Larmer Tree Festival day 4
It’s been raining most of the night and it’s still going now. I sleep in (for me) until 8 and then waterproof up to try and get some wet festival shots. I’m looking for onesies, wellies and umbrellas and station myself on the main road in an attempt to catch people as they emerge. As I get there the rain dries up and people come out in flip flops. A wasted hour.
I sit and have a chat with the lovely Clare of gigs and festivals. She’s got some great stories and tells me about her social media business. Finally the rain eases and I’m off again to make up for lost time. There’s a farmers’ market and people are starting to emerge which churns up the ground wonderfully. Every so often the grey sky issues forth another bout of H2o based merriment for us all.
I find Wil Varley and shoot a few pics, then the gorgeous Chloe Charles who’s a gift for photographers. The sun makes its return and quickly the day gets very hot. The mud is even more churned and I follow 3 lads around waiting for a particular shot. Finally I get bare feet walking in mud.
On the way back to the press area to swap batteries and empty a card I’m caught by one of the PRs who says they are going down NOW for Staff Benda Billili, a group of able bodied and disabled musicians from the slums of Kinshasa. They look like fun so I tag along. I get some great shots and the music is brilliant. It’s just right for what has ended up a hot day.
The main event of the evening though is Bad Shepherds. I push to the front of the Garden Stage and get some great close ups. I collar one of the PRs and get them to take me backstage. I shoot a few through the wings (not great) then hang around for a pic with Ade. Whilst there I get collared for a couple of other photos with him which he bears with a smile and a bottle of the Larmer Red.
I’m struck by the middle classness of the festival as I stand in the press pit waiting for the next set. In the front row someone is eating a pot of olives and a nice piece of focaccia. Not for these people a snickers and a can of coke. It’s been a feature of the last few days that this is a really nice British festival. There’s real ale and what passes for ethnic clothing but there are also eye wateringly expensive wood furniture and faux foreign food. Clare recounts her favourite overheard conversations of the weekend including the “is that why you fired your nanny?” I’m thinking that I probably wouldn’t be seeing a pre famous Drenge, Wolf Alice or Big Deal here. They can be a bit edgy after all.
Pit policy for the next act is free access. So we can shoot as much as we like. We find out quickly why. Public Service Broadcasting are a great multi media group but it’s comprised of a drummer, a guy right at the back on keys and another on keys with a laptop right in front of him. I do my best but am struggling. Finally I slip away and round the back to the stage entrance and shoot from the back of the stage. I get some good crowd background.
I move onto the main site and find people turning up. There are some interesting face paints, a few brolllies and some wellies. Things look like they are getting better. The heavens open again so I trot back to the press tent. There’s a new tog there who has dumped all his kit across 2 benches and is proceeding to eat his way through the biscuits. He’s having a damn good moan about the weather and giving us 101 reasons why he shouldn’t leave the tent. I get on with processing a few pics and posting them. Eventually he tells us he’s got a bit of a headache and maybe he’ll go home and come back later. He leaves having not fired off a single shot. I don’t see him again.
The chaps have said I must catch Hat Fitz and Cara and I head off to the Garden Stage to see a brilliant soul/bluegrass/rockabilly fusion that’s a massive hit with the crowd. I’ve been asked to shoot a group shot of the directors and am ushered into their presence. I’ve met them before and thought them to be a bit stand offish, once again they are refusing to engage and I’m left with the feeling that the class system still hasn’t disappeared. I’m offered the choice of a shot in a dark room with very bright windows behind or an outside platform with light cascading through the trees. Both are awful so I go for the outside location in an effort to get some crowd in the shot. They are going to need a bit of photoshop to say the least. Meanwhile there’s a German rockabilly group on stage and I’m enjoying them more than the shoot. Not sure about the jokes though.
Meet up with the missus to find out that she’s been waiting for the food I promised to bring back 2 hours ago. I put my stuff away and we go off and have some Souk food which turns out to be a North African dish which comprises mainly of a mildly spicy luke warm salsa and a deep fried bunch of processed lamb. I’ve had better.
I sit and realise that I can see a dance/martial arts group in front of me, Comedy club at the right and a kind of African jam session behind whilst in the background is the thrum of the club tent. Not a bad mix all in all.