This will (probably) be my last post about Barn on the Farm for this year. I think I’ve saved the best for last. The main stage at BOTF has always played host to incredibly talented artists, like Catfish and The Bottlemen, Jack Garratt and James Bay to name a few and as per usual, it was fantastic. This stage is, again, one of the newer ones. It’s obviously not a new concept, but as the festival grew, this stage also had to move in order to cope with the increased amount of people. As much as I love this stage, and the larger size has meant that BOTF can host bigger acts (e.g. Tom Odell), I did really love the old main stage which was located in a barn similar to, but larger than the Wooden Barn. However, my unnecessary nostalgia aside there’s no arguing that the artists on the stage this year were as amazing as ever.
I had been absolutely buzzing to see Sundara Karma ever since they were announced, and after missing out on their tour in February I was so happy to see they were going to be a part of this festival, and they did not disappoint. Following the release of “Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect” and a sold-out UK tour at the start of the year, I had high expectations and they surpassed them. They were so involved with the crowd, but in such a different way to many of the other acts. They were much more chilled out on stage, but lead singer, Oscar, was not afraid to basically get in the crowd several times, which was cool. Not only were they sick at performing, their clothes were also super cool, and a bold fashion choice always impresses me (Red flares? Yes please.). If there are any tickets remaining for the autumn tour definitely grab one, it won’t be a night you regret, because we all left feeling like they’d headlined the stage.
Seeing Zak Abel is always a Party. His brand of garage-esque-indie-pop makes dancing irresistible. His Stage presence makes it seem as if it’s just you and him in the room, and I think everyone in the crowd feels like that, which is a hard thing to achieve but he does it seemingly effortlessly. Seeing him perform always makes me feel so incredibly happy because the whole time he’s on stage he’s grinning from ear to ear, and it’s infectious, there’s no way you could be in that audience and not be having as good of a time as him. Not only is he a fantastically energetic entertainer, he also has such an incredible voice. His album “Only When We’re Naked” will shortly be released and I can’t wait to hear what it has in store as all of his tunes so far have been fab. I’d keep an eye out for him over the next few months, I think he’s someone that everyone is bound to fall in love with as soon as they hear him.
Oh Amber Run, I have such a love for these guys. They’ve been at BOTF every year I have, and it’s been a delight to see them grow as a band and get bigger and stronger. Seeing them on stage is pure magic. Everyone knows the words to their songs and it’s so nice to see them really enjoying themselves. This year was extra good because they bought Lewis Watson on stage during I Found to sing with them and it was just as gorgeous as you’d expect that to be. It was amazing to see a real friendship like that on stage and to hear them sing together. Lead singer Joe has an incredible voice and all of their songs are truly beautiful. I feel like whenever they perform they give everything and, yet again, it felt like they could have been headlining because of the way the crowd ate up everything they did. I’m so grateful that they’re still a band and they’ve carried on making music even through a rough period they all had together, but I think they’ve come out the other side even stronger and ready to smash it. The only thing I can find wrong with their set is that it wasn’t longer!
Now, I don’t know how coherent this will be because the whole time I felt speechless. Being in that crowd in front of that stage felt completely magical and electric. I’m going to be honest, I was sceptical. Rosie and I waited over an hour for him because she had been telling me for months how incredible he was live, but I just thought, how great can he be? Indescribably good is the answer. I’ve honestly never felt that way before. Clearly, from any of his albums, you can tell that he has an amazing voice, but that’s not all he brings to the stage. He’s truly magnetic, I actually couldn’t take my eyes off him the whole time he was performing, and when he came in to the crowd I couldn’t react I actually just kind of froze, which was not the reaction I expected from myself. He’s one of those people where you can tell that this is what he’s meant to be doing. He needs to be on a stage, he needs to be performing, he couldn’t be doing anything else, it just wouldn’t be right. He put on such a show, he was on top of the bloody piano at one point and all. I hadn’t paid much attention to the lyrics in his songs, which I now realise was a massive mistake. Those songs are all so beautiful and I actually cried during Grow Old With Me, which was a little bit unexpected. You could just feel the meaning and the passion behind all the words he was singing. I can say with absolute certainty that I will go and see him again as soon as possible. I would also like to just give a few words of appreciation to his band. Those guys were all seriously talented and were doing such an amazing job of supporting him and allowing him to be a real performer without completely fading into the background. To summarise, it was incredible and you can’t really describe it until you’ve seen it.
Well, that’s it for another year of that festival. Only 12 months of waiting left for the next one I guess. I hope the way I’ve written about it has come close to doing my love and gratitude for it justice.