With a line-up that reads like a who’s who of up and coming Scottish music the vast majority of my weekend would be spent in the the Solus Tent and goNORTH festival tent, which this year had staggered start times, meaning after leaving one tent it was a mere hop, skip and jump to see the next act start.
The first stop of the weekend is at goNORTH to see Glasgow post-rock four-piece Campfires in Winter, very much in the vein of The Twilight Sad. A band I didn’t know before the festival but one I’ll definitely try and catch again.
Ayrshire troubadour Tragic O’Hara is next on, over at the Acoustic Village playing his own brand of blues to a packed out tent. One of the highlights is a cover of Cyprus Hill’s Hits From the Bong.
The Solus Tent is nothing if not diverse, as the next act prove. Big Taj & Spee Six Nine attract a very healthy crowd, and it is beat-boxer Big Taj who steals the show with his covers of Seven Nation Army and Ain’t No Sunshine in which he somehow performs the bass lines, vocals and drums all simultaneously.
A tough act to follow but Glasgow math rockers Salo hold their own with their brand of loud, technical rock. As the dying notes of Salo fade out, next door in the goNORTH tent Inverness five-piece The Whisky River Band are just getting started and have the place buzzing with their alt-folk sound.
The rest of the day is spent soaking in the friendly atmosphere and wandering around the festival site, taking in acts such as Rachel Sermanni, Beerjacket, Olympic Swimmers and Fat Goth before finishing Friday off with the much hyped - and deservedly so - United Fruit. After playing a storming set in a full Solus Tent the large crowd traipse off, ears ringing, bones shuddering but wanting more.
Saturday starts with There Will Be Fireworks in the Solus Tent before Uddingston pop rockers John Wean play the goNORTH tent to a very receptive crowd.
But it is Glasgow hip-hoppers Hector Bizerk who really get the place jumping. Playing with a live drummer and the new additions of bass and keyboard they have the packed to capacity tent rocking.
The build-up in momentum continues with indie-dance act Fridge Magnets. The tent is bouncing from start to finish and the crowd doesn’t want it to end. They eventually have to stop of course, but this means it is time for our second installment of Scottish hip-hop of the day with Edinburgh-based Stanley Odd.
Combining live music, great choruses from Veronica Electronica and funny, sharp and socially aware rapping from MC Solareye, they are the perfect end to the weekend’s music.
All that is left is the burning of the Wickerman, which brings the whole site together to enjoy the spectacle. Already, I can’t wait to find some more gems at next year’s festival.
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