One sign of a successful festival is expansion. Reading took its ‘bands and not a lot else’ chaos to Leeds, Bestival took its visual aesthetic and made it more family friendly with Camp Bestival and now End Of The Road with its organic vibe, attention to detail and non-hype band musical ethos is about to do the same. The result is No Direction Home, a smaller (5,000 capacity) version of its bigger brother with a similar musical output (much of it folk / rock based) but a more northerly location on Welbeck Estate near Sheffield.
The festival promises three stages; The Lake Stage, The Electric Dustbowl and The Flying Boat Society and headlining acts are The Low Anthem, Andrew Bird and Richard Hawley.
Besides music there will be comedy, literature, the lost picture show cinema, food workshops (including brewery, baking, butchery and dairy) and possibly our favourite idea - the secret post office. The concept is that in the age of twitter, email, text and facebook there is something extra special about receiving a post card, so attendees are being encouraged to take some time out and write to friends and loved ones. The festivals postmen and women will be doing their rounds all day in the distinctive uniform with bicycle and megaphone. The idea is to provide an address as specific as possible (campsite, tent colour etc) or offer a clear description of the recipient and their likely whereabouts. If a letter cannot be delivered it will be returned to the post office where the sender can visit and arrange a redelivery.
There will also be (like End of the Road festival) a range of quality festival food and drink providers including Welbeck Farm Shop, Pizza Tabun, Wide Awake Cafe, Barnaby Sykes Pie Maker, Moorish, The Tea Stop, Le Grande Bouffe, Anni's Breakfasts, The Sea Cow, Luardos & Bhatti Wraps plus a real ale bar and the famous Somerset Cider Bus, who’s hot spiced cider is a treat and a half.
We’ll be reporting back from No Direction Home Festival shortly after it finishes (and the blog will also be taking a few days off before and during the festival), but in the meantime you can catch up with many of the artists playing an excellent Spotify playlist (linked below) as well as listen to and / or watch 4 bands that we recommend watching.
Django Django (Lake Stage – Friday 19.15)
The last time we came across quirky indie popsters Django Django and their Beta Band influenced style of oddball pop on the blog was back at the start of 2010 when they were halfway up an alldayer bill in a Camden pub. With critical acclaim behind their new album now the band find themselves as serious main stage contenders.
Other Lives (Lake Stage – Saturday 19.30)
The sweeping panoramic musical vistas of Other Lives found us proclaiming their album Tamer Animals as ‘so immaculately crafted that once your ears have heard it once, they’ll want to be treated to its elegance many, many times more,’ as we put it at number 6 in our top ten albums of the year list for 2011.
Slow Club ( Lake Stage – Sunday 18.00)
Sunday’s Lake Stage line up is pretty special. Besides the likes of Cold Specks, Richard Hawley and our next recommendation The Unthanks, there is also the wonderful Slow Club. This is a band who we’ve watched gradually develop over the last few years from a shambolic but charming mess, into a rather exhilarating and enamouring act.
The Unthanks (Lake Stage – Sunday 19.45)
Going 5 better than Other Lives, The Unthanks album Last was our favourite album of 2011. Therefore this recommendation should come as absolutely no surprise to Breaking More Waves regulars. The beauty of The Unthanks live, besides their incredible talent is that for every tour they play they do something different. For No Direction Home The Unthanks will be playing with the Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band rather than their traditional piano and strings line up. Bring your hankies, so beautifully sad are their songs they’re likely to have you in tears.