After a truly amazing 26th festival in 2016, which we were all incredibly proud of, we have made the very difficult decision that we and the festival need to take a year off in 2017 to fully refresh both creatively and personally.
Larmer Tree Festival will return in 2018 with some new and exciting developments. The dates confirmed for 2018 are the weekend of 20th-22nd July – a week later than normal, so get those in your diary and we’ll look forward to welcoming you back to the Gardens.
James’s original inspiration was the Bracknell Jazz Festival in the beautiful grounds of South Hill Park in the late ’70s. One day when out jogging the rolling hills and ancient woodlands of the Cranborne Chase, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, he found the perfect setting to start his own festival. Nestled in a picture-perfect spot The Larmer Tree Gardens revealed itself in all its Victorian splendour with canopies of glorious greenery, majestic trees and verdant lawns all (albeit a bit untamed in the early days!). Within five months he welcomed the first audience into the Gardens, and unknowingly embarked on quite a journey!
26 years later, the festival matured into an extensive five day music and arts festival, grown into the field adjoining the Gardens now known as The Village, and seen the addition of the Camp Rushmore holiday campsite, to name but a few enhancements! Two fellow Directors have since joined James – Julia Safe and Rob Challice – who came on board in 1993 and 2014 respectively.
The team feel extremely privileged to call this rare corner of the English countryside both their home and the home of Larmer Tree Festival. Our links with local organisations and hundreds of volunteers from the surrounding area maintains the festival’s original roots and community spirit. Larmer Tree is the quintessential party; an intimate and eccentric festival perfect for first-timers and experienced festival-goers alike. By remaining small by choice we’ve offered that unique, party experience, enjoyed by up to 4,000 revellers a day.
The festival has always been totally independent and sponsor-free, and with no outside forces to influence us we’re free to develop an intimate and extraordinary event of entirely our own creation. We’re really proud to have been awarded the UK Festival Awards for ‘Best Family Festival’ and ‘Best Toilets’ by festival-goers, and were thrilled to be named the ‘Small Festival of the Year 2015’ by NOEA (National Outdoor Events Association).
James, Julia & Rob and the team