Both rob and joe were brave enough to face the crowds at bella in the verb garden. The result was a particularly candid insight into behind the scenes.

DSCF4027 1024x768 - An audience with rob hicks and joe gibbs at bella 2010

For an hour the pairing entertained and charmed the audience to a partisan crowd.

Joe reassurred the audience that there would be no attempts to significantly increase capacity from the current 13000, noting that to do so would be to take away the charm and intimacy that goes with a small independant festival. A suggestion about the possibility of having two festivals on the same site was met with an un reportable response, but displayed and acknowledgement of the effect of the festival both on the core business of the farm and the local community.

Ways of managing escalating talent costs were discussed and whilst no decision appears to have been made, ticket price increases and charging for children were identified as possibilities in the future.

Interestingly disccussions about the fringe events acknowledged that they were nothing to do with Bella itself and that whilst Joe encouraged the fringe, it would remain independant and encouraged people to take up the mantle should they wish the fringe to return.

Badly Drawn Boy’s performance and claims about the sound quality were addressed, in hicks and gibbs style, with them acknowledging that he left the festival with a smile on his face and a promise that he would return.

Joe acknowledged the difficulties about being an independant festival organiser, referring to the signing of acts, and in particular the well documented challenges of exclusivity deals signed by the bigger festivals. However it was also acknowledged that good relationships with acts (eg Scouting for Girls and Amy MacDonald) have paid dividends with thier loyalty and keeness to return. They suggested that acts like Tiffany Paige and Kassidy could be the breakthrough artists of this year.

Discussion about headliners and how the choices were made, revisited issues about bigger festivals, whilst also acknowledging the challenge in not signing names that were too big (eg fans of the bands may dominate or change the dynamic of the festival). One example that was given, was the possibility of Biffy Clyro returning and whilst identifying that it would be great for them to return (should they wish to)that this would be done in a similar style to how the KT Tunstall performance was managed (ie not formally announced). Another band that was mentioned was Mumford and Sons, Rob noted a confidence that they would return at some stage, that because of their popularity at the moment that the return was not imminent. Rob was also very astute when discussing the Loopallu headliners, no clues were given whatsoever, but he did say an announcement would be made on the 3rd of September.

Two names were mentioned with regards to possible future appearance with Joe identifying an obsession with Cosmic Sausage (described as the ultimate party band on thier website) and Graeme naming the Manic Street Preachers as potentials.

I would really apppreciate your comments on the issues raised, please email me on

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A lifelong passion for music matched with a geeky fascination for social media and websites resulted in the creation of Inverness Gigs back in 2010. The aim of the site is to help promote, support and generally raise awareness of the local music scene.In fairness fifteen years of being a psychiatric nurse never prepared me for the experiences that we have had over the last few years and the evolution of Inverness Gigs has certainly been a steep learning curve.I currently write (less and less), edit and co-ordinate most of the Inverness Gigs activities.Occasionally seen on Twitter, and  LinkedIn, if you want get in touch you can contact me direct at