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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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Larmer Tree Festival returns with new creative team

Larmer Tree Festival has hired new programming and marketing staff to support its return to the UK festival calendar next summer.

The independent, family friendly event took a year off this year to “refresh both creatively and personally”, but will return on 20–22 July 2018 with Sarah Dennehy as creative director and Rachel Kinchin as head of communications and marketing.

Dennehy has programmed and produced festivals both in the UK and overseas – most recently Perth Festival in Australia – and is currently executive producer on Festival of Voice, a biennial international arts festival in Cardiff. Prior to this she worked for Hay Festivals, and was previously creative director of Brecon Jazz Festival.

Kinchin, meanwhile, has worked with Edinburgh Fringe and Folkestone Triennial festivals, and previously collaborated with Dennehy on Festival of Voice.

They join the existing team of operations director Lucy Babb and directors James Shepard, Julia Safe and Rob Challice (Coda Agency). In a joint statement, the team say they are “incredibly excited about working together to make 2018 the best Larmer Tree Festival yet”.

Larmer Tree, produced by J & J Events, was founded in 1991 and won the UK Festival Award for best family festival in 2008.

 


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Larmer Tree Festival on hiatus in 2017

Larmer Tree Festival will take a year off in 2017 to “fully refresh both creatively and personally”, founder James Shepard has announced.

The independent UK festival, whose last event, from 13 to 17 July, was headlined by Tom Odell, The Stranglers, Calexico, Jamie Cullum and Caro Emerald, will return in its original two-day format next summer (20–22 July).

In a statement, Shepard, a co-director with Julia Safe and Coda agent Rob Challice, thanks the festival’s “many audience members for their constant support of Larmer Tree over the past 26 years and the endless enthusiasm and hard work of everyone involved so far.

“There’s no doubt that it’s the passion and care of such a fantastic team that makes Larmer Tree Festival the truly unique event that it is, and will continue to be.”

Larmer Tree was founded in 1991, and won the 2008 UK Festival Award for best family festival.

 


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