A Festival Mixtape: End of the Road Festival 2012

For all sorts of reasons, those who chose a weekend in the Dorset countryside to begin September are guaranteed a good time. In its seventh year, End of the Road is flourishing having undertaken a hugely successful expansion in 2011.

This year will see a high-quality lineup grace four stages of music, with the grassy expanse of the Woods stage again allowing bigger names onto the bill than was possible before. On the periphery, the festival will retain its unique, intimate spaces, so be sure to take a walk through the Folk Forest, catch a secret set at the Piano stage, take a seat on a bale of straw over at the comedy stage, and partake some of the unmatched array of food and drink on offer.

1. The Antlers – 'Kettering'

With another acclaimed release under their belt with this year’s Undersea EP, Peter Silberman and co have quite a following over here now, I’ve chosen the opener to 2009’s breakthrough effort Hospice, still a regular set opener, which teams with emotion with every note and word as it begins a quite heartbreaking story.

Woods Stage, Saturday

2. Dirty Three – 'Rising Below'

The first of an entire Friday’s worth of Bella Union artists celebrating the label’s fifteenth anniversary, this outing from the band's latest studio release Toward the Low Sun will be perfect for sundown on Friday (and, fingers crossed, a clear evening). Meandering through nearly six minutes, each member of the band seems to have license to do their own thing, with the result somehow coming together beautifully.

Woods Stage, Friday

3. Roy Harper – 'I Hate the White Man'

The elder statesman of this year’s festival, Roy Harper has around fifty years of material to choose from to confirm his status as one of Britain’s most enduring singer-songwriters. I’ve chosen an early track which epitomises the sixties folk protest song, but endures to this day as an anti-establishment message.

Woods Stage, Friday

4. Grizzly Bear – 'Two Weeks'

The band will be here to give a sneak preview of upcoming new release Shields which promises to be one of the records of the year. However I could only choose a track which charmed everyone who heard it as the lead single to 2009’s Veckatimest. A piece of pure songwriting craft from the opening piano chimes to the wonderfully intricate vocal harmonies that light up chorus and verse, this will still be very much a set highlight.

Woods Stage, Saturday

5. Midlake – 'Fortune'

One of many regulars to Lamar Tree, the Texan quintet always attract a crowd wherever they showcase their distinctly Transatlantic blues/folk. This punchier, jangly offering from 2010’s The Courage of Others still carries distinctive allures.

Garden Stage, Friday

6. Jeff Lewis - 'Roll Bus Roll'

It has been very pleasing indeed to see Jeff Lewis achieve increasing levels of acclaim over the years, as I remember watching shows in the upstairs rooms of pubs back in the day. With a comfortable afternoon spot on the Garden Stage, he will be able to showcase his array of 'low-budget videos' and witty, observational, low-fi anti-folk songs such as this one.

Garden Stage, Saturday

7. Perfume Genius – 'Lookout Lookout'

Back with another new album, Mike Hadreas' overwhelmingly emotional performance at Latitude was enthusiastically received recently. With so many songs that delicately perch on a fragile knife edge, like this take from 2010’s Learning, it is easy to see how he achieves this. Expect another set that doesn’t leave a dry eye in the house.

Garden Stage, Saturday

8. Yeti Lane – 'Haunted Spectrum'

This year has seen the Parisians make a triumphant return as a duo, with standout album The Echo Show, a wonderful slice of glitchy shoegaze. One of the highlights, sure to translate brilliantly into the live arena, is this track, where otherworldly vocals, space-pop tinged keyboards and big slices of reverb and feedback combine to great effect.

Tipi Tent Stage, Sunday

9. Veronica Falls – 'Beachy Head'

Still enjoying the success of last year’s self-titled debut, the foursome will be looking to get everyone dancing into night in the Big Top. Songs like this two-and-a-half minute slice of guitar pop, with infectious hooks and harmonies, will be sure to help achieve this.

Big Top Stage, Friday

10. Grandaddy – 'The Crystal Lake'

Reformed after a six-year absence, everyone at End of the Road will be glad to see California’s finest space-poppers. I’ve chosen one of their signature tunes, with trademark keyboard bleeps and a euphoric, guitar led climax. Expect them to send everyone home happy with their closing set on Sunday night.

Woods Stage, Sunday

mixtape by Steve Welch

End of the Road Festival takes place at Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset, between August 30th and September 2nd with the campsite opening at 3PM on Thursday and closing at 12PM on Sunday. The nearest station to the site is Salisbury from which regular shuttle buses run. There are a few tickets left on sale.