Barn on the Farm Friday 6th July, 2018

Nestled outside of the hustle and bustle of Gloucester, Barn on the Farm is a magical little festival that brings the best and brightest acts to its four stages. Unearthing rising talent, the festival has captured headliners like Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard, and Tom Odell before their stars burned bright. A familial touch the festival is truly a haven, a sanctuary for those weary of overblown festivals and ruckus creating crowds. Celebrating all that is good and gold, we travelled to Barn on the Farm for the weekend, capturing stellar shows and a handful of amazing artists.

Barn on the Farm offers a handful of unique experiences for the fans that flock to the still working farm. While many join in for the typical weekend, the Farm also offers intimate Thursday and Friday experiences that bring fans face to face with artists. We joined for the Behind the Door Friday, finding ourselves immersed with only a few hundred of our closest friends watching a handful of truly intimate shows, here a few of the highlights from the day.

Kicking off the Friday was singer songwriter duo Kin. The two played a stripped back acoustic set, a style that has come to typify the Barn on the Farm sound. With purity and vulnerability the two sat still, floating heavenly tunes across the midday air. While the band is young the stage show had a great amount of presence, their songs dripping with depth and introspective sophistication. With breath and life Kin opened our Friday experience in a perfectly poignant way.

Folk duo Ferris & Sylvester elevated the mood, playing a set that was lively and enthusiastic. Set atop the Barn stage the two were like folk gods, serving their minions with energy and twang, an infectious mixture that had everyone dancing in the midday heat. With nuanced bits of rock and blues the duos sound was unique, a departure from the crooning offered on other stages. The energy continued, as high energy Keir took to the stage. Keir graced the Barn on the Farm stage last year, combining an audaciously bright visual show with equally bright sonic waves. This year Keir continued delivering high-octane songs, dancing along with fans. All of the artists delivered entertaining sets, bringing people to their feet and making us all laugh with glee.

Back to the acoustic vibes, Barn on the Farm and Birmingham Live favourites OUTLYA played a quick stripped down set. While the lads would play their main set the next day, the smaller show gave the band a chance to give a personally curated show to the handful of fans present. To say it was delightful would be an understatement, OUTLYA knows how to curate the perfect gig and it was obvious with their Barn set.

The night ended with a mixture of sound and energy as one-man masterpiece Youngr wowed fans with his dynamic multimedia set. With his massive kit including a handful of keyboards, drums and guitar Youngr brought an electronically tinged element to the night. Youngr’s sound was juxtaposed by Hudson Taylor, an organic acoustic rock duo that created a vintage set that was pure bliss.

With dimmed lights and a single centre microphone Hudson Taylor pulled us back a few centuries, stirring us to lean in closely as the group played brilliantly tinted acoustic rock with a hint of nostalgia. Truly taking the concept of intimate Friday to another level, Hudson Taylor crafted a remarkably timeless show that seemed to pause the fast moving night. The moment of stillness did not last long, just as soon as Hudson Taylor played their last chords a bombastic energy blow of sound came from the opposing stage as secret headliner Honne ended the night in a whirlwind of electric tunes.

Gig of the Day: Skinny Living 

Friday was a magical day, a mixture of sights and sounds that typified the laid back yet explorative nature of Barn on the Farm. To say it was difficult to choose one set as the gig of the day is an understatement, it was nearly impossible. That is until Skinny Living sauntered unto the Barn stage. The four-piece group mix soulful sounds with reflective lyrical content, striking the perfect balance between thought provoking and gleefully playful. With a bit of R+B sensibility, Skinny Living played a bit more of an acoustic set, simplified percussion and a simplistic theatrics giving the set a really authentic edge. That being said there was still the edge and energy that has come to align itself with the band. Authentically real with a bit of bad boy, the juxtaposition perfectly bottled creating a euphoric atmosphere that the band capitalized on with their comforting and combative sound. Certainly fans loved the acoustic gig, as each song mounted the barn filled and filled with people eventually spilling out into the courtyard to catch a glimpse of the band.

Ones to Watch: Billy Lockett

The great thing about Barn on the Farm is its true desire to highlight new and growing artists, so we are taking are taking their idea and continuing it here. Along with highlighting a standout performance each day we will also be highlighting an artists you should be listening to!

Friday night’s artist is none other than the transfixing Billy Lockett. With sophistication and purpose Billy crafts brilliantly spellbinding sound that is otherworldly. It is something Lockett has done for some time, in our chat before his set Billy revealed that he’s been working on music for ages. Starting off as the keyboardist in a handful of bands, Lockett sort of fell into the role of singer, “I was always the keyboard player. It was nice but not the coolest member of the band. With one band we needed a singer because no one could sing so I stepped in.” Not just a keys man, Billy had been writing lyrics as well so he was primed to take over, taking the time to craft his skills and talent, finding his “sound.”

While Billy may have lost the band, he has gained a truly transparent and transfixing style, so you don’t miss any additives. Focusing on a piano driven acoustic style for the past two years, Lockett’s style is transfixing from the first swipe of the keys. Taking away everyone’s breath his Barn on the Farm set was beautifully crafted, a true piece of art. Accessible art, there is nothing pretentious or over the top, rather Lockett mixed his eloquently stunning songs with humorous jokes in between, a balance that most artists fail at. As songs like ‘Wide Eyed’ and ‘Empty House’ Lockett’s booming voice coursed through the night air, like moths to a flame fans quickly flocked to catch a glimpse of the pure magic streaming from the tiny stage.

With truth and splendour Billy paints a fantastical dreamscape, his sound and energy bounding around the barn transfixing those who enter in. It is easy to see why his fandom continues to grow, something he says is still a strange thing to witness. With new shows coming after festival season, including a massive show at Shepherds Bush Empire, and a promise for a handful of new releases we cannot be anything but excited to see what the next few months hold for Billy!

Day two of Barn of the Farm coverage follows tomorrow.


Reviewer and Photographer: Kylie McCormick

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