The once consciously “hick” festival Down on the Farm, which kicks-off tonight in the boarder back- lands of south eastern Norway, has turned into an event with names more affiliated with St. Tropezian glitz and urban menageries, names like Brian Ferry and the Flaming Lips.
“Down in the boondocks” sings Ry Cooder, but if he knew what is going on down on the farm, he would surely rephrase. The resurrected festival (it was rekindled last year after a seven year pause) that throughout the nineties was a hotspot for roots music in Norway still retains it focus on Americana and grounded, albeit alternative rock, but has with its comeback to the festival circuit put even grater emphasis on quality. Mastermind Tom Skjæklesæther tells Norwegian national broadcasting that the festival seeks to present a varied roster and uphold the character of a “family outing” that the festival started out as, but with top names and a definite “quality concept”.
In the build-up to the festival there has been considerable buzz surrounding the event. Names like Bran Ferry and the Flaming Lips have naturally caught the attention of Norwegian media and music lovers alike, not least the younger generation regarding the latter band.
The musical establishment seems to be very impressed with the booking that the festival has accomplished, for these names are really on top of every festival’s wish-list.
Ferry and the Flaming Lips are acts not normally associated with roots flavoured music, but Skjæklesæther insists that both have aspects that make them right for Down on The farm: ferry’s latest album “Dylenesque” is a celebration of Bob Dylan songs –and no-one would contest Dylan’s belongingness on a farm- while the Flaming lips, one of the most inventive and unpredictable bands in alternative rock, are originally from that most backwatery of all American states Oklahoma. Their music and their live shows bare few traits of Guthrie’s land, but still… Another luminous and unexpected artist to make an appearance is John Paul Jones of led Zeppelin fame.
In addition the festival features some more unequivocal folk rock/Americana acts such as Grant-lee Philips, Gillian Welsh, Big Star and Norwegian favourites Sivert Høyem and the Volunteers, along with many others.
Program Friday 3. August
15:05 Sleeping Beauty
15:45 Tommy Tokyo
16:30 The Posies (accoustic)
17:30 Chip Taylor
18:45 William Hut
20:00 Grant-Lee Phillips
21:30 Sivert Høyem & The Volunteers
23:00 Bryan Ferry
The barn stage:
00:30 Onkel Tuka
02:00 Bill Kirchen & The Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods
00:00 - 03:00 Jackie Leven (host)
Program Saturday 4. August
14:00 Bob Haley
16:00 Shit City
17:00 Beasts of Bourbon
18:30 Gillian Welch
20:00 Big Star
21:30 Danny & Dusty
23:00 The Flaming Lips
The barn stage:
00:30 Bill Kirchen & The Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods
02:00 Hayseed Dixie
The Campfire stage:
13:00 - 14:00 History of the Universe - Tord Akerbæk (theatre)
00:00 - 03:00 Robyn Hitchcock & John Paul Jones (hosts)