Electric Fields: Drumlanrig Castle (Aug 30 & 31)
Lindisfarne Festival: Beal (Sept 1)
I always enjoy the last weekend in August/first in September in which Electric Fields happens – for myself the Fringe is over & I really enjoy having a good rave & letting off some steam. In recent years, a couple of other festivals have spring up near Edinburgh – Midstock & Lindisfarne. So, after last year’s doubling up of Leccy Fields with Midstock, this time round I thought I’d hit Lindisfarne second instead. Luckily, I managed to get a spot down Englandshire doing a talk on 9/11 of all things, so the pressure was on to keep it together enough at Leccy Fields in order to whizz across the border & pull off a spankingly good talk.
So it was Thursday day, I had to make my way to Musselburgh where an old pal had agreed to be my photographer for Leccy Fields. The indespensibly brilliant James Wallace is his name, & both being in our early 40s were absolutely delighted to leave the wife, kids, dogs & chores behind & hit the open road for a road-trip & a party! We left Musselburgh in the late afternoon, from where he drove us along the relatively quick passage through Biggar & the ever gorgeous Dalveen Pass.
Arriving at Drumlanrig, & its epic tree-lined bowl in which the festival is sited, reminded me again that this is perhaps the most gorgeous festival site in Britain – except of course for when they do those occasional one-off Summer specials down Townley Park in Burnley. Waiting for us on arrival were some not too shabby friends of James’ &, for me, old faces from my mis-spent party days – John, Paul, Scotty & Jason, the ‘Pass-Out Beatles’ who’d all earned permission from the wives to have a wee rave, & did indeed on certain occasions, pass out (thanks for the photys lads)!
It was Thursday evening, surprisingly busy, & a joy to be amongst such a musically-educated crowd. Hitting the site, we were ready for a braw, raw, barry time – which we easily succeeded in. Ride were wicked, with no-one gazing at their shoes as we reveled in being out of doors on a sunny night, surrounded by trees & people well up for it. Then James smashed it – not my pal, the band – playing a mix of tunes from the new album, & of course the old classics. I then found myself dancing about like a fanny in the open air at the Sketchy Beats Tent for a happy, happy bit, before waking up in the middle of the night under my duvet in my tent. I’d almost staggered back to it on my own, but fell flat on my face at the tent entrance. Luckily James – the pal – took me over the line.
So I’m 42, I’m a bit of a lightweight these days, & the next day – a Friday – I didn’t leave my tent all day, even peeing in the middle bit between the two bedrooms. We were off the next morning so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I just snoozed & listened to the bands & the often hilarious chat all around me. James & the boys toed & froed – I believe they had a great day basking in the serene sunshine listening to the mixed line-up, which included Ibibio Sound Machine and Teenage Fan Club. The last of these, Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds, I really engaged with in my duvet-tented head-space, a great sound with a few Oasis numbers tossed into the mix. This was followed by Young Fathers, I think, & then a lovely bunch of Weegies a few feet away from my tent, who sang some classic tunes with perfect musicianship & electric harmonies.
Scotty, John & Paul
At 6PM on the Friday, James stopped drinking & finally got to his kip. 12 hours later we were both up, packing up the tent & our brains, & got ready to set off back to Musselburgh. James had a wedding to go to & I had another festival to hit, at Lindisfarne. Half-way up the road we both had a full English at Abingdon Services – my first food in nearly two days – then an hour or so later we were back at Musselburgh, a bit tired, partied out sure, but buzzin! An hour later I was back, I’d driven all the way to the wife’s house & realised I’d left my laptop & all its photos for the – of all things – conspiracy talk on 9-11 which was my raison d’etre for going. I took my wee dog Daisy along for the ride, & after securing the laptop, went back to the wife’s, picked her up & headed south.
Lindisfarne festival is in its third year & is gaining a growing rep. Set on the mainland by the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, it really is quite a pretty spot & the perfect place to bring Scots & English together in harmony. The wife commented actually on how tamer it feels compared to a pure Scottish festival – they really do find an extra gear of bucky-fueled nonsense north of the border. This year, David Blair of Colonel Mustard fame had helped orchestrate the Scottish Invasion, & quite a lot few of our pals were down. Not that we saw many of them, I was in a right nick, but did hold it together to give my talk on 9-11 – it was basically Zionists, drones & CGI – on the conclusion of which I received a warm applause. We then pottered about the site for an hour so, wee giving Daisy her first taste of festival life, then the wife drove us home where I hit a new duvet for my recovery period. It was about 5 PM. Proper lightweight.
As for Lindisfarne, there was a proposal on stage at the Colonel Mustard gig, this particular Sketchy Beats tent got told off for jamming for too long into the nights (a side effect of the Scottish Invasion), & on the Friday the Happy Mondays were apparently magnificent. This led to my pal-performer, Victor Pope, attempting to sneak round the fence into the back-stage area, about to announce to Mr Ryder his infinite respect, only to get collared by four security guards as if he was shoplifting in Marks & Spensers. Another pal-performer, Martina Cannon Ball, had, well, a ball, & I shall leave this review with her Facebook Post.
Lindisfarne was epic, but it didnt start so smoothly, disaster struck as soon as we got there and parked up, realised when we were about to make our way to the campsite that my only car key had fell off somewhere! Looked all around the grass with no joy for ages, then Carmen Allison appeared and saved the day, she found it in the boot! Must have fell out after pulling bags. Legend! That was a relief. Finally got to the camping area, and started laying our tents out, then a guardian angel appeared just in time to put my tent up, uncle Fergie. Karens burst so we had to share in the end. Sketchy beats pulled out all the stops and put on a great tent and weekend of music, its where I spent most of my time. Nearly slept in for my gig, even though we, Danny Appolinari agreed that if none of us were awake at 3pm we would go in for them. Danny woke me at 5pm, with half an hour to get to the stage, and the fact I had to run about 2 miles to get my guitar from the car I just made it by the skin of my teeth. However, Danny made up for it by supplying straight vodka on stage, and it was a good gig. Had a great time all in, amazing community vibe! Big up the Sketchy beats crew! Until next year! Martina Cannon Ball