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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Eden festival 2014

Glastonbury festival was my first love.
It opened a door to a world that I had previously only dreamed had existed and I gladly stepped through it and embraced all that was on offer.
In hindsight I can understand that my time spent in the shadow of the Tor provided me with some much needed respite from my own existence.
I needed it to survive.
Every year I would look forward to immersing myself in a world where all our differences were celebrated rather than our similarities.
I felt at home in the flow of counter culture ideas, alternatives lifestyles, live music and unfettered freedom.
Then, as first loves usually do, Glastonbury broke my heart.
It didn't do it overnight, but slowly, incrementally, it loosened its embrace of me until one year I simply didn't recognize it anymore.
My Glastonbury was gone.
Chart toppers were being idolised and the festival had been assimilated into the mainstream.
I never went back.

Instead I began a subconscious quest to recapture the festivals spirit.

For a number of years it was elusive.
Until that is, I stumbled across The Wickerman Festival.
I took my son to the inaugural year and felt emotionally replenished.
This was the vibe, this was exactly the feeling, rather than experience, that I had been searching for.
The festival managed to hang onto that for a number of years, but similar to Glastonbury its popularity shifted the demographic and one year I found myself attending through habit rather than any sort of attraction.
The ladies who would dance around handbags in nightclubs and the TITP overspill had taken over, the Buckfast and Lambrini flowed and I signed off from it all.

It was with a heavy heart that I did it as striking lucky a third time seemed to be so much wishful thinking, yet I did.
I struck lucky last year the moment I pitched camp at the Eden festival.

It was everything that I needed, and maybe even a bit more than that.
The music was an eclectic mix of magnificence, the stalls offered a melting pot of the strange and practical, and the food and drink were plentiful and provided something to whet the most adventurous palette.
Best of all was the people.
Everywhere I looked there was the outsider attitude being accepted, and that is the key for me.
There was a very obvious celebration of stepping away from the grind and an acceptance of humanity as a large and wonderful mess of individuality.
As the weekend ended I had already decided I would be back in 2014 and crossed my fingers that the same experience would be on offer.

Thankfully to a degree it was.
The weather played silly buggers of course as the mud lent itself to the stereotypical view of UK festivals; the running orders and stage times were a tad more anarchic than the previous year leading to music lovers wandering the site like the lost children of the desert looking for the promised land, and by the final day the midges had gathered and attacked with homicidal glee, but all of that was pretty much irrelevant as the atmosphere and the people attending carried the weekend.

Highlights of the weekend were discovering Casa Caliente, a tent that was by far my favourite place to be.
Throughout the day it provides a relaxed atmosphere to just while away the hours, or play some board games, or listen to music, or simply sleep.
It’s all good.
Friendly, welcoming and providing the antidote to the hurly burly of life
At night it then focuses purely on the music as everyone squeezes in to secure a place on the deep piled rugs and enjoy what is on offer.
It was here that I found Beth McLeish taking some tentative steps as a performer, and I found myself being impressed at the support that Casa Caliente, and those within it, offered a fledgling artist.
As an added bonus The Junkmans Choir, or any number of offshoots, played across the weekend and reminded me of why I love them so much.
The set as The Bastard Sons of Rabbie Burns was particularly entertaining, although it was given a run for its money on the first night when Davie of the Junkmans teamed up with Jane of The Amphetameanies/Pink Kross (ooft I’m going back a bit now) to play some country inspired tunes.

Meanwhile the main stage was taken over by Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 who are right at this very moment the best live band in Scotland.
With a liberal dose of humour, talent and madness being added to the mix they are covering every angle that you could imagine, and with their live set getting increasingly tighter they are delivering high quality entertainment song after song.
With a few more festival appearances to go, and their debut album already released, it would be a good idea for Eden to secure them right now for a headlining slot next year.
As the festival isn't reliant on attracting a name to ensure an audience turning up I say why not?
In fact give the yellow movement a tent of their own.
Now there's an idea. 
Talking about headline acts it's fair to say that King Charles took the De La Soul slot in their stride, and in hindsight I wish I had seen their full set.
The next time they are in Glasgow I reckon I will pop along.
A quality replacement that I doubt anyone was disappointed in. 

The Furry Chillum managed to squeeze everyone in for the Esperanza - although I don't know how they did as it was like pouring two pints into a pint glass - but it has to be said that seeing that amount of people skanking up a frenzy is truly a sight to behold.
Apart from that though it did seem that every time I went into the tent that a band jamming, the same band, all day, and apparently every day.
They may well have been very good, but sometimes less is more and you can get too much of a good thing where fighting it out in my head every time groundhog day rolled around.
From last year when I was regularly bouncing between The Furry Chillum and Rabbies Tavern I found that this time around with a few exceptions there wasn't much that was an attraction.
Although it is also entirely possible that I was just out of sync with all the goodness as that can happen at festivals.

Rabbies similarly didn’t manage to hit the heights of last year with the acts that I seen.
Maybe they were all hiding from me.
Most that I did see managed to hold my attention for minutes rather than for a full set with the notable exceptions of Feet of Clay who I expect will be far higher on the bill next year, or gracing the main stage for an early evening slot. Have Mercy Las Vegas who were mesmerizingly good supporting The Holy Ghosts recently, but were better again on this outing, and The Ballachulish Hellhounds who had me jigging about and maybe even dragged a twerk or two out of me.

The main draw of the weekend was always going to be the people you meet though.
Old friends, new friends, and characters you will never meet again but who are fondly remembered.
So big thanks go out to Will and the Wild Horses, who were accompanied by their better halves, and mates.
It was a pleasure. A very real pleasure.
The Yellow Movement.
Tony Gaughan.
Callum and Barney
Cutty and the Casa Caliente crew.
Trusty and the Foe.
Little Fire.
Alan Frew
And if I missed you out blame it on the award winning rum.

Once again I can only say that I hold nothing but contempt for the damned midges, and yes. I will be back.

Maybe in 2015 a wee programme would be nice with the acts roughly managing to stick loosely to it though.

I love the free and easy attitude and personally don’t want it to be too regimented, but a wee clue as to who is playing where is always nice. 

1 comment:

  1. Give The Yellow Movement their own stage you say? Well it just so happens...