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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 Review, Sunday: Show of Hands and the Recycled Safari Carnival

My final round up and verdict of 2011's Larmer Tree Festival. Plus happy music in the rain from the Jaipur Kawa Brass Band, magical folk from Show of Hands and the fabulous Recycled Safari Carnival.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Jaipur Brass Band by Cassandra Yap
Jaipur Brass Band by Cassandra Yap.

Our first destination on Sunday at Larmer Tree Festival was the main stage to witness the joyous sounds of the Jaipur Kawa Brass Band, side effects who were wearing the most marvellous embroidered costumes.

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review -Jaipur Kawa Brass Band
Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review -Jaipur Kawa Brass Band
Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review -Jaipur Kawa Brass Band

Jaipur Brass Band by Cassandra Yap
Jaipur Brass Band by Cassandra Yap.

I was just admiring the man with the jaunty loose fabric in his turban when a sudden gust of wind tipped a large volume of collected water on my head.

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review -Jaipur Kawa Brass Band
Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review Jaipur Kawa Brass Band,
The rain came and went but it didn’t deter the smiling Indians from traipsing out on to the lawn with their tiny traditional dancer in tow, who danced gamely with the Westerners in their ungainly raincapes.

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review -Moscow Drug ClubLarmer Tree Festival 2011 review -Moscow Drug Club
Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review -Moscow Drug Club

They were followed by Moscow Drug Club, named for an 80s song by a fellow Canadian band and fronted by an elegant lady in polka dot wellies, who for some reason stayed seated, but always with a smile on her face as she sang classic tango, gypsy and blues covers. An undoubted highlight was the two guitarists doubling up to play an extended riff.

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review painting
Never mind the changeable weather, an artist had taken up residence on the lawn to illustrate the band.

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review Show of HandsLarmer Tree Festival 2011 review Show of Hands
Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review Show of Hands
Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review Show of Hands
Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review Show of Hands
We stayed on until the afternoon specifically to see Show of Hands, a favourite of my boyfriend’s dad since he saw them at a folk festival some years ago. And now I know what captivated him so. This magical folk collective are a musical and political tour de force, playing songs about social media, Fred Goodwin… and poachers, all with fabulous musicianship. But an assured highlight for me was their cover of 80s classic Boys of Summer. I’ve tried listening to them online since I’ve got home and it just isn’t the same experience, but live they were an absolute treat. Another festival highlight.

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review Granny Turismo
As we made our exit we passed performance art by Larkin’ About – a pair of men in drag riding Segways masked as giant tartan shoppers inside which lurked boom boxes. Catch Granny Turismo at a festival near you soon.

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review - recycled safari carnival
Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review - recycled safari carnival
Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review - recycled safari carnival
recycled-safari-carnival-by-jessica-knight
Recycled Safari Carnival by Jessica Knight.

In the lower field the Recycled Safari Carnival made its way laboriously towards the upper fields through the sticky mud.

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review - recycled safari carnival

At the front of the procession a dancing peacock girl gamely kept her heels on, and behind her followed tigers, giraffes, butterflies and of course more peacocks…. this being a very English country estate kind of safari after all.

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review - recycled safari carnival
Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review - recycled safari carnival
Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review - recycled safari carnival

I’d visit the Larmer Tree Festival again in a heartbeat. Like Latitude Festival, which takes place on the same weekend, it’s got a little bit of everything – music, comedy, art, workshops, theatre, film, poetry – except it’s all on a much more manageable scale so despite less choice the experience is far more pleasurable. It was quick and simple to get around the site with no heaving crowds to bar the way, which I imagine to be especially essential for families with small children. At last year’s Latitude I was forced to watch the comedy on a big screen outside the tent, but at Larmer Tree I was easily able to sit in the front row for an up close comedy experience.

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review peacocks

Likewise it was easy to see bands properly even in the main arena. Latitude may have dyed sheep behind a fence but at Larmer Tree peacocks wander freely amongst festival goers, and they were MOST entertaining, let me tell you.

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 review peacocksLarmer Tree Festival 2011 review peacocks

I have just one small complaint about Larmer Tree Festival: the general lack of recycling facilities. In fact there was barely a bin on the entire campsite, not that it mattered much given that middle class families are so darn good at cleaning up. Still, I’d like better options for disposal of my beer cups… and whilst we’re on the subject, can they be biodegradable in future?

Overall I had a bloody marvellous time. Why not check it out for yourself next year? And in the meantime read my Thursday, Friday and Saturday reviews too for a full flavour of the whole lavely festival.

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