Loopallu music festival forced to relocate and scale back

Newton Faulkner is among the acts to have played the Loopallu festival in its first 12 years.
Newton Faulkner is among the acts to have played the Loopallu festival in its first 12 years.
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It is the event that has attracted the likes of Paolo Nutini, Franz Ferdinand, Mumford & Sons to a remote village in the north-west Highlands.

But the hugely-popular Loopallu Festival is facing the axe after being ousted from its long-time home in Ullapool ahead of the 13th event in 2017.

Organisers are being forced to dramatically scale back next year’s event after being told it is no longer welcome at Broomfield Holiday Park, on the banks of Loch Broom.

They have been forced to relocated to Ullapool's pier, but with “restricted numbers” of revellers, for next year.

And they have revealed the event could be a “last hurrah” and a “farewell party” with its capacity set to be cut by more than half and festival-goers unable to camp on site.

Loopallu was a regular 2,500-capacity sell-out thanks to appearances by The Stranglers, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Undertones, The Wonderstuff, The Fratellis, Newton Faulkner and Shed Seven.

The event, championed by BBC DJs Janice Long, Mark Radcliffe and Vic Galloway, is believed to the most lucrative of the year for the local economy. But festival-goers have been warned the nature of it is likely to “change dramatically” on the pier.

Loopallu was founded by Ullapool-based promoter Rob Hicks in 2005, with the American band Hayseed Dixie helping to get the event off the groud by headlining the first two festivals.

The main tented stages of the festival were erected at the holiday park, where fans were also able to camp, while “festival fringe” events were held in local bars and hotels.

A statement on the festival website stated: “After 12 fun-packed years in this beautiful, remote part of the UK, Loopallu as we know it must come to an end.

“Despite our best efforts to secure another season the festival venue will no longer be made available to us.

"Thanks to the kindness and support of the Ullapool Harbour Trustees, the main event will be moving on to the pier, in turn making it one of the most unusual venues in the UK.

“Due to the move, the event will be non-camping and the number of tickets available will be restricted, so please don’t leave it too long to decide.

"Our 13th year might be our farewell party, or if you like the change maybe it’s the start of a new chapter. Only you can decide. Whatever the future holds all the team would like to say a big thank you to all who have come over the years."

Mr Hicks said it had come as “a real surprise” to be told earlier this month that the campsite would not be available as normal next year.

He added: “They just told us they no longer want to host it and felt it was time to call it a day there.

“The reason we always had it when we did is that it if it was on at the height of the season we wouldn’t have had the same support locally as we would have displaced people who were coming anyway and we wouldn’t have had the use of the campsite.

"It was always planned to be at the end of the season to give the village a last boost before the winter. The irony is it’s now the biggest weekend of the year and it sets everyone up for the winter.

“We’re having one last party next year on the pier and then will see how it goes. We’ve got the blessing from the harbour trustees if we want to continue there.

“All good things come to an end. The nature of the event will obviously change dramatically. So many people have come every year, it has a great sense of homecoming around it. We just felt we needed one last hurrah.”

The Broomfield Holiday Park declined to comment.