Live Review

Harvest Festival 2012

And just like that our expectations are raised.


Photo by Tom Farmer

Much is to be said about a festival that totally flops one year only to come back with fighting force the next. Much is to be said about a festival that thinks it can change punters’ perceptions – and then spectacularly does so. Harvest Festival – once ‘not-so-endearingly’ known as the ‘festival of lines’ - made 2012 the year that it wowed its crowds.

Schedule choice is in over-abundance with a plethora of 90s ‘revival’ bands, see: Cake and The Dandy Warhols, some synth-laden rock: The Black Angels and Liars and of course the closer crowd pleasers: Beirut, Beck and Sigur Ros. With the Sunday leg offering 27 glorious degrees laced with the coolest of breezes, the greenest of grass and the bluest of skies, you’d be bananas to miss out – oh and they have those too. With a ban on booze and drugs, it seems fruit is allowed, with the exception of bananas - if you wanted bananas you are directed to the giant ape slowly circling the lake with his helpers. Some may say hallucinogenic substances aren’t even required. It is a dream state; an event that lives up to its ‘Civilised Gathering’ tagline - where patrons steer clear of pushing and shoving.

Though adding an extra day to the festival may have been a tad over-zealous of founder AJ Maddah. Although Sunday saw an almost sold-out affair, Saturday’s dismal 4000 attendees had bands scratching their heads. Described as a ghost-town by some it is hard to believe that this utopia was a little more than a couple of hundred people and a tumble weed, only a day prior.

Shout-outs go to The Dandy Warhols for starting off the festival day with a bang. Adding a psychedelic spin to many well-known hits, including ‘Bohemian Like You’ and ‘We Used to Be Friends’ for that one hour the crowd and the band are one. Beck is just as impressive altering his set for a boogie driven crowd while Liars and The Black Angels respectively fill out the intimate Big Red Tractor Stage providing heavier stuff. By night-fall, The Great Lawn packs with punters readying to see the ultimate closer Sigur Ros. With a two-hour set, the Icelandic ensemble stands stoically in front of the crowd while Jonsi hypnotises our ears with his nonsensical sounds. Like the sirens of the sea he transfixes us and we’re left to reflect on the day’s euphoric state. And just like that our expectations are raised. See you next year Harvest Festival.

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