BELLADRUM 2011 FRIDAY
Your intrepid reporter was late arriving as usual. This time it was due to traffic on the road out. Having got on site, donned the boots and rushed up to the tents this brought me to the first act of the day. The youngsters of the Inverness Festivals Band opening in the Black Isle Brewery Tent demonstrated a secure grasp of a number of folk styles including Gaelic and Clogging. There were certainly some musicians appearing here to watch out for in the future.
Next it was down to the Garden Stage to see local lass Coco Tenorio. Coco has Ecuadorian roots and performed in a number of Latin American/Caribbean styles with a group consisting of South American musicians. As they played the sun came out complimenting the sunny rhythms.
Last year Mull was represented by Colin MacIntyre, this year it was the turn of Tiree with Skerryvore taking the stage. They played a rousing set of folk and country tunes including a scorching version of the Johnny Cash song – Folsom Prison Blues.
The Belladrum organisers this year have taken the health promotion message: “walk about a bit” to heart. A brisk walk took me to the Hothouse Tent for an amazing set from the south coast based MC Xander. Xander developed a whole range of sounds using just his voice and layering this into complex songs.
Back up to the main part of the site for some sustenance – stovies from Argyll – yum, before returning to the Black Isle Brewery Tent to hear Saint Saviour. This lady has been compared to Kate Bush and has worked with Groove Armada.
The reggae tinged Easy Star All Stars with their high energy lead singer played a range of covers including the Beatles and Pink Floyd at the Garden Stage.
A long trek to locate the Free Range Tent was rewarded by a classic performance by local group Dorec-a-Belle. This four-piece specialise in poignant songs but can also knock out a mean Cajun beat when required. I really liked how the cello, saxophone, guitar, voices and accordion mixed together.
Standout act of the Friday out of an excellent range – MC Xander
BELLADRUM 2011 SATURDAY
Your scribe rose and got on site early – no traffic problems today. Had a bit of spare time enough to listen to Vin Clark, a didgeridoo player from Dunphail. Then made my way to Garden Stage where the Rooty Ma Toot Big Band started proceedings for the day with some classic jazz and easy listening tunes. How do they all fit into Blackfriars on Church Street when they play there? A good excuse to get down to find out and sample some real ale at the same time!!!
With not such a heavy recording schedule today I took the opportunity to wander and take in the sights and sounds of the festival. What an amazing place – an old combine harvester belching smoke and dance music – complete with horse boxes for the speakers, a moss covered car, a chapel surrounded by pianos, inside the chapel an opera is going on, talks on a wide range of subjects all going on.
During dinner today – macaroni and cheese – serenaded by a Cajun tinged Dorec-a-Belle. This was followed by a trip down to the Hothouse Tent for a spine tingling performance of pop soul by Alford lass Emile Sande. Sat out in the sun and listened to Young Rebel Set – good time music from a band in the style of Lindisfarne and the Faces. This group were followed by Diddums – a Ramones sounding combo. Raghu Dixit from Bangalore was next on – South India comes to Belladrum. Raghu spiced his pre-song talks with lots of sound philosophy and related how he met Robert Plant on Later with Jools Holland. Raghu was followed by the Cornish folk rockers 3 Daft Monkeys who enthused about the wonderful scenery we possess here.
The last assignment of the day was to make my way back to the Black Isle Brewery Tent to see C W Stoneking and His Primitive Horn Orchestra. C W is from Australia and plays a mix of American blues and Calypso music. The tent was rocking by the end of the performance.
Left site just as the rain was starting and by the time I got into town things were looking grim for the campers but everyone as usual had a cracking good time. Thanks again to Mr. Joe Gibbs and his team for their help and hospitality and for organizing consistently high quality festivals.
Standout act of the day out of another excellent range – Emile Sande
Thanks to RP for finishing off our reviews of Belladrum 2011