Worthy Farm, home to the Glastonbury festival, may be taking time out to recover this year but Merton Farm, just outside Canterbury in the heart of the Garden of England is gearing up for another sun soaked celebration of music, comedy, and of course, locally sourced food and drink. Some big changes were made last year, most significantly, and successfully, the main stage popped up in the outdoor arena rather than the in The Cowshed, as Lounge On The Farm upped its game and attracted many more farmers through the gate and over the cattle grid.
2011 saw some fabulous acts across the three days. The Streets whipped up the gathered masses as Mike Skinner and his band made one of their final appearances together. The Royal Wedding singer, Ellie Goulding, gave a very energised and polished performance on her headlining night and then Ian McCulloch's Echo & The Bunnymen closed the festival in stunning style, playing a set of their most treasured tunes.
Now in its 7th year Lounge On The Farm continues to show why it's growing bigger and better whilst still managing to maintain its laid-back, organic and boutique heritage. This years typically eclectic mix is shot through with inspired choices, surprising additions, rare opportunities to see seldom seen bands, old favourites and some up and coming local talent.
Topping the bill, as well as this years charts, and appearing on the main stage on Friday is the Brit's 'Critics Choice' winner for 2012 Emeli Sande. The smooth soulful Scot is set to make the first night Lounger's swoon. If R&B is not your bag, Summer Camp, followed by the mighty Mystery Jets, are all set to ignite the Meadows Stage, Tom Williams and the Boat ramp up preceding's over in the Folk tent and Netsky and the Scratch Perverts, among many others, lift the lid over in the dance arena.
Liverpool's rejuvenated Indie Rockers, The Wombats, preceded by the return of festival favourites Spector, head up Saturday night but they will have stiff competition from Roots Manuva, Goldie and Kitty Daisy & Lewis who are all headlining elsewhere on the farm. What's more, Adamski is back, Mercury nominated Ghostpoet is poised to stupefy and for the Little Lounge posse there's a hotly anticipated performance from The Zingzilla's!
Sunday's set list is no less impressive or imaginative. Brit-Pop giants The Charlatan's wrap up the weekend as the main stage headliners but the interesting bill is strewn with must see acts. Recently reformed Dexy's, who have received many five star reviews for their triumphant live return, Nile Roger's Disco dance floor fillers, Chic as well as Toddla T, David Rodigan (MBE) and crowd puller Example are all worth a look.
This year farmers are also being treated to a Roller Disco, the return of the Hoe Down and Kids Cookery Master Classes as well as the scrummy food markets and vintage fairs. And if that's not enough there's also Ardal O'Hanlon heading up the comedy and probably the world's favourite drug smuggler, Mr Nice, Howard Mark's to look forward to. Barry from Eastenders is dropping in and then to cap it all, if you can contain your excitement, 'The Voice Of An Angel', Charlotte Church is making an appearance! Somewhat bizarre it maybe but it all adds to the unique character of 'Kent's Best Festival'.
Having won awards in previous years for 'Sustainability' and 'Best Line-Up' Lounge On The Farm looks in good shape to build on a great track record. The scene is set for a fun fuelled weekend of mouth-watering music, tasty treats, sensational ciders, cracking comedy and astonishing ales. The friendly and relaxed atmosphere of the festival make LOTF what it is. Whilst it grows each year it stays true to its roots and values and continues to feel home grown and free from corporate interference. As the excitement levels rise and the anticipation reaches fever pitch few farmers could ask for more..........except perhaps the blessing of the weather Gods!
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