The Larmer Tree Marathon
Each tour brings with itself a whole bunch of “firsts” for the band. And at the Larmer tree festival, it was the first time we had to play 3 gigs in a day, and believe it or not, the first time we played a proper acoustic show in a LONG LONG time!
Driving to the festival itself was an experience as we went out of the concrete jungle that London is to the beautiful English countryside and past the Stonehenge as well, though we did not have the time to go up to it and see it up close. I think most of the band just caught up on sleep for the rest of the tour and each of us was up to his own thing waking up once in a while in the middle, while Gary, our tour manager was awake through it all driving us to the venue ensuring we manage to make it in time for the show. At the end of the tour, I’m sure he is just going to sleep for a week! or knowing Gary, just take on a bunch of work :p
We arrived at the Larmer Tree festival just an hour before we were scheduled to be on stage and the organizers were going into a mild panic attack, but seeing us on site seemed to calm everyone down and we did our set up and line check in record time! With that done, there was just about enough time to get back to green room, change and get back on stage for the first set of the day!
The Larmer Tree festival has been running for 20 years now and over the years, I was told it has become an institution this side of the UK and it gets hardcore regulars who come out and camp for all days of the fest. We even met food store owners who really look forward to being part of this festival, so it was a brilliant festival to be part of!
Unlike many of the afternoon slots we’ve played at different festivals, this time round, the crowd was already lounging around on the grass in front of the main stage, that made it a little easier for us because we just had to get them up to their feet – And we did and how! The first song we did got a whole bunch of people up to the front of the stage joining along with us, but once we launched into ‘Mysore Se Aayi’ I think we broke the ice
The nice thing about playing at such a fun festival is that the audience we get are here to truly have fun and you need to just cater to their fun loving side and they will jump at the chance. Its a skill we’ve learnt through many festivals. Once we got everyone involved, the rest of the set was pure joy. The interaction with the crowd was great, the setting beautiful and Gary on the sound was really milking that PA to make sure that people were “feeling” the music
We got some great feedback post the gig and it was time to grab a nice lunch before we headed to Raghu’s 2nd gig of the day – a One on One with a bunch of fans at ‘Folk in a Box’. The idea for folk in a box is as simple as it is unique. Its the world’s smallest festival – one artist, one fan in a closed box. Pitch Dark, and the most intimate musical experience you will ever have!
So we put Raghu into the box and a bunch of fans went in one by one to listen to Raghu serenade them. We have no idea what it sounded like inside, but the people who were in there were overwhelmed. A short video about the whole thing is coming up very soon! Raghu loved it and it was, according to him, one of the best gigs he has done! and he had just finished quite a smashing gig right before that
Once we finished Folk in a Box, it was time to get some shut eye and rest before we went out to do the last gig of the day, an acoustic set in a tent at the festival. Now, this was another first for the band, not having done a proper acoustic set before and also, for Willy, it was the first time with a Cajón. So that was always going to be interesting.
To just spice it up a bit more, we had a packed house even before we got on stage for a quick sound check / line check and while that was flattering, it meant that we couldn’t take long to set the sound and also had to get it all done very quietly, without giving away too much before the gig started. But it was another of those ‘take it as it comes moments’ and before you knew it, it was time to get going.
Raghu started with a solo version of ‘Soruthihudu Maneya Maligi’ and the rest of the band joined him on stage in parts, first Vijay for Hey Bhagwan, the duo version and then Karthick and Vijay doing ‘Ambar’ with Raghu before everyone was on stage doing a punchy acoustic version of Mysore Se Aayi, Gudugudiya and Har Saans Mein.
We then headed to the artist tent for a signing, sold out all the CDs we had carried (and we carried quite a few) – it was heartening to see everyone stand in line to meet us! so we went out and broke the line ourselves, walking up and down the line talking to them as they waited to purchase our CDs. It was also the time when the “Incident” happened with Gaurav, so it was a Rock and Roll day in all.
I know I say this quite often with the gigs we are doing here, but yet again, Larmer Tree was a festival we wont forget in a hurry! and we certainly hope to be back next year
See all the photos we took at the Larmer Tree festival here – http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=195599&id=22220507136