The Guardian festival blog: End of the Road review – intimate, adventurous fest steals the summer | Music

End of the Road is the sophisticated family camp-out where herds of Pitchfolk singer-songwriters roam wild and inventive alt-rockers scare the peacocks. Out in the woods there’s competitive croquet, grunge bingo and a hidden piano stage where the stars of the weekend play inaudible secret sets. Across the compact main site, meanwhile, a refined esoterica reigns.

The haunting Soccer Mommy is Juliana Hatfield meets Red House Painters. Gwenno twirls, sprite-like, through spectral synth-folk tunes sung in Welsh and Cornish. Julia Holter summons a folk sea-squall. The Low Anthem build cacophonies of sawed violin and clawed guitar, then play a surf-pop song about plankton.

There’s a distinct shortage of glittery students here, but End of the Road’s spirit of intimacy and adventure remains lustrous, perfectly encapsulated in Friday’s headliners. St Vincent takes the Woods stage in a red plastic minidress with a full band…


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