Lounge on the Farm 2013 (LOTF) was the eight annual LOTF since coming to Canterbury’s Merton Farm in 2006. The festival was originally for Kent locals, but now hosts thousands of festival goes from all over. However, even though numbers of revellers, and the size of the festival have grown over the years, what is lovely about LOTF is that it still feels like a local festival. This year in particular revellers described the atmosphere as ‘feeling closer’ with the line up celebrating local talent, and the stalls promoting local businesses and produce.
The sun shone on the farm, almost giving it the new title of 'Lounge in the Sun' as revellers sunbathed to the sound of wonderful music. Perhaps expectedly in true festival spirit, the rain had to make an appearance, which it did in full thunderstorm glory! Luckily this was the only performance by the rain and all in all the weekend weather was glorious.
Continuing from previous years the attention to detail of LOTF really adds to the welcoming, close, family friendly and chilled atmosphere. The lounge and farm theme is carried across the festival with plenty of places to lounge on hay bales and sofas. This summer Merton Farm was divided into three fields: The Main Arena, which hosted the Main Stage, and the Hoe Down dance tent. The Meadows, where the largest selection of food stalls could be located, the Farm Folk stage, and this year saw a selection of fun fair rides. The Paddocks accommodated the Little Lounge, Playhouse, Solar Cinema, and Healing Field.
The festival is set up for young families, with a whole area dedicated to the youngest of revellers. The Little Lounge provided a variety of activities, performances and entertainment for the youngest of festival goers and their parents. Children particularly enjoyed shelter building, gardening, circus skills, Peppa Pig and Lekiddo Lord of the Lobsters' 'pinchy pinchy, kissy kissy' party!
The solar cinema is a great haven from the rain or heat and the perfect place to relax at the end of the day. Showing family friendly films throughout the day, and artsy originals into the early hours of the morning. This year saw some special events with the legendary beat boxer Shlomo wowing the audience by taking us on a journey back in music time. LOTF can continue its reign and hold the crown as a festival for foodies. Hungry revellers were spoiled for choice from the famous Merton burger to a tasty twist of Indian in the form of a wrap – this was a genuine favourite of Seasick Steve. Veggie delights, fresh seafood, and quirky cafes to recharge over a chai tea and slice of cake. The playhouse provided entertainment until 3am. Entertainment during the day was made up of a selection of stand up, sketch and variety performances. 2013 saw a line up of comedy veterans such as Richard Herring, and Tony Law, along with hot newcomers. The Boom and Bang Circus saw out each day with an extravaganza featuring a mix of comedy, music and burlesque dancers! All propped up by a cocktail bar with some scrummy drinks that packed a punch!
People come to a festival of this kind for the music first, and this year a must see line-up of headliners took to the main stage and saw revellers dancing the night away under the farm lit stars.
Friday night brought the much-awaited raw sound of Seasick Steve, which is still as fresh as ever. It's a testament to Mr Steve as a person that Jack White and John Paul Jones amongst others, all feature on his new album.
Jessie Ware had the farm enthralled by her soulful sound. This was Jessie's first festival headlining performance, and she didn't disappoint. Having performed at Lounge on the Farm in the past on smaller stages with Man Like Me, Jessie is a true example of how this festival is a hidden gem for igniting new talent. Soul II Soul featuring Caron Wheeler were the grand finale to a fantastic weekend of music. Revellers got their groove on to the best of the 90's chart sensation. Merton Farm was really brought "Back To Life" and "Back To Reality" with a wonderful soulful musical experience. Throughout the weekend on a variety of stages, artists stunned revellers with their astounding performances. The Farm folk stage was ‘the tent to be’ for a line up of up and coming talent. Lounge on the Farm really has something special in it's choice of artists that you just know are going to be the next big thing.
JP Cooper wowed the crowd with his incredible voice, and mellow chilled out sound. The audience found it easy to engage with his music due to a truly inspirational and heartfelt experience. The Intermission Project has grown since their first performance last year. With a tighter group and slicker sound, they could be the new Mumford and Sons. Coco and The Butterfields took to the hay bails of the Farm House Stage and got the lazy, hung-over Sunday afternoon crowd jumping to their county folk, pop and hip hop modern fusion. They are truly an original music experience, which can be hard to find these days. Fans of Man Like Me braved the torrential thunderstorm and were defiantly not disappointed by the musical entertainment that erupted on, and off stage! This band has the energy and creativity to really make it, and with a Mike Skinner produced debut album, watch out for them in coming years.
Lounge on the Farm is a unique festival that encompasses all that a festival should. With great music and up and coming artists, scrumptious food, a joyful and chilled atmosphere, and eccentric entertainment, there really is something for everyone. It's a must try experience, and just like this year, we look forward to lounging on the farm again. See you there.
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