Sunday, 17 July 2011

Summer Festival, Larmer Tree Gardens

It's mid-summer and it's raining, so it must be festival time!
Tents and chill boxes are packed, wellies rediscovered and outlandish clothes decided upon. For over 20 years the much loved Larmer Tree Festival has lured me away from my comfortable bed and tempted me into wearing unsuitable brightly coloured outfits.
 Many go for the eclectic mix of world music but I'm just drawn to the ambiance of the festival, with its art and colour and the feeling of freedom from everyday life. It is set in a Victorian Pleasure Garden and is full of hidden corners and eccentric buildings. It has ponds and temples, peacocks and parrots-

Throughout the gardens you come upon works of art and so many sights that delight. One year there were huge bubbles everywhere, another year everybody wore fairy wings and tutus. I'll not easily forget the sight of two local rugby players in pink wings and frilly skirts. This year, delicate rose garlands were the fashion... and yes, I did buy and wear one! 

There's music everywhere, of course.
With some bands you can just lie back and relax -

With others you go wild -
Or just be inspired-

One of the unique features of the Larmer Tree is the huge variety of workshops. You can do early morning Yoga on the main lawn, join a drum band or become very arty and crafty. I once ran a herb workshop, where everybody made a 'portaloo pomander'. These were to be held to the nose when visiting whiffy areas...

Another year I pinned up poems about summer and happiness all around the gardens-

One year we wrote and decorated our own favourite quotations and then hung them up for all to enjoy-

Every year we have our favourites places to visit and things to do- I love the wishing tree, and the hanging books library and we always get at least one henna tattoo!

The food is amazing, a far cry from the burger and chip vans at so many festivals.

A prize-winning flat bread pizza and home-made lemonade

The tea garden

The high spot for our family has to be fancy dress Saturday. Over the years we have been characters from books and plays and people watching is taken to new levels...

An uneasy truce between God and Lucifer

It's hard getting ready in the back of a van...

I think I was a Druid...
50's Revival

'Clockwork Orange' and 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'

A sight of rare beauty

'Pirates of the Carabbean'

and Superman...

And I haven't even mentioned the carnival...  

The Larmer Tree Festival is a magical place to be.


  1. Hello Jane:
    How very intriguing all of this appears to be, and great fun as well. It would seem that there are things to interest a wide range of people, the only possible downside being the weather which, in Britain, may never be relied upon. Happy days!

  2. You look so pretty, Jane! Looks like a lot of fun. Not so much for the man trapped inside the soap bubble... How on Earth did he manage to get in there?


  3. Wow! It looks a whole lotta fun! Love it - thanks for telling us about the festival as I'd never heard of it before today.

  4. It brings back memories of New Orleans. Jim

  5. Thank you all for your kind comments and compliments! I'm in a bit of a dash this week, with boy's birthday and work forgive this quick message to you all. We're all getting back to ordinary everyday life, with a mountain of washing but some very happy memories! Jane x

  6. I agree. After many years of 'doing' Glastonbury (which seems to have lost it's soul somewhere along the way) we now love the Larmer Tree. Sadly, couldn't go this year but may see you there next year! M x

  7. Magical indeed! I would love to go to that place. It just sounds like the height of one's imagination. Thanks so much for sharing. Diane

  8. I'm glad you like 'my' festival. I love the soap bubble photo, I'm not sure how it happened but it just seems to sum up the festival for me. I have to admit tho' I'm a bit of a fair weather festival goer...too much mud and damp and some of the magic really does fade away for me....

  9. Lovely pictures...
    Greetings from France,


  10. What an interesting festival with such a variety of activities. There must be great fun and laughter
    Helen x

  11. We all love it, my daughter has been going since she was a baby and my son has the dubious honour of nearly being born there - his birthday is two days later....! Jane x

  12. Portaloo Pomanders sound like the most delightful workshop to us, as we do find ourselves at times in whiffy areas ;) What a grand festival it must be, and worthy of addition to our Someday list... Cheers Jane! - Bill & Leo

  13. Oh, wouldn't it be fun if we could all meet up there one happy year? Jane x