Woodland wonders! Six End Of The Road Festival 2022 picks

As chosen by the festival's co-founder and curator Simon Taffe

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“We always try to give people something they don’t expect,” says End Of The Road Festival co-founder and curator Simon Taffe. As well as the festival’s usual smattering of secret shows and pop-up performances, the Disco Ship has been transformed into The Boat – a new live stage dedicated to out-there sounds that Taffe describes as “Cafe Oto in the forest”, hosting the likes of James Holden, Snapped Ankles and Duncan Marquiss.

“It’s a real music lovers’ festival,” he says proudly. “People aren’t there just to get fucked up and have this lairy party – although it’s obviously not completely tame! Hopefully people notice the attention to detail that we’ve put into it, from every art installation to the way we curate the bands.” Here are Taffe’s top tips for a short-cut to EOTR nirvana…

I think Stephin [Merritt] is one of the greatest living songwriters. The way he uses words is so spot on, funny and wry. It’s very underplayed but still showy as well. I’ve been trying to get him to play since our first year in 2006. I don’t think he’s much of a festival person, but we convinced him with the allure of the Garden Stage. It’ll be quite a special Saturday-night headline show – even if some idiot’s put them up against the Pixies!


She’s from Australia and she’s in the world of King Gizzard, all those bands, but she’s nothing like them. It’s kind of folk-punk, I guess. Actually the best way to describe her is like a blues singer. She’s got this really deep, gravelly voice, almost like a female Nick Cave. I’m really excited about her as someone new on the scene and I think she’s going to go far.

I’ve been following her for a couple of years. Obviously she was in Goat Girl back in the day and she’s part of this whole ‘rebirth of folk’ scene in South London at the moment with Broadside Hacks and Shovel Dance Collective. But her solo stuff also has this Brazilian element, and her voice is just incredible. I saw her with a full band at Servant Jazz Quarters and it was one of my favourite shows of last year.

I’m into a lot of African music and this is just pounding live energy. You feel like you’re in a workout session, they fully go for it for a solid hour. It’s like going into a boxing ring with lots of people – a joyful boxing ring! You don’t have to know the band at all, just turn up and you can’t not enjoy the show.


For me, they’re one of the most exciting English bands around. They played last year and we had to have them back. Singer Ben Woods has got this really dry style that’s kinda country-ish, but not. I guess the best comparison is Bill Callahan meets David Byrne. His songwriting’s so grown-up and interesting and funny.

He’s been on the scene around the Total Refreshment Centre for years, but there’s no-one who sounds like him. He’s doing something completely different where he’s mixing jazz and folk and spoken word. He’s got this Northern wit about him, but also this pure joy. There’s something magical about him, like a shaman. You don’t ever know what to expect from his performance, but he has this quality where he makes you feel amazing.  


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