Mugdock Country Park
As has been the general trend of the Festival Season in Scotland in 2017, I find myself on a Monday morning basking in lovely sunshine, while my washing line is brimming with wet gear steaming in the sunstream. Yes, someone sometime last year pissed off the Festival Gods, its been absolutely drenched this Summer. Saying that, on the same weekend that the 3rd Mugstock got a bit soggy, Y NOT in Derbyshire got completely called off in horrifically dangerous torrential weather, so well done Mugstock for carrying on through the downpours. It was well worth it as well; morale was high because of the music, the kids didn’t mind at all & the family & I had decided to stay in Riddrie at our mate’s house overnight instead of camping.
Entering the herbifoliage of the majestic Mugdock Country Park is always a joy, gorgeous greenery surging & rolling & then the camp-site & the orange cone-lined road to the main entrance is as salubrious as it ever gets when reaching a party! After dropping off the family with our 3 fold-out chairs (our portable campsite for 2017) & parking the car back down the hill, I caught a shuttle bus back to site with the imperishably brilliant & eternally smiling radio DJ, Dave Blackburn, ‘scamming it for a free ticket.’ Then I hooked up with the family… for the third year in a row our girls had joined the big kiddie gang of the past 2 years. ‘Yours have shot up,’ we said to the parents, ‘Aye, so have yours,‘ they replied, & that special & unique relationship we had been forming for the past couple of Mugstocks was sealed.
Mugstock is Scotland’s favorite family-friendly, non-for-profit, compact & beautiful ned-free festival, & when the sun broke out in delightful splendor-spurts, filling with gold the forest paths, I was like, ‘I’m glad to be back.’ New touches included a portashower, while the Kids Zone gets better each year, whose stewards could not have been more accommodating. New performance areas I noticed were the Butterfly tent by the main campsite & the Oxjam Stage, ‘standing as one with family refugees,‘ whose weekend highlight for me was this ridiculously talented, dreadlocked geezer called Calumn Ingram, who with his drummer pal, played a cello like a double-bass, sang superbly, & jammed it up like Jimi in a jazz’d up jamboree.
Also on that stage we found the adorable Well Happy Band, who actually manged to eke some sunshine out of the bewilderingly aggressive rain. It was like a battle of wills between weather wildness & good-time lovin’, & on occasions like this, the Mugstockers won. In fact, our spirits were never dampened all weekend really, altho’ my feet were mingin.’
Friday night was wet, but Orkestra Del Sol were superb, with their tuba bass player keeping his Chelsea Bun in his tuba, bringing it out for a wee munch from time to time, & to also do some weird stuff with it regarding sound projection. We also had Dope Sick Fly, whose singer oozed straight from Blaxploitation, with an electric velvety voice & smooth slickset delivery : an excellent set from the guys. Saturday was also wet, Mugstock was slowly becoming MUDstock, but as soon as the The Twistettes took to the stage – whose sound & set up were top-notch quality – band after band of high excellence came & went (the portable chairs were becoming handy at last) : the seashanty rock of the Fairfollies, Bombskare were stomping & the Supernaturals on another level entirely. Music in 2017 is sounding fresh… the Mugstock crew know just who to get on board to reflect the focus & energy of our contemporary times. Also on Saturday Dave Blackburn earned his free ticket by spinning some proper nice soul in the main bar.
Mark McGhee, of course, has been heavily involved in this year’s Mugstock, helping to promote it at Beatherder & Audio Soup & had this to say about the Saturday; ‘Day 2 of MugStock Festival was great fun. I spent most of my time in Charlie`s Theatre stage where we hosted a special edition of Overheard in the Westend which began with Calum Ingram and Gordy Duncan destroying a sold out crowd with mesmerizing cello and crazy drum solos. Shouts to the many artists involved which included Adam V. Cheshire, Shaun Moore, Samuel Allan Barnfather, Stefan Wiadro, Shannon MacGregor, Nancy Lippold-Ingram, Robin Adams, Suzy Berry, Lewis Kane , The multi-tasker rhyming master Sara Thomas and last but not least the one and only legendary Martin Windebank who played a dramatic farewell set during emotional scenes before he flys off on some gallus adventures on foreign lands for a few months. Awrabest! Highlights outwith the theatre included Spring Break, The Well Happy Bandand The Twistettes who absolutely smashed the Main Stage yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, our stage clashed with Bombskare, The Supernaturals etc. but your always gonna miss stuff when there`s such a massive line up like this one and the talent at the theatre more than made up for it . But now it`s time for.’
Sunday we spent at the Chameleon Stage, watching bands like Tinky Disco & the leopard-skinn’d Amphetamenies injected funky sonic caffeine into the proceedings as the sun began to make a show. ‘The consistent, persistent precipitation hasn’t dampened the spirits,’ said Alan Govan, Mugstock’s anchor in a storm, who the Mumble enjoy having a wee blether with. He explained how they’d moved the family campsite towards the road to make it more accessible, in which place they’d placed the dancey Glade, in a proper glade now, where after 2AM the Silent Disco was hilarious, full of joy & DJ Battles & improvised accordion jams, with every one tuning in about the geodome.
Yes, Mugstock is a magical event, one that enthralls & entertains families, performers & punters so much that we love to return to help to create something special. For us it was time to go, the liquidy wonderful acid-jazz strains of Fat Suit accompanying us to our car, & off we drove until 2018…
Reviewer : Damian ‘Beeson’ Bullen
Mark McGhee’s Sunday
The weather forecast was wrong and it actually ended up pleasant and dry which was better than thunder and lightning the mad met office YT had predicted hours earlier. Me and Jo D’arc were about to go onstage when we seen the elusive Gordy Duncan who was randomly back on site to pick up a friend so we managed to get him in on the drums for a few songs and was great fun to play some of our old tunes as a three piece for the first time in ages. Big ups to Claire, Lindsey and all the Oxjam crew for having our weird Giros/ Twistettes/ JTrades hybrid and for all the folk who joined us for an unexpected dance in the sun. Yesterday`s highlights for me included Josephine Sillars show in the theatre, China Shop Bull , Junior Lazarou, Jonathon Rdrk Gillies, The Dull Fudds, The Well Happy Band and Trembling Bells. Massive shout out to all the Mugstock crew for making it the best one since it began 3 years ago. A little bit more sunshine would have been nice but you can`t control the weather… … yet. Surely, some lucky festival is due a heatwave soon.