Sherdley Park, St Helens Saturday 7th september, 2019
Due to work commitments we were a bit late arriving but after an easy cruise down the M6 we rocked up at 7.30. A couple of helpful security guys escorted us to the main entrance only to find that unfortunately the production box office was at the other side, another guard took us to the right place. Roddy was apparently a kick boxing champ and after we saw him in action on his phone I relaxed, to be fair I’ve never felt safer. A few early casualties were being seen to by what looked like an experienced and effective set of first aiders.
After processing we headed to the Love House Arena full of optimism. For once I was in the demographic as the Festival was overtly a celebration of the 90’s dance scene. Jon Pleased Wimmin was just finishing his set with some bangers, we were starting to feel very at home so we headed out and about to find the Judgement Arena. Along the way we managed to trip over a very nice bar serving proper cocktails. Suitably fortified with industrial strength gin and tonic we found our destination where surprisingly Micky Slim was also filling the floor with a set of 90’s classics, are you starting to spot a theme? I can’t remember what the fuck he actually played but just type 90’s rave classics into your search engine, you’ll get the idea.
Judge Jules was worth the entry and the drive all by himself, here’s one of the old timers who’s still smashing it everywhere he goes. One of the old school who’s kept it real over the decades he didn’t disappoint and I could have gone home happy after his set. This was lucky because the whole thing was set to shut down at 11.
My companions think we saw the live set of Tricia McTeague but personally I can’t remember, I’m sure it was excellent though. She’s sung with all the greats over the years and now me, her life is complete. Love Inc got the main stage crowd singing along and bouncing, hard to tell with their scouse accents but I think they got the words right. Lee Butler and Sosumi’s sets looked absolutely amazing, the organisers must have spent a fortune on visual effects, no wonder it was £85 a ticket what with all the security and everything.
If you can remember the 90’s you weren’t there but I’m pretty sure I saw Anton Powers and he was brilliant. Mike Lewis was great and finally I found what I was looking for where the streets have no name. 3-0 ya beauty! In the end everyone plays drum and bass. Banging out Danny Byrd’s Ill Behaviour. With a great MC. I just don’t know who is was! When everything started shutting down we were allowed a go on the shows for £5 and the guy kept it going for ages but with no music. Eleven!!!! Then I had a massive whitey which prevented me from attending the after parties.
I know this is meant to be a review of Reminisce but actually I had a much better time at the Urban Flava 2019 party in Dundee with my good friend The General a Mains Castle, three floors of banging tunes from the attic to the garden. Easy days boys.
Words: Graeme ‘Steely’ Steel Photography: Mark ‘Parky’ Parker
The perfect end to the summer they pitched this one to me! Summer over! Some people where saying it never even started but I personally had the best summer ever, so I was really looking forward to rounding things up nicely and approached Lindisfarne with an open mind and a happy heart. It is not the biggest festival by any means, but festivals are not always about size and the bands and DJ’s that you see to me it’s about catching up with old and new friends having a giggle and being free. Lindisfarne gave us the perfect opportunity to do this in an excellent setting with stunning views.
When we entered the festival, we were greeted by a steward who pointed us to our campsite / caravan site. It is basically split with the motorhomes and caravans to the right as you enter the site ad the actual camping site was further on straight ahead of where you come in. The full site is a decent size with the main area being partially enclosed by both campsites’ ad the sea at the back of it. The main arena had one official entry point where security where searching bags for alcohol as people entered but there was no police presence at all which I found very refreshing. Everyone governed themselves, I don’t know if it was because there were a lot more people in the 30plus age group or everyone was nicer but apart from the odd idiot wondering the campsite for the wrong reason’s way past their bedtime I did not see any other at all!
The main arena had two large big-top circus type tents which the majority of the headliners played in. That was rather lucky as one of our Favourite bands Col. Mustard ad the Dijon 5 had to be moved last minute as the main tent had some sort of rip in it which meant they had to accommodate all their fans in the smaller tent. This meant that a number of the fans where left outside but the ‘Guys’ where having none of that and in a ‘flash of mustard’ asked everyone to shift along a wee bit when they sang their classic
‘Cross the road’ and got everyone in the tent so that no one was disappointed!
There were lots of great acts over the weekend and although a little strange that it finished on the Saturday rather than the Sunday they were fine with us hanging around and having our own wee mini festival at the campsite, I heard the last people to leave where actually on Monday morning! My personal favourites where I Delta city as I was born to rave and there was plenty of room so I got to ‘cut some fine air’ as I lost myself to the beats. I was gutted I missed Sharon Common on the Friday afternoon I heard her set was banging! I did however manage to catch one of the God Father’s of Rave DJ Slipmatt who blew my mind! Dutty Mooshine big band where punching well above their weight with a stand in singer who stole the show! Half the band looked like they were in the que for the job centre as she sang her heart out! SL2 lasted out all the old favourites and worked the crowd into a frenzy in the dance tent which was about half the size of the two main tents.
There were lots going on at Lindisfarne with loads of smaller venues dotted around with plenty of food stalls ad a fair number of toilets for everyone to use. I never really seen any que’s apart from people waiting to see the Col. & The mustards but that was understandable. I only caught the start of Ocean Colour Scene as I recently saw them at the Usherhall where they were great. Overall I had a excellent time did everything I hoped to do; caught up with friends and family! Lindisfarne certainly delivered on it’s promise; the perfect end to the summer. Thank you Lindisfarne Onelove!
A large if rather featureless windswept site somewhat saved by stunning sea views greets you as you pull up. Everything one would usually expect is on hand in a small and neatly laid out festival. Much use is made of large marquees to cover all the main stages so one is kept warm and dry while jigging around like a loon. Unusually in this day and age it took me a while to find a decent coffee vendor but other than that the food and beverage on offer was more than adequate.
Lindisfarne is unusual in that dogs are allowed and children under 18 are not, a fair exchange I’d say! The dog friendly nature passed off without problems, no barking dogs keeping the camp site up all night, just lots of friendly dogs for loved up punters to spoil and cuddle. The team that run the festival seem relaxed and competent, their relationship with the public based entirely on ensuring everyone has a good time. If I had to pick a disappointment I’d say water was a bit hard to come by but outside that everything seemed to run smoothly.
DJ Yoda finished things off on the main stage on Thursday night, a true showman he was on fine form, delivering his masterclass with panache and style. As with many of these turntablists I sometimes found myself wishing he’d let the tunes run a little but his skills are undeniable and he was a pleasure to watch. Dutty Moonshine were a big raucous jump up and down wall of sound (sound was good all weekend except perhaps on Thursday night when presumably on purpose everything seemed a bit quiet). I love this band and seeing them in more intimate surroundings just made me fall in love with them even more. They are one of the (if not THE) best live bands around right now and just seem to be getting better. Absolute belter.
Gentlemens Dub Club are another band that are going from strength to strength and smoothly took over where Dutty left off. All the old favourites and a couple of new tunes had the crowd singing and skanking in fine style.
This year’s trip to PPP was a split affair. I took Saturday, while Raymond Speedie did the Sunday. I clearly got the better day, tho’, it was absolutley lashing it down on the Sunday. At the last minute, Raymond said he wanted to come as well on the Saturday so he could see Midge Ure sing Vienna – which was extremely fortunate as this was the first full song we heard when we got there. Midge Ure looked & sound amazing, a Knights Chevalier in full musical regalia. I love Party in the Palace – a great setting, & a really lovely, warm, friendly crowd. Its quite an institution thesed days & the bands are always top notch. Enter KT Tunstall.
I’d never seen her play before, but she’s so girl next door, proper funny, with a lady bass player from Livingstone. Another lady completed the trio on drums, & off the galloped through a smashing set. There was a bit of a lightning storm kicking off, so it was a while before the Charlatans got to stage, but when they finally did, & the world was growing darker, & the amazing visuals set up by PATP grew brighter, we all had such a goof time dancing to the chief, Tim Burgess, & his fabulous band. My companion Raymond had also had a great time, relieved of reviewing purposes he was all set up for the Sunday.
As Saturday passed into Sunday so changed the weather. The thunder and lighting had moved on leaving a grey, wet, damp afternoon in its place. Muddy wellies, bright ponchos and more umbrellas than fold-out chairs, the party was still on. Like hot chocolate pouring from a saucepan the mud rivers were soon filling the fields but with not a dampened spirit to be found the Palace punters danced under the rain drops with smiles on their faces. Getting around was not going to be an easy job, but music was why we were here and with a Sunday line up featuring Tom Mcguire and the Brassholes, Yoko Pwono, Fat Cops, The Shackles and Craig Charles DJ, it was a no-brainer to be there. As it poured non stop, the water and the earth thickened around your feet like a hot fudge pudding, we were given that unique feeling that is only found at Scottish Festivals. If you can’t change it, just be part of it !!
With early evening fast approaching as were the long awaited arrival of Huey Morgan and his Fun Lovin Criminals. This New York outfit with their rock, blues, jazz, R&B funky sound were a certain crowd puller at Party at the Palace this year. With that destinctive sound and cheeky character of front man Huey Morgan and Frank Benbini and Brian Leiser glazing us with their drums and keys it was not long before King of New York, Scooby Snacks and Barry White were released for our enjoyment. Huey praised the drenched Scottish crowd and proclaimed were are the best crazy people to have walked this earth and is always a joy to play in Scotland. The very ironically named Wet Wet Wet were next to paddle onto the stage and as mentioned between songs this was the first time in 35 years that it had rained at a Wet Wet Wet concert. Well, there had to be a first time, so why not today!! Banging out hit after hit like Love is All Around, Sweet Little Mystery and Good Night Girl, the newly shaped and looking band did us proud, and looking around at all the wee happy faces, memories were reborn. As time passed so did the clouds. Deacon Blue took to the stage to a thunderess roar making for a good finale to the 2019 Party at the Palace. Despite the delays, the lightning, the rain, the mud and the grey skies, Deacon Blue were here to please. Chocolate Girl, Real Gone Kid, Dignity and a catalogue of hits were soon filling the arena. This is why PITP works… its a throw back to times passed and brings forth those warm memories that linger in our past and just need to be rekindled every now and then, through music.
The WhatsApp group is Buzzing, who are we all wanting to see! Will there be clashes? of course! The travel plans are getting finalised, we are travelling down from Scotland so in order to get ourselves in there nice and early we are travelling down the day before the start of the festival.
So this will be our first visit to Boomtown and we honestly can’t wait to throw ourselves into the whole festival experience. Which persona should we adopt, what jobs do we fancy? Jobs at a festival whatever next! Well everything else next so it would seem! Boomtown festival is a fully immersive fantasy town where is appears anything is possible. From choosing to get involved in plots to picking up the odd job there seems to be a whole lot of stuff to help keep us entertained. This truly is an escape from the norm ad designed to help us forget our lives and live the Boomtown dream.
What about the music, who are we hoping to see? We like the dance side of things for sure (Techno! Techno! Techno City!… here we come!!!) and there are a few acts & superstar DJ’s I really am looking forward to loosing myself I those hypnotic repetitive beats. Chase ad Status where already a must see for us, hearing that it was going to be a trance set made my day. I love drum & base but I think this will blow my mind. They do however clash with a friends favourite The Streets so we will no doubt be separating. There really is so much choice available I hope that I see as much acts and variety as possible!
Chapter 11 looks like it will reflect life, with the toll bell’s ringing it’s time to pay the piper we are all accountable for our actions. Boomtown is life (well at least for 5 days) and life is Boomtown. The place is thriving ad with success comes accountability and life with a little wonder and fantasy and Aliens throw in for good measure. I am fully intending I following the lyrics of primal scream’s loaded. As ‘we want to be free, and do what we want to do’, I intend to go down, deep down into Boom Boom town ad experience everything it has to offer. Why not? It gets boring sitting around all day waiting on your favourite acts coming on. One thing I have quickly realised is there isn’t no need to be bored. If you are happy to take part ad try something new Boomtown seems the ultimate fantasy so let’s see if it lives up to all the hype!
I don’t think I will be the only one loosing myself in the music which is just one of the reason’s I love the new app. A very welcome addition to everyone’s festival I am sure! It’s great that you can link up with friends in real-time to see where everyone is.
The Boomtown University is the place to unlock your codes for untold wonders. There are rumors flying around that all sorts of fun and festivities can be bestowed upon the faithful followers of Boomtown’s story!
I review a lot of things during the Edinburgh festival and my favourite by far are the ones which a are immersive and let you see more or actually be more than just an audience member. It feels weird to be leaving here at this time of year but I am so looking forward to every second of Boomtown. So next week can’t actually come
quick enough for me. The music may have drawn us all together but it won’t be all that keeps us together. You know already that we will be leaving with a lot more than just the memories of act & DJ’s that we see, this could last forever. Here’s to the friends we make ad the laughs we have along the way let’s hope they last forever. Thank you already Boomtown and here is to the best week ever!
With the 10th Anniversary of Doune The Rabbit Hole opening its gates at 4pm on Friday, the anticipation of this year’s festival was clear to see. As a sequence of people gathered patiently awaiting their turn. The entry through the gates into Wonderland were finally open. Unfortunately the heavens had decided to open their gates, but in true Scottish fashion the revellers opened their hearts and the deterrent of the rain had no affect on what was going to be one of the best ever festival line-ups Scotland has seen.
To bring together such a cluster of bands, artists, speakers, performers, cabaret acts, comedians and not forgetting 4,600 attendees was no mean feet, so hats off to to amazing crew that pulled it off. Some off the bands in attendance this year were certainly a crowd-puller for Doune. The Wailers, Sister Sledge, The Damned, Lee Scratch Perry, Hawkwind, Battles, Honey Farm, John Grant, Asian Dub Foundation, Black Mass, Kathryn Joseph, Irie Yo-Yo, The Girobabies, Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5, Hot 8 Brass Band, Bombskare, The Skids… its like winning a ticket as a child to a chocolate factory, spoilt for choice. Let the gluttony begin.
With the Doune site being slightly expanded this year, people were able to uncover some new spaces like The Warren. A beautiful hidden area under the canopy of floodlit trees were DJs were allowed to spin their discs and punters danced their dance. The surrounding area at The Warren gave adequate sanctuary for weary feet and therefore allowed people to take some peaceful respite. Traversing through the site you were overwhelmed with colourful costumes, painted kids’ faces, wonderful aromas of freshly-cooked food delights and a heart-warming energy that seems to hug you from the air like an invisible lover.
These festivals are our modern day version of the past Town Fairs & Pageants and are a very important ingredient to our social education and communities; to encourage togetherness, respect, understanding, communication. To build family relationships, make new friends, build bridges with culture and music and explore yourself. Its an ancestral part of who we are as people and Doune captures that in every way possible…
With a hot, muggy, sticky-wet heat covering the audience Lee Scratch Perry glides onto the stage. Moving through his classic back catalogue of music, the 83-year-old still has the presence that he is renowned for. So much so, he appeared on stage with The Hot 8 Brass Band but finally managed to find the exit. Tickling the audience at the Baino stage with their Scottish hip-hop and rap were the Dunbar trio The Honey Farm. Their direct, truthful, honest in your face lyrics has given a rebirth to an industry lacking in girl power. Heading to the Jabberwocky Stage at 4pm on Saturday I came across a colourful sea of dry,smiley people – yes the sun was out and Asian Dub Foundation where about engulf us in pure dub heaven. With 20 years of experience and hits under their belt this was sure to be a dub-skanking masterpiece. With the earth moving beneath our feet and the connective energy generated by band and fans, the set was not far from what we had expected, pure excellence. Speaking to Ghetto Priest and Steve Chandra Savale after the gig was very informing. From humble beginnings in a music workshop in East London and with no real intentions of starting a band, Asian Dub Foundation were created. Their coming together was a stroke of good luck, said Steve. A vision to send a positive message through music was destined to be part off their lives or as one friend said, the world has to hear this music and well, the rest is history.
Ghetto Priest & his adoring fans
Crashing onto the Baino stage in late afternoon were the Boris bashing 70s punk band The Skids. Emerging from Fife during the punk outbreak The Skids were at Doune to tell us how it is and thrash out some of their classic hits like Into the Valley, Masquerade and Working for the Yankee Dollar. They did tell us how it is and with an incredible set-list there there was no arguing with them. With the long wait over, it was finally time for the iconic legends and sisters that are Sister Sledge. I don’t use the word legends lightly as this family of singers have earned that right. Bringing their blend of disco, soul and smooth blues to the hills of Stirlingshire is surreal, but with songs like; We are Family, Lost in Music, He’s the Greatest Dancer, Easy Street, Thinking of You and versions of Frankie and Freak Out just blew the crowd away. Everywhere I turned or looked there was a crescendo taking place As every song played , every lyric could be heard happily being sung along by a 2,000 strong fan base. What a moment. On that note, when talking to Sister Sledge, I asked Debbie, how does that feel for you? Replying, she said it was inspiring!!! We soon came to be talking about family, music and kids and what keeps us fundamentally going. Soon realizing we had a boy -member of our family with the same name Elijah it became apparent that we had something in common, and with that came a high five and then We Were Family. Retiring after an intriguing time interviewing Sister Sledge I was humbled to have been part of this memorable evening at Doune.
Your reviewer with Sister Sledge
Sunday was soon upon us and so were the dark grey clouds. Approaching from the M9 like a juggernaut on a mission the rain released its power. Soaking, warm, sticky faces were seen rocking to the legends of space-rock Hawkwind, with two fingers pointed up right at the rain. No time to stop the party for the weather! Hawkwind have proven for more than 40 years that rock is not dead and to see 20-year-olds rocking to Silver Machine and Shot Down in the Night was a generation jump moment. Speaking to Magnus Martin (guitar) and Jim Dread (technican) after their show, what makes you keep doing Hawkwind 40 years on and with a straight fire quick answer, he said, ‘well what else would I do, sit at home and watch Jeremy Kyle, oh that’s not on anymore.’
With The Wailers taking stage after the calm, beautiful voice and songs of Kathryn Joseph – a genius move at this point of the evening – the crowd gathered on mass. To a wet and warm audience The Wailers sprung into action. Rolling over from classic hit to classic hits like Buffalo Soldier, Could You Be Loved, Exodus, Natural Mystic, Three Little Birds, and what felt like every Wailers song you knew. Like a good cup of tea they just kept pouring out the goodness. There was only one thing I said to The Wailers; you must have a continuous warmth of joy in your heart and souls knowing that you can spread such positive love and energy through music that has shown the world we can have a better place to stay if we stay as one. One Love conquers all. A fitting end to Doune The Rabbit Hole’s 10th birthday party. To all the Doune crew, workers , volunteers, artists, musicians and revellers a big thanks. With out everyone pulling together gatherings like these would die so lets keep the music playing and the feet dancing until the next time we go down the Rabbit Hole.
Scotland I Love you so so deeply.
Blessed I am to have worked in such beautiful places.
Removed from my talents of DJ, Tribal drummer, Performance Poet and Spiritual Healer.
I work hard because Mother Nature bestows blessings upon the souls who strive to keep her beautiful.
It was a Divine first to be at Doune The Rabbit Hole.
And how beautiful and Deeply Healing the Doune festival site is.
Surrounded by pastures green with a cinematic backdrop, breathtaking eye candy. My heart melted as soon as I was dropped off by the very lovely Lesley. I felt at home straight away. After a night of exceptional and affirming Clairvoyance in the equally lovely Port Of Monteith. The rain had been heavy all night and morning. Downpours. I wasnae worried though. Good Boots, Hi Viz Wiz Waterproofs and a little tent thats waterproof and has kept me cozy in inclement times. I was looking forward to a week of sleeping on Mother Earth resplendent in its aesthetic, Multitasking Fire Wizard and crewing with Phoenix Waste Management. I didnae have much time to have been as still as I would have liked to have been to really soak up such natural beauty. I have been good friends with The Phoenix Crew for many years. I understand how important the work of such organisations is for the future of Festivals in Scotland. And to be an active part in that is a blessing and indeed a labour of love. The Earth Goddess really loves the work and the efforts replenishing her ecowarriors with Grace.
Friday 19th July.
I awoke to the sound of rain falling on my tent, slipped on my High Viz Wiz Waterproofs and headed to the Crew Canteen for Breakfast before my 9am shift began. It was a short three hour shift as I had requested Friday night off because I really wanted to see The Damned and The Girobabies. Getting the news that I was nae required for Phoenix duties until 6pm on Saturday, I had some time to dedicate to Rock N Roll and sawing wood duties.
The rain began at about 3pm on Friday Afternoon had just finished my make up at Jo Legg’s camp. So headed back down to be a fire wizard. Bumped into Raymond Speedie who was at Doune to review for The Mumble. I told him I wanted the Damned as they have been a Divine love for a long time. Back in the olden days, I first saw The Damned live on The Phantasmagoria Tour. Divines teenage self and David Vanian had a very similar look going on. Long black flowing locks with a white streak to the side, backcombed. Grimly Fiendish and Shadow Of Love et al. Sigh such wonderful music. The next time I saw them was at The Wickerman Festival. Divine was performing poetry on the Ingrid Pit Spoken Word And Poetry Stage back in 2008. This was the Gig I wanted. And I wasnae disappointed.
The rain was falling heavy and my High Viz Wizz waterproofs were protecting me from the inclement conditions. A healthy throng of middle-aged Punks gathered. I couldn’t help feeling that this was the perfect setting and the falling rain only added to the spectre of the performance that we were waiting for. My make up though had slipped somewhat from Mother Natures Soaking. But my Hi Viz Wizz waterproofs and compact sausage dog brolly were doing the trick, especially when the UV’s came on. Divine was glowing. Then the band were on stage everyone of them sixtysomethings. David Vanian and Captain Sensible looking just as youthful as they did when I first saw them on Top Of The Pops when I was a nipper. The sound production for tonights show was fantastic. Rousing the audience with the all time classics Eloise and Is it A Dream? Then into the early punk rock classics, New Rose, Smash It Up and Neat Neat Neat. Everyone pogoed in unison. The professionalism really shone through, expert musicianship, I didnae expect anything less though. The Damned have been in the game for a long time and they have always been very very good live. Satisfying everyone’s inner Punk. It was a very enjoyable performance indeed. Good Time 5 Stars. ❤ .
As the Damned left the stage, the rain was being very determined, The party spirit was even more determined as the good time rolled. I wandered back to the communal fire to join fire comrades keeping the flame alive. With time for a cuppa at crew canteen and headed for my tent, peeled off my Hi Viz Wizz Waterproofs and slept a deep rejuvenating sleep. ZZZZZZZzz.
Saturday 20th July 2019.
I awoke at about 8am, the previous days inclement weather had abated, the Sun was shining. I knew it was going to be a busy night, I was to begin shift at 6pm as a Divine Eco Warrior. My body was begging me to slow down so after breakfast I returned to the fire and tidied up after the previous nights shennanigans, sawed some wood,had lunch and went for an afternoon nap. Well rested and back into vibrant Divine mode, fed and watered my inner Eco Warrior was set to go. It was after fine picking The Woodland Area that I heard some festive punters talking about Beak>> performing at 10.45pm. Beak>> are Portishead without Beth Gibbon. Hmmmm I thought, it was easy to plan my shift around that performance, I was due to knock off at 11pm anyway, So made sure I was at the venue early for a clear up of empties and party debris before Beak>> came on to entertain us with their Bristol Portisheadness. But first concentration on clearing the arena of empties. I surveyed the Arena and the discarded litter left from the previous bands audience and got to work. Lots of punters joined me in my noble effort. There was a little girl that kept bringing armfulls of litter and each time my heart melted. This was jolly good fun. There wasnae an empty in sight by the time the next band came on. This kind of satisfaction is priceless. I kept on picking and picking until I got to the Beak>> venue and cleared it of any untidiness. Found a deck chair and had a good rest and really had a good listen to the brilliant hiphop and electronica that Beak>> produce.
My next port of call was to be The Girobabies Saturday closing set. But first (I left Beak>> at 11.30pm) To join my Phoenix comrades for one last push. The site was litter free. I checked on the fire, the venue that The Girobabies were performing on was just next to the fire. So was on time.
The Girobabies closing Saturday night brilliance. Led by Glasgows most active musical entrepreneur, Mark McGhee. Fresh from his success of the “Making Things Happen” Take over of The Pyramid Stage at Kelburn Garden Party. Mr McGhee and his brilliant band. Jo D’arc (Who is also the Bass Guitar Lead and brilliant vocalist of the sister duo, sensation. “The Twistettes”) One of my favourite drummers and multitalented musicians Gordy Duncan was absent but in his place, Mat Jim Sim completed the rythm section. The very brilliant George Gilma on Lead Guitar and on synth and loops Rory Comerford. Took to the Whistleblower Stage and a capacity audience gave The Girobabies a hero’s welcome. It is raw talent and honest social commentary that take this band to increasing heights. Removed from the corporate machine, The Girobabies follow the true Punk Rock Ethic and in doing so, have opened the doors for countless other bands and performers, creating inspiration where ever they perform. Such a brilliant live act. 5 Stars for 5 brilliant musicians. Good Time Divinexxx
Sunday 21st July 2019.
My first shift of the day began at 9am, clearing the big bins of the gathered festive debris from the night before. This was a bit muckier, it was however a very lovely morning, My Phoenix comrades and I mucked in until lunch was called. After which my daily wood sawing session began to prep the fire for the evenings flames. My next shift began at 5pm. I joined Rose Petal and Linda Lovelace for a make up session before fine picking The Woodland and sweeping back into the main Arena Hawkwind were playing Silver Machine as I arrived so paused for a good boogie. It was another wet afternoon but everyone was happy, Finishing off my litter picking duties I was joined by my Phoenix Comrades to tidy up for Battles. It was a wet finish, So we headed back to Phoenix HQ. I sat down, had a brew. I was knackered. Too tired to venture for The Battles gig, I peeled off my waterproofs and got into my sleeping bag, the rain was falling onto my tent. Luckily I was camped next to the venue that Battles were performing so was able to listen with clarity to the brilliant Techno and Kit Drum led tunes. Then ZZZZZZZzzzzz
Monday 22nd July. 2019.
I awoke to a beautiful morning having slept soundly. Headed down to Breakfast at the crew canteen. The Sun drying out the weekends soaking, perfect for the fine pick of one of the tidiest post festy sites I have ever seen. A combination of tidy punters and the hard work of Phoenix Waste Management. This is when the true beauty of Cardross Estate came to life. Such a naturally powerful healing space that begged metaphysical investigation. It is one of the most conducive sites for healing to take place that I have worked since I discovered The Healing Fields at Glastonbury Festival. The power of place.
It was on Sunday when I was clearing the empties while Hawkwind were playing, that a young lad came up to me and said. “You really have the arse end of jobs” I looked at him and said. “Nah mate this is a labour of love, it is part of the greater good” The feel good factor of returning a place of natural beauty to its natural beauty is a beautiful thing” He looked at me puzzled for a bit, then I think the penny dropped.
I knocked off at 3pm and prepped the wood for the Monday Night Crew Party, It was a lovely hot day, I hadn’t showered since Thursday so after wood prep, I had a really good body wash in the crew porta showers. It felt so nice to be clean. The Crew Party was lovely too with free cocktails, Divines not a drinker but in this instance, I was going to have a couple of White Russians and I made sure all of my Phoenix Comrades knew about the free bar too. It was a lovely night.
Tuesday 23rd. July 2019.
Another hot sunny day, perfect for the fine pick of punters camping, dismantling and recycling left tents and gazebos of which there were relatively few. It was such a lovely day to be in a place of exquisite natural beauty. The trees really are something else at Cardross Estate, powerful and majestic, I had been offered a lift back to Aulde Reekie by a young couple who had come up from Penrith in Cumbria to be part of Doune’s clear-up operation. I really really didnae want to leave. So I stayed and continued with the glorious fine pick and got a lift back the following morning with Janet from the kids field.
Doune The Rabbit Hole. The Conclusion.
Every Festival has its own unique beauty and flavour and this being my third festival in July. Doune is a compact site, with all stages easy walking distance from each other. All with perfect sound production and amazingly zero soundclashes. It is a festival that really does suit all ages, from little kids to big kids. The sense of community is lovely. Doune The Rabbit Hole really ticked all my box’s. The perfect tonic for mind, body and soul. I loved being part of a hard-working crew and I loved Cardross Estate.
Good Time Divinexxx
The Kelburn Garden Party. 4th till the 9th July 2019.
The first time I went to Kelburn, was back in 2013 it was just after a very rain soaked Eden. It was the year that I saved the communal fire from being extinguished, subsequently taking on the roll as Fire Marshall at future Edens, Audio Soups, Woodland Dance Projects and now Kelburn Garden Party. It was on my first visit to Kelburn that I looked after the fire in The Pyramid Garden. On a ticket with Monster Andy and Paula Wakiwitch with whom I had recently become acquainted with. Indeed it is when I first sampled the delights of this magikal wonder of Mother Nature in her most lush and comforting guise.
It wouldn’t be until 2016 that I would return, this was as DJ Divine and having the honour of performing Bowie nd Prince on The Beach Plateau Sound System as well as giving a Poetry Performance and drumming for The Victor Pope Band all on the same afternoon. I was up and down the beautiful glen on a tight keep fit and performance art afternoon. I loved it. My heart was broken then though So the emotional shards of losing friends to Heaven and a relationship that was punishing and delighting in equal measure. I was carrying a lot of weight on my shoulders. stuck between a rock and a hard place. Kelburns Healing Magik offered Grace and respite with time to think in the soft sea air.
Missing Glastonbury this year and dealing with my Housing and benefits crisis throughout June after a wonderful Eden I was back on the treadmill with my hands tied from making any firm commitments to forthcoming festivities because the day before I left for Kelburn Garden Party I was pretty certain I was going to be homeless in September. So having confirmed that pending homelessness was not the case. I cried my tears of relief and packed for my adventure.
I managed to get a guest ticket from Fathom Ross as Colonel Mustard And The Dijon Five were headlining on Friday Night. I had previously offered my talents as Performance Poet and Dj Divine, but to no avail. Kelburn was working me the fire was still burning within me from Eden, I didnae wanna work as a Psychic so when I offered my fire tending skills and got the green light I quickly gathered a reliable crew of Ross and Travis Macdavis who both fire tended with dedication at this years Eden. I wanted to work and this was just the salve that my soul was crying out for.
3am. Thursday 4th July
All stress has now processed,
Reiki, My Love My Saviour.
Take Me To The Field Of Dreams.
The Flames Of Love.
Divines Heart To Tend.
To Heal Deeper.
In Mother Nature.
Kelburn Garden Party.
Divines On His Way
Thursday 4th July.
Ross came to pick me up at 10am with the news that his wheels didn’t like motorways so we were having to stick to the A71 all the way to Ardrossan as we neared the West Coast, the softness began relaxing my heart, we got onto The Kelburn Site at about 2pm. Ross went to pick Travis up from Largs so the three of us were on site for 4pm. Plenty of time to set up camp, settle in and prep for the lighting of the Summerfield Fire. So so many friends were camped in the crew field. The feel-good factor from being immersed in such natural beauty with gentle sea breezes the Divine heart began to smile. After a hearty dinner, the first Kelburn fire was lit and I grounded the love and set the intention to heal the hearts of all that enjoyed its warmth. With the vortex open, I held the love till 6am, during that time, all the emotional buildup released it all flooded out of me. I left the fire at 6am and had a cup of tea in the welfare tent, then headed to my sleeping bag feeling like a new man. ZZZZzzzzzzz.
Friday 5th July.
I awoke to the sound of falling rain it was going to be a very wet day indeed with a constant scotch mist hanging over proceedings so I grabbed my brand sparkly new bright yellow illuminant waterproofs( Well it was Yellow Friday) then headed for some Brunch. After which we kept the main fire well stocked. Ross and I prepped the fire at the Pyramid stage getting the flames welcomingly warm as the coaches began to arrive. Its on wet days that warm fires are most necessary.
The first act of the opening evening Richy from Richy And The Reinforcements and spectacular drummer from Edinburgh’s very own Jamie and Shoony set the tone for a weekend of quality musical entertainment. It was while tending the fire and doing my make up that I was joined by a Romanian tree spirit called Paula. Once I had finished my own, Paula asked me if I would do the same for her. “Of course I replied. Divine had made the first of many new friends and the fireplace was soon rammed with damp festive revellers. I held space and kept the fire heartily burning till mid night, Travis came and covered for me so that I could grab a bit of The Mustards performance at 10pm, The courtyard was rammed with The Yellow Following and my bright yellow waterproofs were not out of place. The build up to The Mustards appearance on stage was immense. It was when Fathom Ross appeared on stage with a large sequined iridescent pearl number that a gasp went through the crowd. Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5 amped the spirit of the festival up.
I returned to the Pyramid fire held space and flame until midnight and then headed for my next mission, the fire at the Tall Trees.
Saturday 6th July.
I headed to the Tall Trees at midnight. This was a completely different world the teenage element of the party most of which were spangled. Extra care was needed to keep the fire and punters safe. Soundtracked by some rather wonderful techno I worked the flames beautifully until the music stopped and security cleared the arena at 4am. Where I headed back to the main fire to drum some sunrise rhythms. My shift finished at 6am. The damp wet day before had been replaced by the beginnings of a hot Summer Saturday Kelburn day. Also it was a rare appearance of a day off during a festival and The Grandmasters Leftfield were Headlining that night. I rested from the full on Friday for most of the day, quite spangled myself, I chose to not sleep and to party on through.
Saturday 6th July NikNak and Leftfield.
I got to the Landings Stage early to watch and dance to NikNaks opening set and really let rip, loads of good time memories came flooding back from The Lost Disco in Croatia where I was first impressed with the skill of this wonderful duos tune selection, NikNak warmed a very hot dancefloor up perfectly. I headed for dinner and then returned to camp to rearrange the Divine wardrobe and then on to sort the wood at the main fire before heading back to The Landings Arena where I found a chair on which to sit and hold Rhythm for the duration of Leftfields Master Class in electronic music. My positioning was perfect to really listen and it wasn’t until Open Up came into the mix that my inner dancer burst into life. My body was tired so practiced some yogic breathing to energise and it worked. It was a spectacular night and Dawn was breaking to another unblemished day. I slept deeply for 6 hours and was back on duty at 1pm on Sunday. Refreshed and raring to go. Good Time
Sunday 7th July.
I was served a Sausage Casserole Brunch by the Crew Canteens Head Chef and it really set me up, After Lunch I got my fire tending map for the day. I was in charge of The Pyramid Fire which is what I wanted as that was where Mark McGhee’s Making Things Happen stage take over was happening. But first I went and had a tidy up of the main fire place, meditated and grounded the Angels. I arrived at the Pyramid Stage just as the late afternoon temperatures were reaching their peak and prepped a small fire so that once dusk began to hit and temperatures began to drop. the fire within the stone circle glowed a heartily warmth and was welcomed by all. By the time The Girobabies hit the stage the garden was packed. It was a very entertaining evening indeed, climaxed by Captain Hotknives and his Northern English Punk As Fuck poetry. He was really really funny. Lots of friends and people that I care about were gathered round that fire, to top it all off, my Romanian Tree spirit friend came to give me a cuddle. It was a really lovely experience.
When The Pyramid stage closed, I headed up to the Tall Tree’s to check on Ross, Travis was at a completely different fire. Ross was fading so I told him to go get some rest and took over. (Yogic Breathing works) So the transition from the heavenly beauty of The Pyramid Garden to the Tall Trees with a DJ playing 80s cheeze I concentrated on building the flames and had a right good singalong. Just as dawn was breaking a young lad was snarling and darting daggers at this other young lad, my alarm bells were going mental. The ruckus began, he was like a bull dog when he attacked, they got pulled apart and the young lad that had been attacked came and sat next to me. Hmmmm, this is a precariously dangerous situation. I didn’t have a radio and couldn’t see any security, I said listen I cannae leave you to find someone coz this intimidating butch shite is going to bite. I knew it wouldn’t be long before security came to clear the arena. So I advised that he just sit tight next to me until the cavalry arrived. Poor lad he was shaking. No further aggression accrued though, security escorted them both safely. But by eck, in all my years of Fire Tending at festivals that was a first. I fucking hate bullies, they just ruin it for everyone.
I headed down to the main fire, Grabbed my drum, played some rhythms and let it all go.
Monday 8th July.
Getting into my sleeping bag at 6am was such a welcome comfort, I was out like a light, slept deep and rejuvenating. When I awoke, I got chatting to a couple that were camped opposite me, they were talking about Tarot my ears pricked up and I explained that I had been dedicated to Tarot since 1992 and had worked as a professional Tarot Reader for 25 years. The concept that Rachael and Dai presented me with blew my mind in a cosmic kind of way. The major arcana were represented by 7inch singles that referenced the imagery of the cards. It was such an original and fascinating concept. The next sensible step was to create a DJ Mix of the singles that were pulled. Wowzer, what a truly brilliant idea. My inner Psychic was stoked and I gave them both Tarot Readings and then headed to the crew kitchen where I gave a few other readings too. It was another lovely day, my body wasnae allowing me to do walking around much, I was knackered but very very happy. I built the main fire up for one last night with the intention of sleeping by the fire. Just as the flames got toasty the rain came back in, so I grabbed my drums and had an early night.
Tuesday 9th July.
I awoke to the sound of falling rain, pulled on my Bright Yellow waterproofs headed to the crew kitchen had a cuppa and some Coco Pops and meditated on the beauty of the Clyde. kelburn Garden Party had been an epic adventure and such a deeply healing experience, I really didnae want to leave. Good Friends, Community, fire, great music and Mother Natures Elixier. Even when I returned to my tent and the rain was falling heavily I laid down and protested just a few hours more. We left late afternoon. My heart had come into a natural balance returning to Aulde Reekie to the news that my Benefit and housing issues had been resolved. Another weight of my mind. This time I could truly relax, process and dry my tent coz I had to pack it wet. What an amazing adventure. I smiled a smile of appreciation that such wonderful things are available in Scotland. Aye it was a winner. I enjoyed it, My Mind, My Body and My Soul. Enjoyed it too.
Good Time Divinexx.
Photos (in order). NIKNAK on the Landing Stage. 2 Divine 2019. Mark Mcghee Girobabies. Divine 2013. Divine 2016. Colonel Mustard view from the stage.
This was my first family festival and my first time at Eden so apart from the wet weather that was forecast I really didn’t know what to expect! I am very pleased to say that it wasn’t a total washout, the weather never putting put a dampener on the fun and the festival itself was absolutely brilliant.
We were camped up the Artist’s campsite, which was probably the furthest walk from the main stage and also the most unkempt part of the site. Every other campsite that I visited was much nicer and flatter and an easy walk down into the main area. They all had plenty of water taps for use and were serviced by reasonable dirt roads which managed to maintain their integrity even with the damp weather. I am not saying that there wasn’t plenty of mud the first couple of days, especially down at the main arena, but it was manageable and there was a lot less than I was expecting. Aye, wellies are a must, like, at a Scottish festival – but no need for waders!
Eden is a great site for camping no matter the weather. All of the facilities were actually great, and way better than anything I have ever experienced at a larger festival. Toilets were regularly cleaned, showers were good, and food was delicious at a number of the stands that I tried, especially ‘The Italian Kitchen,’ whose pizza’s saved my life! There was even a sauna for those who wanted to completely unwind.
Eden is a family festival so they have put the emphasis on trying to make sure there is plenty for everyone to do. You don’t have that rushing from stage-to-stage felling to catch the must-see act, its more about taking your time and enjoying the full experience. I saw some very touching moments with fathers in the crowd carrying their kids on their shoulders (with ear protectors of course), dancing the night away.
I was speaking with a couple of parents and aunties about their experience ,who also said that they absolutely loved it. There was loads of things for the kids to do, but it was all about showing them that they can be free and enjoy themselves outside alongside parents who did not have to worry about them constantly.
I don’t know if it was the size, location or type of festival, but at Eden I ever met any ‘idiots’ the whole weekend. No one was completely off their face or falling about, you were even allowed to take your own alcohol into the main area – I would not like to think how that would of worked out at a T in the Park or something similar!
There were a few different stages throughout the site with a number of acts on all day. I spent a lot of time at the Mainstage where most of the headliners were. Chineseman took the roof off on the Friday night and really made the place come alive. We then went on to the ‘Snake Pit’ to dance the night away till the wee small hours. In the pit you had two main tents which were banging all night, with a variety of DJ’s playing. My personal favourite was Optimo on the Saturday night who were different class!!
His Highness, John Cooper Clarke
For those who preferred a slightly slower pace you could walk through to the Lost Disco which was pumping out the tunes ’till late, or for those in the know you could wander on to the Thunderdome who had a variety of acts including ‘7 inch Sal & Son,’ – again very inclusive for the kids and without doubt the funniest things I saw all weekend and totally loved by the kids!
The weekend acts were finished off by Bombskare, who brought their energy and touch of ska madness to ear on the mainstage. They again were absolutely brilliant and the right mix of fun and enthusiasm which summed up the full festival for me. Eden may not have had the headliners that you expect at some bigger festivals, but it had everything else and then some! The people were amazing, the site was great, the acts were brilliant, food was class, beer was reasonable, and without a doubt I had the most fun I have had in a long time. Thank you Eden for everything – one love!
Review by Mark Parker
This was my first Eden without a broken heart and the Healing preparation that I put in a week or two before, certainly was effective. I arrived with Ross on Weds Afternoon. Into the Garden and made camp backstage in the dance arena so that I could be close to the main Fire. Ernst and Heather Maxwell were both busy sawing and prepping the wood for the swanky new Camp Fire that was being planned for Thursdays festival opening. It rained till the early hours of Thursday Morning and then the Sun came out to shine. I had a good sleep and helped with breakfast in the crew kitchen.
With the Intention to bless and heal the hearts of all who visited Divines healing flames of love. The new seating arrived for the Camp Fire. While Ernst created the new caged fire. It was perfect for the main arena and would keep the Edenites warm during the coming Rainy Saturday. I also prepped the Healing Fire in the Meladrome. Alan, Lotus and Travis arrived at 6pm so both fires were covered and the gates opened at 7pm. The Festival had begun. So so many happy smiley faces flooded into the Garden. It was a beautiful Summers day and everyone was Happy. I divided my night between the two fires with time to recite a poem on The Well Happy Bands Meladrome Stage Thursday take over. Good Time.
Friday was performance day for Divine. Poetry recital in Rabbies Tavern at 6.15pm. Bowie V Prince at the lost Disco at 9pm and the Sunrise Set in The Vishnu Lounge at 4.30am. It was another lovely Sunny day. I knew it was going to be a long day so I paced myself so that I could express my creative Juices to full effect. I settled outside The 99p Tea Tent in the Sunshine and began makeup sessions. My Poetry went down a treat in Rabbies Tavern, just before the performance I met a new friend called Iona. Divine was buzzing. The lost Disco was packed for Divines Bowie and Prince set and it was beautifully received. Then it was back to fire duty till my 4.30am Sunrise set. I got into my sleeping bag at 6.30am just as Saturdays rain had started and had a deep 3 hours of sleep.
With all of my performances on the Friday/Saturday Morning now complete. The focus was completely on fire. Travis had done a brilliant job keeping the flame burning throughout the night at the Meladrome Fire, myself Alan and Ross held space at the main fire, revolving between the two for the rest of the day. with drum circles at each It was a wet Saturday, the peace and healing was profound, the Fire dried off my waterproofs and kept my drumskin tight. Eden has lots of indoor venues to protect Edenites from the elements. I returned to the main Camp Fire as Dusk made the embers and flames lick brighter. Travis was at the Meladrome fire. Divine, Ross and Alan and Ernst built the flames to a roaring blaze. I hit exhaustion at midnight and slept a rejuvenating deep sleep for 3 hours. I was back at the fire at 3am to join Alan and Ross. The rain had stopped falling and the love was huge.
My Sunday began early, at 3am I rejoined Alan and Ross at The Camp Fire. It was busy and the party was in full swing. Dawn and Sunrise were about an hour away and the transition from night time groovers enjoying the Flames Of Love to Sunday Morning counsel as I held space and grounded the Angels. By midday I hit exhaustion. but couldn’t find anywhere to settle for a power nap. I wandered round to the healing area laid down on the grass and was out like a light for an hour. I headed up to The Meladrome Fire and that would be my vantage point for the rest of the day. Building the flames and looking after the revellers. This is where well-tended fires at damp festivals are most important. I held space until midnight and then headed for my sleeping bag. It was a lovely Sunny Monday Morning when Ross woke me up to tell me that he was leaving that morning so that I would have to get the bus back on Tuesday. I helped out in the Crew Kitchen that morning, washing and scrubbing the pans. There was a crew party that night but was too tired to attend. Stretched beyond my limits I had an early night and ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.
I packed my things and headed for the Stagecoach 101 Bus for the pleasant journey back to Aulde Reekie. Alex the Astrologer was on the bus who had been working on The Vishnu Build. I was home, back in the Divine Parlor by 5pm as process and recovery began. Divines 11th Eden with full participation. The Healing of Rae Hills Meadows and the people that will visit will happen now untill the end of time.
Divine Service To Humanity And The Festival I Love Above All Others.
On Thursday evening, as the sun perched bright between fluffy cotton clouds, a convoy of peculiar shaped vehicles meandered along a single-track road amongst sheep clad rugged hills. Horseboxes, circus vans and furniture removal trucks, each converted in an ingenious manner rumbled along through the backdrop of the setting sun on a mission to one collective port of call. The destination was Knockengorroch Meadow, the location of Scotland’s premier hippy festival, nestled in the Galloway Hills.
Fresh-faced and clad in multi-colours, Leprechauns and pots of gold, the Knock revellers slowly entered the site and chose their favourite spot to pitch up for the weekend. Buzzing with the anticipation of this year’s Rainbow-themed weekend, inspired by the original International Rainbow gathering of 1997, which spurred the beginnings of the annual Knockengorroch Festival.
The Fraoch Bar, fully stocked with Williams’ Brothers beers and Thistly Cross cider opened its doors on Thursday night with Samson Sounds opening on the Cabaret Stage, a five-piece afro-dub collective from Glasgow, who played the perfect high energy reggae-meets ska-meets funk set to blast open the beginning of what was to be the Mother Nature of all festivals. And as the beers flowed, old friends met up for the first of the festival season with big bear hugs, smiling faces and happy laughter.
Friday morning’s midges were out in force with their razor-sharp tiny teeth and angry wee warrior bodies. Armed with a smothering of Citronella and bacon butties, we fought off the savage attack and made our way down to the site where the festival was beginning to rise and warm up. After a chilled morning basking in the May sunshine, we took to the Bo’ Airigh Main Stage for Muckle Spree to dance bare-foot in the grass. This duo, Michael Muir and Ollie Rigg, fuse traditional folk with a contemporary digital spin, using powerful loop pedals, a diverse range of string and wind instruments, driving melodies and a strong jazz/funk influence.
The Bristol Branch were to follow, and being of Orchestra Del Sol ilk, were not to disappoint. A seven-piece Latin American band (none of who were from Bristol) effortlessly blasted citrus audio bursts with a Brazilian flavour, oozing a sunshine soaked fiesta atmosphere. Boasting an eclectic range of lyrics, from canoeing, agricultural drought, prostitution … and some happy stuff… they had the hippies swinging their dungaree-clad salsa hips and jiving to the Latino beats.
Going indoors, the Sheiling tent was introducing Gypsy Roots, a fantastic reggae-rock, punk-gypsy band with a super tight drummer and great funky rhythm. An enthusiastic crowd boogied to each song with familiarity and expectation for this much-loved band.
Yoko Pwno gave yet another outstanding festival performance. This contemporary energetic band filled the Friday night Sheiling tent, packing the floor song after song, as they merged traditional Scottish folk music to a backdrop of drum and bass and electronica. With the keyboards and fiddles backed by the drums and electronica we were taken on a magical journey through a psychedelic musical soundscape. One of the best bands to be heard on the Scottish festival scene.
The Dunbar female rap trio, Bitta Disgrace, Pimpses Asha and Sweethardt Dowt are the three badass sassy, saucy girls who blew the top off the Sheiling tent on Friday’s performance. An absolute delight to watch, their fast, punchy lyrics satirize and destroy male hip hop clichés in their own witty comedy style over banging beatz. An incredible performance with a group with huge potential.
With hundreds of revellers knocking on the door of Knockengorroch festival the time has finally come for the first festival instalment of Scotlands summer season. The first most notable part of the journey to Dumfries and Galloway is the breath taking scenery you encounter driving down the Moffat road, through Crawfordjohn then into New Cumnock. Passing through farmsteads and rural countryside you emerge at Dalmellington, the small village 14 miles from Knockengorroch farm. As the sun shone down on Friday morning we could only hope that this ray of sunshine will continue to spill its warmth over the compound that is to be Knockengorroch Festival. With the winding river that encirCLes the grounds and the natural barriers of the hills , this is one of the most beautiful sites for a festival you could ask for. This place has a magical and mythical energy to it and with the birds singing sweet songs outside your tent, well, that’s just the icing on the cake…
The variety off workshops, educational areas, food stalls, landscaped chilling areas and music is tenfold, with so much on offer there is no time to be waste. There is a much more family friendly and artistic feeling to Knockengorroch as the years have passed which is something i feel they have always strived for , maintained and focused on. Bustling bodies, running children, warm fires, happy chatty revellers and continuous laughter was a common sight throughout the entire weekend. The other wonderful thing about Knock”s is that the size of the festival has remained the same over the many years it has been running and with this they have kept that unique sense of community.
With live acts such as Benjamin Zephaniah, Griogair Labhruidh, The Honey Farm, Milvus Milvus, Elephant Sessions, Dizraeli, Omar Afif, Irie Yo-Yo, Sea Bass Kid and many more exciting acts this was sure to be a weekend full fond memories. If i was to high light a few a few acts then the maverick of modern words and poetry that is Benjamin Zephaniah and the Revoluntionary Minds . Benjamin”s love off words and the power they hold are clear within his lyrics and music. The way words are constructed and used take on a different life when Benjamin creates his magic. Powerful messages that embody a sense of reality that is apparent in everyday life and in every culture. Moving and thought provoking Benjamin and the Revoluntionary Minds bring an energy and spirit that incaptivates everyone that is present.
The Honey Farm
Now we come to the all female trio that is The Honey Farm. Emerging from Dunbar this rap trio have taken Scotlands music scene and turned it upside down within the last few years. It is so refreshing to see a young female band taking to the stage with a fearless and empowering presence. With the Honeybadger DJ by their side, Bee, Gael and Gracie deliver a set full off direct, real, true, honest, in your face lyrics. They say it how it is, no barriers, no walls and pretentious bullshit. They say what we think and see it how as it is and Its about time too. The Honey Farm have stripped back what we have been missing for years within the music scene and how pulled the trigger and realeased some great songs with hard hitting facts about life as a woman, teenager and not forgetting the youth that is man. The energy, warmth, love, grattitude, innuendos and humour are intoxicating. I have high hopes for The Honey Farm and predict that if they continue on this road they have buit for themselves they are sure to go a long way.
Saturday afternoon begun with a magnificent Mutleys cheese, basil and pesto crepe, washed down with Nikita’s Traditional Lemonade Cordial, which were devoured hungrily around the fire pitt. Barefooted, guitar-strumming hippies entertained the hardcore all-nighters and the bleary-eyed late risers who were warming their cockles together by the fire as the drizzle begun, by belting out some classic camp fire tunes, old and new. Everyone joined in, including the friendly fire stewards, and it gave yet another a reminder of just how special this wee hippy festival really is.
We wandered through the Meadow, past the food stalls, rainbow installations, workshops and trader stalls packed with interesting and diverse wares and all manner of activities. The Mkeco Nature Workshop, run by Mona Kastel, an Edinburgh based Ecoscenographer who specialises in ecological conscious design, offered the chance to explore our connection with nature and what it means as humans, in a captivating and sensorial interactive workshop.
There was a drop-in recycling workshop at the Sheiling tent, which made all manner of creative and original things, such as masks, badges and musical instruments from recycled junk, in a fun atmosphere. There was a diverse range of different workshops on offer throughout the weekend, from yoga classes or Brazilian dance, life drawing to palm reading, spoon carving or story writing, making Knockengorroch such a rich and diverse International festival with genuinely something for everyone.
The Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers took to the Bo Airigh Stage on Saturday afternoon, delivering a mind-blowing theatrical performing art of layered percussion, powerful and passionate, with a gritty, energetic style, which easily demonstrated the ease of their experience as the UK’s longest running Taiko drumming collective.
Moving on to the Shieling Tent, we were introduced to Milvus Milvus, a Glasgow based band who delivered an incredible set, fusing 80s New Wave with contemporary minimalist techno and electronica, to an enthusiastic, bouncing crowd. Benjamin Zephariah, the Rastafarian poet was Saturday’s highlight, owning the Main stage with his incredible stage presence and delivering stylish and powerful dub-reggae protest lyrics, from his latest album Revolutionary Minds.
We danced late into the night with the legendary Edinburgh connoisseurs of all things exotic, Samedia Shabeen, who brought the boogie onto the dancefloor and jam-packed the Knock Taigh tent with the sweet sounds of afro, dancehall, Latin America, and all things tropical from every corner of the planet. The success of this DJ collective who have travelled the world with their immersive late-night tropical soundtrack was evident from the riotous enthusiasm and packed dancefloor, whilst sealing Knock’s reputation as a colourful mix of vibes to flavour every taste-bud.
As Friday turns into Saturday and Saturday into Sunday the heavens decided that the earth needed to be dampened and the rain come down like an over flowing waterfall. It poured and it poured. Down it came with no end in sight. The one thing at Knockengorroch you maybe guaranteed is rain but it does not dampen spirits as many off the mud dancing revellers embraced it and engaged in a ritual rain ceremony.
With the Shieling tent offering up Mungos Hi Fi and the Knock Taigh Tent hosting Samedia Shebeen these were the places to be after hours. The tropical and african sound of Samedia”s trio dj”s was to hot hot to handle. Powered by North Fire Sound and full to capacity everynight the Taigh tent had no space to give. With rain drop like sweats balls dripping from the tent ceiling we were once again caught in a world of dance, movement and good vibes. The Sunday night instalment of Mungos Hi Fi and Kenny Knots is a must at any festival.
The build up is an uplifting experience that has never swayed in the many many years that Mungos Hi Fi have been gracing our floors. A true icon of the sound system circuit they never fail to deliver. Deep rooted cultured tunes with heart and soul and with lyrics that push the boundaries there is no better way to close the first festival of the year . With another successful Knockengorroch Festival done and dusted, i think we all leave with a sense of contentment and warm hearts and not forgetting some wet and sore feet. Happy days with good times ahead…..
Words, Photos & Memories by Raymond Speedie & Teri Welsh
Festival royalty doesn’t get much more laid back than the purveyor of Eden’s Rabbies Tavern
Hello Stephen, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I’m from Craignure on the Isle of Mull. I’m currently packing boxes in our flat in Clydebank, ready for a move to Balloch, Loch Lomond on Friday!
Where does your love of music come from?
My parents and Grandparents. My dad was a brilliant folk musician. Mainly Fiddle, Guitar and Northumbrian Pipes, but he could genuinely get a tune out of any instrument. Our summers were generally driving around Scotland and Ireland, he played in as many sessions as he could. While my mum wasn’t a musician, she had a great love of music. Fantastic collection of records which I used to love playing. My Grandad played the organ in our local church, and my Gran gave me my first lessons as a child on the piano.
You’ve got three famous musicians from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
I’m crazy into Hans Zimmer at the moment. My wife got me tickets to the Hydro in march and it was incredible. His stories are great too, he’s be a top class dinner guest. Dolly Parton. I’ve always enjoyed country music, and she’s just the embodiment of it. I think she’d be a great dinner guest, really funny and honest. Hasn’t ever forgotten her roots either. Marcus Mumford too. Sigh no More came out just as the band were getting started. Mumford and Sons were a huge influence back then. It really got me back into that style of music, we wouldn’t be the band we are without that record. I’m rubbish at cooking. I’d go Scottish I think though. Stornoway Black pudding and Mull Cheddar salad for starter. I do make a decent steak pie though, so that’s up next. I’d need to ask my mum how to make it, Cranachan for desert. Probably a cheese board too. Love a good cheese board!
You are the founding member of Have Mercy Las Vegas, what’s the origin story?
I wouldn’t say there was a real founding member of Have Mercy Las Vegas. Originally I’d met Crispin through work and went along to a couple of open mics. He was well known in the area and had a load of top class songs to record. He’s an incredible songwriter and a total pleasure to get the chance to play with – it still is. I’d come along to record a bit of Mandolin on a song he’d written (Tear to my eye) He’d been recording them at Phil’s studio, Phil being a drummer put the drums down. We got the offer of a couple of local gigs and Marc joined in on Bass, having previously been in a band with Phil. Crispin and I were playing a couple of tunes on a Sunny May day holiday, funnily enough 7 years ago to this day. She sang a couple of tunes and we invited her to join. That’s pretty much when we became a proper band. Andrew was the final piece of the jigsaw in 2013.
What instruments do you play?
For Have Mercy Las Vegas; Banjo, Mandolin, Harmonium and accordion. I’ve loads of instruments in the flat I can pick a tune on, but not to any real standard!
How has your involvement with Eden Festival increased since the early days?
I’ve generally done a bit more each year really. First couple of years not much beyond playing and suggesting a couple of bands. Phil got me more involved around 2014/15 I reckon though. There’s a lot of admin that goes with this, dealing with all the bands, tech specs etc, a bit of compering too. Maybe since 2015 I’ve gone down early to help with the build, a lot of people work really hard behind the scenes and its good to muck in.
HMLV playing Rabbies Tavern
How has the Tavern evolved over the years?
Its grown big time. The Tavern was originally a much smaller army tent. It was brilliantly dark and the sound desk was housed in an old truck. (Ill find a picture) Sadly it succumbed to the elements and the larger and brighter tent was brought in. The build team are so resourceful though, they built wooden walls inside to give it a Barn feel to it. Built chairs and benches from old church pews and added a new snug and rebuilt the bar at the back. It grew on still, the “The Back Passage” was built and programmed by Bob and Cara, it has since become a wonderful venue in its own right. A mezzanine floor was built above the sound desk… there’s loads of wee personal touches too from the build and the décor team. Plenty of Burns poems and pictures. It’s a work of art. Last year when the Back Passage moved locations, we added a replacement called the Diel and Exciseman, after another burns poem and with a “speakeasy” feel, something Chris had always been really keen to do. We had some sporadic jams and performances last year which went down a treat. Thankful to Adam for trusting us to do it well! We’ll expand on that this year.
Can you describe your working relationship with Chris Blackmore?
Chris is brilliant to work with. He’s one step ahead of the game when it comes to the Americana/folk scene in Glasgow. He’s really passionate about it too. We want to give new artists a chance that is sometimes hard to get, Chris is great at finding these acts. At this time of year we probably speak daily about the plans and schedules for the weekend, but all year round his label “Holy Smokes Records” put on great shows. He’s brought the likes of Buffalo Skinners from Sheffield, Lankum from Dublin and JP Harris from Nashville to Glasgow. Well worth checking out his shows.
The Main Stage @ Eden
What have you got for us this year?
We’ve got John Cooper Clark headlining the year, something different to what we usually do, but its going to go down great. We’ve brought in some brilliant poets too keeping with the theme, the likes of Stephen Watt, Mark McGhee, Iona Lee and plenty more. We’ve got the Hoojamamas as the musical headline, formerly known as Harry and the Hendersons. Its been a while since we had them down so really looking forward to that. My own personal picks for the weekend are The Carloways, Beinn Lee, Avocet and Dlu.
As one of the last venues to be open onsite, what are the crowd & the performers like in the early hours of Monday morning?
After the main stages shut most of the smaller venues are usually busy, Sunday is no exception to that. While were on till about 2, the Snake Pit is open later still! I think people want to make the most of it on the last day. We’ve always had some cracking line ups on the Sunday!
Who are you looking forward to in the other parts of Eden Festival?
The Mountain Stage is an incredible feat of engineering. It looks and sounds great too. I’ll look to catch Lau and Old Blind Dogs there for sure. I’m looking forward to the Campsite too. We work hard but still take a bit of time to enjoy the company and have a wee jam and a drink with some pals!
Can you describe working with the Eden crew in a single sentence?
An absolute pleasure.
To someone who has never been to Eden before, what have they got to expect?
I’m sure everyone who is involved in a festival will say that theirs is different to the rest… But Eden genuinely is. Its the reason I wanted to help it grow. With HMLV we’ve been lucky enough to play loads of great festivals in Scotland and England and there are some great festivals out there. Eden’s just full of people who want to get along with everybody. Everyone is there to have a good time, you’ll definitely make some new friends. The music is fantastic and Eden has some brilliant headliners. You’ll enjoy seeing the bands you’ve picked out as favorites before, but you’ll also find your new favorite band! The level of detail that goes into the building of the stages is incredible… the Melodrome in the woods, the towers of the Great Mountain or even the drive in cinema. First time I went as a band member I knew I wanted to be a part of it, I’m grateful I got the chance. But if I wasn’t involved and my band weren’t booked to play, I’d buy a ticket for it.
Deerstock is a beautiful festival with a beautiful heart… & a beautiful guy behind it
Hello Jed, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I am actually an Essex boy but moved to Newark Notts in 1978 and have never returned South I now live in Gunthorpe Notts about 1 mile from the Deerstock site
How did you develop an appreciation of music?
From my days at Boarding School I was lucky to have a Mass Media teacher who used to take us into London to see bands
Where, when & how did the idea for Deerstock Festival originate?
In 2011, my friend ran a pub called The Reindeer (hence the name) in East Bridgford we decided to have a festival in his back field, unfortunately the NIMBYs in the village weren’t keen and the council refused us permission to run it again but a lovely farmer who loved the fact we were a volunteer based charity event offered us the Cross Country course and we have been there ever since
What is it about organising festivals that makes you tick?
The buzz of introducing bands that people would never normally see, the talent around is unbelievable we get over 500 bands applying now!!
Can you describe one of your family-team festival planning meetings?
We are old hands now and respect each others roles (the most important thing when running a festival), my son James has taken over the actually physical creation of the festival which means I just deal with the fluffy bits.
Can you tell us about the site & how it contributes to the vibes?
The site is a Horse Riding Cross Country Course in the Trent Valley we have fantastic sunsets every evening.
How is the festival’s working relationship with Nottinghamshire County Council?
We actually come under Rushcliffe Council and they are very helpful (since we moved lol)
Can you tell us about the charities who benefit from Deerstock?
This year we have Framework (Homeless Charity), IMARA (Child Abuse Charity) REACH (Learning Difficulties Charity) there is a list of previous charities on http://www.deerstock.co.uk we have raised over£80000 since we started.
What is the highlight of the 8 years running Deerstock?
They have been many highlights for me personally Getting Eddie and the Hot Rods (one of my favourite all time bands) seeing Dreadzone absoloutely smash the event but I must admit it would be seeing my daughter KT (a trained musical theatre actress) singing onstage with Doggens All Star Band (Doggen is the guitarist in Spritualized and a very good friend of mine).
What acts have you guys got for us this year?
Our Headliners are TransGlobal Underground, Unknown Era, Doggens All Star Band, Tony Wright from Terrorvision & Tom Williams.
What allowance do you make for local acts gracing the stage?
90% of our bands are local
This years theme for Sunday Is The Summer Of Love, Time to let your inner Hippy shine man!
Can you tell us about the ‘I’m not from London’ posse?
They are a Nottingham-based music company who have been very supportive in the past, we thought it would be a great idea to have them curate a stage for us bringing a new dynamic to the festival
To someone who has never been to Deerstock, what can they expect?
They can feel part of a lovely community who all come together to have a great celebration of music and laughter. We have the also local firm Experian supplying volunteers to help at the event this year too.