Some things get more and more stuck in their ways as they get older; they stick to their comfort zone and fear change. This mentality couldn’t be further removed from the Larmer Tree Festival ethos. Currently in its 22nd year, this eclectic festival showcases the best and most innovative music that all genres and cultures have to offer, as well as some of the hottest comedians currently on the circuit.
It’s clearly an ethos that has been working, as the growing festival now encompass six stages, with dozens of comedians, 150 free workshops and over 70 artists currently on the bill. In spite of its size, it still maintains an intimate feel, limiting ticket numbers to 4,000 and remaining an all-ages festival. Hosted at the stunning Larmer Tree Gardens in the Wiltshire/Dorset border, it is of little surprise that this little gem won the Family Festival award at the 2008 U.K. Festival Awards. p>
Larmer Tree is well known for its variety of acts, and the 2012 lineup is no exception. Founder and festival co-director James Shepard said: "We always work hard to achieve a great balance between well-known, popular artists and up and coming talent on the brink of stardom. This year is no exception; we've got a superb lineup." Yet again, it seems they’ve maintained that balance perfectly. Headlining the Main Stage on Wednesday night, they have the unforgettable talents of Jools Holland accompanied by his 20-piece backing band, the Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. Thursday night sees the enigmatic Paloma Faith grace the stage in what is sure to be one of the standout performances of the festival. Now in their 24th year, The Levellers are as much in demand as ever, so expect a crowd for folk-roots stalwarts, who are Friday’s headliners. Larmer Tree has the pleasure of bringing fans something very special for Saturday night’s headlining slot with a performance from Mali, husband and wife duo Amadou and Mariam. It has been a triumph over adversity for the couple, who are both blind, having toured with Coldplay and U2, played Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and opening the last two FIFA World Cup Ceremonies. Pretty impressive, huh? Bringing the festival to a close will be Jamaican-born Roots Manuva. Known for his innovative style and boundary-pushing hip-hop fusion, this should be the perfect way to end five days of festival fun.
As well as all of the above fantastic headliners, we’ve picked out a few acts that we would strongly recommend you checking out over the five days: Tim Minchen, The Miserable Rich, Dizraeli and the Small Gods, The Joker and the Thief, Givers, Fisherman’s Friend, Otis Gibbs and Gabriella Aplin. Also, if you’re not feeling Roots Manuva on Sunday night, folk ambassadors The Nest Collective will be curating The Social Stage, bringing with them some of their top acts from the vibrant London folk scene including Melodica, Melody and Me, Maia and The Camberwell Krakeb Club. It’ll be one hell of a way to end one hell of a festival.
If you fancy a break from all this music, there are plenty of other options around the site for adults and children alike, from didgeridoo lessons and Afrika dance to creating soap sculptures and upcycled corsages. There is also a huge range of entertainment in the form of film showings, spontaneous street theatre, arts and crafts workshops, poetry readings, storytelling and an amazing display of site art. Even the toilets are getting involved in the art with the new 'lyrical loos' feature this year. With all of this and more, it really is one of the most unique and stunning festivals in the U.K.
Date: Wednesday 11th - Sunday 15th July 2012
Ticket Price: Ranges from £36-£190. Check website for all ticket options.
Phone: 023 8071 1820
Paloma Faith • Amadou & Mariam • Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra with special guest Roland Gift • Levellers • Roots Manuva • Imagined Village • Caravan Palace • Fatoumata Diawara • Port Isaac's Fisherman's Friends • Edward II • Punch Brothers • The Correspondents • GIVERS • Vintage Trouble • Raghu Dixit • Akala • Dub Pistols • Yes Sir Boss with special guest Joss Stone • Shlomo • Dizraeli and The Small Gods • Red Sky July • Sarah Savoy & The Francadians • Otis Gibbs • Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo • RSVP • Swing Zazou • Trio Tekke • Revere • Gabrielle Aplin • The Legendary DJ Derek • Smerins Anti-Social Club • Jason Ringenberg • Cahalen Morrison & Eli West • Urban Folk Quartet • The Miserable Rich • O'Hooley & Tidow • The Wave Pictures • DJ Pete Lawrence • The Regular Joes • The Joker & the Thief • Piney Gir • Chavo • Shivering Blaze • Tom Hingley • Crowns • Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou • Bard • Rachel Sermanni • Owl in the Sun • Catherine Burke Band • DJ Nick Hollywood • Police Dog Hogan • JP Cooper • Churchfitters • Keston Cobblers Club • Melodica, Melody & Me • Maia • The Camberwell Krakeb Club • Silkadelic • Andrea Soler • Thomas Ford • Alex Roberts • Hannah Williams & The Tastemakers • Vid Warren • By The Rivers • Michael Wookey • The Lasting Days • Boat to Row • Beth Porter & The Availables • Bookshop Band • Achilles • Fearne • Ali Warren • Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs • Mother Ukers • New Volunteer • The Wishbones • Pip Mountjoy • Morning Rush • Pachango • Peace, Love & Gloves • Saturday Sun • Tom James • The Spitfire Sisters • The ASBO Disco • DJ Smerin & friends • The Uplifter’s Reggae Sessions • DJ Heinz • Still Moving DJs
Tim Minchin • Greg Davies • Milton Jones • Stephen K Amos • The Horne Section • Terry Alderton • Zoe Lyons • Alun Cochrane • Carl Donnelly • Roisin Conaty • Tom Deacon • Marcel Lucont • Naz Osmanoglu • Jimmy McGhie • Tom Craine • Paul McCaffrey • Daniel Simonsen • Comedy Club 4 Kids