Kelburn Garden Party 2015

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3rd – 5th July

Kelburn Castle, Largs

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Photo - Jethro

Photo – Jethro

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Following the initial hobson-jobsons (pre festival excitement) in preparation for the 6th Kelburn Garden Party, then faced with the palava of a delayed arrival due to a sliding side van door, we eventually arrived at the beautiful Ayrshire West Coast town of Largs about eight-ish.  The sun was still shining and the midges were rife. The fields were the fullest I’ve ever seen them with the eager earlier arrivals.  Kelburn was absolutely massive this year & all credit to Viscount Dave for inviting us all to his back garden !

Viscount Dave : Great Host, dodgy DJ

Viscount Dave : Great Host, dodgy DJ

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The Kelburn site itself never fails to impress – it’s a simply stunning location, but with intensely creative touches of décor at every stage and in every nook and cranny, along with all the dazzling glittered up beautiful people : there is no getting away from the fact we have stepped into a magical wonderland.

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Tryptych & Flo

Tryptych & Flo

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Friday night was packed with many delights –  my first port of call being the Square Stage in order to check out the Soil & ‘Pimp’ Sessions, an alternative jazz band from Japan calling their sound ‘Death Jazz’.  Their set was amazing and the crowd were pulling all sorts of shapes with a fresh Friday energetic buzz to kick start the weekend. Their appearance at Kelburn was a rare treat.

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Tinky Disco hanging out @ Kelburn

Tinky Disco hanging out

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Afterwards, with a wee meander pass the Hen House and totally mesmerised by the beautifully illuminated trees and stuff after dark, I found myself drawn to the friendly beats from the Casbah Treehouse.  Aye, that’s right…a tree house with DJ’s PJ and Keta spinning some groovy shit!  Situated next to the bar, I paid many a visit over the weekend to enjoy the selection of super sound sounds that motivated my dancing feet, as well as enjoying a bit of banter with friendly randoms.

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Photo - Jethro

Photo – Jethro

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The highlight for Friday was the legendary Nightmares On Wax, well known for their albums ‘Smokers Delight’ and my personal favourite ‘Mind Elevation’. The main man, George Evelyn, played a delightful DJ set with a selection of sexy summer (despite the rain) infused electrical jazzy grooves set at the Viewpoint Stage, with the backdrop of the magnificent castle adorned with a spectacular graffiti mural, a must see at any time of year.

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Photo - VooDoo Vagabond

Photo – VooDoo Vagabond

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Saturday started with a peek in at the Pyramid Stage on the way from the campsite into the main site.  I discovered the dreamy, sweet-sounding orchestral notes of Urvanavonic. Only managing to catch a couple of tracks I made my way back to the Square Stage to catch the reputable King Eider.   A band with a sunshiny positive presence that quickly filled the dance floor with their energetic, folk inspired stomping vibe.

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I predicted they were bound to bring the sunshine out…and they did! Next up was Kabaret Bastardo.  I spotted them waiting backstage and they looked rather intriguing, so I hung about to check it out. The look and the sound of this band had me captivated; Day of the Dead springs to mind. An interesting, theatrical, cabaret style ensemble that included the ominous sounds of a musical saw. Totally loved this band!

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Photo : Craig Duffy

Photos : Craig Duffy

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A new addition to the festival this year was the Summer Fields area, with your typical festival stalls & a beautiful wee cocktail bar set in the stables directly across from the Twin Peak Tipi’s.  An eclectic array of treats included circus acts, more DJ sets, arts and even the wheel of fortune.  The wheel told me ‘you’re doing great’ – this I already knew.

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There were many other dookits of spontaneity spread across the festival including the gorgeous waterfall, the never ending glen and other pop up gigs, one of which included the Non-Stop Acid House Rave in the woodlands with a handy mode of transport known as the Bumpy Bus.

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Photo - Jethro

Photo – Jethro

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Saturday night at the Soul Dome featured a selection of quality musicians as part of Roberta’s Chan Bang Club. I joined in the jam with my own dance moves along to some of the classic Banana Sessions (Roberta) acoustic tracks and vintage 30’s swing shenanigans by some other performers that I never quiet caught the name of.

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Son Chameleon (photo by Kirsty G)

Son Chameleon (photos by Kirsty G)

sonchameleon1

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Sunday started with a proper scran from the kebab stall at the Village area whilst watching Son Chameleon, another interesting visual explosion of colour that represented a chameleon and her performing children that entertained the audience of children with games, dancing and story telling. Tinderbox Orchestra was a group 30 young musicians aged 16-25 playing to a gathering crowd with their superb and encompassing collection of sounds. The Kelburn Parade was a highlight on a sunny Sunday afternoon featuring Samba Ya Bamba, Tinderbox Orchestra, and many others on a vibrant journey through the festival to The Gardens followed by an uplifting and funky set by the Police Rave Unit.

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Photo : Jethro

Photo : Jethro

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Through the rays and in the near distance a tightrope walker was making his way across the river from frightening heights – honestly, everywhere you turn there was always something spectacular and wonderful to see.  Back at the Soul Dome, the ‘Making Things Happen’ session hosted by the Mark form the Girobabies was in full swing.

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I managed to catch Loki and his partner in rhyme Rebecca Wallace for their outstanding performance.  Loki, well known for his inspiring and genius lyrics are beautifully complimented by Rebecca’s sweet sounding and harmonious verse. Just pure clever and gorgeous.   The Viewpoint Stage was bouncing for hip-hop act Hector Bizerk.  A band that has progressed immensely in the past couple of years with the extremely talented Audrey on drums and lyrical wizard Louis.  Drums, Rap, Yass!

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The penultimate performance at the viewpoint before Mungos Hi-Fi was The Hempolics. The rootsy vibes took me to another place man, a great way to wind down the weekend with the super sweet sounds.  Totally epic.

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Reviewer : Wee-K-Gee

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Kirsty G is the Chica to the left

Wee-K-Gee is the Chica to the left

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Sarah Lewis is the chica in the bottom left

Sarah Lewis is the chica in the bottom left

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Sarah Lewis’ Kelburn

As a Kelburn Garden Party veteran (last four consecutive years), I never tire of its hedonism and abundant creativity. The Kelburn crew also hosts the Psychedelic Forest Disco in May (which I believe – although don’t quote me – is to be last Disco for Kelburn), and a Psychedelic Forest Carnival in September. However I’ve been told from a good source that the Kelburn Garden Party is the best by far! I personally always recommend Kelburn Garden Party to festival virgins, as it’s a manageable festival that’s never too overcrowded, which maintains it’s bohemian boutique nature, never gets too big for it boots and is set within the most magical of locations. Where else do you wake up from your festival tent with a view of the sea? Dance at the Viewpoint Stage overlooking a beautifully graffiti-ed Rapunzel-esque turreted castle and meet goblins and fairies in the woods?

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Over the past four years I’ve seen the rise of the Twin Peaks Tipi, which on occasion has had a circus within it, but this year it presented the PyroCeltica fire dancing clan and some pumping gypsy Balkan tunes by night – stomping good stuff! Two other new additions were The Landing and The Beach Plateau within the Neverending Glen, found only by exploring deep into the woods and above the waterfall! While it’s impossible to see everything at a festival, my highlights were Victorian Trout Conspiracy, Samba Ya Bamba, Miracle Glass Company, Lewis Gibson and Viper Swing. It always overwhelms me the amount of creative effort and talent that goes into creating this long weekend festival. Secret pop-up performances in the woods, art installations and poetry in the glen are extensive. Kids were well entertained too, with Laser Quest, The Secret Forest “Living Theatre” Project, Son Chameleon Sound system and The Lullaby Collective.

Despite the high wind and rainstorm that struck on Friday night, which turned half of the camping site into a tent graveyard, it was still an epic festival and contrary to the forecast, the sun shone bright on Saturday and Sunday!  Happy days!

Photo : Jethro

Photo : Jethro

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