Year 7 of the Tartan Heart festival returns to the Belladrum Estate and sells out two weeks before it’s due to start. But with headlining acts like Feeder and Amy MacDonald it’s not surprising. If you add to that Twin Atlantic, Stornoway, Pete Lawrie, The Dangleberries, Wolfstone and more then it is safe to say the cherry has been added to the top of this summer treat.
When you first arrive at the festival, if you aren‘t already in the hippy mood that is Belladrum, then ‘Craic it open ceilidh’ is the way to get into that mood. Scooty and the Skyhooks along with Rhythmnreel are a perfect way to kick off the event and they are bound to get your feet moving without you even realising it. Before long you’re dancing along with everyone else and you’ve been filled with the feeling that is Belladrum.
Tip 1: If you intend on sleeping while at Belladrum I have this piece of advice for you ‘Do not camp in the general camping area’, if you do then it will be your own fault that no sleep has been had as everyone shall presume you are there to join in on the party and if you are older than 16 it is considered sacrilege to sleep at all for the entire weekend. If you want to sleep but still have the party then simply set up in a different camp site, the general area stays open to all for twenty-four hours.
When it comes to the morning the best place to go for breakfast is Strawberries they have the freshest, tastiest strawberries you have ever tasted and if you add a hot waffle, cream and melted chocolate with the strawberries then breakfast has been served. So now you’re all set to enjoy the day.
The Caledonian Ceilidh Trail created the perfect atmosphere for starting off the next two days of looking at bands and hearing some amazing music. This group formed by five very talented teenagers certainly knew how to get the people moving and certainly drew a lot of outside attention to the stage they were playing on. They even attracted some weird and wonderful festival goers who were extremely bright and cheerful not only in the florescent colours that they painted themselves but also in the way that they danced madly during each song.
The entire point of Belladrum is to expect the unexpected and as it turned out the unexpected arose it’s sleeping head. When passing Mother’s Ruin the biggest crowd that had been seen in one small area had arrived, as it turned out this crowd was waiting for Planisfear and Thundercat, two DJ’s from Fortrose who joined forces to create an epic DJ set, they were astounding and really bounced off of each other. With chants of ‘Lets go. Lets go. Lets go f****** mental.’ who could resist joining in with the ravers with a chant like that and what seemed to be everyone from Fortrose academy. Planisfear and Thundercat enjoyed doing the set just as much as the people on the floor enjoyed raving to them.
Tip 2: While you’re walking about Belladrum, if the sky is perfectly clear then great, but put some suntan lotion on, because more often than not people will burn like a vampire. But if there are clouds in the sky expect the worst, because nine times out of ten, those clouds turn to rain and once it starts it will keep on coming until almost every last drop of rain has fallen, so make sure you have a waterproof otherwise you will looked like a drowned rat within five minutes of the rain starting to fall.
Twin Atlantic made an appearance on the Garden Stage this year and man did they make an impression, audience members were having to climb over the barrier in front of the stage just to get out of the way of the moshers who started to crush the people right at the front. Scary stuff down there, but, if you’re a safe distance away from the ‘moshers’ then overall, they’re amazing.
Stornoway (who are actually from Oxford) made quite an impact on the Hothouse Stage, but what with their unique songs and spectacular voices it’s hardly surprising. The place was buzzing with excitement, each time a song was mentioned you were guaranteed to hear someone say ‘I love that song.’ or words to that effect. They definitely had the crowd buzzing when they finished with Zorbing, certainly had them wanting more.
Now here is what everyone was waiting for: Feeder, the headliner for Friday night, but what mistake was made when organising the line up? When Feeder were due to play so was the special guest, this years special guest being KT Tunstall. So unfortunately it meant you had to pick between two pretty amazing acts. Although according to the times they were due to play you could easily split the acts, see the beginning of Feeder and then go and catch the rest of KT Tunstall. This idea was extremely foolish to all those that went through with it, Feeder (who were running fashionably late) started off with a ‘WOW’ factor, they truly know how to get the crowds attention. They did such an amazing job at hooking the crowd that there were a few men spotted in the crowd ripping open their t-shirts due to hearing a song that they were obviously passionate about.
So after catching the beginning of Feeder a fair amount of people ran to catch some KT Tunstall only to find that once they got there that the tent and the area around was packed and heaving, no-body had a chance of getting near that stage let alone in the tent and unfortunately you couldn’t hear her inside the tent because Feeder were playing loudly not too far from KT Tunstall.
After the acts are finished for the day and the arena is closed for the night, there is only one thing left to do and that is…PARTY!
Tip 3: The only way you can survive staying up all night and all day is this, at night you drink just enough alcohol to keep you awake and in the party spirit (for over 18’s only) and during the day you drink lots of coffee and water, if you follow those steps you’ll survive.
To start your Saturday you will have to have a few cups of coffee if you have managed to stay awake, once the coffee’s down and you’ve had some of the magnificent strawberries for breakfast you can start your day. Caffeine and food are a necessity.
If you like gigs that are a bit different and don’t start the same way as all the others, then Pete Lawrie is the man you need to see. Instead of doing the usual and walking on stage he walked down from the stage, crossed the barrier and joined the audience on the floor, forming an intimate circle around him. It was certainly a way to get the crowd into you. Follow that with his new single ‘How can I compare’ and he’s a hit with everyone. Then if you add his genuineness to the equation it’s safe to say the Welshman is a hit, even his bad jokes don’t distract you from how exceptional he is.
The only way to follow an amazing act is by keeping in that tradition, so The Dangleberries are the guys you want to see next. They have this amazing ability to turn terrible pop songs into up-beat, enjoyable, almost Scottish songs, the crowd really go wild when a terrible pop song is given a new style, even The Dangleberries themselves seem to be having a far better time that the people that originally perform the songs. They also figured out exactly how to get the crowd really going, just sing ‘Belladrum Girl’ and the crowd will listen to everything else without question.
To keep the Scottish theme going and to aid in the bringing out of the Clansman that is inside every Scot and secretly inside everyone else, Wolfstone took to the Garden Stage after celebrating their twenty-one years together, and gave the crowd a real treat, what with their traditional bagpipes, the penny whistle, electric fiddle and their energetic selves. They really did pull off one heck of a gig and they had the place heaving. It’s safe to say Wolfstone attracted a crowd equally as big as Feeder the night before, so that must tell you something of how good they are.
Tip 4: If you truly want to appreciate Belladrum to it’s fullest never take a break, as soon as you’re done with one band go and find another, and another, and another, and so on and so forth. You’ll eat food on the go and will only truly stop when you need the toilet.
A.J Roach, Nels Andrews and Ian Thomas Parks are award winning songwriters and also form the Strut and Stumble tour. To describe these three wonderful guys accurately it is pretty much impossible. They are so spectacular that words fail you when you try to describe them. Each gentleman comes with their unique songs which they sing with their own unprecedented voices. When they sing they touch something inside of you, they open up your heart with their words and voices. Every word they sing means something to them, there is so much passion in their words and voices. While watching them you get so entranced by what you’re hearing that you can see every word and emotion play along their faces. These guys really know how to reach down and touch your hear and soul.
Tip 5: When going to see the headliner on the final night it is best advised that you do not walk down the stairs as it is truly dangerous with the amount of people walking up and down them.
They really did save the best till last this year when it came to Amy MacDonald, her second year at Belladrum and she was outstanding, the crowd were mesmerised by her and singing along as best they could with almost every song. Not only did the crowd enjoy her but she enjoyed the crowd. She bounced off of them. She’s so down to earth and proud of where she’s from, there isn’t a single fault with her. Everyone would have quite happily stayed enjoying her music for hours afterward. It was amazing and a perfect end to the music.
To round off a perfect Belladrum 2010 they put on an amazing show of fireworks which had everyone stop in their tracks just to stand and watch them. When Belladrum wants to show off it certainly knows how to do it. And do it well.
After such a spectacular year it’s not surprising the tickets for 2011 have already gone on sale, only a fool would willingly miss it. And if the acts from this year are anything to go by, I have this final piece of advice for you ‘Hold onto your hats’.
‘Belladrum 2010, it’s more than just a moosic festival.’ It’s what makes summer!
Published on 16 August 2010 by Pauline