Words: Alice Watt
Forget about drinking yourself silly and pack your yoga kit like we did for this year’s edition of Larmer Tree Festival – the UK’s under-the-radar boutique festival where the focus is on wellness rather than raving (if you want it to be).
Larmer Tree’s UP is in the unexpected. Sure there’s the main stage headliners and hangovers to be had, but this is all about experiencing and discovering. Be it a laughter yoga workshop, a campfire cookery master-class or new-world afro-beat jazz, the alternative is what makes Larmer Tree so special.
The best bits
With three days of feel-good scheduling, the stunning Victorian Larmer Tree Gardens in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside is where you can chill or party (or both), nourish the soul (and belly) with yoga and jerk Cornish fish (pure heaven), discover your new favourite bands and comedians (Anna Mann and Jade Bird/Ezra Collective we’re looking at you), and relish in some mind-blowing headliners like Nish Kumar and Kate Tempest. Think hot tubs, think gong baths, think Kate Adie. Throw in a late night silent disco in the depths of and art-infused woodland and you get a sense of the Larmer Tree magic.
It might be in its 29th year, but Larmer Tree’s focus on creating a sense of community means it’s retained a really cosy, family-friendly vibe, with a mix of local and international artists and performers. Plus the size of it physically means everything is super close – including the award-winning loos.
The schedule is pretty perfect in terms of being packed but not overwhelming. Unlike similarly sized festivals, there’s never a chance to be bored. Whether it’s travelling entertainers, poets hidden in the woods, big-name musicians on the main stage or a hot tub and sauna situation, there’s always something to do. Comedy and talks share the schedule with massages and tea ceremonies, and with a cinema tent thrown in, there really is something for everyone. And not only that, a massive roster of kids activities, workshops and entertainment makes it a brilliant option for any family, whether experienced or first-timers.
From the plush bell tents with their private shower block and chill out tent filled with sofas, hairdryers and charge points (yes, really), to the family-friendly quiet camp set back from the action, there’s a camp site to suit all needs. As well as award-winning loos – so you know, nothing to worry about there.
Be warned though, with its boutique vibes and alternative wellness schedule, Larmer Tree could easily be on the path to Wilderness-level stardom so get there before the crowds.
Larmer Tree Festival takes place 16 – 19th July 2020.