Why End of the Road is the festival to beat
Who said bigger is always better? When it comes to festivals, this certainly isn’t the case. Although the 175,000 capacity strong Glastonbury is a force to be reckoned with, with 86 stages across the festival site, it by no means renders the smaller festivals any less Worthy (pun intended). Having been to many festivals over the years (what a hipster) there is still one that comes out as a clear-cut winner for me: End Of The Road. Of course, every festival is different, so why does End of the Road top the festival chart for me, I hear you cry? Is there any kind of objective truth over which festival is best? Of course not, but let me tell you why it’s worth trekking to darkest Dorset to experience the world of End Of The Road.
Although the festival has grown notably in size since it first began in 2006, it is still relatively small with around 11,000 people attending last year. This makes for a wonderfully intimate musical experience. It means you don’t spend half the festival trying to reunite with lost friends – if you lose someone you will most likely bump into them within the next hour. What’s more, you don’t lose valuable time that could be spent watching bands wandering around in search of a stage, meaning you get to see more outstanding music. As there is no VIP area, you can catch some of the artists wandering around, which adds to the relaxed and friendly ethos of the festival.
Being set in the exquisite Larmer Tree Gardens means End Of The Road’s aesthetic is almost impossible to beat. As if the self-governed peacocks that roam the festival aren’t enough, there is a plethora of art- installations and woodland wonders to draw you in. Venture far enough into the woods and you will stumble upon a library, outdoor Ping-Pong and a tiny stage, which has been known to play host to impromptu sets to daring musicians; take M.O.N.E.Y’s extraordinary front man Jamie Lee for example, who spewed inspired, off-the-cusp lunacy to a wide-eyed, yet increasingly delighted woods gathering two years ago. What’s more, the Garden Stage has to be the most beautiful and atmospheric place to watch unforgettable live music.
Finally, and most importantly: the music. The End Of The Road line-up is always expertly programmed and impossible to fault. This year sees headline sets from Sufjan Stevens (playing his first ever UK festival), Tame Impala and the War On Drugs. Other heavyweights such as Laura Marling, Future Islands and Mac Demarco follow close behind. As always though, End Of The Road endeavors to showcase lesser-known artists: it is at this festival that I have chanced across most of the artists that that make up my current music collection! Marika Hackman, Eaves, Alvvays and Nadine Shah are just a few of the names that will be heard a lot more in the coming years, yet will perform in an exclusively intimate environment at End Of The Road. If you’ve been, you will know exactly what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t…what are you waiting for?!