Alternative Festivals | Laura Doherty

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campingillustrationkirathomasOk, so the recession’s crept its way into our summer plans and we’re being a little more wary with our cash. In the past we’ve been all too happy to chuck our hard earned overdraft in the direction of a certain domineering, beer-scented festival sponsor.but what should we be doing now we’re being a little more discerning with our financial moves this year? Laura Doherty wades through the portaloo spotted scenery of the summer’s festivals to show you where to invest your tent pegs.

Isle of Bute Jazz Festival 30th April – 4th May

Don’t let the image of aging jazz cats fool you – apparently the Isle of Bute has gained a reputation for becoming the rowdiest place on earth during this jazz weekender. Now in its twenty-second year it has become a staple of the island’s calendar, attracting homegrown and internationally renowned acts for a five-day jazz, rhythm and blues spectacular. Tickets are only £45 for five days and Bute’s spectacular scenery lies within an hour’s drive and

a short ferry trip from Glasgow. You could probably even spend that time making jazz hands in eager, time-signature splicing anticipation: who’s to judge?

Kelburn Garden Party 19th – 21st June

Usually home to adventure playgrounds and mystical castle adventures, the Garden Party throws open the grounds of Kelburn Castle for three days of music and arts. Boasting some rather picturesque surroundings, you can spend the afternoon taking in the views of the glens and waterfalls that the grounds have to offer before spending the evening dancing away on the tennis courts, specially transformed for the musical onslaught. With Mungo’s Hi-Fi, Samba Ya Bamba, Numbers and the Kinky Afro DJs amongst the many, many guests there will be no shortage of beats to make you feel like King and/or Queen of the castle. The tickets are only £58 and revellers are encouraged to travel by eco-friendly means in order to preserve the festival’s idyllic backdrop.


Outsider Festival 27th – 28th JUNE

The Outsider festival makes a return this year in Rothiemurchus, near Aviemore. The line-up has a pretty hefty Scottish edge to it, with appearances from the legends that are Teenage Fanclub, King Creosote and James Yorkston (the Fence presence a must-see for those who missed this April’s Homegame festival in Anstruther) and newer acts such as The Phantom Band, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Attic Lights to sate those in search of up-and-coming acts. The festival also features a comedy tent with stand up from Fred MacAulay, Miles Jupp and the hilarious Kevin Bridges, a twenty-three year old Bankie whose Edinburgh Fringe and Glasgow Comedy Festival appearances have had him singled out as one of the most exciting new acts in Scottish comedy.

Wickerman Festival 24th – 25th July

This out and out hippy fest takes place in Dundrennan, near Dumfries; the two day festival culminates in the burning of a giant wicker doll, just to keep the Dumfries and Galloway constabulary on their toes. Musically the festival typically attracts one or two large headliners supported by a plethora of credible smaller acts: this year being no exception with The Human League initiating the Rock n Roll (hey!) along with soul legend Candi Staton. The supporting cast of mis-matched local acts include Drums of Death, The Second Hand Marching Band, Pearl and the Puppets, Remember Remember, The Bum-Clocks and many, many more over the festival’s stages.

Knockengorroch Festival 19th – 21st September

Another Dumfries and Galloway based festival, which probably proves the existence of ley lines beneath the region, is the Knockengorroch festival, a gathering of music and arts which celebrates Celtic arts whilst promoting the natural beauty of the area. Their aim is to “promote multi-cultural forms and musical genres, highlighting the connection between roots music and the land that gave birth to that music and its people”, see? The line-up features many chill-axed DJ sets specially chosen to get you in tune with the earth which spawned you: The Orb are headliners, need we say more? There will also be fire shows, cabaret, workshops, street theatre, a silent disco, rumours The Bays may make an appearance and a healing area to wind down your recession woes: with a student discount attached to the adult weekend pass you can’t say fairer than that now can you?


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14 years ago

I love cheaper festivals, nine times out of ten you can have much more fun and get closer to the bands, good post!