This magical festival goes from strength to strength. Through the early part of its 9 year evolution it tended to acquire a reputation as a Folk/Americana centred festival but they have done a great job in breaking out of that slightly narrower space by including many quality guitar bands giving real depth and variety to the musical agenda.

Hard to put into words but the vibe is simply wonderful; but why shouldn't it be with plenty of drink/food outlets meaning that the place is bustling but with no need to queue a long time for anything.

My one piece of critical feedback would be that they need to work on the stocks of Real Ale. It's highly laudable that they seek to cater for ale drinkers through the introduction of a new Beer Tent, but it appeared they were caught out by the sheer demand.

So to the bands we saw .....

THURSDAY  -  having set up camp we strolled to the Tipi tent for hot cider and a couple of bands to warm us up further

Cheetahs (Tipi Tent)   4-piece guitar band. Some good tunes but sound didn't do them justice, vocals very mushy.

Ezra Furman (Tipi Tent)  Drew a huge crowd.  The usual high showmanship set bordering on West End Musical in places

FRIDAY - as we settled into the Garden Stage we caught the late-running sound check for the Gene Clark No Other Band.  If we'd had any doubt about doing something different later that evening this sealed the deal.... the clarity of sound and array of musicianship on the stage was awesome. It left me feeling excited all day for the 'main event' later that evening.

Phox (Garden Stage)  6-piece from Wisconsin. Female lead vocal, drummer, keys/guitar, bass and two guitars. Tuneful melodies with different instruments prominent in different songs, including a lead banjo in one number.

Arc Iris (Garden Stage) The jury was out on Jocie Adam's golden skin-tight catsuit, but undoubtedly it provided the statement that here was a reinvented Jocie, showing a different side to the demur persona she portrayed previously as a member of The Low Anthem.  The tunes were superb, gentle in their nature but verging on prog rock with numerous time-changes within each song.  The drummer sat side-on giving the audience a great opportunity to really appreciate his craft. Catsuit or not Jocie is mesmerising whether playing guitar, keys, clarinet, and trumpet.
Alexis Taylor (Tipi Tent)  A brilliant set featuring many of the great tunes from his 'Await Barbarians' LP, one of my favourite albums of 2014. Did a few Hot Chip numbers too.
Whytches (Big Top)  3-piece guitar band. They drew a big crowd to the Big Top.

Jenny Lewis (Woods Stage) Arguably the most beautiful voice of the whole weekend.  Good support from a highly capable 5-piece band.

British Sea Power (Garden Stage)  I must confess I've seen them on better form.  Not sure if lead singer Jan was unwell or had simply 'over-indulged' during the afternoon.  He certainly wasn't on tip-top form, and this seemed to translate to a performance more pedestrian than usual from this superb band.

Gene Clark No Other Band (Garden Stage)  A Bella Union collective made up of members of Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, Fairport Convention, The Walkman, Beach House. Performing Gene Clark’s album 'No Other'. Simply magnificent.  They have performed this show in USA and announced this was probably the very last time they would be doing it; so this truly felt like a once-in-a-lifetime treat.

Arc Iris (Tipi Tent)    Having arrived at the festival late afternoon due to work commitments, my wife Sally had a chance to catch the late-night 'secret' show (and make her own judgement on the catsuit). Played a slightly different set, comparing slightly less favourably than the earlier show simply as she didn't do my album highlight Canadian Cowboy as she had done earlier.

Barr Brothers (Tipi Tent)  Wonderful late-night tunes from this American band who, like last year, win the prize for best instrument on stage - a fantastic harp, hewn from light coloured wood in a modernist art deco style.

Jenny Lewis & Band

SATURDAY  - a very late start following Friday night’s excesses….

Lau (Garden Stage)  A venture into celtic-based folk to kick off Day Two.  This trio create magnificent soundscapes across fiddle and accordion.

Sweet Baboo (Garden Stage)  Sweet Baboo songs are striking in their simplicity but lack nothing for all that and in fact ooze charm and humour, as do Stephen Black's humble interludes between songs.

Eagulls (Big Top) Full on guitars with overtones of Hawkwind and frenetic bass playing; but the focus of this band is the broody, unsmiling lead singer, languid in pose throughout. The sound was poor at first with the vocal inaudible but this got sorted out 3-4 songs in making the second half of the set extremely enjoyable. The songs are similar in construct but this band's musicianship draws you in.  Since the festival this is the album I have revisited most.

Perfume Genius (Garden Stage) Sigur Ros in moments.  Mike Hadreas was supported with keys, drum and bass.  Haunting songs which took your breathe away.  Good to experience this set alongside an extremely respectful crowd.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Big Top) Never seen this New Zealand trio perform better.  Fantastic energy and delivered many of their belting songs across their two albums.  We had to sacrifice the first 15 minutes of Flaming Lips to see the conclusion of UMO's set but it was worth it.
Flaming Lips (Woods Stage) Wayne Coyne was wandering round the festival site all day, typical of the laid-back vibe at EOTR. Come the Saturday headline slot this fine band took the whole site to another place with their excellent set, back-dropped by a stunning pixelated light show. The usual tricks of the 'Wayne Coyne ball' featured, much to the delight of the whole crowd.  Encored with Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.


Kiran Leonard (Big Top)  Not to everyone's taste.  This is energetic youthful left-field music at its best. Stop start songs with growling vocals spat into the mic.  Kiran was supported with a solid band on drum, bass and guitar/keys.  Most songs off his current album ‘Bowler Hat Soup’ but threw in a new one from album in the making 'Grapefruit'.

Lonnie Holley (Tipi Tent) irritatingly was unable to get into the tent as everybody was sitting down, so we laid down outside to take in these mournful yet captivating tunes.

Lucius (Woods Stage)   Jess and Holly, the two girls who front this band, were bedecked head to foot in matching outfits including sunglasses.  The three guys behind were likewise in matching suits with velvet trim. Wonderful melodies and the girls' energy grew and grew as the set moved on, many songs featuring the girls beating out the climatic rhythms on matching (of course) drums.

John Cooper Clark (Big Top) Caught the last half of JCC's hour-long slot.  The usual serving of top-notch poetry sprinkled with many humorous asides. Gave a poignant shout-out to Jock Scott who sadly is in poor health.

Radiophonic Workshop (Big Top) One of their numbers had a backdrop visual of a 45rpm record spinning. I found myself counting the revolutions and the passing seconds to conclude that the visual was indeed accurate, and the record was in fact spinning at '45'.  Such was the tedium of the music..... a very poor man's Public Service Broadcasting. (We didn't stick around for the 'Dr Who' finale).

Tiny Ruins (Tipi Tent) Wonderful to see this New Zealand act, now a duo, return to EOTR.  Mesmerising songs

White Denim (Garden Stage)  Really good to see a guitar band of this ilk headline the Garden Stage. Really accomplished band from Texas. Previously when I’ve seen them they launched into their set with a 30-minute mash up of tunes, followed by a number of stand-alone numbers.  This tended to slow the momentum.  Tonight the make up of the hour long set was reversed - a number of songs from their recent Corsicana Lemonade album which built to a couple of extended periods of frenetic playing incorporating songs old and new. Left us breathless.

A wonderful weekend – we’ve already booked Early Bird tix for next year, the 10th EOTR.

Si & Sally