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Stowed Out



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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.


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





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.


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 !!!!



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.



“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.



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
Photography by Kasia Czuj.


Raymondo chattin’ to Dodgy’s Nigel

Belladrum 2017


3rd-5th August

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Scooty & The Skyhooks 2 - Belladrum.jpg

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.

Honeyblood 2-  Belladrum.jpg


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.

The pretenders 4 - Belladrum.jpg

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.

Young Fathers 3 - Belladrum.jpg

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

Mugstock 2017


Mugdock Country Park

29th-31st July


As has been the general trend of the Festival Season in Scotland in 2017, I find myself on a Monday morning basking in lovely sunshine, while my washing line is brimming with wet gear steaming in the sunstream. Yes, someone sometime last year pissed off the Festival Gods, its been absolutely drenched this Summer. Saying that, on the same weekend that the 3rd Mugstock got a bit soggy, Y NOT in Derbyshire got completely called off in horrifically dangerous torrential weather, so well done Mugstock for carrying on through the downpours. It was well worth it as well; morale was high because of the music, the kids didn’t mind at all & the family & I had decided to stay in Riddrie at our mate’s house overnight instead of camping.


Entering the herbifoliage of the majestic Mugdock Country Park is always a joy, gorgeous greenery surging & rolling & then the camp-site & the orange cone-lined road to the main entrance is as salubrious as it ever gets when reaching a party!  After dropping off the family with our 3 fold-out chairs (our portable campsite for 2017) & parking the car back down the hill, I caught a shuttle bus back to site with the imperishably brilliant & eternally smiling radio DJ, Dave Blackburn, ‘scamming it for a free ticket.’ Then I hooked up with the family… for the third year in a row our girls had joined the big kiddie gang of the past 2 years. ‘Yours have shot up,’ we said to the parents, ‘Aye, so have yours,‘ they replied,  & that special & unique relationship we had been forming for the past couple of Mugstocks was sealed.


The Twistettes @ the Main Stage

Mugstock is Scotland’s favorite family-friendly, non-for-profit, compact & beautiful ned-free festival, & when the sun broke out in delightful splendor-spurts, filling with gold the forest paths, I was like, ‘I’m glad to be back.’ New touches included a portashower, while the Kids Zone gets better each year, whose stewards could not have been more accommodating.  New performance areas I noticed were the Butterfly tent by the main campsite & the Oxjam Stage, ‘standing as one with family refugees,‘ whose weekend highlight for me was this ridiculously talented, dreadlocked geezer called Calumn Ingram, who with his drummer pal, played a cello like a double-bass, sang superbly, & jammed it up like Jimi in a jazz’d up jamboree.



Also on that stage we found the adorable Well Happy Band, who actually manged to eke some sunshine out of the bewilderingly aggressive rain. It was like a battle of wills between weather wildness & good-time lovin’, & on occasions like this, the Mugstockers won. In fact, our spirits were never dampened all weekend really, altho’ my feet were mingin.’


IMG_20170729_165329318.jpgFriday night was wet, but Orkestra Del Sol were superb, with their tuba bass player keeping his Chelsea Bun in his tuba, bringing it out for a wee munch from time to time, & to also do some weird stuff with it regarding sound projection. We also had Dope Sick Fly, whose singer oozed straight from Blaxploitation, with an electric velvety voice & smooth slickset delivery : an excellent set from the guys. Saturday was also wet,  Mugstock was slowly becoming MUDstock, but as soon as the The Twistettes took to the stage – whose sound & set up were top-notch quality –  band after band of high excellence came & went (the portable chairs were becoming handy at last) : the seashanty rock of the Fairfollies, Bombskare were stomping & the Supernaturals on another level entirely. Music in 2017 is sounding fresh… the Mugstock crew know just who to get on board to reflect the focus & energy of our contemporary times. Also on Saturday Dave Blackburn earned his free ticket by spinning some proper nice soul in the main bar.


Dave Blackburn


The Chameleon Stage


Mark McGhee with Goody on guitar

Mark McGhee, of course, has been heavily involved in this year’s Mugstock, helping to promote it at Beatherder & Audio Soup & had this to say about the Saturday; ‘Day 2 of MugStock Festival was great fun. I spent most of my time in Charlie`s Theatre stage where we hosted a special edition of Overheard in the Westend which began with Calum Ingram and Gordy Duncan destroying a sold out crowd with mesmerizing cello and crazy drum solos. Shouts to the many artists involved which included Adam V. Cheshire, Shaun Moore, Samuel Allan Barnfather, Stefan Wiadro, Shannon MacGregor, Nancy Lippold-Ingram, Robin Adams, Suzy Berry, Lewis Kane , The multi-tasker rhyming master Sara Thomas and last but not least the one and only legendary Martin Windebank who played a dramatic farewell set during emotional scenes before he flys off on some gallus adventures on foreign lands for a few months. Awrabest!  Highlights outwith the theatre included Spring Break, The Well Happy Bandand The Twistettes who absolutely smashed the Main Stage yesterday afternoon.  Unfortunately, our stage clashed with Bombskare, The Supernaturals etc. but your always gonna miss stuff when there`s such a massive line up like this one and the talent at the theatre more than made up for it . But now it`s time for.’


Sunday we spent at the Chameleon Stage, watching bands like Tinky Disco & the leopard-skinn’d Amphetamenies injected funky sonic caffeine into the proceedings as the sun began to make a show. ‘The consistent, persistent precipitation hasn’t dampened the spirits,’ said Alan Govan, Mugstock’s anchor in a storm, who the Mumble enjoy having a wee blether with. He explained how they’d moved the family campsite towards the road to make it more accessible, in which place they’d placed the dancey Glade, in a proper glade now, where after 2AM the Silent Disco was hilarious, full of joy & DJ Battles & improvised accordion jams, with every one tuning in about the geodome.


Yes, Mugstock is a magical event, one that enthralls & entertains families, performers & punters so much that we love to return to help to create something special. For us it was time to go, the liquidy wonderful acid-jazz strains of Fat Suit accompanying us to our car, & off we drove until 2018…

Reviewer : Damian ‘Beeson’ Bullen

Mark McGhee’s Sunday

The weather forecast was wrong and it actually ended up pleasant and dry which was better than thunder and lightning the mad met office YT had predicted hours earlier. Me and Jo D’arc were about to go onstage when we seen the elusive Gordy Duncan who was randomly back on site to pick up a friend so we managed to get him in on the drums for a few songs and was great fun to play some of our old tunes as a three piece for the first time in ages. Big ups to Claire, Lindsey and all the Oxjam crew for having our weird Giros/ Twistettes/ JTrades hybrid and for all the folk who joined us for an unexpected dance in the sun.  Yesterday`s highlights for me included Josephine Sillars show in the theatre, China Shop Bull , Junior Lazarou, Jonathon Rdrk Gillies, The Dull Fudds, The Well Happy Band and Trembling Bells.  Massive shout out to all the Mugstock crew for making it the best one since it began 3 years ago. A little bit more sunshine would have been nice but you can`t control the weather… … yet. Surely, some lucky festival is due a heatwave soon.

Audio Soup 2017



July 21-23


After waiting for another long year for the Weest, Bestest, Biggest Festival in Scotland, Audio Soup was ready to open its doors for a eagerly awaiting bunch of Soupers.  After many weeks of preparing and construction of the site, all we could hope for was some great nice warm weather to top it all off.  Unfortunately the weather had other plans, which has been the theme of the summer!  But a downpour & a bit of mud has never stopped the Scots & their affiliates before, so on we partied!


Arriving early on Friday afternoon, the entry to the festival was full of happy helpers and was a welcoming sight to see so many smiley faces. There were rumours flying around about the festival being opened by a Scottish Bagpiper ( Mike the Pipe) and that turned out just o be the case.  With the gates opening and Mike the Pipe leading all the Soupers towards the sites entertainments, it was time for Tinky Disco to open the main stage. Tinky Disco were preforming in the Beetroot Cafe last year , so this is a well-deserved step up for this creative 7 piece funky outfit.  With such classics like, Dynamics, 7.50 and Tinky Disco Show already embedded into the Edinburgh music circuit, it was not long until the crowd were strutting their stuff to the sweet sound of the funk.


The weather had thankfully stabilized and with clear skies above the site filled up quickly. With such a diverse line up over 3 days this was going to be a thrilling and musical masterpiece of a weekend & you could really feel that the numbers had swelled on previous years. It seems, people, the soup is finally coming to the boil, & there’s enough bowls for everyone to have a taste.

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20292964_1418891748146376_5400455942492870892_n.jpgWith such acts as A Skillz, Hempolics, Slamboree, Bombskare, Cow Cow Boogie,  The Victor Pope Band, Maxiroots in Cumbria (with Tom Spirals), Stig of the Dub, Daniel Allison,  Woves, Electrical Sound, Heist and much more. There was also a great variety of DJs at hand to please the dancing Soupers. With Trendy Wendy and Steve Austin from Mumbo Jumbos, the Neddle Sistas and A Skillz there would be no time for sitting about.  There was one band the Mumble was keen to to catch on Saturday night. Despite the torrential down pour all day Saturday, which at times when sheltering in The Victor Pope Bus it felt like we were going through a continuous car wash.


20292929_1418891918146359_808050630267311447_n.jpgBraving the rain I tramped through the wet muddy grass and come across some true Soupers bouncing around at the main stage taking in the musical treat that was Cow Cow Boogie. Not allowing the rain to dampen their moment Cow Cow Boogie provided a ray of sunshine through their exhilarating performance.



As the evening approached the clouds moved on and with it the rain. The sky cleared and the arena filled up just in time for Maxiroots in Cumbria to take to the stage.  This reggae dub outfit was a  well deserved treat for the now dry dancing Soupers. With Tom Spirals just doing what he does best, unleashing and covering us in his loving mix of voice and lyrics, the main stage was now a sea of happy revelers.




With a sudden bang Slamboree come on to the stage and it filled up with a cabaret show full of dancers, singers , musicians and DJ.   It was apparent that this was not going to be your average band performance. With a Cabaret Show of dancers with such talents as putting fags out on their tongues to injecting staples from a staple gun into their thighs and legs, this was a first for me. With music that had the feel of The Prodigy and with such military like execursion to their performance this was a well crafted piece of theatre not just a band.  The crowd absolutely loved it.  Great festival act !!!!  By this time the night stars were out in full glow and everyone’s spirits were high, you could feel it.  With A Skillz taking the last slot on the main stage the evening was open to the DJs.



Sunday was my tent to tent day..  Looking to catch some wee acts with big hearts !!!  With the Beetroot Cafe playing host to The Victor Pope Band, this funky punky outfit will have you either go mad with happyness or daft with madness, you pick.  Otherwise they will uplift you, spin you, entertain you with their musical mayhem. Victor Pope you are a genius !!!!


Also Daniel Allison with his captivating Didgeridoo sound put everyone into i nice place. Daniel has a true talent and with that he is able to allow us to share in the same magic with his preformance.  Next to catch up with that night was one of my festival favourites the unique, talented and very individual singer and musician “Sally” , with a voice that could send any hardened Souper to sleep,  Sally is a true gem. Funny, direct, slightly Political and with a splash of wit and humour she always pleases her audience.



With Bombskare skanking the shit out off the main stage and closing this years events at Audio Soup , there was no better way to finish then with a bang.  Bombskare are well established in the festival circuit and therefore the festival goers expect nothing less from them and by god do they deliver . Not a single foot without movement was witnessed. Everyone went bonkers.  A great end to a wet but not dampened Audio Soup 2017.  Let the sunshine shine. It did on Monday morning.  The only negative I would like to add is that, if we camp in field whether at a festival or not, please retain your Rubbish and dispose of it when you leave or at least put in in the bins provided as I witnessed a lot of left luggage and rubbish from some Soupers. Otherwise, Happy Days….


Review : Raymond Speedie

Photography : Kasia Czuj

Haddstock 2017



Various Venues

24th June



A few years ago now, about a decade, I remember seeing Riley Briggs arriving back on London Road, Edinburgh, guitar slung over his shoulders, fresh from playing South by South West festival in Austin, Texas. His band, Aberfeldy, were sugar coating country music with Celtic crystals & the final result was something both swaggeringly listenable & imminently sellable. Then the band fell by the wayside at the end of the noughties until suddenly they turned up on the bill of Haddstock 2017, a one-day music festival spread throughout ten venues in the capital market town of East Lothian, Haddington. The brainchild of Rebecca Brady, she’d leapt off the deep end into a pool of confident musical frolickry, & pulled the whole thing off with aplomb.  A resident of Haddington myself, I was rather surprised to witness Haylee G’s ‘Devils in Skirts’ (read interview here) in procession through town to their gig at Jo’s Kitchen, wearing animal masks & playing the Proclaimer’s ‘500 Miles.’ The faces on the folk at the bus stop were class. A couple of hours later, while nipping out for a Chinese, I saw Aberfeldy’s Riley & his bass-player stalking through town on what was probably some very important rock n roll business, & I’m like, this is real, this is actually happening, I’d best tell the wife to get changed, we’re going out.


The Banjo Lounge 4

By evening me & the wife were ready to rave, & arriving at the Town House, the festival’s main event was well under way. It was all taking place in the Georgian assembly rooms, built for music & dancing, where in the balcony above the polished floorboards a chamber orchestra would once play. These days the band has dropped to eye-level, & the sounds are amplified through amps & speakers, & thus the high-octane energy of ‘The Banjo Lounge 4’ was ripping into our ears & tearing a drag-strip down our spines to our feet, which were moving in perfect synchronicity to the band’s ridiculously bouncy versions of songs we moderns love to love. I Feel Love, Song 2, Viva Las Vegas, I’m Sexy & I know it… you get the picture, all of which were given an interpretive banjo twang which got us all hopping about on invisible pogo-sticks.


Thistle Hurt

Me & the wife then thought, we are at a festival, supposedly, so lets check it out, & took a little amble through Haddington centre to the Railway, whose upstairs function suite was playing host to a pumpin’ band, straight from the eighties halycon rock era of Heart, Stevie Nicks & Fleetwood Mac; whose two female vocalists tossed up a harmonious layer of snowy vocals onto the mountainous rock-craft of their band. Yes, we were happy we went along to see Thistle Hurt.


Returning to the Town House, Aberfeldy’s rolling-through-the-countryside-on-a-sunny-day, melodically ambient pop was lighting up the stage, with Riley being joined up front by Chris Bradley to deliver a classic stream of their hits. One-by-one we noticed that people were singing along to them with furious passion & lip-synch accuracy, & it slowly dawned on the wife that Riley was some kind of Biblical patriarch with all his tribe out to listen to him preach. His mother, brother, father, daughter, grandma & great-aunt were at least some of the family in the room, who mixed with the local contingent into a highly appreciative & – once the disco encores kicked into place – groovetastic audience.


‘The response from the acts & the public & the venues for this inaugural Haddstock has been amazing,’ said Rebecca, who knew her headliners personally & had instigated the coup to get them reformed for the night. Hopefully Aberfeldy have a taste for it again, & with a decade of life experience in the bank, maybe a few new cracking numbers waiting to be crafted into life.

Reviewer : Damo Beeson Bullen