Eden 2022

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Raehills Meadows

June 9-12, 2022


The festival experience is at the same time both an intimate one & a shared one. Like everybody else, each summerstuff’d reveler is up for the dance, the crack, the goodies & the girls, or the boys of course if that’s what you prefer. As for the intimacy of a festival experience, that would be your own very personal journey into, through & beyond the thrilling nexi of the festival arena.

To fashion a more intimate Eden for myself, last Friday I decided to take the scenic route; a boat from Arran to Ardrossan, from there a bus to Kilmarnock, then another bus to Cumnock – a fine wee town in whose library I printed out my ticket – before my last bus hurtled south thro Kirkonnel & Sanquhar before dropping me off at the Forest of Ae. It was then 11 miles of spiritually cleansing hiking, up & down some gorgeous countryside, before I reached the A701 at Parkgate. 10 minutes later my photographer arrived in his van from Edinburgh, James Wallace. He’s off to Glastonbury in 2 weeks, & saw his first Eden experience as a good chance to get his eye in, so to speak.

We park’d at the top of the hill near the main entrance & immediately got on it. The site was different – more streamlined, more focussed. The old main stage had gone – needing to be rebuilt I was told – with the Mountain Stage taking over top drawer duties. Friday night saw Supergrass whip up a storm of funky Britpop after which as a returner to Eden I was drawn to my favorite spot – the open air Lost Disco & its floor of flashing lights – it was nice to be home !

Benjamin from Newton Stewart loving his work
Supergrass

At some point in this period of beats & boogieing I met a lovely lady who latched onto me & was trying to persuade me to go to her tent. In hindsight maybe I should have gone, but I was having such a good time & never actually took her up on the offer ! She was 29 & everything & well hot ! That’s how good Eden is, I’d rather be buzzing about the garden than snuggle up with a true beauty! 

Next day dawned in roving reporter mode – & it just so happened to be my birthday! Yes, I am a June 11 boy, & that’s generally Eden weekend, so I always have a special sentimental symbiosis with this festival in particular.

Skittling downhill into the cozier, less sprawlier site, lush with June vegetation, James & I proceeded to nosy up the stall-holders for a bit, with a first port of call at Motley’s crepes, part of the Edinburgh-based ‘On The Roll’ foodstuff people. I had a birthday bratwurst while James thought his crepe was delicious, but alas lost a good third of it to a gust of wind which flipped his plastic plate like a toss of a coin. 

The weather in general was never great, but never terrible, with only a couple of heavy showers creating a smattering of mud. One of these showers propelled us to seek shelter under a tent outside the Melodrome stage where we joined in a common chorus of Queen songs & others, with laminated lyric sheets darting about the crowd while a funky conductor kept us all in order.

Blaze Watson – a kid wise beyond his years

Other cool stalls in this area of the site were the Solar Vinyl Lounge, ran by Nick from North Wales who plays whatever the public wants on some reyt retro decks. There was also Stephen Brown from Middlesborough’s stone carving workshop – a lovely guy who comes to several Scottish festivals a year, & perennially inspires the cave artists in us all. 

Steve & Nick’s stalls were just two among many intertextualising features of Eden’s central areas. Fairy Emelina entertained the kids in the children’s area, there were chill out areas with gentle acoustic vibes, & at one point I got involved in a drum circle. Nobody had the balls to got to the congas in the middle of the circle, but I did, it was my birthday & I was well buzzing. I didn’t do any shamanic wailing tho, like I usually do when in a drum circle – which is probably a good thing!

So to 5pm & the arrival of Rosie & Elaine, down from Edinburgh on a dayticket & ready for the rave. Lots of fun was soon procured from the gods of dance & karma & away we 4 went, like warriors riding our mighty stallions of groove, beercups held like lances & our enemies the minions of normality which infest our routine lives. 

The Mouse Outfit

By 9 PM I had persuaded them to find the bicycle powered Boardwalk stage onto which The Mouse Outfit stepped, oozing cool in that quirky hip-hop collaboration of theirs. A real treat & perfect for the Eden vibe. Then it was back to the dance area for more raving, followed by the Basement Jaxx DJ set which was absolutely jumping – I mean totally jumping, proper bouncing like.

After this I can’t really remember very much. I did get a call in the morning from Rosie & Elaine saying my flip-flops were outside their tent. How they got there & indeed how I got back to Camp Mumble I will never know.

It was now Sunday morning & time to do one. James drove me all the way to Easterhouse on the eastern fringes of Glasgow – he’s not a fan of the Biggar road anyway – from where I slowly floated home to Arran on a mental melange of shits & giggles.



Words : Damian Beeson Bullen

Photos: James Wallace

Two Weeks ’til Eden

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Eden, one of Scotland’s best-loved music festivals, is only two weeks away. With over 300 acts appearing this summer, this year’s hotly-anticipated festival is more than welcoming the return of the revellers to get lost within The Garden.

Set within the family-friendly woodlands of Raehill Meadows in Dumfriesshire, this alluring 10 staged festival covers all musical bases from World to Funk, Classical to Jungle, Indie to Acoustic, Dancehall to Folk, and everything in between.

Headliners are SUPERGRASS, with five Top 10 albums (six, if you include a greatest hits), ten Top 20 singles, Brit and Ivor Novello-winning Oxford ‘Alright’, they will be bringing 3 decades of top tunes to SW Scotland, so expect a party!

“We are so excited to welcome everyone back to the Garden for Eden 2022. After two years we are planning on bringing you the best Eden yet! If you want to dance the night away, chill out around the fire or hang about in the best festival tavern ever, we have your back. With a killer line up and an amazing site we have a feeling the garden might eat us all this time!” Hannah Gould, Eden Festival Director.

Right from the start of the debut album ‘Remedy’, Basement Jaxx (Felix Buxton & Simon Ratcliffe) have been bringing beats to venues and festivals all around the world as one of the UK’s most renowned dance acts. With one of their legendary DJ sets, expect the proverbial Meadows roofs to be raised and feet to be grooving.


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The Divine Lindisfarne

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Lindisfarne Festival

Beal Farm, Northumberland

1st-5th September, 2021


PROLOGUE

After all the festivals that I had and planned on and have given my everything to got postponed till 2021. I didnae think that I was going to get to a festival this year. Then out of the blue, last Thursday, Damo of The Mumble sent me an EMail asking me if I would like to review the Lindisfarne festival this coming weekend. No festivals for two years, wow I really needed to shake the no festival mindset. So of course I said yes.

The Psy Party in Saint Andrews this weekend just gone was my first time in the field since Doune 2019. Playground Festy didnae count coz it was inner city. So Saturday night was my warm up for Lindisfarne. All of my fave bands are playing. Groove Armada, The Girobabies, Jakyl Trades, Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5 (My first time of seeing the new release performed live), Leftfield, The Alabama Three, Stanley Odd, Feet Of Clay, (From The) Jam. Am looking forward to reviewing the artists at the Sketchy Beats cafe too. And after 18 months of withdrawal from live music my thirst for the muse is about to be inspired. Honestly, with a line up like this in a place of deep Holy Healing beauty. What is there not to be looking forward to. Baby the dance is on. Full Mumble Report Coming Soon.



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I got a car share with Gillian a new pal, organized by the very wonderful Jamie of (Jamie and Shoony fame ) who came to pick me up at 3pm. Gillian very expertly drove us both to Lindisfarne. It’s a while since I have been to a new festival and over two years since I have been to a festival at all. It was also three years since I have been over the border to England. On arriving, the festival crew were ever so welcoming, pleasant and helpful, I had this really lovely warm feeling in my belly, a warm intuition that I was really looking forward to working with this team of lovely people. Arm banded up we went and pitched our tents and settled into our new home for the next 4 days. It was so lovely to put my faithful little waterproof tent up, arranged the wardobe, put my Karrimatts down and spread my quilt and placed my sleeping bag over the top, maximum yummy comfort. It was quite a cool night and the ever-present cloud cover was a stark contrast from the hot sunny day we left in Edinburgh. so went to the volunteer Crew Hub and grabbed a coffee before getting cosy in my little comfy tent and grounding the angels and setting the intention to have as best a time possible. It was nice to send healing from the Lindisfarne festival site as Mother nature Softened my heart and I left social media behind, I began to adjust to being in my new surroundings and meditated and went deep. Spirit spoke to me in the silence. “At festivals, anything is possible” “Aye” that’s why I love them.”



02.09.2021

I never sleep the first night in the field at festivals, I was processing deeply all night from Sunset to Sunrise I guess I had a lot to let go of and was wide awake as Dawn broke, I had let it all go. So I reached for my make up and started the day with colour. By the time I got coffee at Crew Volunteer point and went for an explore of the festival site and a look over to the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne itself. The peace was profound. Hmmm I thought this is going to be a nice festival and my Gigz of the day that I had penned were The Girobabies and The Smoking Jeffries later on that night. It was a pleasant morning with everyone busying around for festival beginnings at 2pm. So I headed over to check the Healing area out and the beautifully massive healing and performance art venue serving yummy chai called Shanti Bee, Immediately I knew we were going to be friends, it was so lush and so comfy with a really good Soundsystem and ambient tunes. to compliment the experience. Perfect for the days distant healing, I then explored the other Spiritual Healing Delicacies available within the Healing Village, It really was Soul Food.

After Morning Chai, meditation and distant Healing at Santi Bee I decided on a Tarot and Rune reading from the very wise and gifted Liz Hay. It was a spellbinding 30 minutes that would show me the Mountain of creativity I still had to climb, but to keep focused as I would summit successfully. Yeeeha, ❤ Then I had a really interesting conversation with a lady that was dedicated to womb healing, indeed it is the one of the things that had been an important part of my own healing journey. To understand Spiritual Healing as facilitating the release and healing of past trauma experience. It was just brilliance and one of the best and important things I have ever seen at a festival. Mizan Therapy is a must for all Ladies. (Check the Lindisfarne Web Site for more details) of Shanti Bee, Liz Hay and Mizan Therapy.)

After my morning soul food. I needed some food in my Belly so I headed to the noodle bar for some spicey noodles, nice size portions and £2 off coz I looked fabulous. Then back to Volunteer Crew Hub to organise some wood for the Volunteer Crew Fire. Pick up my drum and freshen up my make-up. My next phenomenally interesting conversation of the day was with The Earl Of South Shields, a published poet and author who was also having a film being made about him and his life as a homeless heroin and crack addict. His one ambition in life after being clean for 6 years was die sober. Blimey, once again I was grateful to Thatchers “Just say No!” Campaign in the 80’sit stopped me from trying smack as a coping mechanism. Honestly kids drugs and alcohol just make life more difficult. Mind saying that if someone had said to me taking drugs and drinking alcohol at a festival when I was in my 20’s wasn’t a good idea.

Would I have listened? The Earl Of South Sheilds was a sound bloke and a new friend. having been 12 months sober myself, I fully understood the benefits of not getting spangled at festivals. It did take me until I was 50 to get it though. After a can and a half of Cider in St Andrews the week before. I decided that Lindisfarne was to be a Sober Festival. I wanted to be able to capture and remember as much of the experience as I could. I didn’t take my opportunity to review this lovely festival lightly and I knew that for me to give it my best work. it was to be a sober festival.

Having sourced the wood for The Volunteer Crew Fire, we had a warm hub to return to. Festivals and Fire kind of go hand in hand, so tending for the volunteers and grounding the healing love was one of my duties. I made lots of lovely new friends at that fire. Back at camp, people were starting to arrive, the field filling with tents and the sound systems were being fired up. Victor Pope And His Band of Merry Men had arrived and were camped just next to me, it was a lovely neighbourhood. Spud the Mumble’s photographer was also part of that crew too. The Scottish posse were assembled and I was ready for the first live music since 2019. “The Girobabies” fronted by the Scottish West Coast Musical Entrepreneur and wordsmith Mark McGhee, with Jo D’Arc the voice and bass of The Twistettes, his creative partner both on and off-screen providing the driving force with a band of new recruits on lead guitar and drums. Together they unleashed the Girobabies cannon performed live for the first time in quite some time to which received a full house and a rapturous good time and sing along. The band and audience fully enjoyed the experience and was the brilliant opener. It was quite an emotional experience seeing a band of people that one admires deliver the first live performance that I have seen since 2019. It was brilliant to dance and enjoy The Good Time.

The next band up another part of the Scottish contingent of Rock N Roll, The Smoking Jefferies took to the stage to receive a hero’s welcome as the revellers were completely engaged with band, song and musicianship, everyone was dancing and went mental when Jamie (Of Jamie And Shoony fame) Joined the band on stage to perform his lyrical prowess. It was the brillliant warm up party for this lovely Festival, By this time Divine was Exausted, am 54 not 24. My little tent and sleeping bag were calling and I was out like a light,. that had been a massive day both my mouth and heart were smiling and ZZZZzzzzzzz


“Great wee festival. Everyone was on top form. Happy people laughing and dancing. Just the ticket!” – Carol Atkinson (right)

03.09.2021

By this time I had kind of lost my sense of time and Friday felt like a Sunday, So after Morning Meditation and distant Healing at Shanti Bee, I let go of time and concentrated on the moment, i was back at volunteer hub and one of the volunteers came crying, saying that someone had taken her bag with everything in it. My heart went out to her, it triggered memories of having everything thieved at the beginning of a festival, its not fun. So finding out that someone had handed it in to security, made my heart beam. Thank fuck for that. There were no thieves at Lindisfarne, Reading and Leeds it is not. I made a new friend too because of that, Good Time. My bands of the day, were to be Allahbama Three and “From The Jam” So I dedicated the day to Dance.

My first dance of the Afternoon was at The Temple, smooth house to ease me into the Four To The Floor, It was great fun and was totally taken by the tunes presented, perfect for healing dance and grounding the Angels, then back outside to let rip with a bit of Reggae and Dub at the Dub Shack, again the dance took me. I had a few tears at this point, so emotional to be back dancing to music that I love in the heart of Mother Nature. Everyone was having such a good time. I was revving up for The Alabama Three at 7pmish. After Dancing I headed to get some food for my belly. Sweet chilly chicken on a pitta bread from The Gastronomical. It was very tasty and cost £8. After being watered and fed I headed back to my tent to put some warmer clothes on, there was quite a chill in the air, After outfit change, I headed back to The Volunteer Hub to check that Monster Andy had delivered the wood for the nights fire, He had, so I started building a warm fire for the Volunteers to return to.

The Main Stage was housed in a massive tent, just big enough to cater for the punters attending for the big names of the night. But it was a squeeze and Nicola would have been throwing a paddy if this had been Scotland. It really brought home that England is a different world, very few masks, (I only saw two) And nae social distancing. Lots of hand sanitizer though, probably the cleanest festival I have ever attended. Its always the 2nd day without a shower in a field that feels the grubbiest. After that it feels normal. Anyway back to The Alabama Three. Big Rock n Roll productions have been short on my to do list for the last two years, so this was quite an emotional moment too. The sound production was lush as The Alabama Three give us a best of set and the full house was bouncing. Again everyone was having a thoroughly Good Time.

Next up “From The Jam,” Rick Butler and Bruce Foxton replicating The Jam’s best moments and all the hits. If one closed ones eyes and imagined Paul Weller on vocals it could almost have been the real thing. I was having a chat with a chap about The Jam, back in the olden days, I did like the hits, Start, Funeral Pyre, Town Called Malice ect, but had never heard a full album. Have seen Paul Weller live once, that was Glastonbury 1993 and it taught me what a true master is. However, they didn’t wear enough make up for my liking so greatest hits it was. Again everyone thoroughly enjoyed The Jam renditions of music that touched a certain generation in a big way. Smiles and reminiscent moments of a misspent youth. Good Time.

Again it had been a massive day, I didn’t have the energy for Dizzee Rascle. Being in a massive packed tent, two bands were enough. So I headed back to Volunteer Hub for some nice socialising and fire tending with my lovely new friends. Good time Divine



04.09.21.

Saturday was the big day, Three of my favourite bands on the planet were performing. Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5 ❤ The Victor Pope Band ❤ Groove Armada ❤ Yeeha ❤

So as usual I started the day with a makeup session and headed to The Volunteer Hub for a coffee, there was a real buzz in the air, like a communal excitement, Shanti Bee and Sketchy Beatz were to be my initial draw of the day. It had been a Scotch Mist light rain kind of morning but soon dried up, a warm change would gradually come in over the course of the day. So by midday, the waterproofs were off. I headed to The Messy Gypsy, a stall with three beautiful ladies doing glitter, makeup and hair braiding. I was after a gold sparkly sphere on my forehead, to bring Bowie to the party. It worked a treat, brilliant work from a very attractive creative festival venture. I asked if wet towel shaves might also be included for next time. Good Time. The Messy Gypsy is another must for ladies at festivals, the whole thing was just yummy.

Sketchy Beats was packed to overflowing so I never got to see the amazingly beautiful Drag Queen Show, So I headed for Shanti Bee for the days distant healing, meditating and grounding the love, while a packed Yoga class worked their expertly guided moves. It was a beautiful thing to do on a cold and blowy afternoon, it freshened me up and realigned my chakras. Programmed the healing for The Mustards and Groove Armada performances and then headed to Gastronomical for the £8 chilly chicken on a pitta bread, then back to Sketchy Beatz for The Victor Pope Band’s performance. It was a joy as always, to see and enjoy this band of experienced musicians work their magik. Everyone had a great groove and for the first time the multi-talented Roy Jackson sang backing vocals much to our delight, It was also great to see Jess Aslan on Keyboards and electronic treatments performing her magik with the band.

After thoroughly enjoying the Spangled Cabaret of The Victor Pope Band. I headed to the Dub Shack for some afternoon dancing a cappuccino and some yummy cake, I did lots of Reiki Moving meditation whilst in the dance, Grounding the love and healing through me Giving it my best moves, after all Reggae is the music of love and it was a beautiful way to spend a Saturday Afternoon. After I felt really refreshed and thought to myself “Aye have done all the right things today to make me feel wonderful. Next Gig Colonel Mustard And the Dijon 5 at 7.00pm. Beforehand I went in search of Monster Andy to make sure that The Volunteer Hub had enough wood for the volunteers Saturday night fire. then it was off to refresh my make up and lose some layers, it was really hot and sweaty the night before in the main stage tent, so dressed accordingly.

Ever since purchasing The Mustard’s new release. The DiffiCULT No2, if one doesn’t already have a copy rush out and buy one, it really is a masterpiece of rock n roll dance fusion. It has been on heavy rotation since April this year. A collection of songs that came to life on the live circuit. It is an Album that made No2 in the Charts and because of Scottish Covid restrictions, this was to be the first performance without a socially distanced audience and also my first time of witnessing the new long-player played live. The venue was rammed with the Yellow faithful and lots and lots of new recruits went wild as Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5 took to the Stage. It was great fun and a great sing along. Ted Dancing is my fave And like all of the performances at Lindisfarne, the lush production really brought out the best performance art from this wonderful band of musicians. It was a fantastic performance and just as I suspected, the yellow magik had moved up a stage. The Mustards are going to be even more massive. It is the bands time to shine ❤

Groove Armada have been an important band for me over the years and having been a percussionist for MC Mike Daniels who wrote and sings Superstyling, it was like a bit of a reunion of friends that I havenae seen since Groove Armada played the last Playground Festival in 2019. that was a fantastic gig too. The Lindisfarne population had swelled considerably since Dusk an extra 1700 tickets were sold for the evening itself. So it was more than a packed house. It was the one performance that I wanted to get to the front for I wasn’t quite prepared for just how packed it would be at the front, the whole of the massive main stage venue was over capacity, I managed 3 numbers until I felt that I needed more space to enjoy the performance. It was quite easy to work my way through the assembled masses to find a space that I could sing along and dance to the brilliant music. The band played the same set as they did at Playground and everyone of the massive audience loved it and had a really good time. All of the hits were represented from Groove Armada’s career and vocal and lyrical prowess of MC Mike Daniels, Becky Jones, (better known as Saint Saviour,) and Veba bringing the brilliant songs to life. It was a fantastic closing gig of a weekend packed with brilliant music. My favourite singalong was Paper Romance, had been rehearsing singing the chorus for quite some time. Everyone loves Groove Armada and everyone loved being at Lindisfarne for this brilliant live experience. This is what life is all about having a thoroughly Good Time. I still think At The River should be the opening number because all the rest are dance floor bangers.

After the closing gig, I headed to Delta City for some Techno and really got down “Shakin My Ass” Then went for a coffee at the Volunteer Hub Crew Fire to check on the healing flames, then headed for the little cozy comfy tent for a rest and a bit of a sleep. Before the morning jam at the campsite. That was wonderful too as we were joined by a Gentleman called Tex who sang Bob Marley numbers to perfection another fine opportunity to practice singing harmonies and drumming some rhythms and after 3 days of dark moody sky’s the Sun made a crescendo appearance just as we were packing up and tatting down. it was to be a very warm day indeed. Once again Gillian drove me expertly back to Aulde Reekie with a suitably accomplished warm feeling in my belly that started at the moment of arrival the previous Wednesday. Hmmm I thought to myself. My Lindisfarne Cherry has well and truly been popped. What a fantastic experience.

Mark “Divine” Calvert

Knockengorroch Responds to the Coronavirus

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We’re getting in touch about the growing concerns on how COVID-19 may impact this year’s festival.  We are aware that mass gatherings in Scotland will be affected and that this may include us.

At the current time we intend for Knockengorroch to go ahead as planned on 21 – 24 May, with additional measures put in place to protect all of you, including enhanced hygiene measures.  Our chief concern is our commitment to you, our loyal audiences, and ensuring Knockengorroch is a safe event for all.

We have however formed a contingency plan.  Should the event not be able to take place in May, it will be rescheduled to September 2020. We have taken steps to ensure our license, venue and the vast majority of our line-up will remain in place should we have to postpone.

All tickets will be transferrable and anyone who cannot make the dates in September will receive a FULL TICKET REFUND, as per the Skiddle official terms and conditions. We want to reassure you that we are closely monitoring the situation and working with all of the relevant authorities to continually review national and international guidelines.

We will continue to keep you posted on plans for Knockengorroch 2020. All ticket buyers will be informed immediately if we have to postpone, and please keep an eye on our website and social media for other information, as we have it. Stay healthy everyone.

Knockengorroch Festival team

Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts 2020: 50th Anniversary Preview Edition

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Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts 2020: 50th Anniversary Preview Edition

Oh. Hello! Were you one of the 137,000 lucky individuals who nabbed yourselves a much-coveted ticket for the 50th anniversary edition of Glastonbury Festival of Performing arts?

If so, stay a while and I will congratulate you on your amazing luck and persistence in beating over two million other people, but you already knew that. Afterall with the near 24/7 coverage of this year’s sunny Glastonbury on the BBC it’s hard to find someone who hadn’t heard about it, so no surprises that 2.4 million people registered for the big-ticket scramble.

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Whether you’re a (tie)-died-in-the-wool, old-hand, who’s been to Glasto many times before or an excitable first-time newbie, yet to experience the initial sense of awe and amazement as you venture over the hill from one of the huge car parks or the bus station and see the vast site below. So, let’s have a think about what we can all begin looking forward to, in earnest and base our expectations on some of what has gone before, and with its 49-year history, a LOT has gone on before. The great news is, you can dispel any negativity you might have heard about losing its way or being all corporate – that’s for other festivals. Glastonbury totally rocks!!

Obviously, it’s sunglasses all the way now, gone are the days of Mudstonbury. In-fact, this year I did hear a few folk saying strange things like “it’s too sunny” or “Where’s the mud?” We don’t want that back, honestly. The Eavises and their army of talented event team have put a lot of logistics in place to ensure better drainage, better water, more metalled pathways etc. just to be on the safe side. They really deserve a lot of praise. #Believis!!

Glastonbury is basically many different festivals wrapped up in one big site, more on that later. Huge main stages, small quirky tents and everything in between. So, if you happen to be exploring the site up in the Green Fields area by the Stone Circles, yes there is a mini Stonehenge in a big field, where there’s usually a fire and drumming. Lots of drumming, kind of 24/7!

That’s another unusual thing about Glasto, you can have fires and sit around those flaming wax covered torches. Fireworks, other than the official ones though are taboo, for obvious reasons and Chinese lanterns likewise. When you are making new friends chilling by the circles, you’ll probably encounter a long-haired fire-starter in leather trousers called Steve, who’s from Bristol, probably kicking a log into the fire and permanently has a rolled-up cigarette in his mouth. He used to come way back in the day, before the giga-fence and didn’t pay back then, he’ll be able to tell you about things that may seem to the more recent visitor like folklore, as in the time when someone smart thought it was a good idea to bring a sewage truck in to suck out the giant lake-like flood that had formed inside the Dance tent but someone accidentally hit blow instead of suck…. The worst happened, exactly as you might now be imagining it! I need not dwell on it here. And yes, you read right, back in the day there was basically only one, albeit huge, dance tent.

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Next year, newbies can look forward to a whole Dance Village and many other world-class dance venues like Arcadia’s new Pangea (the amazing fire shooting crane, low-loaded in from Avonmouth dockyard) and Block-9. To this day I don’t actually know if some of the wilder things to be seen down there in the early hours of the morning are amazing art installations, fantasy projections or just my own over-stimulated imagination. Hmmmm? It’s wonderful though, and you should definitely plan to spend a few nights getting lost there, working up the numbers on your step-counters.

You know the tickets sold out in a record 34 minutes and if you are anything like me and were sitting there with laptops, desktops, tablets and phones hopefully clicking and reclicking refresh it was quite a difficult morning. A quick glance at social media reveals a lot of sadness for those less fortunate. It’s hardly surprising that the tickets are so popular though, when the show has had 49 years to prepare for the big party next summer.

It’s a truly amazing place that is constantly changing and bringing new things. The Victorian pier this year was a great new place to visit, up near the delightfully kitsch, ribbon viewing tower, whilst remaining reassuringly constant. Those who’ve been before can almost always find their way around, assuming they remain sober enough obviously.

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Unlike many lesser festivals, the camping is within the confines of the whole festival, so unless you are in a camper van, glamping (more on that later) or a Worthy View pre-erected tent once you go through the gate you are in, and don’t need to worry about access for the rest of the week. It’s exciting finally getting your all-important wrist band and other goodies, such as a free programme, tote-bag, bio-degradable tent pegs or whatever else they are giving away. And then you are free to venture off to pick one of many campsites to settle in. The best bit is you can take in as much food and drink (yes including booze) as you can carry – or even pull on a cart. The only rule here is to avoid glass bottles, as once the circus of Glastonbury packs up again, it’s a working dairy farm and guess what – cows hate broken glass as much as we do.

With over 300 food places serving up a total smorgasbord of just about every cuisine you can imagine from vegan tofu burgers to sushi to jerk chicken to gumbo. Literally everything is available and, as might be expected from a festival with such worthy heritage (donating millions to Oxfam, Wateraid and Greenpeace over the years) they arrange that most stalls will do a £5 meal-deal, so you really won’t need to break the bank.

For the uninitiated, who’ve not been fortunate enough to go before it’s worth bearing in mind that the perimeter fence of Glastonbury is something staggering like 9 miles long and the given population at any given time, including staff and performers is approximately 200,000 people, just let that sink in for a moment, that’s like a busy city-centre. There are over 100 stages to enjoy and something like 350 food stalls and many, many shops – when in doubt, just wander, don’t be afraid to get lost!

At the last count there were something like 3,000 sit-down toilets, including one, which contains a throne and art gallery, right the way to the other end of the spectrum. The Long-Drop toilets, which are basically a hole to sit on, high up over a latrine trench. The good news is that the toilet situation has come on a long way. Spare a thought for those 250 wonderful, dedicated WaterAid volunteers in the Poo-Crew. There are lots of options including she-pees for girls who can stand up and over 700 meters of male urinals. I still like to keep some wet-wipes, loo roll and hand sanitiser in my faithful bum-bag, just-in-case – along with hay fever paraphernalia.

When thinking about writing a preview edition for the forthcoming event, you might be forgiven in thinking how come I haven’t even touched on the music yet. Weeeeelllllll, Kind of tricky when the programme isn’t announced and won’t be until soon after April 2020. That’s not to say that a bunch of overexcited artists won’t accidentally self-confirm or publish their UK tour dates, with a mysterious week off at the end of June?

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What a lot of people don’t know is that, whilst the main stages begin on Friday morning at around about 11am and usually finish around about the same time in the evening, the festival ground is actually open from 6am on Wednesday morning and those first couple of days are a great time to wander and get to know the place. There is usually a bonfire and fireworks on the Wednesday night, once it gets properly dark and there are lots of smaller tents and dance sound systems providing more than enough entertainment. That’s the thing about Glastonbury, there is ALWAYS enough entertainment. It is probably fair to say that is the only major festival in the world that sells out, when the line-up hasn’t even been announced. That doesn’t stop the rumour-mill. Although, rumours are usually just people expressing their wishful thinking, some artists do let the cat out of the bag. For example, we already know for sure that for 2020 one of the legends is going to be the fabulous Diana Ross!

There are some strong rumours around, as there always is. I think Madonna has ruled herself out and Emily Eavis sounded like she was ruling out Fleetwood Mac. Personally, I would love to see Depeche Mode there. Who would you want if you could have any? A great site for the rumours is eFestivals. They have the likes of Robbie Williams, Carl Cox, Taylor Swift, the Foals and the Kinks as strong rumours. All good of course. Please believe me when I say “it really doesn’t matter who the headliners are”. I often hear it from people who have never been, and I sigh as the place is the experience and it far surpasses any thoughts of who the headliners ever were. That’s why it sells out regardless of any kind of line up. The line-up invariably blows me away though, and I have muso friends who always introduce me to some band who are simply the best, who I’ve never till that point heard of, but who I will walk away, like at the start of a new love affair.

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The preview can’t be complete without a nod to the other areas, for example the Theatre and Circus fields, where there are so many amazing performances every day from the breath-taking to the bizarre. The Green Fields, where you can learn about permaculture and take part in political debates. The Acoustic tent is huge and can hold thousands and there are some amazing singer songwriters performing there at the top of the site, next to the Cinemas, which show some amazing films and feature the latest Sony cinema systems. Worth a look even if it isn’t raining! In fact, for the last two festivals Carmagedon has featured, where a bunch of scrap old cars have been brought in and up-cycled to form an open-air, drive-thru cinema experience too. And, in case you didn’t know, Children under 12 can go for free and that the Children’s fields contain the biggest children’s festival in the whole of Europe with loads to help entertain the little kids, maybe while the big kids are off getting into trouble!

For the lazy amongst you, or perhaps those travelling environmentally soundly in a coach, with limited luggage capacity there are some pre-erected tent options to investigate, that include several tent sizes in ‘Worthy View’ that are not too expensive. They are up a very steep hill though, which after a full day and night stomping around is an ask. It is very well set up though and on a well-drained plateaux overlooking the whole site, served by its own car park and has hot showers and VIP loos. And then there are some quite ridiculous (I only say that because I’m jealous) glamping options on offer such as big yurts and bell tents. Again some of these are a bit of a walk away. On-site there are also some native American style wigwams, which are spectacular and have neat fires in them. These are near the middle of the whole site, so a really good choice for those who don’t want to walk so much. Actually, talking of keeping walking to a minimum, we should spare a thought for those less able. Glastonbury really works hard to make the site inclusive and has many viewing platforms at all the main stages and a bus system to ferry those with disabilities around the site. Electric wheelchairs can be hired in advance and there are charging facilities in the disabled camping area.

Try not to plan too much – that being said it is great fun to visit a scheduling website in advance such as Clashfinder General and getting an idea of just how much music is actually on offer. You need to be warned though to be prepared for the pain of those clashes. For obvious reasons of safety, crowd control and general welfare the biggest acts tend to be on against each other. When you get there, it might feel like the clashes are aimed at you personally as it is often your favourite artists who seem to literally be on at the same time. You might be tempted to watch the start of one act and then try to race to catch the end of the other favourite. This can be done, and often the start times are staggered some, maybe to help this, but the best advice here is to just pick one and enjoy it to the max. Make sure you have been to bathroom, topped up with a couple of drinks, found your friends or arranged a suitable tree for them to find you by and are ready to go! One of the most beautiful sites is all the creatively inspired flags that people carry around to help their pals meet up with them in the crowds.

As you can see on the chart it usually takes about half an hour to wander between stages. Can be magnified lots if there is a big act just finishing on one of the bigger stages or it has been raining.. If you ask most folk who’ve been many times and we are of the same opinion, the less you plan and the less you anticipate seeing 23 of your favourite acts, the better your Glastonbury experience will be. One year I spent a day watching world-class Chinese acrobats, A BMX stunt comedian, The Hobbit film in an open-air cinema, A wild carnival trapeze act, a wonderfully burlesque lady playing 3 recorders at the same time, who told me salaciously that later that night an unusual performance of 4 recorders was to be witnessed somewhere up in the Theatre and Circus fields. We must always remember it’s a festival of performing arts and not just a music festival, but it really is, without doubt one of the very best music festivals in the whole world. Something to remember as you leave, expect some degree of heartbreak as you realise that Glastonbury has taken a little piece of your heart to keep there for itself. For those 5 days you lived with hardly a thought for rules and regulations, living in a magical land where you fall out of your tent and get entertained by the best entertainers in the world with no limits. That always leaves a mark. Luckily the BBC air lots of footage for you to relive your best moments. Of course, the really memorable things tend to be the quirky art installations or theatrical performers you encounter far away from the main stages, which are usually less covered by the mainstream media.

When you finally get there enjoy it with all your heart, be respectful of others (and yourself) and ‘leave no trace.’

Ian Clark

St Andrews Voices: 2019

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I do enjoy visiting the coastal pearl of Scotland that is Saint Andrews, for the city knows its culture well. I was thus in a premium state of anticipation to experience for the first time a festival there, Voices. Its artistic director, Sonia Stevenson, certainly knows what she’s doing. A loyal local lassie, being brought up in St Andrews & nurtured by its thriving & masterful music scene, by 2019 Sonia is using her national experience as a performer, teacher & events organiser – fuelled by her clear love of bringing people together – to formulate a quality program. For the 7th time in a row, she has assembl’d a venturous team of volunteers & performers to spread musical joy across the city for very freshening days. Reinventing itself each year, Voices showcases the versatility and beauty of the human voice in an amazingly broad spectrum of genres including opera, cabaret, lieder, folk, spoken word, choral, a cappella, early music, new music and more…

To experience the festival I intended to attend two evening’s worth of events – the Friday & the Saturday – & spend the weekend in the area as a bonus. The wife & I do enjoy supra-historical Fife, & booked ourselves at an air B&B in Newport-on-Tay. The view across ever the Silvery Tay reminds her of home – the Puget Sound, north of Seattle – & being only 20 minutes from St Andrews, & even less to Dundee’s TK Maxx, Newport seem’d perfect for all our needs.

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Janice Galloway enjoying the festival after delivering a special live presentation of her novel, Clare Schumann

Friday the 18th of October 2019 saw wild fits of weather lash the eastern coast of Scotland. It was absolutely brutal, but Voices is not an outdoor festival, peppering instead some of the best venues in St Andrews. Parking up near the abbey, we slipped into the splendid Byres Theatre for our first event, a recital by soprano, Carolyn Sampson, accompanied with flourishing panache by Joseph Middleton. Carolyn has an internationally acclaimed voice, performing roles for the English National Opera, the operas of Lille, Paris & Montpellier; & also appearing as a soloist across America with symphony orchestras from Boston to San Francisco. Middleton himself is a highly esteemed member of the living pantheon, being the first accompanist to be the recipient of the Young Artist Award at the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards.

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They are quite a team these two, with an invigorated history of combined performances & recordings behind them, including the fantastic Fleurs of 2015. It is from this sense of togetherness that a remarkable set of songs have sprung back to life in their hands,  lungs & vestments. It was quite an honour to be there, as this was the very public first performance ever of SONGS OF HEAVEN & EARTH. The next day, Saturaday 19th, they would be doing it all again at the Leeds leider.

A recital such as this is window into the drawing rooms of the Romantic era. Long before the electrification & mass reproduction of music, all of it had to be done live. Haydn, appreciating the talented amateur, creative his simple but effectively entertaining Italianate Arianna a Naxos. This provided the opening three numbers of the night, all conjured with precision & liveliness by Sampson & Middleton. Next up were four songs from Schoenberg’s Vier Lieder, followed by two from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn.

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Switching to French after the interval, we enjoyed a miniature procession through the sapphic Les Chanson de Bilitis, written by the Belgian poet, Pierre-Felix Louis. A series of 143 poems with strong lesbian themes, some were put to music by Debussy & Koechin,  & were presented to us with continued performative excellence. Finally we were given Four Last Songs, by Richard Strauss, followed by another Strauss piece, Morgen, as an encore.

As audience members, my wife & I adored Carolyn’s stoic & quasi-theatrical performance of these soliloquyised serenades, hardly taking our eyes off her apart from when Middleton ended each piece with a downturned floating hand, as if bouncing some invisible energy-sphere off the keys. All in all, witnessing the higher cerebrality of such trilinugal musical mastery was a scintillating start to our Voices experience, especially when I heard the vaulting etherality of Debussy’s Le Tombeau des Naides for the first time.

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In the queue for ‘Late Night with Robyn Stapleton’

After the performance, we had half-an-hour out in the tempest.  We had to get ourselves to the Hotel du Vin at the other end of St Andrews, for a very different but equally magnaminous musical performance. Robyn Stapleton is a lassie of the purest Celtic tradition; raven-headed, lilly-voiced, & a consummate teller of tales. Former BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year, she was accompanied by Mike Vass, a tender guitarist who never dominated, always allowing Stapleton’s singing to willow upon his silken waters.

Her talent lies in a consummate memory for word, phrase & pitch,  while the overall song selection was stunning, keeping well within the theme of the festival, which is to shine a spotlight on some of history’s most important women, such as Sundays opera Mary Queen of Scots, by Donizetti. Among the beautifully sung numbers we heard the broken token classic, Pretty Fair Maiden, Stapleton’s personal favorite, Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, Violet Jacob’s excuisite poem ‘Halloween‘ (music by Jim Reid) & a Burnsian ‘bothy ballad’ – I cant recall the writer or name – that got the crowd singing along for the first time.

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The performance was over only too soon, despite most of the crowd now getting quite delightedly on board with the choruses. We were like a boiled sweet that had finally sucked down into the honey-sweet centre. By the end I really understood the remit of the festival – I had heard two very special & different singers, but if you add the unique & idiosyncratic playing styles of Middleton & Vass then perhaps I had hear four Voices.

It had been a wonderful initiation into what Sonia Stevenson is trying to achive with her festival, & as I stepped out into the skin-stripping Viking blast, I was warm enough inside to get to the safety of the car heater without too much discomfort. On the drive back to Newport, my wife & I were breaking quite randomly, but in perfect synchonicity, with diddly-pom choruses based upon Robyn’s own brilliant selection – the pure pudding proof of a top night out!

The view from our place in Newport

Weatherwise, the next morning was a much less sanguine affair; clear skied & breezy, the quintessence of the east coast Autumn. While I followed the Rugby World Cup, my wife hit Dundee & its celebrated TK Maxx. ,Before we both knew it, daylight was rapidly running out of room in the sky, so we drove the 20 minutes back to St Andrews & began the rather serious hunt for a good restaurant. It was a great excuse to meander about the trident streets of St Andrews, & we eventually settl’d on an incredibly tasty Chinese called New Dynasty.

So to our second & final evening at Voices. It began with a tour of the dreamlike Luxumralis installations, guided by Sonia Stevenson herself, still effervescently sprightly considering she is mid-term with her second child. By her side was the equally charming Amanda Macleod, in her second year of assisting Sona, while the guest speaker was Dutch astrophysicist Anne-Marie Weijmans. The tour began in the Zest Cafe, where for 20 minutes or so we were regaled with a scientific introduction to the light-show we were about to see.

Sonia Stevenson centre, Amanda near right, Anne-Marie just behind Sonia

Luxmaralis are currently taking a light & music spectacular into cathedrals & churches across the land. It was bordeline beatific to experience a papal score & fabulous 3D images swirling into every physical & metaphysical crevice of St Andrews Holy Trinity. We British may be a much more agnostic bunch these days, but if anyone would have seen such a ‘miraculous’ show even 150 years ago, they would have downed tools & immediately joined some kind of religious house.

Spiralling through time on a 20 minute loop throughout Voices, of its installation in the festival, Luxmaralis mastermind Peter Walker told the Mumble; We have been working for around 12 months with the festival director, looking at the subject of Space and the cosmos and considering how this works not only as an artwork but also bringing in a concert element with a collaborative choir which, although we have worked with choirs before, is in this case directly linked to the artwork. The Space link comes from the Lunar landing anniversary, although its not the only reason – being in a church reanimating the space and the architecture and creating a different visual experience for the festival was also key (read the full Interview).

Towards the end of the sequence, into the church stepped 4 members of festival’s ensemble in residnce, the Gesualdo Six. They were singing some utterly divine Latin homily, reinforcing once more the exploration of the capabilities of the Human Voice that is the  eclectic & entertaining theme of Voices. This sonic wonder was rapidly followed by the arrival of spacecraft projected onto the Holy Trinity masonry & its illuminated glass, the piece’s proper pinnacle & one which all othe best of performance art needs to possess.

After our 20 minutes, a portion of the tour group followed Amanda out into the St Andrews night, for the relatively short walk to a wee gem of a church, All Saints, & its own portion of the Luxmaralis experience. This instigated a less epic, but equally as intense severing of the consciousness from the self, & once more I drifted into quasi-spiritual thought.

We’re gonna be late,” whispered my wife, snapping me into full action for our final show of our Voices experience, back where we started at the Byres. This was to be David McAlmont, famous from his collaboration with Suede’s Bernard Butler, which turned out be a startlingly pleasurable show in which he sang some of the best songs by  Billie Holiday.  The ultimate ariel blueswoman, she was an enigmatic, hard-partying, bisexual, junkie black jazz singer who the shoved the Jim Crow laws where the pale-visag’d sun doesn’t shine, via the magic of her singing.  Her ability to conjure a thrilling atmosphere was replicated with some success by McAlmont & his immaculate band. Their set consisted of 14 songs, inbetween which McAlmont & his pianist, Alex Webb, told the fascinating story of Billie Holiday’s rise & fall drawn directly from Holiday’s autobiography,  Lady Sings the Blues.

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Through songs such as ‘I Cover the Waterfront‘ & ‘Fine & Mellow,’ McAlmont gave a subtle but refined performance, allowing me to enjoy the watching of each member of the band as they strutted their pristeen stuff – Sophie Aloway’s drumming was especially entrancing. I thoroughly loved the stage-space, which helped my mind to focus on each member of the ensemble, tho’ my wife disagreed & said she’d have preferred a more distill’d version in a jazz bar or something. I reminded her that the show was meant to be emulating Billie Holiday’s famous second, sold-out comeback show at the rather large Carnegie Hall in 1956.

We both agreed to both agree & disagree, & were soon enough happily singing some of the splendid songs we’d just heard on our drive back to Newport, just like we did the previous evening. For two nights in a row the Voices conjured by Sonia Stevenson, her team & the superb performers were flying flowing through our brain channels like naiads, & we look forward already to what ‘soup of the day‘ selection of Voices will be pirouetting about St Andrews next Autumn.

Damian Beeson Bullen

Reminisce: 2019

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Sherdley Park, St Helens
Saturday 7th september, 2019

Due to work commitments we were a bit late arriving but after an easy cruise down the M6 we rocked up at 7.30. A couple of helpful security guys escorted us to the main entrance only to find that unfortunately the production box office was at the other side, another guard took us to the right place. Roddy was apparently a kick boxing champ and after we saw him in action on his phone I relaxed, to be fair I’ve never felt safer. A few early casualties were being seen to by what looked like an experienced and effective set of first aiders.

69974078_377711886255432_629451478980886528_n.jpgAfter processing we headed to the Love House Arena full of optimism. For once I was in the demographic as the Festival was overtly a celebration of the 90’s dance scene. Jon Pleased Wimmin was just finishing his set with some bangers, we were starting to feel very at home so we headed out and about to find the Judgement Arena. Along the way we managed to trip over a very nice bar serving proper cocktails. Suitably fortified with industrial strength gin and tonic we found our destination where surprisingly Micky Slim was also filling the floor with a set of 90’s classics, are you starting to spot a theme? I can’t remember what the fuck he actually played but just type 90’s rave classics into your search engine, you’ll get the idea.

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Judge Jules was worth the entry and the drive all by himself, here’s one of the old timers who’s still smashing it everywhere he goes. One of the old school who’s kept it real over the decades he didn’t disappoint and I could have gone home happy after his set. This was lucky because the whole thing was set to shut down at 11.

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My companions think we saw the live set of Tricia McTeague but personally I can’t remember, I’m sure it was excellent though. She’s sung with all the greats over the years and now me, her life is complete. Love Inc got the main stage crowd singing along and bouncing, hard to tell with their scouse accents but I think they got the words right. Lee Butler and Sosumi’s sets looked absolutely amazing, the organisers must have spent a fortune on visual effects, no wonder it was £85 a ticket what with all the security and everything.

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If you can remember the 90’s you weren’t there but I’m pretty sure I saw Anton Powers and he was brilliant. Mike Lewis was great and finally I found what I was looking for where the streets have no name. 3-0 ya beauty! In the end everyone plays drum and bass. Banging out Danny Byrd’s Ill Behaviour. With a great MC. I just don’t know who is was! When everything started shutting down we were allowed a go on the shows for £5 and the guy kept it going for ages but with no music. Eleven!!!! Then I had a massive whitey which prevented me from attending the after parties.

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I know this is meant to be a review of Reminisce but actually I had a much better time at the Urban Flava 2019 party in Dundee with my good friend The General a Mains Castle, three floors of banging tunes from the attic to the garden. Easy days boys.

Words: Graeme ‘Steely’ Steel
Photography: Mark ‘Parky’ Parker

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Lindisfarne (2019)

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Aug 29th -Sept 1st, 2019
just before Holy Island


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MARK’S LINDISFARNE

The perfect end to the summer they pitched this one to me! Summer over! Some people where saying it never even started but I personally had the best summer ever, so I was really looking forward to rounding things up nicely and approached Lindisfarne with an open mind and a happy heart. It is not the biggest festival by any means, but festivals are not always about size and the bands and DJ’s that you see to me it’s about catching up with old and new friends having a giggle and being free. Lindisfarne gave us the perfect opportunity to do this in an excellent setting with stunning views.

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When we entered the festival, we were greeted by a steward who pointed us to our campsite / caravan site. It is basically split with the motorhomes and caravans to the right as you enter the site ad the actual camping site was further on straight ahead of where you come in. The full site is a decent size with the main area being partially enclosed by both campsites’ ad the sea at the back of it. The main arena had one official entry point where security where searching bags for alcohol as people entered but there was no police presence at all which I found very refreshing. Everyone governed themselves, I don’t know if it was because there were a lot more people in the 30plus age group or everyone was nicer but apart from the odd idiot wondering the campsite for the wrong reason’s way past their bedtime I did not see any other at all!

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The main arena had two large big-top circus type tents which the majority of the headliners played in. That was rather lucky as one of our Favourite bands Col. Mustard ad the Dijon 5 had to be moved last minute as the main tent had some sort of rip in it which meant they had to accommodate all their fans in the smaller tent. This meant that a number of the fans where left outside but the ‘Guys’ where having none of that and in a ‘flash of mustard’ asked everyone to shift along a wee bit when they sang their classic
‘Cross the road’ and got everyone in the tent so that no one was disappointed!

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There were lots of great acts over the weekend and although a little strange that it finished on the Saturday rather than the Sunday they were fine with us hanging around and having our own wee mini festival at the campsite, I heard the last people to leave where actually on Monday morning! My personal favourites where I Delta city as I was born to rave and there was plenty of room so I got to ‘cut some fine air’ as I lost myself to the beats. I was gutted I missed Sharon Common on the Friday afternoon I heard her set was banging! I did however manage to catch one of the God Father’s of Rave DJ Slipmatt who blew my mind! Dutty Mooshine big band where punching well above their weight with a stand in singer who stole the show! Half the band looked like they were in the que for the job centre as she sang her heart out! SL2 lasted out all the old favourites and worked the crowd into a frenzy in the dance tent which was about half the size of the two main tents.

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There were lots going on at Lindisfarne with loads of smaller venues dotted around with plenty of food stalls ad a fair number of toilets for everyone to use. I never really seen any que’s apart from people waiting to see the Col. & The mustards but that was understandable. I only caught the start of Ocean Colour Scene as I recently saw them at the Usherhall where they were great. Overall I had a excellent time did everything I hoped to do; caught up with friends and family! Lindisfarne certainly delivered on it’s promise; the perfect end to the summer. Thank you Lindisfarne Onelove!


 

GRAEME’S LINDISFARNE

Lindisfarne-Festival-2019-Logo-Square.jpgA large if rather featureless windswept site somewhat saved by stunning sea views greets you as you pull up. Everything one would usually expect is on hand in a small and neatly laid out festival. Much use is made of large marquees to cover all the main stages so one is kept warm and dry while jigging around like a loon. Unusually in this day and age it took me a while to find a decent coffee vendor but other than that the food and beverage on offer was more than adequate.

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Lindisfarne is unusual in that dogs are allowed and children under 18 are not, a fair exchange I’d say! The dog friendly nature passed off without problems, no barking dogs keeping the camp site up all night, just lots of friendly dogs for loved up punters to spoil and cuddle. The team that run the festival seem relaxed and competent, their relationship with the public based entirely on ensuring everyone has a good time. If I had to pick a disappointment I’d say water was a bit hard to come by but outside that everything seemed to run smoothly.

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DJ Yoda finished things off on the main stage on Thursday night, a true showman he was on fine form, delivering his masterclass with panache and style. As with many of these turntablists I sometimes found myself wishing he’d let the tunes run a little but his skills are undeniable and he was a pleasure to watch. Dutty Moonshine were a big raucous jump up and down wall of sound (sound was good all weekend except perhaps on Thursday night when presumably on purpose everything seemed a bit quiet). I love this band and seeing them in more intimate surroundings just made me fall in love with them even more. They are one of the (if not THE) best live bands around right now and just seem to be getting better. Absolute belter.

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Gentlemens Dub Club are another band that are going from strength to strength and smoothly took over where Dutty left off. All the old favourites and a couple of new tunes had the crowd singing and skanking in fine style.


Reviewers: Mark Parker & Graeme Steel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Party At The Palace: 2019

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Linlithgow
10-11 August


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DAMO’S FRIDAY

This year’s trip to PPP was a split affair. I took Saturday, while Raymond Speedie did the Sunday. I clearly got the better day, tho’, it was absolutley lashing it down on the Sunday. At the last minute, Raymond said he wanted to come as well on the Saturday so he could see Midge Ure sing Vienna – which was extremely fortunate as this was the first full song we heard when we got there. Midge Ure looked & sound amazing, a Knights Chevalier in full musical regalia. I love Party in the Palace – a great setting, & a really lovely, warm, friendly crowd. Its quite an institution thesed days & the bands are always top notch. Enter KT Tunstall.

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I’d never seen her play before, but she’s so girl next door, proper funny, with a lady bass player from Livingstone. Another lady completed the trio on drums, & off the galloped through a smashing set. There was a bit of a lightning storm kicking off, so it was a while before the Charlatans got to stage, but when they finally did, & the world was growing darker, & the amazing visuals set up by PATP grew brighter, we all had such a goof time dancing to the chief, Tim Burgess, & his fabulous band. My companion Raymond had also had a great time, relieved of reviewing purposes he was all set up for the Sunday.

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RAYMONDO’S SUNDAY

As Saturday passed into Sunday so changed the weather. The thunder and lighting had moved on leaving a grey, wet, damp afternoon in its place. Muddy wellies, bright ponchos and more umbrellas than fold-out chairs, the party was still on. Like hot chocolate pouring from a saucepan the mud rivers were soon filling the fields but with not a dampened spirit to be found the Palace punters danced under the rain drops with smiles on their faces. Getting around was not going to be an easy job, but music was why we were here and with a Sunday line up featuring Tom Mcguire and the Brassholes, Yoko Pwono, Fat Cops, The Shackles and Craig Charles DJ, it was a no-brainer to be there. As it poured non stop, the water and the earth thickened around your feet like a hot fudge pudding, we were given that unique feeling that is only found at Scottish Festivals. If you can’t change it, just be part of it !!
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With early evening fast approaching as were the long awaited arrival of Huey Morgan and his Fun Lovin Criminals. This New York outfit with their rock, blues, jazz, R&B funky sound were a certain crowd puller at Party at the Palace this year. With that destinctive sound and cheeky character of front man Huey Morgan and Frank Benbini and Brian Leiser glazing us with their drums and keys it was not long before King of New York, Scooby Snacks and Barry White were released for our enjoyment. Huey praised the drenched Scottish crowd and proclaimed were are the best crazy people to have walked this earth and is always a joy to play in Scotland. The very ironically named Wet Wet Wet were next to paddle onto the stage and as mentioned between songs this was the first time in 35 years that it had rained at a Wet Wet Wet concert. Well, there had to be a first time, so why not today!!  Banging out hit after hit like Love is All Around, Sweet Little Mystery and Good Night Girl, the newly shaped and looking band did us proud, and looking around at all the wee happy faces, memories were reborn. As time passed so did the clouds. Deacon Blue took to the stage to a thunderess roar making for a good finale to the 2019 Party at the Palace.  Despite the delays, the lightning, the rain, the mud and the grey skies, Deacon Blue were here to please. Chocolate Girl, Real Gone Kid, Dignity and a catalogue of hits were soon filling the arena. This is why PITP works… its a throw back to times passed and brings forth those warm memories that linger in our past and just need to be rekindled every now and then, through music.
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