DISCLAIMER: I apologise in advance for the weepy, corny sentiment of this post. But End of the Road ending always leaves me feeling a little emotionally fragile. Sorry about that, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This year marked my sixth trip to End of the Road Festival. Every year people ask me why I keep returning to this particular festival and why I love it so much. There are many reasons. They went round in my head while I was there, and now I have written them down:
Because the first thing we watch all weekend is the Jungle Book outside a packed out cinema tent with a cute little popcorn stand to my right.
Because I get to star in a movie myself, as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz in a horse-box film studio and a blue pineapple playing Toto.
Because Eels play a storming set in Adidas tracksuits, under a double rainbow. When they run out of time to play My Beloved Monster and Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues, they do an impromptu mash-up of the two, and follow it up with a heart-warming band group hug.
Because after stumbling back to our tents from the forest one night, my friend and I watch the sunrise with our neighbours who consist of a ‘male hen party’ in One Direction T-Shirts. Like Eels, we too share a group hug and it’s lovely and warm.
Because the sunrise and double rainbows may well have been beautiful but are nothing on the gorgeous pink hues of the sunset on Saturday night- End of the Road always has the best sunsets.
Because the sun always shines on End of the Road.
Because I rock up to the David Byrne and St Vincent set expecting it to be just ‘quite nice’ and it ends up being a total hoot. Talking Heads songs, a brilliant full brass band, an on-stage conga and a brand new girl crush.
Because it basically feels like the 10,000 nicest people on earth congregate annually in a field.
Because when I run around throwing glitter onto strangers’ faces I genuinely feel a sense of achievement.
Because of all the new bands I discover every year.
Because of all the lovely new friends I make every year.
Because when Braids are late on stage because of a traffic accident, they are so wonderfully sweet and apologetic they are totally forgiven. They’re forgiven harder when they deliver a mesmerising set.
Because of The Walkman’s impassioned performance of The Rat.
Because there are adorable postmen and postladies delivering mail to campers based on visual descriptions from secret admirers around the site.
Because lying in the woods is a plethora of amazing things to see and do including:
- ‘Showeroke’- a shower based karaoke fixture complete with shower cap in the woods.
- Art installations which are basically baths with things hanging off them and bits of fancy dress in them.
- A games room featuring table football and Guess Who.
- A library.
- A recording studio.
- A phonebox displaying postcards sent from us to a dial-up poet who is roaming the site.
Because although the clash between Belle & Sebastian and Dinosaur Jr.’s headline sets is annoying, the flitting from twee indie pop to grungey punk is actually quite a satisfying bit of genre jumping.
Because it attracts creative types – and Public Service Broadcasting’s set may be the most creative set of the weekend.
Because as if our ears and eyes haven’t been spoilt rotten enough, our tastebuds are treated to a host of incredible food- North African stall Moorish is always a winner and the flatbread pizzas with rocket on top are delicious.
Because wailing Boyz II Men (guess which song), TLC and Destiny’s Child at what is essentially a folk and indie festival prompts a forest sing-along rather than scorn.
Because although Robin Ince and Mark Watson both make me howl with laughter on the Comedy stage, they were still not as a funny as a child called Morgan throwing marshmallows at the crowd, and a five-year old boy who sells me a joke for a very reasonable 20p. (The joke in question: “What’s orange and invisible?” *points to empty hand* “This carrot.”)
Because Tia Maria coffee is absolutely the best way to start any day.
Because the secret piano stage stays open later this year. And the sense of community makes me feel slightly emotional as people take it in turns to jam prompting mass sing-alongs.
Because although I’m enjoying the sing-along jams, the majority favouring Stairway To Heaven over my repeated requests of the Home & Away theme tune means it’s time for me to leave. At which point my friends arrive and mischievously drag me to the flashing dancefloor.
Because dancing on a flashing dancefloor to Northern Soul is probably the absolute pinnacle of pure joy.
Because actually maybe twerking in a forest to the Pixies and rolling around in foliage could top that joy.
Because the weekend ends with my friend twerking so hard atop a cider bus that her pants split.
Because it really is as magical as I hope I’ve made it sound.
Because every year it feels more like home.
…‘Til next year, EOTR, when I’m sure you’ll give me yet more reasons to love you.
Special thanks to my friend Holly Fisher for providing all pictures and facepaints featured in this post.