3.30am. For someone who adores sleep, this is a ridiculous hour to be setting an alarm for – not even ridiculous actually, just pure horrific. Through bleary eyes we got ourselves together, bundled into the car and started a minuscule part of the journey, to Glasgow to pick up Tally and Adam.
No-one really quite warns you when you’re buying a cute wee coral coloured Fiat 500 that, even though it HAS four seats, two of them are purely for decoration, and the boot space is pretty much non-existent. Despite this minor set back, the four of us, two tents, umpteen bags, food, drinks, pillows, air beds, and – most importantly – coffee cups, managed to pile in and get on to the M6… where we’d be spending the most part of the next six hours.
I do love a good road trip, especially when you’ve got a car full of excited people, who can all appreciate a good 00’s R&B singalong, followed by screeching along to Taylor Swift for an hour at a time. With only one traffic jam stopping us in our tracks for half an hour, we arrived at Over Farm, Gloucester to a reasonable queue, just after 11am, grabbed the first spot we could to throw our tents up in and managed to sprint our way to the main stage just in time for Marsicans singing my favourite lyric of “Too Good” – ‘you spent an hour trying to get your fairylights to turn on, but its worth it’ – which we laughed about later when we went back to the tent and spent a good while trying to get the fairylights turned on…
Tally got out the face paint to make our faces festival appropriate, and we bounded off to do some exploring. There were so many cute spots, pianos, vintage stalls and shops, and photo opportunity pieces around the site, it felt like you could’ve spent a whole week there and still been finding cubby holes and secret areas.
We caught some of Easy Life’s set as we waited to see Sea Girls on the main stage. Both sets were brilliant; I’ve been waiting to see Sea Girls for AGES and after next weekend at TRNSMT I’ll have seen them twice in the space of a week, but after seeing their BOTF set, I honestly think I could watch them play over and over again and not ever get bored!
We bounded over to the Outdoor Stage for Lauren Aquilina’s set (we love her!) and squeezed our way into the crowd. A mix of old tracks and the most recent singles had the crowd all singing along from start to finish, and we were still singing ‘If Looks Could Kill’ hours later!
Back to the main stage for Gabrielle Aplin’s set which featured a surprise appearance from Hudson Taylor; much to everyone’s delight. It was during her set that I realised how important this wee festival had been to lots of my favourite musicians’ careers and how intertwined the small community is. Lots of the musicians were not playing for the first time at the festival; they all keep coming back – it’s like it’s turned into a crucial part of their summer!
Anteros were next up on the Outdoor Stage and not only was their set even better than I could have expected – their lead singer is possibly the coolest gal ever and I now aspire to wear a leather overall at least once in my life. Maybe.
I had a wee sprint over to the main stage to catch the end of Swim Deep, before another wee sprint back to the Outdoor stage to get back on time for the start of Nina Nesbitt’s set. I didn’t realise how patriotic I would get seeing Scottish acts (that I’ve been going to see live for years) playing on reasonably sized festival stages in the South of England, but apparently I am – and I wasnt the only one, as someone from the other side of the crowd lobbed a Scotland flag onto the stage and Nina paraded around in it for a couple of songs at the end of her, really brilliant, set.
I was excited to see the Japanese House live for the first time, but seeing them play in the attic of a barn whilst we were stood on the floor looking up to them was a whole new experience – it felt like something from a dream and I loved every second of it.
Dermot Kennedy was the Saturday night headliner – I won’t lie; I was heartbroken when it was announced that he was taking the place of Sam Fender because of illness, (not because it was Dermot – just because I really love Sam Fender!) but his set really blew me away. It was beautiful. I’d only listened to a few of his tracks that were available on spotify but his way of storytelling through his songs, mixed with his voice and calm approach to the whole thing was really relaxing and had everyone at the main stage totally captivated. I ended up on my own for the last few tracks of his set and I was totally unaware of everything else going on around me. “For Island Fires and Family” might have made its way into my ‘top favourite songs ever’ after hearing it live.
A short wander back to the tent later and, after our ridiculously early start, I was tucked up in my sleeping bag and out cold as soon as my head hit the pillow; I honestly do not remember having a better nights sleep in a tent, ever, in my life before (thank youuuuu, earphones and sleep mask!)
I woke up on Sunday morning totally ready for all the bands the day was going to throw at me – we were not totally ready for how HOT it was going to be though! Luckily one out of four of us had thought to chuck some suncream into one of the fourteen hundred bags we’d brought down between us (thanks, Tally!). Some more festival face paint happened, just in time to catch The Pale White open up the main stage for Sunday. I was particularly excited to hear “That Dress” live as it’s been lodged in my brain for a good few months, and it absolutely did not disappoint.
Kawala on the Outdoor Stage, Pimms in hand, in the midday sunshine was possibly peak ‘summer’ and nothing will ever beat it. Their songs were literally MADE for that moment and it was more than obvious.
Only the Poets played through their set as we took a wee break from the sun in the shade of a giant pile of pallets, but from what we could hear, they were perfect. We rallied back round for Whenyoung and joined the crowd behind some absolute superfans who were having the time of their lives and it totally rubbed off on everyone around them – us included! Whenyoung’s set was great – and has made me really excited to catch them again next week at TRNSMT!
Ten Tonnes’ set was slightly clashing, but we made it round to the main stage on time to catch the favourite songs – it was SO busy, we couldn’t even get in the tent properly! By the end of his set, we decided it was maybe a good idea to grab some food, re-do the suncream and try to hide from the sun for a bit before Youngr (ha – spot the Scots!).
We could hear everything from the main stage so clearly from our tents, as it was so close, and I just remember hearing Youngr starting his set with “Ooh Lordy” and it gave us a whooole new lease of life – it was literally like we’d been risen from the dead! We bounced our way round to the main stage for a dance before popping back to the barn to catch Maisie Peters.
Her track “Feels Like This” has just blown up in the last couple of weeks, as it was featured on Love Island, so it was impossible to get anywhere near inside the barn – but we found a great vantage point from outside the door, and with the stage being in the sky, we had a perfect view to hear the favourites!
Compromising time is something I’ve learned to get better at over the years of doing festivals – I used to get properly stressed about who to see and how I was going to fit every one in, and I felt the panic creeping back when I realised Maisie was clashing with Fatherson – knowing how much Lucinda wanted to see Maisie (I did too!), but also how much I love watching Fatherson play live left us with the decision to watch half of each set. Fatherson always hit it out the park with their live sets, and Barn on the Farm was no exception!!
I’d never seen Grace Carter live before; I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was totally sold as soon as I saw her on stage, and how much everyone was entranced by her presence and insane voice. Her cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ is another song that’s been fast tracked into the limelight by this year’s Love Island, and with great reason. We ended up running into Grace later on after her set and I was so pleased to get the chance to tell her how much I’d enjoyed it – she’s also the loveliest person!!
A special “10 Year Anniversary Barn on the Farm Surprise” rumour had been floating around since the moment we arrived, that mystery artist “Reggae Zero” on the programme was actually an anagram from George Ezra – and much to the delight of everyone who had piled towards the main stage in wait, the rumours were true! I’m not a *massive* fan, but I can appreciate the excitement, and how much fun his big hits are in a festival setting, in the sunshine!
Lewis Capaldi. I mean… what else do you need to say really?! His set is essentially part stand up, part actual music, and he’s got it down to an absolute T. Waltzing on stage to “Here Comes The Money,” belting out his single “Grace,” and getting straight into the “I’m just a wee chubby guy from Scotland” chat had the crowd cheering and laughing. A tshirt with his face on managed to be passed from the middle of the crowd to the stage, where Lewis put it on, as well as an ‘RKID’ hat – a nod to the ongoing… lets say “online banter” with Noel Gallagher. Its unreal how the same level of hilarity can come from the same guy who had just been singing some of the most heartfelt lyrics around just now!
I’m not quite sure what I can say about Maggie Rogers’ headline set. The girl can do absolutely no wrong. I’m very aware that I must’ve typed “I’m in my element” at least forty times over the weekend, but honestly – Maggie’s set was the highlight, and rounded the whole thing off perfectly. She played both of my favourites from her album, ‘Heard it in a Past Life’ – “Overnight” and “Retrograde.”
Not to mention, hearing “Retrograde” live for the first time, on the first day of mercury turning retrograde will definitely have meant something, somewhere… surely. We made pals, we danced the whole time, we cheered, we hugged, we sang at the top of our voices, all while Maggie pranced around the stage in a flutter of witchy dreamland-ness and I never wanted it to end. The confetti cannons went off, the lights went down, and Maggie came back onto stage, on her own, and closed off the set with an acoustic track – ‘Color Song’ which had everyone on the farm in silence. Beyond incredible.
Once Maggie had left the stage, the place errupted, and Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” started playing through the PA; so thats exactly what everybody did. The perfect ending to festival weekend!
We headed back to the campsite, finished off our drinks and before we knew it, it was 9am and we were trying to pack up tents, rub off the glitter and pile allll of the things back into the worlds smallest car.
A good eight hours or so later, we’d all made it home – thanks to the good few coffee stops, singalongs and classic car games. Now I’ve slept off the drive and washed out the dry shampoo, I’m ready for next weekend’s TRNSMT trip – festival 4 of the summer!
Barn on the Farm was the best weekend though!! I HIGHLY recommend the trip down; I know I’ll be back next year… just maybe in a bigger car!