Some of rock’s finest musical moments were captured at a farm-based studio in Wales and the story of that legendary recording space is set to be told by onetime occupants Black Sabbath, Robert Plant and more in the new documentary, Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm.
Hannah Berryman has directed the film, speaking with many of the acts who’ve utilized the farm-based space and capturing their stories from the unique recording experience. Among those featured in the film are the aforementioned members of Black Sabbath, Robert Plant, plus some of the later era bands that brought the studio back to prominence such as Simple Minds, Stone Roses, Oasis and Coldplay. You can watch a trailer for the film below.
The Rockfield farm belonged to the Ward Family, who purchased the Amberly Court Farm estate in the early ’50s. The family’s sons, Kingsley and Charles, started recording their own music at the farm as they were growing up and by 1963 they made the decision to convert part of their existing farm house into a recording studio.
Kingsley’s new wife, Ann, left her job in the local bank to do the books, and they continued farming all the while. Animals were kicked out of barns and musicians were moved into Nan’s spare bedroom. Inadvertently, they’d launched the world’s first independent residential recording studio: Rockfield.
In the years that would follow, acts like Black Sabbath, Rush, Queen, Judas Priest, Motorhead and more would come to visit the estate while recording. And plenty of bands would follow making Rockfield Farm one of the more famous recording spots in the history of rock.
“In a way the film was about group dynamics, the intensity and ‘make or break’ nature of residential recording, something that with technology is on the wane,” said director Hannah Berryman. “That intensity almost broke some bands, but it also produced tracks that have stood the test of time, and maybe you can hear everything that went on this isolated farm in that music, the pleasure and the pain.”
Abramorama’s CEO Richard Abramowitz and Head of Music Evan Saxon said, “Rockfield has a special place in music history and Hannah has created a delightful, insightful film full of great stories, great music and great fun. We feel lucky to be able to bring it out into the world.”
In addition to the trailer, a sneak peak at part of Black Sabbath’s section can be viewed below. In it, Ozzy Osbourne spoke of loving the freedom of the farm as they could play as loud as they wanted without fear of people driving by or offending neighbors. Check out that video below as well.
Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm is set to arrive May 14 via Abramorama while BBC Four and BBC Two Wales will air it in the U.K. on July 18 at 9:15PM.