Magic Moments Down On The Farm

Kai Jarre believes it’s the relaxed atmosphere of Norway’s Down On The Farm that leads to "magic moments" like former Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones, maverick Scottish singer/songwriter Jackie Leven and England’s singularly eccentric Robyn Hitchcock jamming together on the Campfire Stage.

"It was like that all weekend, with various people stepping on stage to join in on someone else’s set," Jarre told Pollstar. "I think this is what happens when bands aren’t subject to that festival conveyer belt that goes line-check, perform for 40 minutes and then the next one comes along."

Apart from the Led Zeppelin bassist also joining The Posies and Chip Taylor on a manic version of the latter’s "Wild Thing," a huge 1966 U.K. hit single for The Troggs, the maverick (or boutique) event’s bill also included what would appear to be an odd choice of headliner in the shape of Bryan Ferry.

"The festival has a sort of Americana, folk and country feel to it and I booked him because he did the album of Dylan songs," Jarre said. "I’m also pleased that I did it because he did really good set and entered into the spirit of things by relaxing with a spot of salmon fishing during the afternoon."

Down On The Farm, which ran through the ’90s and was re-started by Jarre on the same Halden site last year, is on the Swedish border near Gothenburg. The delta of the nearby River Tista should have provided the former Roxy Music singer with a good catch.

Halden’s also famous for its fortress, which was built to keep the Swedes out. They tried invading six times between 1658 and 1814.

In 1718, the Great Northern War ended there when King Karl XII of Sweden was shot and killed while making yet another unsuccessful attempt to conquer the local fortress.

Last year’s festival pulled 2,500 per day but this year’s crowd was 1,000 per day bigger and Jarre is confident things are going the right way.

Another population attraction was the photographic exhibition called Woodstock Vision, featuring the original festival shots taken by Elliot Landy.

The other acts relaxing Down On The Farm August 3-4 included The Flaming Lips, Grant-Lee Phillips, Beasts Of Bourbon, Gillian Welch, Hayseed Dixie, plus a rare European festival appearance from Big Star.