Planning the perfect festival is a classic Sunday-afternoon pub conversation, but for most music lovers it stays just that. Less than a year after Simon Taffe sat down in a field with his mobile phone to estimate the cost of organising his dream event, however, the 28-year-old found himself in the middle of his fantasy made real.
Now in its third year, the End of the Road Festival – so named because of its mid-September position as the last event on the UK festival calendar – has become known as one of the best of the new crop of "boutique" festivals that eschew corporate sponsorship and cater to comparatively intimate crowds of a few thousand.
Set in a Victorian pleasure garden in Dorset, the three-day shindig showcases underground talent alongside indie favourites that this year include Mercury Rev and Richard Hawley.
Taffe's eureka moment struck at Wales's Green Man festival in 2005: "I loved how minimal it was; the feeling that anyone can pick up a guitar and get involved – that's what I wanted to recreate." Selling his home to raise capital, Taffe enlisted the help of friend Sofia Hagberg, whose gift for "blagging her way into gigs" was ample qualification for a role as co-director.
Together they cherry-picked the best bits of other festivals – art installations from the Big Chill, South by Southwest's impromptu performances and Glastonbury's Somerset cider bus – and personally approached a wish list of artists, who loved the idea of an end-of-season party where they could relax as much as the fans.
But are Taffe and Hagberg able to enjoy themselves at their own bash? "I was worried turning my passion into my job would kill it for me," admits Hagberg. "But when you see everyone having so much fun and know it's partly because of you, there couldn't be a better feeling."Reuse content