Belladrum 2015

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Belladrum – Tartan Heart Festival
Beauly
6 – 8th August
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Thursday evening and we rushed out to Beauly in the Scottish highlands to the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival. As the excitement builded we arrived just in time to see The Proclaimers on the main stage. The two brothers from Fife who have previously played Bella in 2005 had returned to a roaring crowd of supporters. Opening with ‘A Letter From America’ Craig and Charlie had the crowds eating out of their hands. Other hits included’Lets Get Married’ and of course ‘Im Going To Be’ (500 miles) . The atmosphere was incredable as everyone sang and cheered. What a brilliant start to our festival weekend!
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Friday!
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The sun was shining on Friday so we took the chance to go wandering around the stalls and tents to see what we could find. A quick breakfast of freshly made porridge and we were off into the happy crowds to mingle. Our first stop a ‘bus of the bizzare’ – Fatalia – very bizzare! Check out www.fatalia.de . We continued inside ‘the walled garden’ . Here you can find performing artists and inter active tents, decorated with giant mushrooms, umbrellas and angel sheep there was plenty to see. The Steampunk Viking Village had set up centre with ethentic dress the group offered wares, held marriages and terrorised and charged the unsuspecting crowds all over the festival. These guysseemed to be having all the fun!
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Also on offer was hot tubs, pony rides, circus acts and so so much more…….there just isnt enough hours in a festival! In the top corner we quenched our thirst in ‘The Burke and Hare’ offering local ales and ciders – another trip into the bizzare! Here you could find comedians / D.J’s / actors on stage in one of the most amazing stage/ bar set ups iv seen,,…more than creativity this was just genius!
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Ready for some music we headed off to see Stornoway on the main stage………..the 4 piece from Oxford played folk/acoustic mellow tunes perfect for this time of day! There second visit to Belladrum seemed to go down well with the crowd and the boys looked like they enjoyed their performance.
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 TSU came on stage to a busy hot house and continued to play a storming set from their repetoire. Put You In Your Place rung out to send the croud in a syncronised bounce of enthusiam while the slow build up throughout Borders lead to the cresendo of energy. After a very enthusiastic boogie and a quick shot on the dodgems and the carousel we headed to the main stage for the head liner of the night…. where had the day gone!
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Manic Street Preachers played to a packed Garden Stage and lead the crowd through some old favourites. (available to watch on bbci-player) Opening with Motorcycle Emptiness on there only Scottish festival this year the Manics gave it there all. The energy combined with the beautiful surroundings lead to a good ending for our Friday. Exhausted we carted ourselves off to bed….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
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Saturday!
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A slow start to the day….we carried our weary bodies for some more porridge and coffee. With plenty of food on offer we were spoilt for choice all weekend, lamb stovies, roast pork on spittles, crocodile, zebra, wild boar, japenese noodles…..the list was endless….although I did think a lot of the food was over priced but hey what are you going to do! With drink tokens at £4.20 you had better bring your wallets,,,,the variety of drinks on offer again was very varied for all tastes. After another wander and some drumming in a workshop tent we headed to King Creosote on the main stage. Kenny Anderson gave a brilliant performance and had everyone swaying and cheering. Something To Believe In and One Night Only went down well …..but there was no time to hang around we were off for dinner and drinks to be back in time for ManRan!
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Well if everyone wasnt up dancing before they certainly where now! Every where you looked people were swinging there friends and having a right good highland knees up. Check out their facebook link https://www.facebook.com/ManranOfficial. The most lively performance of the festival yet.
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Just as Manran finished the crowd broke into a massive flash dance…..which we all tried to keep up with to a lot of amusement and laughs! We quickly popped into the Grassroots stage to catch a few songs from the brilliant John Langan Band and have a wee boogie but we were off again to catch a play in the Verb Garden entitled The Mill Girls. A tent full of battered old couches and comfy armchairs……exactly what our feet needed! We settled in to watch The Mill Girls give a brilliant performance to a busy tent.Starring Mo Blake, Jody Jameson, Carmen Jongepier and Anna MacDonald the woman gave a heart felt performance. The story told of the lives of female workers in the Paisley Thread Mills in the 1820’s, including poetry, singing, verse and guitar. To check out future tour dates visit www.weavingmusicalthreads.com .
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Back out into the wind we go off to see the Ska genuis of Urang Matang. Having previously supported Toots and The Maytails and The Skatellites this 4 piece are well respected in their genre. We all had our knees up dancing around to ska favourites amongst the hay bails on the bar stage! Unfortunately we had to divide our time and left to catch the second half of the night’s headliners. The Kaiser Chiefs ingnited the main stage and as we arrived and pushed our way through the busy crowds everyone was in good spirits.
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Following some technical difficulties covered up by some crowd interaction from Ricky Wilson we heard ‘Modern Way’ and later a crowd pleaseing cover ‘Pinball Wizard’ by The Who. Although not 100 percent my cup of tea the crowd were lovin Ricky and singing and clapping in unison. The kaisiers gave an energetic performance and constantly interacted with the crowds of supporters. To finish the night the pipers arrived on stage and the masses joined in with ‘Bonnie Bonnie Banks’ and ‘Flower of Scotland’ during a spectacular fireworks display that left us all with giant smiles and sore knecks!
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But the night was not finished……..with the main stage closed we went off into the night to see what we could find. Returning to the Burke and Hare we found some incredable D.J.s and a few drinks later we were all dancing with some last burts of energy! Nearby we found ‘Tweed’ on the folk stage lighting up the night and getting toes tapping. At last we were exhausted,,a quick stop for some fresh crepes and it was home to bed!
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In conclusion…… Wow…..what a brilliant weekend just sadly not enough time! With loads for the kids to do and plenty to see the list of shows is endless…..here you can find the young and old partying together and with such a welcoming atmosphere you wont find any trouble makers here. What ever your tastes or age this is a festival not to miss. So get your tickets for 2016 as they sell out fast…..see you there x
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Review by Stephanie McDaid
Photography by Neal Macintyre
(except proclaimers image – invernessgigs.co.uk)
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