Cardross Estate nr Stirling
19th-22nd August 2016
Whether you’re fi up Doune, doon Doune, near Doune, far fi Doune, over fi Doune or across from it, the Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival is the place to rectify any of your forgotten fantasies of fun; and bring you together with family and friends in a safe and relaxing, environmentally conscious setting. Cardross Estate is a beautiful location, with spledid views all around.
We arrived and pitched our tents. On arrival into the arena and after popping our heads into the Wellness Tent to say hello, we grabbed a lovely coffee before greeting the crowd at the Jabberwocky stage to see the Treacherous Orchestra. I felt as though our ancestors had shown up all around us to enjoy the spirit of the show. What energy! We briefly checked out the Baino tent and got our bearings for the new layout, as the festival has grown quite significantly in size and capacity on last year. Still, it held on warmly to the cosy intimate vibes of last year.
Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 came on the new Parabola stage. They are such an uplifting experience; they delivered a sandwich of fun, I’m sure even the gherkins were pure yellow! We sandwiched our bums into the hammocks facing them, and wiggled like worms under the full moon, while the light rain gently danced at then end of our noses. So, lovely! After meeting a wonderful Irish friend and telling tales of glass blowing, whiskey and motorbike riding in Vietnam, we bobbed about for the rest of the night and swirled the rest of the atmosphere.
Fair weather to rise so we rolled up for a delicious crepe after having an emotionally freeing morning with De Rosa, a beautiful folk band, who are pretty creative with their instruments, at one point, even playing a glocenspiel with a cello bow! We ate our yummy grub to the Iona Fyfe Band and had a look in the Spoken Word tent and other save the world stalls and workshops. The kids area was still teaming with little gods who thought the rain was nothing more than an excellent underfoot lubricant for skidding faster and creating more mud with. But being a boring adult – feeler of wet and cold stuff; our day trip was cut shot after a particularly persistent pour had left my water resistant coat looking more like a soggy flannel. After a change, a nap and some star quality face painting, we jumped out of the hay again to get involved.
This time I over prepared, with full water proofs and warm long-johns. Ten minutes into Bombskare at the Whistleblower tent and I nearly hit the deck. I went on a quick mission back to reorganise my threads, when I bumped into “Fire Marshal Brian” whom we met here last year. Lovely catch up, and we shared in an Earthy prayer session before I was ready to indulge in the festivities once again.
We finished warming up to Bombskare before I began to follow the little voices inside, ‘till I discovered the rest of Saturday night’s line up.
The random jam tent held my attention for most of the night. I am sure that at some point I got to see every artist at the festival, randomly collaborating to make some real good strawberry jam, ripe for any toast at any time of day or night. It really reflected the true talent of the artists, whom while in their normal outfits were flooding the rabbit holes all weekend with pure ‘barry brawness’; the rain never stood a chance!
We met up with Pixal Poi Naomi, to have our balls proverbially tripped; while she danced like a fairy god to The Destroyers. She was literally making LED shapes, within the shapes she was a cutting. She never knocked her own hat off once, and was adoring a couture circus masters outfit, which she had hand stitched herself using old umbrellas. Bloody gorgeous human being!
In true girl fashion, we hit up the Polar Bear Stalls (the toilets), which I aptly named myself as you could literally fit a polar bear in a single unit and they are so environmentally safe, compared to porta-loos, that Polar Bears will hopefully be breathing a gentle sign of relief, soon.
You know, providing every festival and outdoor event ever, started to use them, like, yesterday.
Well done Doune the Rabbit Hole for implementing them, you are smashing people and thank you soooo much to the volunteers who kept them stocked and clean all weekend. Between you and the Litter Picker – Bug Savers, I love you so much xox.
Anyway, so we sat round the back of the Polar Bear Stalls afterwards – yes! They really didn’t smell that much! And, we had a moonlit blether about festivals, family times, and family who we only still connect with while we are cutting about with new family, at festivals. It was a beautiful moment and made me feel right at home. Funny where you find that feeling sometimes, eh!
We shared an almighty peace prayer to finish, and I went off in search of an African drummer I had seen earlier at the jam tent. I was interrupted in my search by sounds which seemed to lasso me by the gizzard, towards the Baino tent. I had only what can be described as a mental jig affinity with Suuns. As a dancing punter, I recognise this kind of experience as being like in a moment of pure “flow”, when music makes my body move way beyond any conscious deliberate movement I could ever make myself do. Sometimes it literally makes me laugh. It’s such a weird feeling. It’s like the sound waves are in me and make me move before I even know I heard a noise. It is a special organisation of sound that does that too me, but I have to be honest, I think I experienced it with every artist I saw over the entire weekend.
On the move again in search of a drummer, I spotted one just in enough nick to see that everyone was getting organised for the Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs gig. It took a wee while to readjust my dance style, but once I had, my dancing feet came out to play too. I had my little boog down to Clap Clap at the Tweedledum – Tweedle Dee tent, before retiring for the night like a nearly 30 year old whom doesn’t like hangovers anymore, probably should. J
We only had enough time on the last day to wake with some morning yoga, enjoy a cracking morning roll with cuppa and have a wee look around the saving the world tents and stalls again. I call them that collectively, because although they are all totally unique, fun and quirky in providing everything from charity support to local and farther afield projects, homemade clay crockery, jewellery, upcycled or ethically sourced clothing, organic and locally sourced food, holistic talk and physical therapies –it seems all of the people work for a very similar reason. And it certainly does not look like money.
There is even an emotional baggage drop off point; after all, sometimes wanting to save the world comes with a whole load of hurt too. Hold on – did someone say saving the world? Oh aye, that is right, this festival is for the already converted. If you have not been to this festival, I hope you have good ideas with you if I see you there next year.
Glad folks are still up for it – Superheros! All of you xxx.
I respect the work so much put in to all these kinds of events, especially Doune. I was born again at this festival in 2015 and I wish to enjoy a new birth day here every year from now on. I really wish we could have stayed for much longer, but a Monday work shecdule made our leaving time unavoidable.
Doune the Rabbit Hole is spreading the love while helping to organise the saving of ourselves within the world, spreading the motivational vibes through so much fun, spoken word, music, art and workshops; it really is the perfect balance of life! This needs to grow into a perpetual and permanent lifestyle, as well as an annual celebration. It allows the message to teach you while you are wrapped up in positivity and wellbeing. For me, it wasn’t until I reached this point in my life, that I realised how much I had not actually been feeling before.
Need this everyday – please! Xoxoxo
Reviewer Bobbi McKenzie
Photos by David Watson / Bjorn Borseth & Lisa McNab