The Larmer Tree Festival 2005
Grown men dressed as fairies made their annual appearance at Cranborne Chase's Larmer Tree Gardens for this year's festival. The Bees headlined the main stage and 3 Daft Monkeys turned up the heat on the Garden Stage on a truly scorching weekend.
Even technical problems with their picture projection equipment wasn't going to dampen the spirits of the Friday night headliners, The Bees.
Even before they'd even started playing the crowd were shouting for Chicken Payback. A request that was greeted with "It's too early" from singer, Paul Butler. Needless to say the fans were appeased in the encore.
The Bees, who hail from the Isle Of Wight, played The larmer Tree Festival hot off the heals of supporting Oasis at two massive gigs in Manchester.
Playing earlier on Friday afternoon in the Acoustic Roots Cafe was a band featured in BBC Dorset's Band Showcase, Roads. The three-piece who grew up in Wimborne were on the bill a total of three times over the five day festival.
The Bob Marley influenced band played their own brand of reggae to a very appreciative audience. They even received a round of applause BEFORE they'd even played one particular song. Move Mugabe is a song about the Zimbabwean leader, Robert Mugabe. Bass player Doug Vowles explained to BBC Dorset just why the song is so important to the band:
"We started playing it about four years ago and then people just enjoyed the song's groove. But I think it's recently that people have actually been taking more notice of the lyrics. I think Live8 has opened people's eyes to what's going on in Africa."
Doug also sees festival's like The Larmer Tree as a great opportunity for Dorset bands to get themselves known on the scene:
"Dorset is a hard break for music. It's hard to get noticed because there aren't many venues outside Bournemouth. I think more support is needed for music in Dorset and this festival is great for bands like us."
Another musical highlight were 3 Daft Monkeys who wowed the crowd on the Garden Stage. The group have just finished touring with The Levellers and they describe themselves as a groovy outfit playing music with Celtic, Gypsy and Spanish tones.
3 Daft Monkeys
They even dared the festival goers not to dance, and dance they did. It was also nice to see a welcome return for the recorder in live music!
The thing with this festival, though, is that, for some festival-goers, the music isn't the main reason for spending an extended weekend in the stunning surroundings of The Larmer Tree Gardens.
It's become a firm favourite with families from all over the UK, and it's not difficult to see why. With designated children's areas offering activities and workshops in everything from baby yoga to unicycling, the festival is a safe and exciting place for the little ones.
One of the therapies on offer
There's an evident spirituality about the festival that not only inspires grown men to dress as fairies but also explains the many people that take advantage of the holistic therapies and treatments on offer in the Secret Garden.
Due to popular demand there were more than 25 therapists offering treatments ranging from Classical Osteopathy, Swedish Massage, Bach Flower Remedies and Thermo-Auricular Therapy.
The Secret Garden offers the opportunity to escape the rest of the chilled festival for a bit of peace and pampering that left you, in some cases literally, positively horizontal.
Adults wanting to get their own hands on some action weren't disappointed by the range of workshops on offer. The Didgeridoo Workshop was packed with people wanting to learn the fundamentals of playing the oldest wind instrument in the world.
The Didgeridoo Workshop
The Drumming Workshop taught the assembled crowd how to manipulate the tone and bass of the drum with the hands and culminated in an energetic jam session.
The festival takes place each year thanks to the enthusiasm of organisers James Shepard and Julia Safe. The first festival was a day of jazz and blues music, attended by around 200 people. The festival is now so popular that, for the last nine years, weekend tickets have sold out in advance.
last updated: 20/07/2008 at 13:21
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