Now on to its ninth edition, Barn On The Farm is a festival that is intimate but executed to perfection. Forget long drops, snaking queues and warm overpriced pints, the Gloucester event hosts a couple of thousand guests for a rather more relaxed and refined experience – one where ticket holders are privy to ostriches, a mobile barber shop and a microlight flying experience in between catching some of the UK’s best new bands.
Some of folk’s finest fill the lineup and melt hearts on Thursday and Friday, before Saturday sees a guitar-pop gear shift. Ten Tonnes, one of the first to grace the Main Stage – which is just a stone’s throw away from the main cluster of campers’ tents – takes the scorching Over Farm by storm. With the Three Lions on his chest, the Hertford singer-songwriter steamrollers through a snappy set of razor-sharp rock ‘n’ roll, stirring the bleary noon crowd with a thunderous ‘Cracks Between’ and more.
Continuing the good times under the blistering hot sun, The Pale White give the Outdoor Stage a welcome shock to the system with the kind of gritty riff-mongering that begs to be blasted at ground-trembling volume. Finest foray ‘Loveless’ gets ray-soaked onlookers toasty, before The Howl & The Hum beckon over in the Wooden Barn. The York band’s wonky hypnotism belongs to a different world entirely, but in Avant-pop cuts like ‘Portrait I’ there’s the very same immediacy at play, something that will no doubt set them on alt-J’s path.
After Southgate’s England fire themselves into the country’s first World Cup semi since 1990, Londoners Gengahr are the ultimate post-game soundtrack on Barn On The Farm‘s second stage. Indie-pop bangers and palpable excitement run through the quartet’s mesmerising stint, with ‘Before Sunrise’ shimmering like the big burning ball in the sky above.
Then the baton’s passed over to Pale Waves, who continue their fine form from Finsbury Park’s Community the previous week. Glittery licks and undiluted eightiesness combine on stellar recent singles ‘Black’ and ‘Eighteen’, as the Manc band leave another sun-bleached festival field suitably satisfied and pining for more.
The next morning, Easy Life go one better to deliver the fest’s defining performance. The attendance may well be a modest one, but it won’t stay that way for long – especially with tunes like finale ‘Pockets’ in their arsenal. The Leicester band’s Jamie T-ish fusion of hip-hop, indie-pop and slacker rock is something to behold and a magnificent brass breakdown late on only serves to strengthen their magnetic appeal.
After the ever-electrifying Marsicans bring primal energy and buoyant hooks to the largest stage, it’s back to the barn where Hidden Herd faves FOURS unveil a souped up and slickly-crafted set of glossy electro-pop. The London outfit are second to none in the catchy stakes, unleashing a slew of hook-loaded slam-dunks (‘Sweet Reality’, ‘Overthink’, ‘Stella’) in front of a midday throng that soak it all up with bubbling enthusiasm.
Casting a similar shadow to FOURS’ focal point Edith Violet, Anteros singer Laura Hayden is also a tour de force a few hours later on the Outdoor Stage. Her fierce and magnetic performance is the perfect match for the band’s new wave-tinged indie-pop and tunes like brand new single ‘Call Your Mother’ are awash with wistful Blondie-like melodies and surefire swagger. From the get-go, it’s exhilarating and sets the tone for a fun-packed final night.
After highlights aplenty and a sun-soaked weekend to savour, Barn On The Farm’s ten-year milestone next year looks set to be an unmissable affair.