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EOTR backs Larmer Tree as founders step back

Following 2018’s successful sold-out festival, Larmer Tree Festival founders James Shepard and Julia Safe are handing over the reins after 28 years at the helm of the 5,000-capacity UK event.

Larmer Tree, which began in 1990 as a 200-cap. music and arts festival, has since taken place annually at Larmer Tree Gardens, on the Wiltshire–Dorset border. Its most recent event, headlined by Jake Bugg, First Aid Kit and Public Service Broadcasting, took place from 19 to 22 July.

Lucy Babb joined Shepard and Safe as operations director in 2006, while Rob Challice came on board as a director in 2014.

Now, as the festival’s founders retire, Challice and Babb say they’re looking forward to working with new partners brought on “to secure the future” of Larmer Tree.

“I’m delighted we have gathered a group who recognise how special our festival is and want to secure its future”

Joining Challice and Bergen Live – the Norwegian promoter behind Bergenfest, and also Challice’s partner from 2010–12 on Summer Sundae – as Larmer Tree partners are End of the Road, the 15,000-cap. indie rock event also held at Larmer Tree Gardens, and James Strathallan, who take a small equity stake in the festival.

Strathallan was formerly a director of End of the Road Festival Ltd, but retired in November 2017.

“I’m delighted that we have gathered a group who recognise how special our festival is and want to secure its future,” Challice tells IQ. “We want to take the festival forward while preserving its essence: a small local festival with deep roots in the community where friends and family can have a great party weekend on a beautiful site.”

Larmer Tree Festival will return on 18–21 July 2019.


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