Haddstock 2017



Various Venues

24th June



A few years ago now, about a decade, I remember seeing Riley Briggs arriving back on London Road, Edinburgh, guitar slung over his shoulders, fresh from playing South by South West festival in Austin, Texas. His band, Aberfeldy, were sugar coating country music with Celtic crystals & the final result was something both swaggeringly listenable & imminently sellable. Then the band fell by the wayside at the end of the noughties until suddenly they turned up on the bill of Haddstock 2017, a one-day music festival spread throughout ten venues in the capital market town of East Lothian, Haddington. The brainchild of Rebecca Brady, she’d leapt off the deep end into a pool of confident musical frolickry, & pulled the whole thing off with aplomb.  A resident of Haddington myself, I was rather surprised to witness Haylee G’s ‘Devils in Skirts’ (read interview here) in procession through town to their gig at Jo’s Kitchen, wearing animal masks & playing the Proclaimer’s ‘500 Miles.’ The faces on the folk at the bus stop were class. A couple of hours later, while nipping out for a Chinese, I saw Aberfeldy’s Riley & his bass-player stalking through town on what was probably some very important rock n roll business, & I’m like, this is real, this is actually happening, I’d best tell the wife to get changed, we’re going out.


The Banjo Lounge 4

By evening me & the wife were ready to rave, & arriving at the Town House, the festival’s main event was well under way. It was all taking place in the Georgian assembly rooms, built for music & dancing, where in the balcony above the polished floorboards a chamber orchestra would once play. These days the band has dropped to eye-level, & the sounds are amplified through amps & speakers, & thus the high-octane energy of ‘The Banjo Lounge 4’ was ripping into our ears & tearing a drag-strip down our spines to our feet, which were moving in perfect synchronicity to the band’s ridiculously bouncy versions of songs we moderns love to love. I Feel Love, Song 2, Viva Las Vegas, I’m Sexy & I know it… you get the picture, all of which were given an interpretive banjo twang which got us all hopping about on invisible pogo-sticks.


Thistle Hurt

Me & the wife then thought, we are at a festival, supposedly, so lets check it out, & took a little amble through Haddington centre to the Railway, whose upstairs function suite was playing host to a pumpin’ band, straight from the eighties halycon rock era of Heart, Stevie Nicks & Fleetwood Mac; whose two female vocalists tossed up a harmonious layer of snowy vocals onto the mountainous rock-craft of their band. Yes, we were happy we went along to see Thistle Hurt.


Returning to the Town House, Aberfeldy’s rolling-through-the-countryside-on-a-sunny-day, melodically ambient pop was lighting up the stage, with Riley being joined up front by Chris Bradley to deliver a classic stream of their hits. One-by-one we noticed that people were singing along to them with furious passion & lip-synch accuracy, & it slowly dawned on the wife that Riley was some kind of Biblical patriarch with all his tribe out to listen to him preach. His mother, brother, father, daughter, grandma & great-aunt were at least some of the family in the room, who mixed with the local contingent into a highly appreciative & – once the disco encores kicked into place – groovetastic audience.


‘The response from the acts & the public & the venues for this inaugural Haddstock has been amazing,’ said Rebecca, who knew her headliners personally & had instigated the coup to get them reformed for the night. Hopefully Aberfeldy have a taste for it again, & with a decade of life experience in the bank, maybe a few new cracking numbers waiting to be crafted into life.

Reviewer : Damo Beeson Bullen

Paisley Spree Festival : Bill Announced



Frightened Rabbit and RSNO among headliners for Paisley’s Spree festival

The bill has been announced for Paisley’s Spree festival – featuring a one-off collaboration between Scottish indie act Frightened Rabbit and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Paisley Abbey.

The festival of music, comedy, theatre and more – which will take over the town centre between 13 and 22 October – is now in its sixth year and is part of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

Frightened Rabbit will be the latest in a line of Scottish bands to team up with the orchestra in the stunning setting of the 850-year-old Abbey on 17 October for a show which has been a highlight of previous Sprees.

Much of the action will take place in a specially-erected Spiegeltent in the town centre, which will host trad acts Dougie MacLean and Canada’s De Temps Antan(18 Oct), BreabachKris Drever and Talisk (20 Oct), plus Sharon Shannon and Fara(15 Oct).

Paisley Arts Centre will welcome Emma Pollock and RM Hubbert (15 Oct) and a gathering of artists from the Lost Map record label, curated by The Pictish Trail (22 Oct).

The festival will have a strong international feel with an Americana night boasting Boston’s Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards, and opened by England’s Yola Carter, named UK Artist of the Year at the 2017 American Music Association UK Awards.

Specially-commissioned shows in support of Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid include:

– an opening night concert where three Scottish acts – Ross AinslieBlue Rose Codeand Angus Lyon – and from India – Smita BellurAsin Khan Langa and Sawai Khan – weave together traditional music from both countries. The same show will also open the prestigious Rajastan International Folk Festival a week before;

– a show celebrating Paisley’s untold story featuring and curated by acclaimed songwriter James Grant;

– a literary celebration at a Banks Supper night inspired by Iain Banks’ novel Espedair Street, about a rock band from the town, featuring award-winning author Alan Bissett;


Alan Bisset

Tickets for all shows will be available from thespree.co.uk from 9am on Wednesday 21 June.


The Spree will also feature two comedy nights in conjunction with the Gilded Balloon, as well as film events and songwriting workshops, while unsigned musical talent will be given a showcase through the nightly Danny Kyle Open Stage run by Celtic Music Radio.

The festival sees the return of the ever-popular ModStuff celebration of all things Mod run by LNP Promotions – headlined by The Style Councillors and taking over The Spiegeltent on the final Saturday.

Paisley Town Hall will also host award-winning disabled choreographer Marc Brew’s BREWBAND, fusing together indie-rock music and dance.

There will be plenty for kids too, with the National Theatre of Scotland bringing their Rocket Post show to town, fresh from a run at the Edinburgh Fringe, while theBig Telly Theatre Company present Operation Paisley – Alien Pursuit, an interactive, town-wide treasure hunt for kids.

A full programme of free children’s shows taking place over the October school holidays is still to be announced.

The Spree is run by Renfrewshire Council and programmed by Active Events.

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “The Spree festival is the one of the flagship dates on Paisley’s current events calendar and has gone from strength to strength over the years.

“In the year we are bidding to be UK City of Culture 2021 it is fitting the Spree bill manages at once to be outward-looking and internationally-flavoured, yet also unmistakeably Paisley – showcasing the town’s unique story and giving a platform to some of our fantastic local talent.

“The event again shows Paisley’s ability to host large-scale events featuring some of Scotland’s finest talent, and will attract fans from throughout the country to our unique town centre venues.”

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture is taking place as part of a wider push to transform the town’s future using the town’s unique heritage and cultural story and was lodged with the UK government in April, with a decision expected over which places make the shortlist this summer.

An Interview with Alan Govan



photo of alan

Hello Alan, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m a borders lad who has been living in Glasgow for the last 14 years

So you are the festival director for Mugstock, where does your love of music spring from?
I can’t stand music personally, which is why I decided to organise a festival. It’s a fail safe way of ensuring you never have to stand and watch more than a few minutes of any band before finding a handy excuse to go and do something fun, like look at a spreadsheet, or stare at some fencing 🙂

You have always had a solid reputation for putting on gigs & concerts – what propelled you to start off in this direction in the first place?
Before I cultivated my deeply ingrained hatred of music I used to play in bands in the Scottish Borders. Back in the day as an underage musician the only way of getting gigs was to put gigs on yourself. So my band Tourist Information accidentally became a promoter. We used to hire village halls from unsuspecting committees, blag and borrow equipment, cadge lifts from parents and then unleash hoards of hormone infused teenagers. We rarely got to use the same hall twice, but we learned a lot about promotions. The summer before I moved to Glasgow I got a job for 3 months running a music project. I was asked to do something to promote youth music in the borders, so I organised a one day free festival in the woods called JamFest. I had no idea what I was doing but somehow pulled it off.

In 2012 you project managed “The Big Concert”, an 8,000 capacity televised outdoor orchestral concert featuring the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra which launched the London 2012 Olympic Festival. Can you tell us about the experience?
It was pretty amazing, and very surreal. I was working for the charity Sistema Scotland at the time. They do life changing work teaching music to young people from communities which have historically tended to get the short end of the stick. With the Olympics coming up we had this crazy opportunity to put on a massive gig and bring 200 of the world’s finest musicians to play side by side with the community’s young people. The whole thing took place on a gap site in the community of Raploch Stirling. The stage we hired was the same one they use as the 2nd biggest stage at Glastonbury. I got to work alongside some fantastically experienced events professionals, and I learned a great deal. It’s what gave me the confidence to have a go at making a festival from scratch. There’s some clips of it here: 


So Mugstock is entering its third year, when did the initial idea come to you?
It must have been around about 2010. My wife and I had a wee phase of trying to find new castles visit, and that’s how we’d discovered Mugdock Country Park, which has 2 fine specimens. It took us about 4 visits to find the 2nd one (I still get lost in the park to this day – it’s pretty big), and so we had become regulars. For as long as I can remember I’d had a wee background programme running in my mind which analysed land in terms of potential suitability for an imaginary music festival that I might organise one day. I could clearly picture this beautiful place lit up and animated with festival goers and music, and I remember saying “If we organised a festival here it would have to be called MugStock”. It took another 4 or 5 years before I decided to actually do it, but the thought never really left me from that moment on.

What have you learnt from the first two years which you will be applying to this year’s festival?
I feel like we’re gradually getting a bit better year on year – not just in terms of the quality of the event, but in terms of how we go about organising it. We’ve developed wee systems and processes so that we’re not always having to reinvent the wheel every year. It’s very gratifying to be able to open the 60 page event plan which took weeks to write, update a couple of bits and be done. Especially as we are all volunteers we simply don’t have time to waste so its about making the most of every minute, and that all comes down to organisation. The spreadsheet is our most important tool. Beyond the organisation side of things we now know things which we had previously hoped or suspected: that there are an increasing number of lovely people who recognise that Mugdock Country Park is a superb place for a festival, and that we are creating a very special wee community.

Can you describe your relationship with the owners of Mugdock Park?
I’m one of them, and so are you! Mugdock is a public park so it’s yours and mine as much as anyone else’s. The park is managed by a joint committee of councillors and officials from Stirling and East Dunbartonshire Councils. They like the fact that MugStock is not for profit and community led, and the team there have been so helpful and supportive. They do a terrific job of looking after this amazing public resource, and we love working with them.

Martin J Windebank - Mugstock 2016-16.jpg

To those who have never been to Mugstock, can you describe the experience in a simple paragraph?
You climb out of your tent in front of a castle and go for a stroll. You are surrounded by trees, smiling people and happy dogs. Armed with a pint of Fruit Cider or Real Ale, or a glass of Prosecco you walk contentedly between 6 stages, discovering new talented musicians who move you emotionally or physically. The atmosphere is mellow and peaceful. Love is in the air. No-one is taking themselves too seriously. You are close to home but a million miles away from anything as mundane as reality. MugStock Loves You…

What exciting things have you got in store for us this year?
I am completely psyched that one of my favourite bands from back in the day The Supernaturals are joining us on Saturday 29th July. They sound as good as they did in the 90s and haven’t played anywhere nearby for something like 12 years. They are local to the area so there’s a lot of excitement about their set. I’m also really chuffed to have a band called Hypnoblue who are all the way from Russia. It’s beautifully crafted uplifting music. We also have Tibetan inspired and very interesting sounding band BlackMoon1348. They have been collaborating with a group of monks from Tibet sampling their chants and horns. Believe it or not the monks were supposed to be coming too, but they’ve been booked to perform for the Dalai Lama that weekend instead! So we’ll have to content ourselves with samples, but it’s definitely going to be memorable. We’ve also been making our facilities a bit more swanky this year. Holistic centre Tir Na Nog will be running a spa, and there will be showers and a steam room too. We are also introducing new venue The Butterfly Stage. These will all be in the same spot near the main campsite, along with a camp fire, creating the chilled out heart of the festival.

What does Alan Govan for the rest of the year?
I organise MugStock as a volunteer. The rest of the time I work as General Manger of Toonspeak, a charity involving young people in creative projects, mostly through theatre. It’s a great organisation which is run by a committee the majority of whom are young people. It’s very inspiring to be a part of. Keep your eyes peeled – they might make an appearance this year performing excerpts from their new musical…

Eden 2017


Eden Festival
Raheills, nr. Moffat
8th – 11th June 2017


Teri’s Friday

The sun tried in vain to crack through the clouds as large raindrops splashed on the Tinky minibus windscreen as we rambled and bumped along the rolling Scottish countryside on our way to Moffat. Nestled amongst the trees alongside a picturesque river deep in the Raehills is the beautiful location of this outstanding boutique festival, one of Scotland’s proudest and most stunning.

We raced through the mud to the Furry Chillum tent just in time to catch the Tinky Disco perform an energetic and tight early evening set to an exuberant and bouncing crowd, a perfect treat to kick start Friday night festivities, performing old classics alongside some quality new material, and yet again proving never to disappoint.

well happy

The Well Happy Band

The crew pitched up their weekend HQ on a beautiful spot overlooking the festival below and quickly got into the swing of things, fresh faced and excited to be checking out the offerings of this particular festival. We wandered back down through the festival, slipping and sliding through the swampy mud like a bunch of big kids, all the while absorbing the flavours, colours and sounds on offer, in this visual and oral rainbow of delights.


There was a seemingly endless offering of food stalls to tantalise every hungry tastebud, with old favourites such as Mutleys Crepes and Bangin Beans to Asian fare and Greek street-food amongst the plethora of choices. Alongside these lay a multitude of clothes stalls catering for every hippy’s wardrobe, and enthral the glitteriest of disco diva. Further still, spilling down the muddy passage was an eclectic choice of crafts and arts, such as an interesting and very popular stone-masonry workshop, a hoola hoop tent, and group tarot card readings. They thoughtfully even provided a convenience store for all those last minute items that were forgotten in the rush to get there.

Liquid refreshments were bountiful, supplied by festival veterans Williams Brother’s Brewery, with the sweeter tastebud opting for Thistley Cross, whose strawberry and ginger ciders were a particular personal favourite, alongside a heavenly and reasonably priced cocktail bar.

Smug and happy at being spoilt for choice I spent some time wandering around, absorbing it in all its splendour whilst pouring over the weekend’s lineup, divided up over 11 stages, and conveniently summarised on the side of the reuseable plastic pints.


I made my way to Rabbie’s Tavern to watch Steel Valley Saints at 9.30pm. This is a North Lanarkshire band who describe themselves as “Clyde Valley roots with gypsy elegance”. The bluesy- soulful vocals were breath-taking, and I especially loved the acapella with deep impressive harmonies. The tent warmed up with their upbeat, dirty vocals and the energy continued to flow and build through the tartan taverna. They burst out a crowd favourite “What Is This” which caused an excited uproar and only enhanced the Friday night bounce.

By 10pm, there was a bangin’ jam session alive and kicking around the camp fire, complete with Bodhrans, Tingsha Bells and Djembes, providing a rather eclectic but very enthusiastic cheer. Kilted highlanders danced around the flames giving a smidgen of ironic Scottish tribalism to the party.

Heading back to Rabbie’s Tavern, I caught the end of an acoustic set by Gordy Duncan Jr, of Girobabies, and there was an unforgettable moment when a girl in the audience jumped onstage to sing a duet of Blueberry Hill near the close of his set, what an incredible moment, it was absolutely stunning and sent shivers up a multitude of backs as jaws dropped… the guitar playing, the harmonies, the soulful voices… absolutely smashing.


Then the main stage filled up quickly for Friday night’s headliners Alabama 3 who didn’t fail to impress and entertain with their blinding set played out spectacularly to an enthusiastic audience, enhanced by a spectacular fire and light display around the stage. This psychedelic country dub band burst full of festival spirit as they bounced, high energy throughout their classics as the crowd cheered and danced along. A great band for a headliner indeed.



Spud’s Eden (part 1)

After a very dry few months in Scotland the upcoming Eden Festival was the much talked about festival of the year. Waiting with anticipation and excitement, we were only days away from the Eden opening its gates to all the Edenians. Unfortunately, the heavens decided to open their gates as well. With many a day of constant rain, there was a possibility of the madness at Eden turning into the Mudness of Eden. This was very apparent when arriving on site. With 1000″s off revelers feet stomping away to music and through roads throughout the festival being in continuous use, the mud soup , that at times looked like pools of Hot Chocolate was soon to to everywhere. The incredible thing was, that it did not deter people from doing what they came here to do. Have a festival !!! The same joy, happiness and good vibe was still in abundance. We all endured but never gave up, in true Eden spirit we all continued like it was a hot summers day.


With so many diverse bands, acts and entertainment on offer , Eden never fails to deliver. With acts such as Diddley Squat, Cat Power, Alabama 3, Miracle Glass Company, Nawapyiko, Alice Russell, Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5, The Langan Band and the unforgetable Boney M performing over 3 nights was just the tip of the ice berg . With so much more going on under the canopies of Rabbies Tavern, The Furry Chillium Tent, The Lost Disco, Ghilli Dhu tents we were spoiled for choice. Having to pick and choose the different acts between the Mumbles, we set out to catch up with as many off the acts as we could. Rushing from tent to tent via a river of fun mud I finally got to witness the awesomeness that is Alabama 3. Founded in Brixton London in 1995. Alabama 3 have fused together Rock, Blues, Electronic, Country , Spoken Words with a twist of Gospel to create this very unique sound. They presented themselves well and delivered to us the magic that they are renowned for. Even the trickles of rain and stuck in the mud feet could not dampen this moment, as i look around and saw the crowd going balistic it puts a smile on my face. Its always a joy to witness so much togetherness. Thankfully we have events like Eden that allow us all to experience this together…


Earlier in the day / evening I caught up with Tinky Disco at The Furry Chillum Tent, another Edinburgh band that is climbing the musical ladder at Eden, performing again this year the band had knocked it up a notch since last year and were kicking ass with there funky disco dance tunes. Some well written and well put together songs that had everyone up and strutting their moves. Tom Spirals and his Ska Ya Man outfit are just powering through each year and gathering so much positive feedback that I expected nothing more than what we got, excellence !!!! Another journey through the wonderful world of Ska Ya Man. Day time activities are a major part of Eden Festival, especially for the kids and parents. Workshops, games, entertainment and a huge amount of free mud to run around in I am sure was a kids idea of heaven.



Teri’s Saturday

The rain poured on throughout the night and by Saturday afternoon it was becoming increasingly more difficult to navigate throughout the site – perhaps some straw bales and grates would have been a good idea to try to stave off the ever rising swamp. A few wellies and tents were certainly lost in the sludge. However the heavy rains failed to have any real impact on the high spirits of the happy campers who continued to party on and dance throughout the weekend.


Tucking into a White Russian lunch, I slowly blew away the previous night’s cobwebs whilst listening on to festival special guest Mr Motivator, despite not quite having enough energy to participate in his interactive show. I then carried on to stumble upon a real treat, the soft haunting and melancholic vocals of Emma Gillespie and her trio bluegrass band whose enigmatic fiddle and soft vocals belted out a superb cover of Spooky. Excellent harmonies and softly soulful, they sounded spectacular, and finished with a cracking song about a mouse, check it out!

The Well Happy Band lived up to their namesake and spilled out a cheerful oral smile to a full tent of muddy, messy and high spirited revellers who jumped around to the perfect vibe, providing a backing stomp – the band from Paisley, who are affiliated to the Yellow Movement of the Dijon tribe, describe their music style as simply ‘Happy’, burst out a jivey, funky and upbeat set.


Back to the Chillum tent, I stumbled by surprise upon one of my personal highlights of the weekend – a refreshing, young and original, and extremely talented 7 piece band called Harry and the Hendersons. The band describe themselves as progressive frog rock, and with a plethora of musical instruments and dream-like harmonies which would rival the beach boys, beautifully composed lyrics and an ooze of talent, charisma and energy, this is definitely a band to watch. With the lead singer reminiscent of a young Curt Cobain, sitting cross legged on the floor, bountiful of charisma and oozing an incredible relaxed vibe, he looked utterly unfazed, surrounded by his bandmates sporting long flowing 60s locks, yeah, these guys really have nailed it. They absolutely smashed a cover of The Beatles classic “with little help from my friends”, splashing an entirely sunshine moment over the entire festival.

I managed to grab a few minutes backstage with vocalist Vincent Deghan, after their gig:

Me: That was one of the highlights of my weekend, well done guys, superb raw talent. So are you Harry by any chance?

Vincent: No… but there is a Harry! (looking round for the elusive namesake)

Me: So where are you from? / How long have you been together?

V: We formed in 2012, we’ve been going about 5 years now, we’re mostly all from Glasgow and are based there.

Me: You played a cracking song, Matchstick Men, and mentioned this is your new single?

V: Yes, it’s our first single and it will be out next week.

Me: And any albums to follow?

V: Yes, our first album will be out later in the year, we’ll be posting details once it’s ready, watch this space, we’re very excited about it.

Me: Are you currently signed to a label?

V: Not as yet, it’s been a lot of work doing it ourselves but we’re getting there and it’s going well!

Me: Who would you say were your musical influences?

V: I’d say we have lots of influences, jazz, blues, folk – all of us write songs for the band, and each of us are influenced by different styles and artists from Joni Mitchell to Frank Zappa.

Me: So where can we see you next?

V: We are playing Butefest & Clam Jam festival, amongst others.

Me: Nice one, I’ll look out for you, it was a pleasure to hear!


Catch the guys at McSorleys in Glasgow, 17th June. The Thunderdome tent saw a plethora of talent throughout the weekend, from the bangin tunes of the She-Bang Rave Unit on Saturday night, to the Samedia legend Chris Knight playing very funky soul / electro-swing set on Sunday night, and the fantastically talented Rebecca Vasmant spinning her choiciest tunes, all within the settings of haystacks and boxing rings, quite superb.





Spud’s Eden (part 2)

As the odd cloud parted and a glimpse of blue sky appeared a great cheer came over the compound and revelers thanked the heavens. Passing through multi coloured punters, fresh from the annual Eden paint fight the smell of tempting foods filled the air and then I slipped on felt the mud soup run up my arm but thankfully my beer was intact, good times. Hearing from a distance the sound of Miracle Glass Company starting their set I was compelled to join in. A musical throw back, this bands has a 60s and 70s rocky pyschedelic feel to them. With their new single Trouble doing well they through out a tight and well executed set of bouncing tunes, a great treat for all who fought off the rain. I then played witness to “Alice Russell and her big hearted band. Finding her feet in Gospel music, this daughter of a organist has become a renowned soul singer in her own right. With her well polished band and her deep soulful voice, the muddy blues were soon lifted up and put to one side as the show on offer was marvelled at by a well happy crowd. Clean riffs, crisp guitar chords and smooth lyrics found their to everyones soulful side. A pure pleasure enjoyed by all….


GIRLWith Samedia Shebeen , Rebecca Vasmant, DJ Divine, Shakti Mamma Disco and Mungo”s Hi Fi spreading their mixture of Dance, Latino, Funk, Disco and Dub there were sure to be some sore wet feet over the further coming days. Sheltering in Rabbies Tavern on Sunday evening i was transfixed by a lovely looking group of young musicains , who turned out to be”Eriska” a band crafted in the art of Folk Music with a touch off new age dance. With Flute, Fiddle, Accordian, Drums, Bass, and Guitar with a splash of keyboards they delivered a tight set of jiggy country folk dancing songs. Well done “Eriska” you had the place rocking. The deep down excitment of Boney M was becoming to much and it was not long before the sound of the icon tunes they produced would soon be released upon a eagerly awaiting crowd. With huge tiger like roar the stage was lilt up and the emerging figures of Boney M glided onto the stage. Firing head long into hits like Daddy Cool (so good they played it twice), Rivers of Babylon , Sunny, Rasputin, this mix off R&B, Euro Disco and Reggae was a banging hit with the Edenians . The whole main satge area was rockin and swinging and as looked around the smiles on faces were as big as the bands hits … Pure genius to have such a band close the weekends entertainment.. Good memories…




Teri’s Sunday 

Teri : Sunday for me, was rounded off nicely with Mungo’s Hifi, bringing down the Gillie Dhu tent to a mobbed and bouncing crowd in true decadent style, before I fell in the mud and decided to finally throw in the party towel! Best quote from a wee reveller with a gleeful sparkle in his eyes and grubby cheeks, when asked what the best bit of the festival was for him – “The Mud!!!!!!” Only fault I could find was manoeuvring through the swamp, some hay bales would perhaps have helped . But otherwise an amazingly well organised, colourful and splendid festival, an absolute asset to Scotland’s music and culture scene. Wish I could relive it all over again!


Teri Welsh & Raymondo Speedie


Anne Mcintosh, John Gordon & Spud

Perth Festival Line-Up Announced


46th Perth Festival of the Arts

15th-27th May 2017

Perth Festival of Arts 2011There are jazz festivals, festivals for rock, folk and classical music but very few festivals which cover all these genres. Perth Festival of the Arts certainly does this again with this year’s programme featuring  such well known names as Nigel Kennedy, Nicola Benedetti, Jools Holland, Marcus Brigstocke, Justin Currie and The View. There is a full scale opera, Pucinni’s Tosca, a world-class choir, Tenebrae and the might of the imposing Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra.  Free concerts and exhibitions also feature, and as well as a performance of HMS Pinafore, where audience members are the chorus and can even dress up.]

ETO Tosca - Full cast CREDIT Richard Hubert Smith (1).jpg

ETO Tosca

Recent headliners at the Festival have included Van Morrison, The Proclaimers, KT Tunstall and Calvin Harris. This year Dundee’s The View headline at Perth Concert Hall on Saturday 20th May. Scottish singer songwriter Justin Currie, the voice of Delamitri, will also play the hall, as will Jools Holland & his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and Chris Difford. Their Perth Festival performances have been so well received that they are spoken of as “our resident house band”. Martin Taylor and Alison Burns perform a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald in a new Festival venue, The Loft in South Street.

Justin Currie (1).JPG

Justin Currie

A Scottish triple bill of The Treacherous Orchestra, Rachel Sermanni and Adam Holmes and the Embers will surely be a highlight of this year’s event. ‘Swinging at The Cotton Club’ is the action-packed show celebrating the music, dance, and songs of the Cotton Club – New York City’s legendary nightclub of the 1920s and ‘30s. The exciting dance and music of the Cotton Club is recreated by the fabulous The Lindy Hop Dance Company, the world’s premier jazz dance ensemble. More exciting shows include Children’s Classic Concerts and Scottish Opera’s visiting opera roadshow.

Young musicians are nurtured by the Festival and there are daily lunchtime concerts by Perthshire Schools, a recital by Helena Kay, originally from Perth showcases her skills on the saxophone and a performance by Perth Youth Orchestra.  There are many free events, including the popular ArTay marquee, packed full of the best of contemporary Scottish Art and lots of local exhibitions.

The Festival, founded in 1972, and now 46 years young, is one of Scotland’s oldest continuously running arts events.  The Festival is a registered charity. Over the years it has grown from its classical and opera roots to embrace a wide range of art forms. Tickets will go on sale on the 27th March. Friends of the Festival can book from 20th March. More information on each of the shows is available at www.perthfestival.co.uk


An Interview with Adam Curtis



THE MUMBLE : Hi Adam, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?

ADAM : Hello! I was born in Laurencekirk up in Aberdeenshire, but moved to the Haugh of Urr in Galloway when I was 4 – so mostly Gallovidian but with a soft spot for AFC and big Duncan Shearer! I moved down to the North West of England to help fund my festival organising habit in 2011 and now stay in the shelf above Ramsbottom, also known as Upper Ramsbottom which is of much hilarity to my pals being an Aberdonian an all! Eyeing a move back to the Haugh and Galloway in the next couple of years as I have a wee one on the way (due at Eden Festival as it happens) and you canny beat Galloway life.


THE MUMBLE : Eden Festival is your baby, are you surprised by its success, or do you feel it as the fulfillment of a vision?

ADAM : Eden started as a zone at the Wickerman 15/16 years ago, but we are still quite a long way off what we want to do with Eden – about half way – so were still battling every year just to keep it alive and keep it traversing to the point we are aiming for. There is an element of developing the design of Eden Festival to match the site – so there are areas we want to incorporate that are very interesting and will help develop the sense of adventure at the event. One way we are going about doing the festival is to hand-build it as a team of voluntary locals, this allows us to allocate a build budget every year for build items that are then there permanently, year on year, meaning we can grow the design of the festival without the festival becoming a hire of the shelf job. Will we ever get there and will we be content when we do – who knows – but its a thrilling ride!


images.jpgTHE MUMBLE :  Concerning your relationship with the Wicker Man Festival, there was a schism of the ways. There’s no Wickerman this year, do you feel that you are now the flagbearers for the Galloway festival scene?

ADAM : Not really – I’ve never put a relation between size and quality or reputation. I am sad to see Wickerman go as I was the Chairman of the group, Stewartry Music Initiative, that started the festival in 2002, and I hope there is still life in the embers yet… but the Galloway festival scene is great as a patchwork of events that operate independently and stand proudly without a flagbearer. I think its important we stand together on some issues though, now and over the coming years as Police Scotland threatens to stamp out festivals both large and small.


THE MUMBLE : What does Adam Curtis like to do when he’s not organising kick-ass festivals?

ADAM : As little as possible with as much alcohol as possible! Well that’s not all true – we’ve got a few exciting projects in the pipeline for when I get back to Galloway – we want to start a vintage pub tour, starting and finishing at the brewery in Castle Douglas – to help keep the pubs alive and deliver Galloway ale around Galloway. There is also a new project coming on called Dance Hall Productions, in which we want to deliver ceilidhs and barn dances around Galloways venues. Me and my pals Monk and Big Dave like a wee adventure every 3 or 4 years – we’ve been over Europe a couple of times on our bikes for charity and are now looking to kayak the length of Croatia through its 1000s of islands.


THE MUMBLE : Last year Eden was at capacity, will you be expanding it to create more spaces?

ADAM : We had been looking to cap the capacity this year at 8000 again but due to soaring agency and operating costs we are forced to increase our capacity this year to 9000 to ensure our survival. Although we had 8000 in attendance last year, only 4000 were paying adults or teens – the rest are Under 12s (800 free) or crew and artists (3200). We are hoping this figure will hit 5000 paying this year. An increase in capacity does come with good news though as this year we are introducing an exciting new arena – The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. This will play host to our biggest stage build yet – The Great Mountain Stage – as well as the Mott n Fiddle Inn, with some river views and Japanese Tea Houses dotted around.


THE MUMBLE : Also last year, the police were heavy-handed to say the least – has there been any effort made to address that situation for 2017?

ADAM :  We work round the clock, out with our day jobs as much as we can, to address the policing issue that is sweeping Galloway. That comes at a major cost with lawyers, safety officers, advisors, security specialists etc. There is a belief within D&G police that extra police officers means a better well-managed event. As we observed last year it does not and has led to a diminished view of the police presence at the event which was until last year quite harmonious. We are doing everything we can though and hope to get the levels this year back to those previously enjoyed at Eden.


THE MUMBLE : What are your thought’s on this year’s line-up – who are the stand-out acts for yourself?

ADAM : We have really gone for it this year with the line up and I’m very excited about seeing them (although I never get to!). A bit of a weak at the knees act is Agnes Obel – im a massive fan and she is just breaking through with several platinum selling albums to her name – definitely one to watch for the future. Also its amazing to get acts like Cat Power, 2ManyDJs and Gogol Bordello performing in Dumfries and Galloway and I’m sure Boney M are going to be a funky Sunday headliner on the main stage, after the Colonel has been on with the gang.


THE MUMBLE :  Can you tell us more about Eden in Croatia

ADAM : We’re due a new project after our 9th year of Eden Festival, as well as 15 years of free parties, Castle Parties, Pickled in the Paddocks and the youth project Varanasi Nights. So we decided to set sail to Croatia! I got in tow with the fella who used to programme Electric Elephant at the Tisno site in Croatia and set about organising a Balearic House style festival with a big slice of Eden Festival in the programming. We are calling Edens new sister festival – The Lost Disco – based on the Lost Disco at Eden Festival which has become our most popular stage.

Held on the 17th – 21st August there will be 4 stages, along with 2 boat parties per day (with dj, dance floor and cocktail bar) over 5 days of partying on the shores of the glimmering Adriatic Sea. Everyone heading out and staying in villa’s in the town only 10mins walk from site or simply staying on site in the campsite and apartments. We’ve also arranged buses to go adventuring over the Alps for those who dont want to fly – were going en mass. There’s enough energy going round about the Croatia party just now to power Scotland and we cant wait to get out there! Check out www.thelostdisco.co.uk for more info (sorry about yon shameless plug right there!)