The 26th annual Larmer Tree Festival closed Sunday 17 July after five magical days of music, comedy, arts, street theatre and much more. Set against a backdrop of blue skies and sunshine, the festival sold out of final day tickets with an audience of 4,000 per day taking to the Gardens in the heart of the Cranborne Chase.
This year over 70 music acts took to the stages, with Wiltshire local Jamie Cullum opening on Wednesday and returning festival favourite Tom Odell closing the festival with a storming set on Sunday evening.
“We’re thrilled to have Tom Odell back at Larmer Tree”” said James Shepard, Festival Director. Tom returned to Larmer Tree Festival after a stunning debut performance in 2014. With hit tracks from his platinum album ‘Long Way Down’ and plenty of new material to share with the Larmer Tree audience, the Brit Awards winner brought the festival to a close with true style.
Headliners each night delighted the audience on the packed main lawn, including The Stranglers, Calexico, Gabrielle Aplin, Jack Savoretti and the stunning voice of Caro Emerald.
The festival’s new venue The Chase, programmed by Bristol’s Colston Hall programmers Matt Aitken and Todd Wills, gained a popular reputation as the place to discover up and coming artists, and delivered some fantastic sets, with highlights being This Is The Kit, Jalen N’Gonda and a high-energy Saturday night set from Quantic Live.
The festival also celebrated its location and surroundings, highlighting the beauty of the site with art and light installations woven throughout Lostwood, and opening the sunken water gardens to the audience for the first time this year. Festival Founder James Shepard also led a crowd of 30 on a morning jog around the rolling countryside of the festival, while Director Rob Challice took a group of festival-goers on a bike ride around the Cranborne Chase. Afro Celt Sound System’s Simon Emmerson was joined by Paul Morton to lead a very popular Sunday early morning birdsong walk through the woods.
Kate Adie and punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke topped the bill of the literary and talks programme. Eager festival-goers were packed in their hundreds around the Lostwood Stage to see Adie in conversation, while Cooper Clarke filled The ARC on Friday evening.
Mercury Prize album of the year nominee, Zimbabwean born singer-songwriter Eska also joined the Larmer line up, along with Columbian band Sidestepper, Sheffield duo Slow Club and the much anticipated Hot 8 Brass Band.
The festival once again championed some great folk artists this year, including singer-songwriter Johnny Lynch as The Pictish Trail and East-End folk group Stick in the Wheel, who are famed for using the sounds and culture of London life, from birdsong to sirens, in their music.
Also, singing again was festival favourite Steve Knightley, Louisiana guitarist Gill Landry and up-and-coming band The Little Unsaid, who performed tracks from their hugely successful crowdfunded album ‘Fisher King’.
Save the date for 2017: Larmer Tree Festival returns from 12 – 16 July 2017.
A limited number of Super Early-Bird tickets will be on sale later this year. Pre-register online now and be the first to hear when they’re available at www.larmertreefestival.co.uk