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Near perfect festival in stunning setting
End of the Road could be the cleanest and best organised festival I’ve seen.
Fantastic use is made of the beautiful Larmer Tree Gardens setting, with every clearing in the illuminated woods packed with amusements - workshops, table tennis, jenga, a mini recording studio and even a comedy stage, where the brilliant Robin Ince set a cerebral tone on Friday.
If avant-garde and ethereal is your thing, you're in the right place here. A more middle class and polite audience, who buy as much of the artists’ work on vinyl as CD and don’t mind waiting five minutes for a song to start, let the sounds of the huge haunting Efterklang or the apocalyptic, raucous Anna Von Hausswolff envelope them.
The diversity of mostly little known talent to be discovered is particularly packed with female artists, as well as American and Scandinavian bands.
It is predominantly guitar based, be it mixed with electronica as on the Big Top Stage, such as Duologue’s 2.15pm gig providing crescendos fitting of a headline slot, or more stripped down as in the Tipi Tent, like the raw and unpolished vocals of Valerie June, Memphis’ answer to Joanna Newsom.
Not quite but getting towards Everything Everything, I am thoroughly entertained by Dutch Uncles’ xylophone duet, interesting time signatures, and above all singer Duncan Wallis’ delightful spasmodic moves, which bring on excited cries of ‘Dance’ from the crowd.
The curious samplings of punchy Public Service Broadcasting receive one of the best responses of the weekend and leave me wanting more than headlining popsters Belle and Sebastian can offer. The addition of a dance tent in the evening would make End of the Road my perfect festival.