We’ve finally got over the post-festival blues from End of The Road 2021 (and a horrendous hangover) to bring you our favourite acts that we caught across the weekend at Larmer Tree Gardens.
Located in a serene pocket of Wiltshire, we were graced with sunshine and heat the whole weekend of the festival, and despite this being our first trip to End of The Road, it’s left a very special place in our hearts already. After having 18 months away from live music and festivals and being spoilt with such a selection of amazing artists to see at EOTR this year, it was a hard task whitling down who we enjoyed seeing the most.
Starting off with my personal favourite act I was able to catch across the whole weekend – Arlo Parks. The recent Mercury Award winning artist played a breath-taking set to the Garden stage at the festival on the Friday night. With the stage situated amongst an abundance of trees and dusk falling over the festival, Arlo Parks provided one of the most captivating and ethereal sets I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. Despite the size of the crowd that had piled out to watch the set, the London-based singer managed to establish such an intimate feel for the set. Parks played crowd-favourites such as ‘Cola’ and ‘Eugene’ but my favourite moment came at her announcing for each of the audience members to remember this song should they ever feel lonely before playing ‘Hope’. I’m not sure if it was the sentiment or one too many ciders but a fair few tears were seemingly shed throughout the set.
We’d already scheduled in to see Lazarus Kane play at the Tipi Stage amongst our extremely busy festival plan and, so, were thrilled to see the announcement of a surprise The Line of Best Fit session from them at The Press Tent on Saturday morning. Playing the Piano Stage, Bristol’s Lazarus Kane brought a selection of covers and an acoustic version of their single ‘Narcissus’ to the audience in the short, but sweet, 15-minute slot they had. The Tipi Stage performance that followed a mere few hours later proved just as impressive. With amped up energy and flawless showmanship, Lazarus Kane played to a heaving tent of festival goers, providing tongue-in-cheek anecdotes before each song and leaving the audience parched for the future of the band and a much-needed pint.
After seeing Sleaford Mods play South Facing Festival only a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t expecting them to be one of the top performances from the weekend, but the Saturday headliners proved otherwise. Playing at the Woods Stage with a stage bare apart from a scattering of neon floor lights, Sleaford Mods proved that they deserved to hold one of the headline slots for End of The Road 2021. Despite the set not starting until 9:30pm, the duo held the energy of the crowd with their usual highly charged, and politicised, set. Playing the likes of ‘Tied Up in Nottz’, ‘TCR’, ‘Nudge It’, and ‘Jobseeker’, Sleaford Mods provided a headline slot that echoed through Larmer Gardens and demonstrated why they’re one of the most interesting acts coming out of the UK right now.
Black Country, New Road
It’s no surprise that Black Country, New Road are amongst our favourite bands that we caught at End of The Road with the South-London based band being one of the most talked about upcoming artists on the scene right-now. The seven-piece band played two sets on the Sunday, their first to on the main Woods stage and their second as a secret midnight set at the Tipi stage. Black Country, New Road’s music brings an amalgamation of jazz, pop, post-punk and klezmer to create a formula that, alongside with an exceptional level of musical skill, captures live audiences – and both of their EOTR shows proved no different.
CMAT, full name Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson, had been amongst the favourites on my pre-festival playlist for the weeks leading up to End of The Road and her live performance on the Garden stage lived up to the hype I’d given her. Not only holding a charismatic stage presence and being dressed impeccably, the Dublin-based singer’s set sent goosebumps around festival goers, with a stream of listeners trickling in after hearing her vocals from around the site. Despite CMAT’s impressive vocal range, this set felt anything but pretentious, her presence making it as if you were watching an old friend play on stage – just this time the set finished with a collective line-dance amongst the crowd. I think I won’t be the only person streaming ‘I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby!’ on repeat over the next couple of weeks.
Honourable mentions: Katy J Pearson, Warmduscher, BDRMM, Squid, Sorry, PVA, Little Simz, Dry Cleaning, Porridge Radio and King Krule.