Dalkeith Country Park & Drumlanrigg Castle
September 2nd 2017
Finally, after an immensely soggy summer in which practically every festival became a mudfest, the first weekend in September was a bright & sunny wonder. The ardent northern festival goer was also spoiled for choice, somewhat; for there were do’s at Lindisfarne, the Edinburgh Mela, Midstock in Dalkeith & Electric Fields beside splendid Drumlanrigg Castle. ‘What to do? Where to go?‘ I asked myself. ‘I know, I’ll do a double-header’ I replied in my head.
So off I went with the wife kids to Midstock, a fine fun fairground of a festy in the naturally pretty caches of greenery which make up Dalkeith Country Park. Midstock has been entertaining folk in this part of the world for quite a while now, a well-run family day out, full of great music, that has now spilled into the Friday as well.
I missed the Friday, of course, & was told it was a slam-dunk of quality dance, headlined by The Time Frequency, & supported by Judge Jules & Darren Styles. A proper good do by all accounts, testament to the vision & professionalism of Midstock’s organisers, Scott & Wullie, with the latter telling the Mumble in a recent interview; since jumping in at the deep end at the first Midstock;
We have had to develop so many new skills over this time that there are to many to mention but the journey has been pretty tough although when the big day comes and all the festival goers are loving it and having a ball it all seems so worth it.
I only had time for two bands; Showaddywaddy got everyone bopping with their retro throwback bounceiness, delivered in extremely smart colourful suits. These were followed by the young, folktastic talent that is Stevie McCrorie. For these two hours or so, the sun was shining at all times & I noticed there was a visible increase on the numbers from last year. As for next year, Wullie Slight told the Mumble;
We are on 2018 already with the main aim to develop more ways to make us a more recognised and established festival and add other dimensions to the experience such as camping onsite and maybe another stage or two! Although we do always say, let’s get through this year first!! Ha! We think we have a fun, eclectic, beautiful little gem of of a festival within the Lothians!
So leaving with the wife & kids just as THE SKIDS were playing, we headed to the bypass where I broke away from the fam (we had separate cars) & picked up my pal, Al, for the second leg of my cross-caledonian festival frolic. We were soon chugging through Biggar, hurtling down the M74 & sweeping across the Dalveen Pass, before landing, just as the sun was setting, at Electric Fields.
For me, arriving here on the Saturday night, with the carnival atmosphere kicking in & kids being wheeled about in barrows by their giddy-faced parents, & everyone smiling & buzzing & the music banging & everything was the perfect way to conclude the festival season of 2017. There was something in the air, it had clearly been a great time for all & & me & Al were happy to tap into the vibe for just a few hours.
It all felt a bit like an early Wicker Man, a big family mash-up where music came at you from every angle. On the mainstage we saw the basic, industrial rock of the sable-coated Jesus & Mary Chain, followed by the headlinin’ jumping grime-duo that is Dizzee Rascal. We also got to see – in the Tenement TV Discover Stage – the foppishly brilliant American band, Foxygen, led by a camp Jarvis Cocker, an insatiably addictive watch with grooves to match.
There was also Sneaky Petes, an Edinburgh club with its own wee tented slice of Leccy Fields, where motown, disco & soul were being pumped out. It was here that I last saw Al for the night. We were sitting down chatting to some pals & he’s like ‘I Love this Dizzee Rascal tune,‘ & ran off hopping like a guy being attacked by wasps into the massed ranks of the mainstagers. At this point I went into the dance tent for a reyt good rave, then found myself in a much smaller tent in the campsite nattering away for hours. Then, just as dawn was breaking, I found our car – with Al asleep in it – then snuggled under a blanket for a few hours kip before the shortish drive home. By the way, next year I’m gonna do all 4 in a weekend — The Mela, Lindisfarne, Leccy Fields Midstock…
Reviewer : Damo