Ooo! You’re Northern. Awesome!

What a weekend we’ve just had at the Larmer Tree Festival on the Wiltshire/Dorset border. This was our first ever proper festival and it’s hard to see how it could have been any better. We set off on Thursday morning about 10am and were camped up by 3.45pm. Even the M6 was benign and we had time for a services stop along the way.
The van field was already quite busy when we got there (we’d missed Wednesday and Van Morrison, due to lack of available time, but we were able to stay for all of the rest of the Festival, leaving on Monday morning).


Our pitch, before the rest of the vans arrived

We’d travelled light, for once, so, no awning, no trailer, no canopy, no event shelter, which was maybe a mistake, given how hot the weekend turned out – we could have done with some shade in the mornings.

Musically, the highlight of Thursday was The Beat – Rankin Roger has still got it and he’s now joined in the band by his son, Rankin Junior, who is also a star.

As a frantically dancing middle aged woman said to Alison, “I feel 18 again”. All the hits were there, including my own personal favourite, Whine and Grine (Stand Down Margaret) . We’d joined a couple for lunch earlier on the only available bench outside the Goan Fish Curry stand and he’d been a roadie for the Beat in a former life. They’d been to Larmer Tree several times and he told us to watch out for the local middle class school pupils getting their first taste of freedom at the end of term. Sure enough, the tent included many fresh faced future Bankers and It girls, and it made me laugh when they couldn’t decide whether joining in on Stand Down Margaret was politically correct – no such worries for me, of course (I’m the man who gave all his staff an extra day’s holiday to mark Lady T’s demise*) More on this theme later…

(*in a respectful way of course!)

Hats on sale (for Sat-hatter day?)

Saturday was declared Sat-hatter day by the organisers and there were some marvellous creations on show – unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) my own hat was not recorded for posterity so you’ll have to wait for another blog to see it!

Mrs B emerging from a Yurt



The Larmer Express ferrying folk from the camping fields – we never did manage to catch it!

One of the most popular trade stands – Pucket!

One constant throughout the weekend near the trade stands was the sound of people playing Pucket – I remember seeing the creators on Dragons Den and wondering who played it – now I know – it’s festival crowds.

The Samba band in the Carnival Parade on Sunday afternoon




I’m a teapot, short and stout, lift me up and pour me out…


Two more pints of Orchard Pig cider

On Friday afternoon we watched quite a few of the artists on the main stage in the lawned area – the highlight was definitely Moscow Drug Club – they were brilliant and I really enjoyed their version of Jacques Brel’s Jackie. I’m a massive Brel fan so it was great to sing along in the sunshine.

Afterwards, I popped to the toilets which were, of course, very busy. I remarked to the chap ahead of me in the queue that it was unusual for blokes to have to queue for the urinals, to which he replied, “Ya, they’re taking the p*ss”. Now as you know, I’m Northern, so I was delighted that after 57 years, someone had finally said, “Ya” to me – it’s a dream come true but better was to follow.

I joined Alison and we went into the drinks tent for more cider. As I waited at the bar with Mrs B behind me, I heard a voice say, “Man, I’m p*ssed and I’ve lost my friends” I looked around to see a late 20s chap, swaying slightly but smiling broadly. As is her custom with drunken strangers, Alison engaged him in conversation. “Have another pint”, says she, “it’ll all get better”. His reply makes me chuckle even now as I’m typing this. “Ooo! You’re Northern. Awesome!” He then went on to tell us that one of his friends had married a Yorkshire girl. As he pointed out though, her father was an extremely rich farmer and owned most of the county – still, technically, she was Northern. Awesome!

Didgeridoo Master Class

We chatted to the chap behind us in the van field and he said he’d been to a didgeridoo class and had picked up some tips on circular breathing. He had his own instrument he’d bought in France and was keen to get better at playing it. On Sunday afternoon, we happened to be passing the Big Top just as another session was starting, so we popped in. The instructor gave us all plastic pipes to blow into and I really got the hang of it. So much so, that afterwards we went to the trade stall opposite and bought a £20 bamboo didge!

Cracked it!


Easy init?

During the class, I’d been much better at it than Alison but, guess what? Give us a proper instrument and who do you think could do it straight away? And who struggled? Yep, I’m going to need more practice…

Parasols on sale – always a good weather sign


We’ve been framed…


Looking through the knitting


Looking at wishes on the Wish Tree

Saturday’s highlights were: Imelda May and Gentleman’s Dub Club. Alison’s a big fan of Ms May and has seen her before in Blackpool. Later in the comedy tent we saw Alistair McGowan who was ok (damned by feint praise?)

Sunday brought K T Tunstall and Bellowhead – the latter better than the former for me. Later we saw a band in The Social who were back announced as Count Bobo and The Bullion and allegedly it was their first gig – they didn’t look like the programme photos so I suspect they were another band  – in any event they’re dominated by the lead singer and saxophonist who is obviously very talented and  it was a great way to end the festival with another cider and a dance.

Suddenly I see… K T Tunstall on Sunday night


Bellowhead; I defy you not to dance!



Richard Thompson (ex-Fairport Convention)
This lady may have had too much sun!



Other highlights include watching the free-flying scarlet macaws screeching their way overhead and a peacock flying across the crowd into a tree whilst Bombay Royale were playing. If they could have captured the moment for their album cover it would have been brilliant.

All in all a fantastic weekend and we’re already planning next year’s trip although I don’t believe the weather can be this good again.

Things I’ve learned:

  • There’s nothing much better than the sweet smell of someone else’s marijuana drifting across a crowd on a sunny festival night
  • Some Southerners need to take a trip up North (and then return please)
  • Lamb Bourek is delicious
  • Circular breathing is possible, although I can’t do it yet
  • Two bottles of prosecco in the afternoon may be too much
  • No-one’s more fun than Mrs B at a festival!

The official Larmer Tree video is here: Larmer Video

There’s a full set of pics here:  Flickr 

and a Video here: YouTube

I'd love to hear your thoughts, so grab a pew and I'll make you a brew - Hobnob or Bourbon?

%d bloggers like this: