Last weekend we went to End of the Road festival and literally had the best time ever. I’d only ever been to Leeds (2005) & Reading (2006) festivals (see embarrassing photos here) and End of the Road was a WORLD away from my experiences there. Reading & Leeds were scary. Enormous, very music-focused and to be quite honest, downright dangerous at times. End of the Road was completely chilled, with loads to see and do and it all felt a little bit magical.
I’ve tried my very best to keep my photos at a minimum! And I’ve tried not to include the other guys we went with too much as I know not everyone wants their life plastered over my blog but I still wanted to try and capture the feel of the time we had.
Although I knew a couple of bands playing the festival, there weren’t really that many that I was super excited about (except Future Islands!) and this made it quite nice because we weren’t constantly stressed out and rushing around trying not to miss anything. Which was just as well because you just can’t do that with kids!
We camped in family camping which was so chilled and during the day we could still hear the music from the main stage perfectly which was cool. Our mornings were spent drinking tea, eating bacon & egg sandwiches and chatting. (Massive thanks to the other guys who are seasoned campers/festival goers and had remembered to bring things like stoves, kettles and bacon).
We’d meander over to the main festival area around midday and mooch around between stages eating ice-cream and browsing the shops. Then we’d head back to camp around 5pm to make some food before heading back for some more music with the kids in their pyjamas, tucked up in the pushchairs with their ear defenders on.
On Friday we watched King Khan and the BBQ Show during the day and Tame Impala in the evening who were so much better live than I was expecting. Huxley fell asleep in the pushchair holding my hand at around 10pm and slept perfectly in the tent all night. Dream!
Saturday night was my absolute favourite. There was nobody playing that any of us were really fussed about so we spent the evening walking around the forest and came across the disco floor. With two 2-year-olds, you can imagine how much fun we had! We were there for hours and the kids were exhausted afterwards and fell asleep just in time for Sufjan Stevens. As it turned out, Sufjan was dreadful. Well, I say dreadful, I’m sure musically it was brilliant but it was just a bit too slow and dreary for a Saturday night and we were all in the mood for dancing.
The weather was totally glorious on Sunday. I kicked off the day with a cup of tea watching the sunrise over the camp while I waited for everyone else to stir. Nick & James had stayed out until 4am so they were a bit bleary-eyed when they eventually emerged from their tents. We packed up our tent and put all our stuff into the car as we weren’t staying that evening as we had to be in London the next day for an awards ceremony that we knew would also be a late night (2.30am we got home on Monday night!) Sunday saw Future Islands take the stage which was great fun. Huxley & Kip were running around all over the place kicking a giant inflatable balloon around (which I’m sure everyone around us LOVED). Unfortunately Future Islands clashed a bit with Mac Demarco who we also really wanted to see so we walked over to the Garden stage to catch the last bit of his set before grabbing some noodles and heading back to watch War on Drugs. By this point of the weekend we were all knackered from broken sleep in the tent and Huxley was just way over-tired so we ended up leaving the festival and heading home after a couple of songs because we just didn’t have the energy anymore! (One of the benefits of only living 20 minutes away!)
Another great thing about End of the Road, and something we definitely didn’t make the most of this time around, was that they had SO much stuff for kids to do. There was a circus tent, clay modelling, family yoga, a little musical area, forest games and a cinema. If we go again next year we’ll definitely get our butts in gear a bit more and make the most of everything on offer.
All in all, it’s a festival I’d highly recommend, especially if you have kids, even if you’re not that fussed about the music. I’d love to go to Camp Bestival one year to see how it compares.