I signed up for Larmer Tree volunteering at the last minute and had no idea what to expect. To my delight, it turned out to be one gorgeous weekend party for all ages – excellent! The festival took place at the Larmer Tree Gardens (Dorset/Wiltshire border) from 17 until 21 July. I caught a train from London on Friday morning and then managed to catch a lift with other festival goers from the station in Salisbury.
Once the happy tent was set up, I made my way to gate 1a for my first shift of the weekend: helping with arrivals, i.e. directing incoming festival enthusiasts as there was all sorts of different car parks and camping areas. Caught the last bit of Seasick Steve’s set on the Main Stage and hung out in The Social (cosy, circus-like tent with a variety of acts and a bar) before hitting the hay.
Had an earlyish start on Saturday as my next shift was assisting with the kids craft workshops and I absolutely loved it. We spent the whole morning making bead necklaces, bracelets and ‘beady people’ keyrings with excited little ones.
After lunch I caught a few music acts at the ARC (Carrivick Sisters, Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou) and wandered around the gardens discovering various fun areas. There was a book crossing tree, an art exhibition, lots of stalls with reasonably priced vintage clothes, festival gear, food and coffee (incl. a red London bus that served as a cafe) and even a human jukebox, a car-like machine with four guys on the inside who played your song of choice when you put money in a slot. How cool is that? At night I went to see Imelda May‘s set on the Main Stage. Had never managed to go to one of her gigs while I lived in Ireland and really enjoyed her show.
Sunday morning was spent at the kids craft tent again followed by the big carnival parade around the grounds with us volunteers collecting donations from festival goers for the Lucy’s Days Out charity. Today’s music included Steve Knightley, Thomas Ford and a really lovely set by KT Tunstall (first time I saw her live and especially loved the songs from her new album). The festival’s final act on the Main Stage was Bellowhead, who had everyone dancing and singing from song one.
Afterwards, I ventured back to the ARC for a couple of comedy acts. Around midnight an electrical storm cut American comedian Rich Hall’s set short, but he continued it more than an hour later. The lightning and brief rain shower right at the end of the night was a wonderfully atmospheric end to my festival weekend. It had really been a fantastic few days and I not only met lots of friendly volunteers and a couple of translators, but also ran into someone I knew from a festival in Vancouver a few years back. It’s a small world indeed, especially if you’re into festivals, it seems.