Cardross Estate – Stirlingshire
Like Alice looking for Wonderland most people were looking for Doune The Rabbit Hole and when they found it they were not disappointed. Situated in the beautiful grounds of the Cardross Estate which sits in the Stirlingshire bowl of rolling hills and green fields. With the festival being moved to the front of the estate home this proved to be a good decision, with the layout being so much more accessible this year, the rain of last year was, well lets just say, water is best kept in the ocean.
With no rain forecasted this year and a great summer’s weekend of sun, D.T.R.H. is surely building up to be a belter. With so much to explore and great music on offer you can indulge in a weekend of magical moments. The main stage, The Jabberwocky, played host to such bands as Dreadzone, Akala, Dawnings, Elephant Sessions, Peatbog Faeries, Temples, Broken Records, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Big Country and The Levellers and that was just scratching the surface.
The Baino Tent situated to the right of the main stage was a true wee gem, offering some of the best indie acts I have seen this year at any festival. From bands like Stonefield, Banana Oil, Rapid Tan, The Honey Far , The Beat with Ranking Roger and the famous and ambient dance collective The Orb, the Baino was turning out to be a popular haunt for the Dounies.
The Warren and The Whistleblower tents added another mix to the cocktail, bringing in bands like Irie Yo Yo, Harry and the Hendersons, Band of Gold, The Micro Band, The Langan Band, Bombskare and a mix off DJs that will keep you dancing until the wee hours.
Doune the Rabbit Hole is a well balanced family friendly festival which allows the participation of all ages. With a family and kids area an endless amount of workshops I am sure there will be a few craftsmen and entertainers born here over the weekend. Relax, dance, chill, eat good food and make new friends will surely to be one off many things you will experience at D.T.R.H..
Finding myself a space in the Baino tent on Friday night I was eager to catch a glimpse of the 4 Findlay sisters from Australia, that have been active as a band from around 2006 and make up Stonefield. From Australia to Stirlingshire these young musicians brought us a dash of dark but enriching Pink Floyd like sounds but with a lashing of rock riffs.
Stonefield pulled in a huge audience and with their fresh, exciting psychedelic rock sound , they left the crowd totally stunned, like a kid being stung by a Bee while eating ice cream… Just walk away and reflect on what just happened, Stonefield is what happened… Dreadzone on the Jabberwocky did not fail to deliver, inviting the Dounies to dubstep their way through the first opening hour of Friday nights live acts…
Bouncing from tent to tent over the next 3 days i managed to clock up 37 miles and was priviliged to see 28 live bands and DJs. The Might of Akala on Saturday night broke down all the walls, letting out the dance animal in all of us. Direct, political and relevant he delivered and executed his set with ease and honesty and left us thinking life is hard but life is beautiful.
Taking a pit stop to refuel with some of the wonderful food that is lovingly prepared for you by the many food stall owners,Ii had a moment to collect thoughts and sweep up some off that warming energy that Doune The Rabbit Hole has created. Like an old village fair in times past, these present day gatherings of peopl , arts, music and storytelling bring a sense of togetherness, something the world needs right now.
As darkness arrived so did The Orb. After many an outing with The Orb over the years the anticipation of what to expect was growing. With such classics as White Room, Little Fluffy Clouds , S.A.L.T. Towers of Dub, Toxygene, this was sure to be a treat… Light shows, ambience atmosphere and dancing Dounies all contributed to a memorable catch up with The Orb.
The Beat delivered a powerful set, unleashing ska skanking classics like, Mirror in the Bathroom, Cant Get Used To Losing You, and Tears of a Clown. The Two Tone road is still open and and thanks to bands like The Beat these timeless songs will continue to please for many years to come.
The Whistleblower tent was awaiting the arrival of the reggae outfit Irie Yo-Yo. This mixed cultured Edinburgh based band have gathered so much well deserved followers in the last few years, filling the tent was not going to be hard. With new songs under their belt and the renowned anthems of the past they came to entertain and that they did. Everything about this band is moving forward and glad to say, in the right direction.
As Sunday night comes to a close The Levellers were closing their set with Beautiful Day and true to their word, what a beautiful day and festival it has been. The last bonus to turn up was meeting Jez, the bass player from The Levellers, whom was a long lost friend of mines. Chatting like a pair of Howling Monkeys we took a trip down memory lane and come to the conclusion that time is merely a diversion but used in the right way can bring much joy.
If you ever fall down a rabbit hole then lets hope its the hole that leads you to Doune the Rabbit Hole festival as its not a bad place at all to end up. Warm, friendly, enriching, mellow, enchanting and refreshing is but only a few feelings gathered at D.T.R.H. 2018. Put this on your festival list for next year and dont miss out or you will be sorry……
Reviewed by Spud