My four days in Cranborne Chase at this year’s End of the Road (EotR) were a bit different to 2015. Mrs RM came along, which meant the home comforts of a campervan rather than the tiny solo tent of a year ago. The queue of campers for the showers made us feel very bourgeois every morning.
2015 was bitterly cold, this year was just dull and a bit wet. (No doubt the heatwave will arrive in November again). Larmer Gardens were still rather wonderful.
Regular readers will know I’m no creature of habit, and my fifth EotR Fest didn’t have the first-time magic of 2011, when the combination of peacocks in Larmer Gardens, proper beer, and a long weekend of relentlessly great new music became a life highlight for me. An absence of “look at me” revellers, drugs or chatterers stood out.
The Beavertown bar certainly made my day, not because the beer isn’t good, but real ale doesn’t work for me in plastic cups the way that evil keg does. We did enjoy the Gyle 59 beers though. Most folk seemed to be drinking Thatchers and an array of Boring Brown Bitters in cans; Shaftesbury’s Tesco does a good trade at this time of year.
The loss of the sunshine is probably outside the EotR management’s control, and if the Festival is less wonderful now it’s to do with my craving for new experiences rather than the “offer”. Mrs RM would like us to try Latitude next year, but I have a need for my soul for a while yet.
Musically this was as diverse a line-up as ever, from Anne Meredith’s classically inspired electro to Martha’s Rush-inspired punk, though there were certainly even less acts my fellow festival-goers from Waterbeach had ever heard of.
Fans of female singer-songwriters could have just camped in the Tipi Tent with pints of Beavertown Black Betty all weekend and been very happy indeed. At least until Hard Skin tipped up with their Oi Oi Oi on Sunday afternoon. Their song “When we get down the (potential new GBG) pub it’s gonna be all right” is a potential BRAPA classic.
After 36 new artists, my new discoveries of the weekend were Amber Arcades (Dutch), Julia Jacklin (Aussie), Hard Skin (Milwall) and comedian Tom Bell, whose skit on late night fishmongers was both hilarious and rather scary, as was Tom. Toms are like that.
The woods art was, again, rather gorgeous.
It’ll be a hard decision to stop going to EotR, even if Mrs RM decides tofollow her Guardian-reading mates down the A143 to Southwold. For a start, it’s the best food of the year. Mrs RM and I worked through the card, and I now ought to own up to keeping the Bahn Mi from Pho Sho all to myself on Friday afternoon. She’d drunk so much warm cider and black IPA she didn’t notice.