Those of you who saw my taster for this will know the weather was neither clement or kind, proving that the returning of normality of festivals is underwritten not by covid but by the weather. But I have never been to a festival, if you will, quite this meteorologically normal. OK, yes, the wrong main stage had been supplied, rendering it a white elephant for the duration. This had the twin effects of muddling up all the clashfinder working outs, as helpfully supplied by the festival in advance, and the advantage of everyone being shuffled and shifted onto/into smaller tented venues. (Don’t panic, all open sides, loads of fresh air for the elderly doubled vaxxed, LFT negative punters.)
Arriving around midday, greeted by clear skies, this meant for an easy erection, pause for Moose, with the ground soft and pliable. Arena was huge and a bit like Australia, in that all the stages and all the stalls were scraped around the edges, nearly all the way around a large field, fresh ploughed too, given the furrows.
Bands started about 5pm, but logistics and laziness meant my show didn’t really begin until a bit later on, and then by accident. I confess I had always thought Tankus the Henge some sort of serious indie prog operation, i.e. dull as old boots. Wrongity wrong! Imagine a bizarre mix of Southside Johnny and Steely Dan, with the singer/piano player on steroids. And speed. And with ADHD. Great horns and an astonishing frontman. Uncertain how it may come across on record, but live made for a hell of a show. In a 200 capacity tent, better even still.
Off to the Big Top, and it was double bagpipes. First young Tiree guitar band, Tide Lines, who I had caught at Bearded Theory a few years back. The guitarist has all the Big Country style guitar licks perfectly and they have a whole lot more confidence than that slightly diffident earlier show. Plus they know better how and when to suddenly shift a change in instrumentation, as off comes the electric guitar and on go the pipes.Woo hoo! Again, foremost a live band, the records a little uncertain as to who they are aiming for. The first of a host of scottish bands playing, they were the first to thank everyone for the thoughtful provision of Scottish weather. And the first to be introduced, Gawd help us, by the compere as jock rock, a phrase he was clearly proud of. I just wanted to hit him.
I love Peatbog Faeries and this will have been the fourth or fifth time I have seen them. The township style of guitar play seemed more pronounced than usual, and provided a great contrast to the always exemplary bagpipe, whistles and fiddle that lead the proceedings, over a dense dance based rhythm section, where the keyboards provide electronic textures. Like many I saw over the four days, the return to live music has been so sorely awaited for them, as performers, to give a huge boost in the collective enthusiasm of the players.
Mature. Is that the word, or does going camping and carousing in your sixties immature? Either way, I’m the demographic. Lots of grey, lots of beard, T shirts the main tool of one-upmanship. Oh, and I saw @jorrox of this parish, who sadly was driving home on day one, having had bad news from home. I’d love to say you didn’t miss much, but I’d be lying. A great first night. And the rain held off. And then it didn’t.
Day Two to follow.
It made me think..
I love live music and, boy, I have missed my festival jaunts these last year and a bit.