September 13, 2022
Words by: Ewan Ferguson
As summer slowly fades out of sight for another year, there is one last party on the festival circuit to round off the season with a celebration of alternative music. This comes in the form of End of the Road. For the last 16 years this festival has brought the very best to Dorset to see out the summer before autumn arrives. Here are some of the best sets from the weekend.
The must-see for many attending the festival, Pixies didn’t hold back from the get-go, starting their set with a tirade of hit after hit. The crowd was arguably the loudest of the weekend as the prolific indie masters cherry-picked their cult hits from Surfer Rosa (1988) and Doolittle (1989). The group gave very little conversation between tracks and instead blasted number after number at the elated audience. Hipsters with greying beards and young spritely groups alike were belting the anthemic choruses to one another for the glorious 90 minutes of scathing guitars and lurking bass lines.
Lynks’ mid-afternoon set felt more like a club night headliner, packing out the Tipi tent with his relentless organ rattling club hits. The ever-energetic performance was fuelled with audience participation and choreographed dance routines, resulting in the small tent reaching boiling point with sweat dripping from the walls. Lynks explores sexuality, homophobia, identity and modern politics through his music in a stark and wonderful way, uniting the crowd in his openness and honesty. Even after the set had finished, Lynks left a buzzed and pumped-up environment behind him, resembling a 2am rave crowd rather than a sunny afternoon one.
Closing the Garden Stage on Sunday night, the New Zealand art-pop genius took to the stage in front of a crowd of bedraggled but ever eager festival goers, keen to soothe their heads with her wistful and introspective songwriting. The set’s atmosphere was accentuated by the huge thunderstorm growing ever closer to the festival, with fork lightning stabbing jaggedly across the sky behind the stage. Nevertheless, Harding’s array of left field pop closed the Sunday with the perfect tone… right before the heavens opened shortly after.
As the Friday sun began to bid the festival goodnight, Bingo Fury took to the Tipi to welcome us into his abstract world. Having had to pull out of the festival the previous year, it was apparent that he was going to make sure this one was not a set to forget. Twisting through a collection of spiraling and scathing guitar stabs, knee-jerk rhythm sections, and masterful cornet lines – Bingo Fury leaves you on uneven ground with shin splits and an irregular heartbeat. With the dust settling, you find yourself being nursed to health by fragile piano ballads, Bingo’s velvety baritone voice transporting you to an empty bar filled with cigarette smoke. One minute it felt like you’d entered a feverish enchanted dream, the next you’re left dangling on tenterhooks with a lump in your throat.
As weary, hungover festival goers lurch into the site on early Sunday afternoon, they are greeted with the tribal pounding of drums and percussion from the main stage. The group creating this upbeat concoction of vocals, bass, and djembe are BCUC (Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness), a 7-piece outfit from South Africa. Their blend of hypnotic drum sequences and politically conscious lyrics spilled out over the main arena and throughout the rest of the site. The groggy crowd soon became animated and by the end of the set, the whole field was full of dancing and singing. The perfect remedy to a tired population, BCUC charged the crowd with energy, keeping them going to see out the last day of the festival.
With early bird tickets for EOTR 2023 already sold out, make sure to keep an ear out for the tier 1 ticket announcements in the coming months.
Feature image by Nick Helderman