Lounge on the Farm: Merton Farms Kent, 12/07/12
In all my three years of going to Lounge on the Farm, none of them have been the same. Now, this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Surely the main reason someone becomes a festival veteran is that they buy into its established identity. Still, one thing never changes; I always leave LOTF wanting to restart the weekend.
Born in 2006, this six year old baby is not your average festival. For starters, it is the only UK festival held on a genuine working farm, but the real reason is for its rarity in successfully showcasing the broadest range of musical genres humanly possible. Past acts have included everything from the Streets to Roots Manuva. This year there were chart-topping acts like Emile Sande, hot but longstanding bands likes the Mystery Jets, and even a range of folk infused music like that of Kitty, Daisy and Lewis. For the more hardcore, there were also great sets by artists such as Caspa and the Dub Pistols. Most impressive were the representatives of local talent. Coco and the Butterfields stood out for their creation of an original Fip Fok (folk hip-hop) sound, that made everyone want to dance. Even more obscure performances, like the spoken word improvisational sounds of Beans on Toast, could be found. With so many different elements to this festival, it might seem a conflicting mismatch of sounds. The fact is, they’ve got it just right. It is this rare mix that makes LOTF such a gem, offering a unique slant to the summer festival market. From young bands to more established performers, every year there’s a new sound to discover.
Even if LOTF provides the obligatory live music, it is the other more quirky and unexpected forms of entertainment that make this festival special. You can find culinary goodies served from a host of unusual catering vans (like a double-decker breakfast bus!), enjoy a roller disco, cotch in an in-field solar cinema, rummage through vintage shops, or sit through a Full Monty strip-tease play. LOTF can be a haven for you festival goers who fancy something a little different. There is even Boutique camping for the more sophisticated ‘farmers’ if the maze of tent pegs and sounds of vommitting get too much.
The one problem, the ticket price. At 105 for an Adult student weekend ticket, it’s not the cheapest. Still, it’s a great place to ‘lounge’ while discovering new sounds. After hours, or even in the middle of the day, the site turns into one big adventure. You can find yourself in the most unexpected places, like a fairy lit tipi, surrounded by strangers, discovering some of the most original music around. Be warned though, in order to survive you have to embrace your inner hippie and lose all prejudices,or you’ll miss out on finding the best performances of your life and creating some truly strange and wonderful memories that stick.
This Canterbury based festival has collected a series of accolades spanning from the Greener Festival Award’s: Most Improved UK Festival, to making Times Travel’s Top 10 Boutique Festivals list, and now attracting crowds of at least 10 000 now descend upon the farm every year, far from the original 1000 or so attendees of the first, free local festival advertised. LOTF must be doing something right. Held around the first weekend in July, LOTF is the perfect way to kick off the summer, and if I’m honest, temporarily lose your mind.