The Farmfest diaries – #01


Farmfestival is a festival on a farm in Somerset. No not that one. From tiny beginnings with a crowd of 250 the festival has steadily grown over the last 8 years and now caters to about twenty times it’s original audience. In the lead up to Farmfest 2014, the fine folk behind the festival have succumbed to R$N’s pestering and agreed to give us an ongoing insight into the running of this rather fine fest – The Farmfest Diaries, if you will. Over to Bob…

My name is Bob, one of the organisers of Farmfestival in Bruton, and this is an introduction to a series of articles about our festival by the dedicated folks that come together to run it. We are all friends (most of the time) and have built the festival up over 8 years, from a small gathering of 250 people to what it is today, reaching 4,000 people over 2 days.

Its a hobby, but much more than that it is something we all take very seriously. We have all needed to learn new skills across the years and have all created, discovered or fallen into roles whilst learning on the job. We offer what we believe is a great weekend in the country, putting on the music that we love and showcasing a whole host of emerging bands, Djs, activities and experiences.

As weve found over the years, putting on a festival is

no mean feat. Often we are all running around like headless chickens in the run up to the festival whilst managing our day jobs. The festival weekend often feels a little chaotic to us although I have been told that our crowd rarely notice anything going wrong. Before I started, I had never heard of a band rider, didn’t know how to clean down a port-a-loo, and didn’t know the ins and outs of fastening a ratchet strap!

There have been some close run things across the years, from heavy rain to extreme heat, angry Somerset truckers wanting to get in for free in the early days, prima donna magicians, drunken bands, forgetful bands, late bands but mostly great bands and great fun. It’s great that we get more people coming each year, and great that they tell us how much fun they have had and are not afraid to tell us where to improve.
The festival ethos is really important to us. We run Farmfest on a shoe string, as a not-for-profit. Our aim is to keep the costs to the festival goer as low as we can, to not lose money, but not to chase profits (it really is for the love, weve barely claimed expenses over the years.) Most of all we enjoy giving money to the charities that are important to us, this years new charity is quite aptly named Send a Cow. We also still supported the British Stammering Association and the Dorset and Somerset Air ambulance which are close to our hearts as lost friends and organisers have befitted from their good work. One of our articles will be dedicated to charities so more on that later!

Other people you will be hearing from include the guys and girls responsible for everything from infrastructure, booking bands, events, in-house designers, volunteers, and the food & drink to give you a perspective on what it takes, and to tell you of some of the new things we have in store for this year. We hope this will give you an insight into what we have all learnt, the hard way.

8 years seems a long time ago but we believe we have kept to our values of putting on quality live music (and DJs) and having a good time whilst doing it. We hope you enjoy the series and with any luck will see you at the festival the first weekend in August!

The next article will be from Hazel, who is in charge of our kids activities. I often see her in the festival buried beneath a swam of children, covered in paper and glue. She probably has one of the hardest jobs in the festival those kids are hard to keep entertained –  but she does a great job.

All the best

The Farmfest Team


Bob’s songs of Farmfest
Early days
Black Friday closed my tent, quite a few years back. They had asked for a bottle of whisky on the rider, I hadn’t expected it was just for the fiddle player! He managed to finish most of the bottle before he got on stage so I was pretty worried, but they absolutely killed it. I don’t think there is a link on the internet that would do it justice, as they’re really a live band but a Cow Punk version of ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor’ was probably one of my favourite festival memories.

Recent memory
Black Strobe pumping out their French electro-rock, with Parisian swagger at midnight last year. It was chucking it down outside and we had had loads of trouble getting them on stage. The tour bus got stuck in the mud and they had turned up with 12 French plug sockets which left an interesting challenge for our sound guys. It was my last act of the night so I had a great feeling of release after a very hard day. Boogie in Zero Gravity was brilliant. Bands who write English lyrics but barely speak a word of it when you try to talk to them somehow get away with writing complete nonsense and it sounding great. 

Tip/excited to hear this year
PSB is the one to watch for me, I know I should really have suggested one of the great bands from my stage but I love these guys. Hopefully I can get out from the back of my stage to see them, ‘Night Mail‘ has a great rhythm to it, and I have heard their shows are something special.

Farmfestival tickets can be purchased here. For more info check their site here.