Barn on the Farm || 2017 || Festival Highlights Review

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Saturday

Outdoor Stage: OUTLYA really dominated the outdoor stage in the mid stages of Saturday afternoon, encouraging the ever-growing crowd to sing along and dance. Their energy shone through in their performance of The Light. The classic indie-looking band pulled off some unique use of instruments and harmonies and are an exciting prospect.

Wooden Stage: Benjamin Francis Leftwich gathered a large crowd in the peaceful wooden barn stage on Saturday. Leftwich balanced a performance of old and new songs perfectly, pleasing the crowd with “Pictures” and, for some devout old fans, a beautiful performance of “1904”. However, newer songs actually received an incredibly eager reception, with a large proportion of the audience singing along at stages, especially to “Tikkium” and “Some Other Arms”. Leftwich’s tone and confidence have improved drastically over the past few years. I last saw Ben perform in a small venue in Nottingham in 2012 and his crowd growth, song writing ability, and personal development are all obvious to see.

Main Stage: Highlights for the main stage, for me, were Sundara Karma and James Vincent McMorrow. Sundara Karma, much like OUTLYA earlier in the day, proved to be immensely popular and energetic. The band has clearly grown massively in recent times and their unique image, along with summer ballads like “She Said” are one to watch.

James’ set clearly blew everybody away. His soft tones were projected across the entire farm, especially for tunes like “Higher Love”, “We Don’t Eat” and “Cavalier”. McMorrow’s Irish humour remained humble though.

Sunday

Outdoor Stage: A large crowd flocked to see The Howl & The Hum following Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s recommendation. The band did not disappoint with a powerful performance of “Godmanchester Chinese Bridge”. Their interesting and “relatable” lyrics coupled with resonant tones make them a low-key intriguing indie band to look out for.

Wooden Stage: LOWES, a small band from Lancaster beginning their music career, dominated the wooden stage. Their first single, Awake at Night, was performed with absolute confidence, and is now available on Spotify.

Main Stage: The two final acts on the main stage, Amber Run and Tom Odell, were the absolute pinnacle of the festival. Amber Run, of course, have played Barn on the Farm before, but their increase in audience and performance of songs off their most recent album really set them apart from previous years. The band gives their all to every performance, and this was evident particularly in “No Answers”. The audience got an extra treat when friend Lewis Watson joined the band for a performance of “I Found”.

Tom Odell’s final set certainly surprised me. The man is a performer who thrives on audience’s energy, that’s for sure. From the “Barn on the Farm song” to “I Know”, the variety of piano based songs sound relatively mundane on Odell’s albums, but in person the performance of Odell’s guitarists, his piano skills, and his astonishing vocals set him apart from every other performer at the festival. “Still Getting Used to Being on my Own” was a particular favourite of mine, along with the version of “Magnetised” which had the entire crowd dancing.

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Until next time, Barn on the Farm.

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