WORDS AMY MACKENZIE - PHOTOGRAPHY AMY MACKENZIE + NATALIA TRAXEL
This year, Barn on the Farm celebrated its 10th birthday – and what a great party it was! Walking around the festival, there are yoga sessions, airplane rides, and food trucks. Families are sitting having picnics, toddlers running around with noise-canceling headphones on and farm animals running around their fields. There were places for people to write letters to the festival, sharing memories and moments from the last 10 years. The festival is one for people who care about music. There is a real connection between artists and the audience, one of mutual respect, getting a group of people all together in the right place with a magical atmosphere created.
This year saw a variety of insanely talented musicians bring their art to the farm. Some playing for the first time and others returning to the festival to play again. The festival has three stages - the Main Stage, Outdoor Stage, and Wooden Barn Stage. The way the stages are curated shows careful consideration for every aspect of live entertainment thought through, with a particular focus on ensuring that the majority of the acts are able to be seen. The first act I saw on Saturday was Millie Turner who oozes coolness, bringing her hypnotic performance style and mesmerising voice to the ears of those in the crowd.
L Devine then took to the Outdoor Stage getting the crowd dancing along to her relatable lyrics, enjoying every second. Her contagious smile matching the bright sunshine did not allow for anyone to not enjoy her set! Sea Girls graced the Main Stage with their anthemic tunes, their infectious energy on stage spreading through the audience. The sheer enjoyment felt on stage with mirrored by the audience yelling their lyrics back to them.
Zak Abel took to the Outdoor Stage as the rain started to drizzle but this did not stop him or anyone in the crowd enjoying his set, dancing through the grey clouds. Not his first time at Barn on the Farm, he shared how this is his favourite festival because people are genuinely there for the music. Dermot Kennedy was Saturday night’s headliner, stepping in for Sam Fender who had to pull out for medical reasons. He did not disappoint in any way, proving that he was the perfect replacement. His goosebump-inducing vocals filled the arena, mesmerising all of those watching him. He closed his set with ‘After Rain’, letting the audience sing “you won’t go lonely” repeatedly as he walked off stage.
Dermot Kennedy at Barn on the Farm
Sundays at festivals sometimes struggle to have the same energy but the audience and the line-up did not allow for this to be a slow day, with performance after performance delighting the enthusiastic crowds. On Sunday, the Outdoor Stage was kicked off with KAWALA who gave an incredibly engaging performance. Their stage presence is beyond entertaining, every crowd member wanting to be a part of what was happening on stage, enjoying their tight harmonies and moving along with their indescribable energy!
Lily Moore is one of the artists who has been at the festival for many years and shared her excitement of finally being on the Main Stage. Her promotion to this stage seemed entirely fitting as she shared her set, with her beautiful, unique and soulful voice. Over in the Wooden Barn Stage, Maisie Peters reinforced her star quality with sweet vocals and highly relatable lyrics, a fan favourite; while Grace Carter stepped onto the Main Stage, once again showing why she is so highly regarded and tipped for bigger things. I have had the honour of being able to see Grace grow over the last few years and how her performance has developed, her emotive voice and striking lyrics really uniting the crowd in such a special way.
The talk of the Surprise Headliner was buzzing around the festival, with rumours going wild! Everyone collected to see who ‘Reggae Zero’ really was and as George Ezra entered the stage, the eruption of cheers was deafening! George has performed before at Barn on the Farm and his return was not a disappointment in any way. Sharing tunes like Barcelona, Blame It On Me and Paradise, creating a wonderful sing-a-long atmosphere for the audience. Lewis Capaldi brought his humour and huge voice to Over Farm. He talks candidly about his “sad songs”, and it is a great and powerful set with heart-wrenching and poetic lyrics. He balances the sadness of his content with the comedic timing of a polished stand-up comedian as he engages with funny monologues between songs.
George Ezra at Barn on the Farm
And finally, Maggie Rogers. After a high energy and dynamic set, she closed the entire festival by standing along on stage singing a song she used to sing around the campfire with her family and friends after spending their summers in Maine. She shared with the audience that walking around the festival throughout the day, she got the same feeling of community she had on family holidays. For her, singing a tune from her childhood felt like a fitting way to send everyone safely back to their tents. Home can be felt anywhere when you are with the right people.
Barn on the Farm is a family. A high proportion of the artists return year after year, working their way towards the Main Stage. Many of the audience see this is a key part of their summer - a weekend to enjoy some amazing music and have a good time with family and friends! They can find incredible talent at such early stages of their careers. Previous performers who have gone on to bigger things include Ed Sheeran, George Ezra, Hozier, James Bay, and Bastille; amongst many, many others. Music can make us come together, dance, cry and smile; and Barn on the Farm embodies this perfectly. If you are looking for a truly homegrown festival, Barn on the Farm is the one for you. With the festival getting bigger and expanding, they have still managed to keep an intimate and homely feel.
Zak Abel at Barn on the Farm
Sea Girls at Barn on the Farm
When Young at Barn on the Farm
Ten Tonnes at Barn on the Farm
Nina Nesbitt at Barn on the Farm
Millie Turner at Barn on the Farm
Lily Moore at Barn on the Farm
Maggie Rogers at Barn on the Farm
Zak Abel at Barn on the Farm
Lewis Capaldi at Barn on the Farm
L Devine at Barn on the Farm
Kawala at Barn on the Farm
Grace Carter at Barn on the Farm
Lauren Aquilina at Barn on the Farm