Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I enjoy more than watching music played live wherever it may be. Whether it’s at an overcrowded stadium or at a sticky student union, I love to be part of the atmosphere that comes from each act’s unique energy.
But there is definitely something to be said about smaller, more intimate gigs and the kind of atmosphere that comes with the territory. Being within touching distance of the artist and able to feel the pounding of the bass build in your ribcage is something truly unique, and this is why I feel that Barn On The Farm will be my perfect festival experience this summer.
Between the 1st and 3rd of July, the festival is set to descend on Over Farm in Gloucestershire, predominantly in the barn itself. Though there are only three small stages, the line-up is anything but ‘small’. With fifty-odd bands already on the line-up, including Jack Garratt and Oh Wonder as headliners and some artists still to be announced, it’s sure to be one hell of an event. As the weeks have gone by, more and more of my favourite indie artists have been appearing on the bill. From electric-soul duo Honne, to synth pop band Fickle Friends, to Port Isla, this festival is essentially my Spotify playlists come to life.
Sunday Night Headliner
Jack Garratt headlines the Sunday night, and this in itself is a large part of why I cannot wait for Barn On The Farm this year. I saw him perform a mesmerising set a few months ago and have been obsessed ever since. He is 2016’s answer to a Dick Van Dyke’s one-man band, somehow producing vocals, guitar, keyword and synth simultaneously, all to combine into an exceptional live experience. When I heard Garratt was going to take over a barn in Gloucestershire for a night, I knew I had to be there to see him work his magic again as part of a truly unique occasion.
Headliners of the Future
Glancing back through the previous line-ups which have included names such as Ben Howard, Hozier, James Bay and Wolf Alice, it is clear that Barn On The Farm is a great place to go and see the headliners of the future. The Hunna have been tipped for big things by BBC Music Introducing, as has Will Joseph Cook. I am particularly excited to see some of these acts in the raw, early stages of their careers.
Something that really sets this festival apart from the rest this summer is their very own ‘Farm Band’, which adds a whole new section of talent to the already exceptional line-up. This band consist of artists who have been performing at the festival since its conception in 2010, including Gabrielle Aplin, Hannah Grace and Hudson Taylor. Seeing this one-performance from this collaborative band in the flesh is something I won’t get to see anywhere else (except on YouTube probably), meaning I’ll probably make sure I get a front row haystack in the barn for this one.
Festival Awards and Nominations
As demonstrated by the many awards and nominations it has received, such as Best Independent Festival AIM Award 2014 and the UK Festival Award for Emerging Talent 2015, Barn On The Farm is highly respected on the festival circuit. Yet it has also managed to hold onto its roots, remaining a small, understated affair each year with a solid line up. And, as with many festivals now, Barn On The Farm is more than just a stand-alone event – it is a small music community in itself. It has a YouTube channel which features some beautifully filmed and recorded sets. While the bands play to a relatively tiny audience at the farm, the festival is reaching passionate acoustic and live music lovers across the world with these wonderful, stripped down performances. I have been unintentionally involved for years, watching these videos online.
I’m expecting Barn On The Farm to be a chilled music experience, one where you really listen to every word each performer sings, and enjoy the entirety of all the performances. Due to the cosy capacity of the festival, I’m looking forward to wander from barn to barn floating on the sweet acoustic melodies and drawn out folk harmonies with my fellow festival crowds, altogether joined up in an appreciation of the intimate vibe coupled with some damn good sounds. I can’t wait to be able to kick back with a beer on a sun-warmed haystack and listen to the greats of independent music of the past couple of years and a couple of exciting newcomers. It’ll definitely be quite a change from the Glastonbury weekend a few days before…
Photo: Dan Harris