstage – see Tim Minchin’s moving performance of Hallelujah, a Leonard Cohen cover at http://songsfromtheshed.com/. They’ll also be a ’12 Photo Gallery on the website soon – www.larmertreefestival.co.uk

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