Wow, Barn On The Farm - What A Festival, Full Of Love!
Looking at the lineup of years gone by will tell you that the BOTF team have a passion for live music and a great eye for spotting up and coming artist, listening to the Spotify playlist in the weeks leading up to the festival didn’t disappoint.
As you head towards Over Farm, just on the edge of Gloucester, it felt as if we were just popping to the farm shop before one of the fabulous volunteers popped up in their hi-vis vest and sent us off up a little lane to the car park. You wouldn’t believe we were a stone’s throw from an A road as we settle in to the gorgeous surroundings of the Gloucestershire countryside. This is where you immediately start to feel the love for BOTF – everyone that we met was full of enthusiasm, love and excitement for Barn on the Farm.
The campsite was perfectly sized for the 2,000 festival goers, plenty of room for everyone – couples, groups of friends and families all thrown in. We arrived on Saturday morning, but a lucky few hundred had Intimate Friday tickets, allowing them to sneak in early and enjoy a series of intimate sets in the beautiful barn – with secret headliners Bear’s Den. Within about half an hour of being there we were already discussing getting in early for next year and trying to bag some Intimate Friday tickets.
So I thought with three stages the line-up would be more than manageable, but the BOTF family did such a great job I still ended in a pickle about who to watch and where to go. Here are some of my musical highlights...
We started off in the beautiful Wooden Barn stage, a perfectly intimate venue where the band perform up on a mezzanine level surrounded soft golden lights, with a sun trap of a courtyard (with a horsebox bar) perfectly positioned next to the barn, great for breaks in the music. Mahalia, was someone who was on my Glasto hit list but didn’t get to and I’m so pleased I didn’t – this stage was a perfect fit. Mahalia’s sweet, deep, rich voice and thoughtful lyrics would have you believing that she is far beyond her 18 years, and little did I know we live in the same town so I’m already eyeing up her next dates!
One thing that really optimizes the love that the artists have for the festival is the appearance of the ‘Farm Band’ on the line up. Bringing together Gabrielle Aplin, Hudson Taylor, Hannah Grace and Amber Run – all together on stage, singing each other’s songs – I think everyone picked up on how special a moment this was.
At the Main Stage, a new addition to this year’s BOTF, a tented stage with a concrete floor (a nice bit of rest bite from the muddy week before) we enjoyed headliner Oh Wonder, who well and truly showed why they deserved the headline spot.
A sunny Sunday saw us set up camp in the courtyard next to the Wooden Barn stage, accompanied by some beautiful background music. Later on, over on the Main Stage we caught then end of Eliza and the Bear, a real gem – owning the stage and getting everyone involved. It also shows what a small festival when I suddenly realized I was stood next to the lead singer earlier on in the day, admiring the farm ostriches!
We then spent the afternoon shuffling between the Main Stage and Outdoor Stage to catch Rationale, an exceptionally energetic Zak Able (my personal festival highlight), the stunning Frances and finally headliner – the breathtakingly talented Jack Garratt. Jack also spoke passionately about appearing at the festival, moving up the stages over the last three years.
Everyone knows food and festivals goes hand in hand, I must admit I was worried would a smaller festival be able to offer the choice and quality seen at some of the larger festivals and BOTF didn’t disappoint – a great selection including Greek, Indian and super tasty burgers.
BOTF have really created a lovely festival, you call tell the team have put their heart and soul in to creating something special. The chilled out vibe, the beautiful location, fantastic music all round and a whole lot of love creates a fantastic festival loved not only by the festival goers but also the artists. This is a festival that will definitely be featuring on my ‘must-do’ list for next year.