Get this show on the road; part two

Connectivity, space, quattro; the Q7 has it all.
We took it down to Somerset to get FarmFest to put it through its paces.

FarmFest is not your average festival. Headliners at this years event include jazz experimentalists GoGo Penguin and Gilles Peterson, as well as Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers.

  Co-founders Dejan Vernon and Graeme Comley make a point of not having sponsors and donate part of their proceeds to hand-picked charities. They're pretty picky, and lending such perfectionists an Audi Q7 to help in the set-up of the event was sure to put it through its paces.

  Dejan immediately puts us at ease. “This is really nice,” he grins as he sits in the SUV for the first time. “Much nicer than my normal form of festival transport.”

  His normal festival transport is a pick-up truck that looks like it may be a stalwart of all eleven years FarmFest has been bringing its brand of good music, good causes and good times to Gilcombe Farm in Somerset.

  “The reversing camera for the tow bar is amazing,” says Dejan, slowly moving the car into place. “The back of my truck has loads of dents in it from not having anything like that and trying to hitch up in the dark. When you’ve got a heavy trailer and you can’t move it by hand, you have to get that spot on.”

  Today’s load? Part of the main stage. There’s no fancy production team at FarmFest, just a close group of friends and local suppliers. Dejan and Graeme have created the kind of festival they would want to attend.

  It’s the all-hands-on-deck approach that characterises what FarmFest is all about. One local contributor is the Wild Beer Co., a brewery based just a few miles away from the site. They were specifically chosen because of the quality of the refreshment they can serve.

  “The beer is super-fresh because it’s made on the doorstep,” says co-founder and head brewer Brett Ellis. “It gets brewed two weeks in advance, put in a tank and then straight into your glass. It has all the middle-men cut out; no distributors, no wholesalers, no warm warehouses and no shop floors. That’s the perfect way to serve beer.”

  It’s not just beer that’s locally sourced. 90% of the site’s food is provided by the farm whose land the festival is held on. So is this hyper-localism, twinned with his perfectionist streak, a case of Dejan being unable to let go?

  “No, I don’t think so,” he says. “These things only work when you’ve got local people involved. I grew up a mile from here and most of the people who’ve helped us live in sight of here too. That’s really important to us.”

  As the end of the day approaches and the final touches are being applied to the stage, we ask Dejan whether the Q7 met his high standards. It’s only at this point that he lets us in on a secret.

  “My day-to-day car is an Audi A4,” he reveals with a wry smile. “I’ve owned three in my life. I like Audis because they’re so reliable and the quality is always great. There wasn’t really a question in my mind when Audi asked to give me a car for the day.”

  ...Praise indeed.

FarmFest takes place on 29th and 30th July at Gilcombe Farm, Somerset. Discover more about FarmFest.

Written by Simon Vincent, Photographs by Kristina Matovic


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