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An Interview with Peter Ferguson

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The festival season is fast approaching & the Mumble managed to catch a wee blether with one of the co-organisers of Party at the Palace, near Linlithgow in Scotland


unnamed.jpgHello Peter, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I am from Glasgow originally and now living in Edinburgh

When did you first get into events?
My background is hotel management and this come with a huge amount of events work to a certain scale. I have always had a passion to organise large scale events and took the plunge 10 years ago to leave my hotel job to start my own company which was to organise events for clients and events I produce myself. I throve on it and really enjoy what I do.

Who inspires you musically?
You should be asking John (Richardson) this question – our tastes differ hugely! But from a Party at the Palace point of view – bands who know how to work a crowd, get them going and have them singing and dancing along! Bands like The Proclaimers and Paul Heaton and Jackie Abbot are huge favourites of mine!

What does Peter Ferguson like to do when he’s not organising kick-ass parties?
He is a huge lover of theatre and spending time with my family and friends. I love travelling and seeing what’s out there but more often or not I’ll be enjoying some lovely wine, great food with my best pals!

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Where, when & how did the idea for Party in the Palace originate?
Back in late 2013, John called me up telling me he and some of the other local dads in Linlithgow had been chatting about how they could all make their fortune and were sharing ideas and John decided that putting on a music festival was the best idea! When he called, me I was having none of it to start with as I know how risky putting on an event of this size is – financially and logistically – but I saw the light and agreed it was a great idea! We are now in to year 5 and have not looked back – ok we have learned LOTS over the last five years but we are extremely proud of what we have achieved and the awards we have won too!

Can you describe your relationship with your co-organiser, John Richardson, in a single sentence?
John is a great guy – one of my best pals and we know how to work each other to put on great events!

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How is your working relationship with West Lothian council?
West Lothian council have been a great support to PATP, I think they were keen to see how year 1 went and if it would be a success and we are delighted to prove that it was and it’s a huge benefit to the WLC area both economically and putting the area on the map as a great go to destination. We are supported fully by the council in all departments which is great!.

The Party goes from strength. Did you ever foresee such popularity?
We had no idea how the event would be received – obviously in year 1 there was huge excitement locally with the prospect of some amazing bands coming to the town – we soon outgrew the venue and had to move across the loch so its fab to see that the demand for tickets is so high and people are now buying tickets before we event announce the line-up. We feel we are a go to event knowing that the weekend is fun regardless of the line-up. We are very family driven too which ticks many boxes for our customers.

We keep the bands very much on brand with the festival – those who will attract a family friendly crowd without being too retro. We want the audience to come for a good weekend and feel safe knowing the bands will bring like-minded people to come and enjoy.

How do you decide upon the acts?
We start looking at acts about a month after each event has finished – we are at the mercy of the bands touring schedules, availability & budgets. We keep the bands very much on brand with the festival – those who will attract a family friendly crowd without being too retro. We want the audience to come for a good weekend and feel safe knowing the bands will bring like-minded people to come and enjoy. Our bands have a good following and are popular with those we aim to attract.

Who have been your favourites in the past
I loved CHIC feat Nile Rodgers – what a party they put on and I think they surprised the audience in 2015 with how fantastic they are and all the hits they have! Bjorn Again we up there as a favourite – who doesn’t like ABBA?! Another favourite would be Simple Minds – what a production they put on!

What allowance do you make for local acts gracing the stage?
Three years ago, we introduced our Breakout Stage (second stage) to showcase local and upcoming bands – this stage has been really well received and draws a large crowd. We are always keen to promote local and upcoming bands as much as we can. As the festival grows its great opportunity to give these bands a nice platform to perform.

To someone who has never been to the Party, what have they got to expect?
They can expect a great family friendly and safe day out. Great music – excellent facilities for kids and a huge variety of food choices and drinks. With 3 stage, fun fair rides, kids activities, market stalls, VIP area, garden areas and much more – it is a great weekend!

Will there be a 2019 Party?
Of course! For now it looks like 10th and 11th August 2019.


PARTY AT THE PALACE 2018

LINLITHGOW PALACE

AUGUST 11th & 12th

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www.partyatthepalace.co.uk

From Midstock to Electric Fields

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Dalkeith Country Park & Drumlanrigg Castle

September 2nd 2017


Finally, after an immensely soggy summer in which practically every festival became a mudfest, the first weekend in September was a bright & sunny wonder. The ardent northern festival goer was also spoiled for choice, somewhat; for there were do’s at Lindisfarne, the Edinburgh Mela, Midstock in Dalkeith & Electric Fields beside splendid Drumlanrigg Castle. ‘What to do? Where to go?‘ I asked myself. ‘I know, I’ll do a double-header’ I replied in my head.

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So off I went with the wife  kids to Midstock, a fine fun fairground of a festy in the naturally pretty caches of greenery which make up Dalkeith Country Park. Midstock has been entertaining folk in this part of the world for quite a while now, a well-run family day out, full of great music, that has now spilled into the Friday as well.

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Two lassies attempting to blow up the latest festival must-have accessory – the Inflatable Lounger

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Showaddywaddy

I missed the Friday, of course, & was told it was a slam-dunk of quality dance, headlined by The Time Frequency, & supported by Judge Jules & Darren Styles. A proper good do by all accounts, testament to the vision & professionalism of Midstock’s organisers, Scott & Wullie, with the latter telling the Mumble in a recent interview; since jumping in at the deep end at the first Midstock;

We have had to develop so many new skills over this time that there are to many to mention but the journey has been pretty tough although when the big day comes and all the festival goers are loving it and having a ball it all seems so worth it.

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I only had time for two bands; Showaddywaddy got everyone bopping with their retro throwback bounceiness, delivered in extremely smart  colourful suits. These were followed by the young, folktastic talent that is Stevie McCrorie. For these two hours or so, the sun was shining at all times & I noticed there was a visible increase on the numbers from last year. As for next year, Wullie Slight told the Mumble;

We are on 2018 already with the main aim to develop more ways to make us a more recognised and established festival and add other dimensions to the experience such as camping onsite and maybe another stage or two! Although we do always say, let’s get through this year first!! Ha! We think we have a fun, eclectic, beautiful little gem of of a festival within the Lothians! 

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Stevie McCrorie

So leaving with the wife &  kids just as THE SKIDS were playing, we headed to the bypass where I broke away from the fam (we had separate cars) & picked up my pal, Al, for the second leg of my cross-caledonian festival frolic. We were soon chugging through Biggar, hurtling down the M74 & sweeping across the Dalveen Pass, before landing, just as the sun was setting, at Electric Fields.

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For me, arriving here on the Saturday night, with the carnival atmosphere kicking in & kids being wheeled about in barrows by their giddy-faced parents, & everyone smiling & buzzing & the music banging &  everything was the perfect way to conclude the festival season of 2017. There was something in the air, it had clearly been a great time for all & & me & Al were happy to tap into the vibe for just a few hours.

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Jesus & Mary Chain

It all felt a bit like an early Wicker Man, a big family mash-up where music came at you from every angle. On the mainstage we saw the basic, industrial rock of the sable-coated Jesus & Mary Chain, followed by the headlinin’ jumping grime-duo that is Dizzee Rascal. We also got to see – in the Tenement TV Discover Stage – the foppishly brilliant American band, Foxygen, led by a camp Jarvis Cocker, an insatiably addictive watch with grooves to match.

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Foxygen

There was also Sneaky Petes, an Edinburgh club with its own wee tented slice of Leccy Fields, where motown, disco & soul were being pumped out. It was here that I last saw Al for the night. We were sitting down chatting to some pals & he’s like ‘I Love this Dizzee Rascal tune,‘ & ran off hopping like a guy being attacked by wasps into the massed ranks of the mainstagers. At this point I went into the dance tent for a reyt good rave, then found myself in a much smaller tent in the campsite nattering away for hours. Then, just as dawn was breaking, I found our car – with Al asleep in it – then snuggled under a blanket for a few hours kip before the shortish drive home. By the way, next year I’m gonna do all 4 in a weekend — The Mela, Lindisfarne, Leccy Fields  Midstock…

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Reviewer : Damo

Stowed Out

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Stow-on-Wedale
26 August 2017

What is instantly noticeable about the Scottish Borders town of Stow, based seven miles north of Galashiels, is the distinct lack of signposting. Not one single piece of cardboard gaffer-taped to a lamppost. However, once one leaves the city bypass via Midlothian and comes out of Bonnyrigg, there is a paradisal country road one drives, winding its way into the belly of the Borders. Travelling behind an alluring 1960’s Jaguar gift-wrapped in wedding bows while listening to Kate Bush’s “A Woman’s Work” on the radio was as reposeful as one could hope to arrive in the village.

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Situated only a couple of hundred yards from the rail station, approximately twelve volunteers helped create the fifth annual Stowed Out festival, home to less than a few hundred revellers. Situated in a small field which could be lapped, at a sprint, in around 35 seconds, the sun boasted where the wild wind and rain in the west couldn’t manage. Two main tents were in situ at opposite ends of the field, one for music and one for spoken word. With between 8 and 10 acts appearing in both tents, the festival organisers intelligently ensured that neither over-played the other tent resulting in healthy numbers gracing both stages and no interference from generous speakers or instruments.

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Between both stages, a host of stalls, workshops, catering, merchandise, drinks stalls, and bales of hay to sit on were used by families with both prams and pets welcome. The audience changed towards sunset as a surge of teenagers descended, but all in highly friendly spirits and not in any imposition on the high spirits already in place.

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Flitting between the two stages, jinking in and out of stilt walkers, it was a queer sight, seeing one’s name printed on festival t-shirts. The Spoken Word stage, entitled the ‘Roar’ stage, was curated by Selkirk FC’s Poet-in-Residence Thomas Clark, running over the course of the afternoon between 1.30 and 6.15pm. The afore-mentioned organisation of the festival meant that the daddy longlegs, pinned to the sides of the tent, were not alone for long as crowds drifted with the burger smoke in to listen to the former BBC Scotland Poet-in-Residence, Rachel McCrum who delivered an exalted performance in spoken word. Reading poems from her first full collection ‘The First Blast To Awaken Women Degenerate’, Rachel’s vast experience of reading live shone through with delicious lines wrapped with good-natured banter. This set the standard as established Borders poets Brian Hotton, Robert Leach, Sara Clark, and Jules Horne delivered wonderful sets including homages to Indian Gods and Chinese translations. Alongside Thomas (Clark) and St Johnstone FC’s Poet in Residence Jim Mackintosh, I competed the three football poets in residence appearing on stage for the first time to read poems from the Football Memories project ‘Mind The Time’ book, and other favourites prior to the spoken word segment being wrapped up by Star Trek-humour in the shape of Tom Murray and one of my own poetry highlights, Anita Jones before I closed the tent with a 15-minute set.

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On the music side, everything from Dance Ihayami to rock outfit Slim Mistress kept the young families entertained with young children bopping near the front of the stage, waving happy-face balloons and wearing ear-protector headphones: a highly entertaining sight during the melancholic sounds of The Boy With The Lion’s Head, singing about “blood in the lungs”. A fine set was followed by The Youth and The Young, the quite enchanting Emme Woods whose bluesy songs really do set the young songstress apart from other performers in Scotland right now, The Little Kicks, and the soaring ascendency of the Thompson sisters, more commonly known as The Van T’s.

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All this apart, Thomas, Jim and I were also invited by anti-sectarian charity Nil By Mouth to participate in a Poetry and Penalties competition held on the football pitches opposite the festival. In goals was NBM organiser Dave Scott, and I was glad to take the trophy home to Dumbarton after a nail-biting sudden death shoot-out with St Johnstone’s Poet-in-Residence who saw his final kick unfortunately hit the stanchion of the post and crossbar.

Departing the festival, listening to Gil Scot-Heron and gazing into a sunset-kissed Pentlands, it’s fair to say that Stowed Out and its organisers deserve a large pat on the back. Any organisation trying to cater for its community, encourage the young to pick up an instrument or find their voice, is a hero in times when the country appears crestfallen, unsure how to bring the feel-good factor back into its bones.

Reviewer : Stephen Watt

An Interview with Wullie Slight

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Hello Wullie, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Hi! We are in middle of the Lothians. Midlothian to be exact and that just happens to be where our festival takes place. A stunning venue called DALKEITH COUNTRY PARK which is literally at the end of our little town of Dalkeith.

So Midstock is your baby, how did it come about?
Well the story goes that we have an events company that at the time was more inclined to take on providing food and drinks at festivals and events We were catering at Tough Mudder at the country park and during a couple of chilling out beers after the event had the idea to hold our own festival in our home town…The rest is history!!

It was a case of jumping in at the deep end then. How much have you learned in the intervening years?
Very much so! No safety net just straight in. We have had to develop so many new skills over this time that there are to many to mention but the journey has been pretty tough although when the big day comes and all the festival goers are loving it and having a ball it all seems so worth it.

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What has been your greatest mishap & sweetest moment?
We have had both… I would say but probably our worst moment was our headline act not turning up last year after breaking down on the way up from the south and handling disappointed people as well as we could and the best moments are when people tell you how great a time they have had whether it be during or after we never get tired of hearing that.

What does Wullie Slight like to do when he’s not organising festivals?
Well I also like a little chant myself and sing in a little covers band but really the passion is still going to gigs and supporting music in all aspects of my life… I don’t mind a beer or 3 either!!

What have you got lined up for us this year?
We are delighted to announce this year we have added the Friday and this year we decided to make it more of a dance act celebration with the legendary TTF ( The Time Frequency ) headlining although the whole bill could headline as we have Judge Jules,Darren Styles and local Edinburgh stars Ladies on Rotation who can hold their own in any dance line up. We also have on our Saturday line up FEEDER who headline also the man that has Edinburgh buzzing duing the summer HOTDUB TIME MACHINE plus The Skids,Showaddywaddy,Stevie McRorie plus much more.

Do you find Dalkeith’s residents are appreciative of your efforts?
We would like to think they appreciate the festival and our local authority have been a great help by working with us in making the festival something to be proud of as a small constituency and adding economic value to our community and surrounding areas.

Have you got one eye on next year’s Midstock already?
We are on 2018 already with the main aim to develop more ways to make us a more recognised and established festival and add other dimensions to the experience such as camping onsite and maybe another stage or two! Although we do always say, let’s get through this year first!! Ha! We think we have a fun, eclectic, beautiful little gem of of a festival within the Lothians! Maybe you should come along and judge for yourselves? We would love to see you.


Midstock is taking place @ Dalkeith Country Park, Midlothian

September 1st & 2nd 2017

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PARTY AT THE PALACE 2017

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Linlithgow Palace
12th & 13th August

Party in the Palace is located in one of the most eye-catching and beautiful settings in Scotland. Over looking the Linlithgow Loch and Palace, the compound spreads out over 2 fields. Now in its 4th year, and showing no signs of slowing down, PATP has become a popular event with all ages. With the summer weather we have had this year we could only hope and pray that the gods would be good to us and provide us with a pleasant meteorological momentum to furnish the Palace.

20799470_1438044109564473_6868473414643975128_n.jpgSaturday afternoon finally arrives and with partial clouds and blue skies, the sea of camp-chairs are quickly unleashed upon us faster than Usain Bolt from his starting blocks; a co-ordinated system of chair-laying is baffling for some onlookers. With more attractions added to the entertainment, and a few tents and venues relocated, it seemed more spacious this year, allowing for a more fluent and free movement for the party goers. With Glens Vodka being the sponsor this year, Glens provide a huge play ball pit, would appeared at times to have about 1 million balls in it and attracted more adults than kids… Great fun….The K2 climbing wall was very popular with young kids and proved a nice respite for the parents. The food choice as usual was mouth watering, with Jamaican Cuisine, 100% Beef Burgers, Pizza, Sea Food and Vegan/Gluten free food, all tastes were catered for. One of the most popular retailers is the Coffee and Doughnuts stall, with sometimes having a queue as long as the field its self.

20881872_1438043686231182_5798998614825632111_n.jpgPlayed out over two days and with a Main Stage, Break Out Stage and the Acoustic Stage the variety of bands was exciting. From The Loners to through the Kaiser Chiefs to Lucy Spraggan to Amy Macdonald, there wasnae gonna tbe much off a let up. Colourful people, colourful dress and smiling faces all added to the overall montage of this year’s Party at the Palace.

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Catching the four-piece girl band “Teen Canteen” on the main stage with their mix off light rock and glam was an ideal start to proceedings. Then, rocking from tent to tent between acts, I came across the Loners and Scarlett Randie. With a soft and endearing voice Scarlett delivered a touching set of songs and melodies to a packed audience that clearly appreciated her performance. Steve McCrorie reminded me of Runrig with his folk and country style music which warmed the hearts of many a punter. The Noisettes with their funky, soulful and deep bass songs like “Scratch Your Name” filled the field with dancing feet… to see so many kids, young teens , parents and well, a bit of the older generation all jigging away together is heart warming to witness. Fun for all !!!!

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The Lighting Seeds crashed onto the stage and crushed us with hits like “Life of Riley”, “Pure and Simple” and “Sugar Coated Iceberg”, which gave many a trip down memory lane. On the Break Out Stage Lucy Spraggan with her witty and humourous songs had the crowd eating out of her hand and enjoyed every minute she played. As the sun started to set and a little chill filled the air, the long wait for Ricky and his Kaiser Chiefs had finally come. Bursting onto the Stage with his yellow jacket like a sunflower in bloom the crowd erupted !!! Thrashing out hits like Ruby, Modern Way, Oh My God, Every Day I Love You Less And Less, Never Miss a Beat and the unforgettable “I Predict a Riot”, there was no place else anyone would rather be than right here & right now. Young kids barely 6 and 7 years old going ballistic like bulls in a sweet shop… what a sight !!!! Kaiser Chiefs are a must-see band that always deliver wit out fail. Powerful & uplifting, they leave you buzzing like a Bee.. Great finale to Saturday night.

20842090_1438044222897795_5790936962232446240_n.jpgAs the warm Sunday sun baked the fields and the blue sky looked down upon us we all, we felt blessed with another day of music, fun and games to come. Looking around at all the smily happy faces, one could only feel humbled. The trio “Party Fears 3” soon had everyone on their feet dancing to their mix of 80″s covers such as Aha’s ‘Sun Always Shines on TV’ and Human League’s ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby.’ Rushing over to the Break out Stage to catch a glimpse of a bunch of local lads with full on Tartan dress called “Rollin Drones” I was welcomed by a 100 strong crowd, thinking these guys are very popular are just have big families. Great Celtic tunes fused with modern music and finished off with fine vocals. Look out for these guys in the near future.

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Dodgy

“Dodgy” brought their summer anthems Good Enough and Staying Out For The Summer to the now warmed-up crowd to rapturous applause. Catching up with my old friends (from a year ago) they informed me of their new album coming out and their tight touring schedule, which is keeping them on their toes. The 80’s funky pop band “Hipsway” ending their 4 date mini tour here were a also smash with The Palace goers. Tight guitar riffs, clean crisp vocals and funky drum beats all added to the delivery of some great songs like Honeythief… As the evening approaches, so does the time for “Razorlight” to take to the stage, with hits like America and In The Morning, this was sure to be a favourite with the crowd…With no stone left unturned they sailed through the set with ease and grace. So well crafted in their art of playing music they proved that time out doesn’t mean less bang for you buck. Excellent set guys was what I extended to them when meeting them after the gig.

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With darkness partly covering the sky the young, talented and self taught singer / song writer Amy Macdonald was welcomed onto the stage with loud cheers of excitment. Amy is a wee Scottish gem. Like a true Scot she charmed us with her lovely Scottish accent and with her well-tuned and tight band showered us in songs such as Poison Prince, Mr. Rock & Roll and the infectious ‘This Is The Life’. Chatting to the audience in between songs, this down to earth lass got you thinking and made me more proud to be Scottish. Dream your dream, wake from your dream but most of all live your dream, a clear message that was evident through her music. Ending with a bang and with an explosion of silver confetti another year at Party at the palace comes to a close. Thanks to all who put in so much time and effort to make a memorable weekend. Bring on next year….

Reviewed by Raymondo
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Photography by Kasia Czuj.

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Raymondo chattin’ to Dodgy’s Nigel

Belladrum 2017

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Beauly
3rd-5th August

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Scooty & the Skyhooks

Having been to a Belladrum a fair few times before I’m trying to decide if this was the best Belladrum yet! Its a tough decision as they’ve all been great, but for me the line up this year was phenomenal. We arrived on Thursday without any queue’s, set up camp and headed to the main stage just in time for local 11 piece band Scooty & The Skyhooks. With their funky soul and motown tunes they got the party started and had the crowd jumping.

Next up was cheeky chappy Louis Berry, a young lad from Liverpool with a surprisingly mature voice and great guitar skills on songs such as his latest hit, She Wants Me. Berry kept the momentum going leading into the evening and after a short break I had the pleasure of listening to Swedish sister folk duo First Aid Kit. With fantastic harmonies and a truly mesmerising stage presence they had the crowd singing along to hits like Silver Lining and Emmylou and gave a great cover of The Gambler.

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Finally the headliner for Thursday night was Sister Sledge….what can I say! What a treat. They brought the love and fun with their energetic stage performance, guests and all the hits including We Are Family, Frankie and He’s The Greatest Dancer, it was the perfect ending to a belter of an opening day.

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Honeyblood

Friday the heavens opened and it rained most the day, but this didn’t seem to dampen peoples spirits, we had a wonder round the stalls and walled garden and headed back to the main stage to watch dynamic grunge duo Honeyblood, despite the rain there was a good turn out, and rightly so! They gave a banging performance of songs such as Sea Hearts and Ready for the Magic and even had a dance competition, the prize being a pair of Cat’s drum sticks. Later in the day we caught the Dub Pistols, who describe themselves as a reggae-breaks-jungle-mash-up! They had the crowd bouncing and breaking out the dance moves.

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The rain finally cleared for the days head liners The Pretenders, my mum is a big fan and have many memories of listening to them in my childhood, so who better to watch it with than my mum and son, it was quite emotional!

Having been a fan of Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders from the early days, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect many years down the line with their live performance at Belladrum this year. However, I wasn’t disappointed as this hit packed set was full of the old Chrissie charisma, with the quality and timbre of her voice even better than before. There were many other highlights from the band including the rip-roaring passionate performance from guitarist James Walbourne, who added his own magnetic blend of talent to the show. The balance of good old rock n’ roll, some softer ballads and a couple of songs from their new album Alone was just right, highlighting the range of Chrissie’s voiceAmanda Gwynne

Saturday the sun re-appeared and we ventured away from the Garden Stage and indulged in a bit of festival fun like the dodgems and helter skelter for wee man and the adult ball bit for the not so grown ups, had a visit down to the Heilan Fields which is in a new location to right of the main stage and then went to check out some of Slow Club in the Black Isle Brewery Grass Roots stage, definitely a band to watch out for.

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Next we caught Edinburgh Hip Hop trio Young Fathers in the Hothouse stage for an explosive atmospheric set from the 2014 Mercury Prize Winners who simply blew me away with their intense performance and social commentary, weaving and dancing about the stage.

Shortly after were punk rock band Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, who gave a frenetic, frenzied show, strutting around in his very tight animal print trousers , performing songs such as Juggernaut, mental but brilliant at the same time! Just caught the end of Franz Ferdinand and finished the night with a spectacular fireworks display.

Belladrum keeps getting bigger and better without loosing any of the amazing atmosphere and family friendly feel, there is something for everyone whatever age. My only complaint was so much good music on and not enough time and a bit of a queue leaving, but that is to be expected. Bravo Belladrum!

Reviewer – Zoe Gwynne