Dorset’s Best Kept Secret

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And for once I’m not referring to Weymouth and Portland or Thomas Hardye (although I’ve never blogged about him!) but the Larmer Tree Festival (LTF). I took my dad to the opening evening for his 60th birthday which made it our 4th visit back to the festi. The LTF has been going for 21 years, so this time it was pretty special all round.

If you’ve never heard of the Larmer Tree, it’s hidden away in North Dorset at the picturesque Larmer Tree Gardens in between Blandford and Salisbury (website). Here’s a quick synopsis from the website which perfectly sums it up,

Est 1990 • over 70 diverse artists • 6 stages • Comedy Club • 150 free workshops • street theatre • carnival procession • intimate crowd of 4,000 • voted Best UK Family Festival 08 • • The perfect escape from it all!

LTF is definitely one of those boutique festivals and because it coincides with certain schools breaking up attracts a certain type of audience if you get what I mean.

For once we got to the LT a little bit earlier than normal and wondered round discovering elements we’d never seen before including peacocks roaming around, now at what commercial festival will you get that? I don’t even think Glastonbury has peacocks! There were lots of massage / heeling therapy tents in the woods. My favourite was this picture.

Monkey in Therapy!

There’s also the Lost Woods which during the day plays host to poetry and readings and by night the sculptures were lit up. Over the weekend there is a mix of music, comedy and arty workshops making it ideal for kids and adults alike.

My dad off to get Lost in the Woods

We weren’t here for any of that though, we’d come to see the legend that is Jools Holland. There were a few warm up acts – C W Stoneking – a guy playing banjo and an awesome beat boxer called Vid Warren although not sure my dad appreciated his talents as much as me.

Vid Warren beat boxing in an amazing setting

Mr Jools Holland without fail was at the top of his boogie woogie game and brought along a whole host of friends from Louise Marshall on vocals, Rosie Mae who is Jool’s daughter, Squeeze drummer Gilson Lavis who gave a awesome solo set, the effervescent and energetic Ruby Turner to Puppet on a String/Eurovision star Sandie Shaw who hasn’t toured for over 20 years and looked awesome for 64 in a sparkly top and short shorts – I really hope I look that good at her age.

Jools & friends

The highlight of every Jools Holland gig is when he plays an extended version of ‘Enjoy Yourself’ this 2007 version was recorded by Jools and Prince Buster is used by Simon Mayo as the opening theme to the Drivetime show on Radio 2 – now you know why it’s so familiar.

So, if you have yet to have had the pleasure of seeing Jools Holland and his boogie woogie orchestra live, go on and book tickets I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed and you will enjoy yourself!


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1 Comment

  1. that's life!
    July 27, 2011 / 12:11 am

    Aww, my husband's in Dorset at the moment – I wish I were! He's working, though. One summer we'll have to spend some time together here –looks wonderful!

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