In the late summer of 2005 Simon Taffe decided that he wanted to start a festival. A music obsessive and festival-goer, Simon dreamed about booking the bands he loved and presenting them at the sort of festival that he’d like to attend. He tried to persuade friends to join him in the new venture, but most thought him mad until he approached old friend and fellow music lover Sofia Hagberg. She was enthusiastic and immediately accepted Simon’s offer, quit her job and joined End Of The Road as its only employee and co-founder. Philip Wicks joined to look after the finances and provide organisational backbone.
The first year, 2006, was a creative triumph, but a financial disaster. The team held their nerve and soldiered on with generous help from several supportive lenders. The critical reception continued to be hugely positive with more and more people coming along each time. The third year broke even, ensuring the future of the festival.
Today, End of The Road remains true to its initial dream: to book the bands that we love and present them in a way that respects the music and the audience. End Of The Road is not about any particular style of music. Rather it evolves depending on what excites us each year, but great songwriting has always been valued. You can see the evolution of the line-up here
End Of The Road has a unique atmosphere, relaxed and friendly but serious about music. The site is designed in a way that we, as festival lovers, enjoy. The beautiful pleasure gardens at Larmer Tree are the ideal place to create a woodland wonderland, strewn with art installations and decorated spaces. From the start Jason Lehner has been in charge of all site decoration, so much of the End Of The Road aesthetic is his.
We try to make sure that everything on site is the way that we like it: good but not crazily expensive food (organic and local where possible), a very wide range of local ales and other drinks at the bars, and caring and well mannered staff. There is a musical edge to almost everything on site with the literary and film programmes being rich in musically related material.
There are no VIP areas, and you’ll often find musicians wandering about the site and watching other band’s shows. Sometimes spontaneous performances result.
Enough words: if you have been you know what we are talking about, if not come along and find out!
The EOTR Team
Simon Taffe – Director and Curator
Philip Wicks – Director and Finances
Sofia Hagberg – Director and Co-Founder
James Strathallan – Director
Polly Barker – Production Manager
Rosanna Dean – Festival Manager
Lauren Down – Festival Manager
“An extraordinary display of talent and what feels like a truly special musical celebration” 5/5 The Guardian
“A strikingly potent bill” 5/5 The Independent
“More than any other outdoor British festival, End Of The Road has its own kind of magic.” 10/10 NME
“End Of The Road is an alignment of elements where site, audience and line up form a union of mutual respect” Crack Magazine