30th August – 2nd September | Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset
Jubilance, freedom, the world at your feet. It’s that sense of balance and respite that a celebratory festival like End of The Road can afford you, and this year’s event will once again prove to have such intangible powers. Now quite fully into its second decade of running, End of The Road, much like Green Man, has cemented itself as one of the comfortably-sized, family-friendly festivals to go to, regardless of line-up expectations. It possesses an essence that is as reviving as as it is exciting, and offers a wealth of culture within its grounds to compel a wealth of visitors.
It’s simply a bonus that once again the organisers have not held back when it comes to their curation, welcoming first-time arrivals and long-time friends, who could all offer an exclusive and ultimately moment-making set for fans and neutrals alike. If her set at All Points East in June was anything to go by, St. Vincent could be crowned queen after her set at End of The Road reaches its conclusion. Her inventiveness, sheer brazen creativity and forthright directness is spectacular, and when moulded together and channelled into her live set it’s something not to be missed. Feist has always been an enigmatic and progressive songwriter, her most recent album, last year’s wonderful Pleasure, was another individual and distinctive addition to her discography. You can expect her to explore the full breadth of her work during the headline set on Sunday.
The last time Yo La Tengo played End of The Road, they were celebrating thirty years together as a group. This time around, they headline the Thursday night and will no doubt offer a set full of surprises and their modern classics drenched in atmospheric distortion. It’s been far too long, but finally Vampire Weekend re-emerge, a new record seemingly in tow and no doubt plans to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their self-titled debut. It’ll be a joyous Saturday night.
Yet where End of The Road always succeeds is in its careful arrangement of its lower bills, focusing not on fast-rising flashes-in-the-pan, but the finest in folk, post-punk, garage and so much more. Ezra Furman, Oh Sees and Mdou Moctar all return having seen their stock rise recently, yet they have been admired by the festival since way before they found their success. Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail, Lucy Dacus and Haley Heynderickx all appear, having had wonderful 2018s. Fat White Family rise from the ashes to bear witness to the unbridled chaos they have inspired within South London, as Shame and Goat Girl, who both also appear, will attest. If that doesn’t sound like a Who’s Who of today’s most exciting acts, you can add Idles, Protomartyr and Snapped Ankles to that list to certify it.
Perhaps the best way to end the festival season, End of The Road will once again offer an idyllic introduction to some of the most emotionally revitalising music and arts from around the world.
Check out the brand-new St. Vincent below: