Ah, stomping season, aka festival season. My favourite time of year. Here’s a wee run down of where I’ve been – and what I’ve got planned – so far this year…
Deoch an Dorus
This beautiful little festival on the Isle of Arran was a real treat. Lovely and sunny, in a stunning location, quiet and with a real mix of music, it seemed to be a really well-kept secret. Camping tickets were only £20 (!!!) but I got in free for running hula hoop workshops – huzzah. Right next to the sea, you could explore the wee stages or take a break looking over the stunning water. Definitely one to keep an eye out for next year.
Knockengorroch World Ceilidh
Ah, Knocky. One of the places I feel most free and alive. Hidden away in the hills of Galloway, you really feel like you’ve stepped into a secret Himalayan community that is there all the time, you just happen to have visited for the weekend. With 5 eclectic stages of varying sizes and genres, the festival is branded as a world ceilidh festival but offers so, so much more than that. I love listening to ceilidh music live so that was a real treat but new music discovery highlights this year included 47 Soul, a Palestinian electro group who headlined the Saturday, and Black Uhru on the Sunday, reggae all the way from Jamaica, proving people really do travel from all over for this unique gathering. Special mention to my old favourites Maxiroots, Samson Sounds and Mungo’s Hifi too, who all smashed it out the park and put gigantic smiles on my faces. I spent the whole sunny weekend rolling around with no shoes on, drinking and giggling with my pals in the sunshine, soaking up one of the most relaxed atmospheres in Scotland and – my favourite thing about the whole of this festival – there’s not a fence or barrier in sight. Bliss. Already excited for 2017.
Aaaah! I’m so so buzzing for this, my favourite of all the festivals. The line-up this year is unbelievably strong with the likes of Congo Natty, Toddla T, Ed Solo and Deekline, DJ Vadim and so many more – basically, all my favourite acts and artists that I play each week on my radio show. One of the most family friendly festivals, it’s set in a stunning meadow and beautifully crafted with artwork and so much to see and do, including burlesque acts, paint fights, aerobics led by Mr Motivator, water slides, vintage car drive-in movies, hot tubs, a feast in the forest and looooaaads more. In the 9 years the festival has been running this is the first year it’s set to sell out but there’s a few tickets left for you stragglers – I swear you won’t regret it, snap one up here.
Raehill Meadows, Moffat, 9-12th June
So I’m doing an awesome hula hoop performance at this, what more do you need to know? That should be all the reason just you need to come but if you need more convincing, how does raving under an incredible graffitied castle sound? Or diving into waterfalls and exploring secret glens? Or having gigantic pillow fights as you get lost in the woods? Kelburn is like stepping into the best alternative universe that has ever existed and it always sells out. Hurry up and grab your ticket, and look out for a small imp (me) running around thrusting hula hoops in people’s faces.
Kelburn Estate, Largs, 1st-4th July
Nozstock: The Hidden Valley
I doubt I’ll actually be hitting this one up but lawd, do I want to. The line-up is all you really need to know about this one. SUCH VARIETY. MANY CHOICE. VERY AWESOME. It’s also in England, which makes a nice change of scenery.
Herefordshire, West Midlands, 22-24th July
Soup holds a special place in my heart as it’s held in my home region of the Scottish Borders. On of the best up and coming fesivals, I remember when it was tiny and it’s now grown into something beautiful. Always such a laugh and filled with the loveliest of people, there is literally something for everyone here – oh, and the artwork is a sight to behold.
Cranshaws, Scottish Borders, 22-24th July
In its second year and shaping up to be spectacular, this baby describes itself as a festival of music and merriment (so cute) held at Mugdock park – an incredible location with that big dramatic castle to gaze at and so much space to roam around. The warm up party back in March at SWG3 was a huge success and it’s another line-up that promises something for everyone. It’s also super kid-friendly and will be packed with circus fun, which is always my favourite.
Mugdock Country Park, 29th-31st July
Ah, the biggie! I usually do one big festival a year – when I was younger and into a lot more rock it was Leeds festival, and for the past few years it’s been the mighty Outlook festival, which is incredible but is more grime-heavy than I would wish for this year. Instead, I’m planning on heading to the incredible Boomtown, where I’ve not yet been but have heard many mythical tales of wonder about. With 7 main stages (!!!) and hundreds of others, the festival is split into ‘districts’ that battle it out for supremacy – it’s up to you which you join but, you’ll definitely find me in Trench Town. Headliners include Damien Marley, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Parov Stelar; even thinking about those three over the same weekend gives me goosebumps!
Hampshire, 11-14th August
Special mention – Gottwood
I’ve never actually been to this still-relatively-secret festival but, I’d love to. It’s absolutely rammed to the gills with incredible, up-and-coming electronic artists and it’s nestled in the woods in Wales, next to a lovely lake. If you’re into your dance music and want to be the on the know of the hottest new artists then heading here is definitely a wise move.
Anglesy, Wales, 9th-12th June
Any festivals I’ve missed that you think I should check out? Let me know in the comments! What festivals are you toddling off to this year?