June 9-12, 2022
The festival experience is at the same time both an intimate one & a shared one. Like everybody else, each summerstuff’d reveler is up for the dance, the crack, the goodies & the girls, or the boys of course if that’s what you prefer. As for the intimacy of a festival experience, that would be your own very personal journey into, through & beyond the thrilling nexi of the festival arena.
To fashion a more intimate Eden for myself, last Friday I decided to take the scenic route; a boat from Arran to Ardrossan, from there a bus to Kilmarnock, then another bus to Cumnock – a fine wee town in whose library I printed out my ticket – before my last bus hurtled south thro Kirkonnel & Sanquhar before dropping me off at the Forest of Ae. It was then 11 miles of spiritually cleansing hiking, up & down some gorgeous countryside, before I reached the A701 at Parkgate. 10 minutes later my photographer arrived in his van from Edinburgh, James Wallace. He’s off to Glastonbury in 2 weeks, & saw his first Eden experience as a good chance to get his eye in, so to speak.
We park’d at the top of the hill near the main entrance & immediately got on it. The site was different – more streamlined, more focussed. The old main stage had gone – needing to be rebuilt I was told – with the Mountain Stage taking over top drawer duties. Friday night saw Supergrass whip up a storm of funky Britpop after which as a returner to Eden I was drawn to my favorite spot – the open air Lost Disco & its floor of flashing lights – it was nice to be home !
At some point in this period of beats & boogieing I met a lovely lady who latched onto me & was trying to persuade me to go to her tent. In hindsight maybe I should have gone, but I was having such a good time & never actually took her up on the offer ! She was 29 & everything & well hot ! That’s how good Eden is, I’d rather be buzzing about the garden than snuggle up with a true beauty!
Next day dawned in roving reporter mode – & it just so happened to be my birthday! Yes, I am a June 11 boy, & that’s generally Eden weekend, so I always have a special sentimental symbiosis with this festival in particular.
Skittling downhill into the cozier, less sprawlier site, lush with June vegetation, James & I proceeded to nosy up the stall-holders for a bit, with a first port of call at Motley’s crepes, part of the Edinburgh-based ‘On The Roll’ foodstuff people. I had a birthday bratwurst while James thought his crepe was delicious, but alas lost a good third of it to a gust of wind which flipped his plastic plate like a toss of a coin.
The weather in general was never great, but never terrible, with only a couple of heavy showers creating a smattering of mud. One of these showers propelled us to seek shelter under a tent outside the Melodrome stage where we joined in a common chorus of Queen songs & others, with laminated lyric sheets darting about the crowd while a funky conductor kept us all in order.
Other cool stalls in this area of the site were the Solar Vinyl Lounge, ran by Nick from North Wales who plays whatever the public wants on some reyt retro decks. There was also Stephen Brown from Middlesborough’s stone carving workshop – a lovely guy who comes to several Scottish festivals a year, & perennially inspires the cave artists in us all.
Steve & Nick’s stalls were just two among many intertextualising features of Eden’s central areas. Fairy Emelina entertained the kids in the children’s area, there were chill out areas with gentle acoustic vibes, & at one point I got involved in a drum circle. Nobody had the balls to got to the congas in the middle of the circle, but I did, it was my birthday & I was well buzzing. I didn’t do any shamanic wailing tho, like I usually do when in a drum circle – which is probably a good thing!
So to 5pm & the arrival of Rosie & Elaine, down from Edinburgh on a dayticket & ready for the rave. Lots of fun was soon procured from the gods of dance & karma & away we 4 went, like warriors riding our mighty stallions of groove, beercups held like lances & our enemies the minions of normality which infest our routine lives.
By 9 PM I had persuaded them to find the bicycle powered Boardwalk stage onto which The Mouse Outfit stepped, oozing cool in that quirky hip-hop collaboration of theirs. A real treat & perfect for the Eden vibe. Then it was back to the dance area for more raving, followed by the Basement Jaxx DJ set which was absolutely jumping – I mean totally jumping, proper bouncing like.
After this I can’t really remember very much. I did get a call in the morning from Rosie & Elaine saying my flip-flops were outside their tent. How they got there & indeed how I got back to Camp Mumble I will never know.
It was now Sunday morning & time to do one. James drove me all the way to Easterhouse on the eastern fringes of Glasgow – he’s not a fan of the Biggar road anyway – from where I slowly floated home to Arran on a mental melange of shits & giggles.
Photos: James Wallace