Festival Review: Barn On The Farm

barn on the farm bannerBarn On The Farm

1-2 July 2016

Words: Elena Katrina

bushstock poster 2016I started this blog the same year that Barn On The Farm first started. Yes, that long ago. I believe they started it for their mates and I started this just for something to do and to keep my love of new music alive. So to me they are a special festival because their passion is mine and we both turned 6 this year. I’ve always wanted to go, never have and it was such a personal thing for me to be going along. Year after year the line up has run alongside some of our new music favourite acts and of course 2016 was no different.

What I didn’t anticipate was exactly how special this festival would be, to say it is beautiful is an understatement – even in heavy rain the joy on people’s faces in such a small space and watching such new bands and singing along. These are my people – I thought to myself. I hate getting soaked through, like really hate it, but knowing I was surrounded by “my people” I didn’t care. I cared when I was in pain – yes, yes that was me hobbling around on a stick all weekend, often found sat in my, now mouldy, stripy chair,  occasionally waving my stick, or the chair, in the air! Yeah I know, no shame. But you’re my people so you don’t care… I hope. We were all there for the same reasons.

So onto some music! Will Joseph Cook has improved somewhat but at times still seems really nervous and makes comments such as  “I get to do my lame dancing – that’s always a good thing for me”, which is both endearing and worrying, because he should have a lot more confidence in his talent, though he be yet so young. There were many in the crowd who knew, and were loving  his singles, especially Girl Like Me and Paris. I have a sneaky suspicion that the more access to festivals he gets the more his confidence will grow and his overall performance will sky rocket.

Black Honey had a much smaller crowd than I had expected but yet pockets of the crowd could be found passionately singing along, myself included of course. They brought with them their usual arsenal of songs, including all the singles and opening up with the eerie sounds of Spinning Wheel. The queue for their merch at the end was magnificent and I’m still, two weeks on, struggling to fully remove the not quite as temporary tattoo as a temporary tattoo should be! Thank goodness I love BH!

Perhaps for me the biggest surprise of the day was Ady Sauileman, there were masses of people and in a very heavy down pour, the summery tones of the tracks felt both at odds with the weather and yet still hugely uplifting. Even the guy dressed as a banana seemed to not notice that he was soggy as hell as he bounced around. It wasn’t just the crowd’s determination to stay and watch but Ady’s vocal too that was so impressive; smooth and earthy tones, even I stood totally captivated by him while every inch of my clothing became saturated by the downpour. He has such a strong stage presence and even came and sang in the rain! What a guy. It’s no wonder he had a strong crowd, come rain or shine.

After a much needed break from the rain we returned to watch FLYTE take to the Outside stage (where you might notice we pretty much camped out at for the whole day!) – in a bid to keep the crowd happy again lead singer Will said  he was glad it had stopped raining but if it rained he too would come and sing in the rain – more signs of solidarity! Ironically it then started to rain and he jokingly proclaimed “you’re going to hold me to that aren’t you!” – though the rain never really got started, luckily for him! New song Victoria Falls is great I was so happy with Please Please Eloise which caused lots of singing and dancing in the, still soggy, crowd. We were also treated to a never before played song – Not My Kind of Girl never played before which was a nice touch as was their good bye of “we love you, we love you very much” awwwwww.

clean cut kid. Photo by Dan Harris

Clean Cut Kid. Photo by Dan Harris

We here at Popped Music are huge fans of Clean Cut Kid – you may or may not have guessed and it was of course front and centre where you could find us clinging on to every note. There was a change in the sound for this performance, never before had I heard both keys and bass so equal in the mix, not even in the record and I enjoyed hearing it this way, for me, it brought something extra to the set and I hope this mix is the way forward – I want to be able to hear everything and every one please! thanking you. Brother Of Mine somehow started out of key and Mike made a joke, which I can’t quite recall but somehow turned it around and got the crowd back on side, not that I’m sure they were ever off their side in the first place. I think it was one of the most humorous shows I’ve seen them play – I particularly enjoyed the  comments about Ross’s droopy, floppy problem (with his symbol!) and they smashed their way through their singles and assorted potential album tracks all to a gleeful crowd.

It’s easy to see that Barn On The Farm is a festival that attracts a mixed crowd, in terms of all those nasty isms, but what everyone seems to have in common is a feeling of togetherness and kindness. There was none of that lary behaviour  associated with some of the bigger festivals, there was some drunken bumbling about and some amusing moments but it was so refreshing to be in a crowd of people genuinely all having a good time – with each other. This continued well into Dan Croll’s set and way on the way as we headed up the dusty hill, waving gleefully at the beautiful ostriches, who seemed totally unphased by the whole affair.

As we strolled on through to the main stage on Sunday another thing hit me, just how tidy this festival was. There seemed to be a bit more respect and it really did help that there was the plastic cup deal  – a cool branded pint cup which you paid for and used for the weekend. I still have mine, in fact it’s next to me as I write. It all made for a more idyllic settling and people love a good selfie with a branded cup…. yes we do!

Seramic was the first order of the day and my comments just say “usual; amazing”. He was on top form bringing out his humour card, getting the, still somewhat bearry eyed crowed, more roused. “Let’s pretend it’s like 8 in the evening!” and  everyone screamed, much to his delight. “Ok let’s pretend it’s 9″ and everyone got  louder, which just encouraged him… ” Let’s pretend it’s 9.45!” – everyone a little less, which then made people laugh. For some reason 9.45 must have been the tipping point for tiredness! He then started a little sexy bluesy whispery number singing “it’s 9.45” then stopped and explained he was trying to make his manager laugh. I’m not sure if it worked, but it worked on me. Humour and talent. What a lucky sod huh.

I’ve not seen Port Isla in ages and they delighted with a tight set which was special because  just after midway through they said they’d like to play an old song but explaining that this was the first festival that had them on and they don’t play this song any more so they’d like to try it again with all of  us which was super special. They launched into a rendition of  Sinking Ship. And they all played together in a little group, centre stage. This wasn’t the only treat they gave us. They pulled out a song,  Call My Name– which they’d never played before and worried it would all go badly. As no one has heard it before, it’s a safe enough bet that it went OK! At least it sounded great to our ears!

It was this day which we really knew how people attend this family feel as though they are part of a family. We saw a guy give a bubble wand to a little girl sat near him and say it was for her and oh god her little face! It made me so happy! The sun was out for the occasion and we sat there waiting on Fickle Friends with a soundtrack of delighted giggles and a stream of  bubbles blowing the sun. My notes just say “I’m so happy” and I really really was.

I’ve been waiting an age to watch High Tyde play live and they were worth the wait; tight as hell and sound so much older than their young faces show, in terms of their maturity and strength of performance. Maybe a little too heavy on the F word for a family friendly festival but y’know. There was a very young crowd for these guys, with one “older” bearded guy (as in not in his late teens) with no fucks given about dancing harder than anyone else – yes! Doffing ones cap to you Sir

Dangy - Photo:  Caitlin Mogridge

Dangy – Photo: Caitlin Mogridge

There was no need to rush around anywhere at Barn On The Farm so we took our first leisurely wonder about the site down to the beautiful court yard, where I had the best pizza I’ve ever eaten, and enjoyed the sounds of Dagny, who I most definitely want to see again. Talking of seeing again, back on the main stage we made it in time to catch the end of Rationale – and we have become firm fans. In fact, as I write I’m looking forward to seeing him again this weekend!

I wasn’t too sure about the placement of Frances ahead of Jack Garratt if I’m honest. I’ve seen her many a time and only her and a piano felt like it might be a little too slow, but nope this was in fact her third time playing live with a full band and it worked. I was a little bit unsure about why she felt the need to have a bit of a moan about Glasto – a festival which is most people’s major dream to play. Perhaps she was trying to insinuate that Barn On The Farm was more her thing, with it being so intimate, but it left us with an impression that she was a bit of a music school brat, and this isn’t the first time she’s given any of us here that impression – which is a shame because we absolutely adore her music and she is a stunning performer. It’s just her stage patter isn’t maybe quite translating as it should. It wasn’t just us, people around us were bemused too as to those comments. To give her credit though she was very humble toward the end of her set and sounded so genuine as she thanked the crowd. Regardless as to how she might come across you absolutely must she her.

And so it was with both excitement and disappointment that we made our self comfortable for headline act Jack Garratt. Excited because despite having been writing about him for years I’ve always missed him live and disappointed because it meant the end of the festival and I, in no way, wanted to go home. And oh what have I been missing out on. This guy is so much fun to watch live. Not only does he dish out his own tracks and encourage everyone to join him – after all how much can he do alone?! (everything!), but he also was genuinely excited to be where he was. Coming from a guy who has had the music world thrown at his feet this year (and well deserved it is too). He explained  “Three years ago I accidentally played on this main stage (someone was ill he took the slot) and last year I supported James Bay …ask me if anyone is playing after me on this stage… No they’re not! Because I’m fucking headlining Barn On The farm!! ” Never has any headline been so genuinely excited about this slot and later he went on to further explain how everyone at the festival was a family and that it wasn’t just the people who put on the festival but those who turned up to support new music who were the real heroes of the show. I think he’s now one of my heroes. Never stop being excited about what you are doing and never forget why you do it or who supported you to get there.

Alongside his set of his own material he managed to sneak in a full blown audience participated version of The Fresh Prince Of Bell Air – which I’m not entirely sure was intentional but my god what fun, especially hearing his absolute delight as he giggled to our response.  Then to make it even better he managed to do cover medley of Craig David’s 7 Days and Justin Timberlake’s Señorita.  I feel confident in saying that Jack Garratt makes for a perfect headliner – so so much fun.

As I walked back up that dusty path into the night I felt a feeling of belonging, these really are my people, new music lovers, kind people too and music brings us al together. Now that I’ve been and witnessed I really want to be taken into the fold and be part of the Barn On The Farm family – please please have us back. Every year!


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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

    All articles written by Elena Katrina unless otherwise stated.

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