Larmer Tree offers a wealth of hidden gems on Saturday

Larmer Tree Festival 2012 review

published: Thu 19th Jul 2012

Amadou And Mariam

Wednesday 11th to Sunday 15th July 2012
Larmer Tree Gardens, near Tollard Royal (about 16 miles W of Salisbury), on the Wilts./Dorset border, SP5 5PT, England MAP
£190 for all 5 days (Thursday sold out)
daily capacity: 4000
last updated: Mon 9th Jul 2012

More drizzle through the night means that the ground has taken on a decidedly gloopy feel and the arrival of the rest of the family brightens the day. Our children (11 and 6), are bouncing and eager to explore the incredible array of activities that Larmer Tree offer. We take a wander through The Lost Wood and marvel at the creations and art installations that seem so naturally placed. Trees adorned with knitted bands and trees with models hanging from them get the mind racing. The first we come across is an airship with Plumbum written across it (Led Zeppelin). Other cleverly built artefacts give clues to bands and songs as we try to get inside the artists brains to understand their meanings. It's a brilliant idea and we think we guess most of them. We think we guess the babies with propellerheads but struggle to understand why they are flying out of a teapot.

Shlomo
The main stage has Shlomo beatboxing fairly early in the day and his talents are incredible. He layers track after track using his mouth as an instrument. Drums, keyboard, guitars are built up on a loop and my favourites are Michael Jackson's 'Billy Jean', mixed with 'Walking on the Moon' by The Police and 'Seven Nation Army' by White Stripes mixed with Queen's 'We Will Rock You'. Very smart. Our kids are keen to add their wishes to The Wishing tree. It's a place where you write your wishes on a piece of fabric and they are toed to the branches of the tree in the hope that they will come true. We take some time out to read peoples wishes and dreams and there are some real heart breakers up there. Fingers crossed that they come true!

The Book crossing in the woods is another favourite that we've experienced and loved in previous years. Books hanging from waterproof bags in the trees are taken by anyone interested and once read, passed on. Registering online allows you to plot the past and onward journeys of your chosen books.

Fatoumata Diawara
Another musical favourite of the day is Fatoumata Diawara. Her laid back music has Malian influences at it's core but is fused with genres from Africa and beyond.

On The Garden Stage, Punch Brothers bluegrass is incredible. It's another one of those genres that doesn't immediately appeal but their take on it mixed with my mood and a rare bit of sunshine is a perfect combination. Their track 'Patchwork Girlfriend' is brilliant and plays over and over in my head long after they have left the stage.

Highlight of the day for me is Givers. Anthemic sounds similar to Danny And The Champions Of The World and Arcade Fire grab me and give me an internal shake. They swap instruments throughout showcasing their skills and depth but it's the emotion pouring into their music and over the audience that makes them a winner for me. I'm converted.

Our kids enjoy playing Dobble and Giant Scrabble in the games area in the woods as well as watching a Larmer Tree inspired play 'Vasalisa and The Peacock'. This year's interactive art installation has a jungle theme and as we wander through the up lit trees and a smoke machine billows across our path, signal noises of the jungle play out around us. This really is a magical place!

Amadou And Mariam
Amadou & Mariam, and Caravan Palace complete the line-up on the main stage. Amadou and Mariam are another band whose style has evolved to take in sounds from all over the world. Originating from Mali, their set is made op of music with roots in Mali, but with a rock edge and influences from south America and the middle east.

Caravan Palace are a French band and play electro swing. The high tempo rhythms are echoed around the site which ends for me with a fantastic set by Nick Warren at The Social.
review by: James Tayler

photos by: Andy Pitt

Wednesday 11th to Sunday 15th July 2012
Larmer Tree Gardens, near Tollard Royal (about 16 miles W of Salisbury), on the Wilts./Dorset border, SP5 5PT, England MAP
£190 for all 5 days (Thursday sold out)
daily capacity: 4000
last updated: Mon 9th Jul 2012


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