The 20th of August brings around another year for arguably, the most Northern festival in Britain, B-Fest 2011. So why would anyone want to spend their time making their way up to (hopefully) sunny Wick for the day. Well, the music of course. The festival, run through Rypeco promotions, brings together a number of local highland bands and mixture of more central belt and country wide known bands.
It is hard to describe what type of music festival it is. Rockness had rock and dance, Belladrum has grassroots and golden classics but B-Fest can be shown as a festival of quality Scottish music. Bands from rap, to dance, to rock, to indie will all be swarming to Riverside in mid August. Let’s start with some less known bands.
Fife band, Kid Canaveral the indie band has five EPs since there emergence in 2007 are sure to thrill the crowd with their energetic and flamboyant stage presence. Kitty the Lion will be joining the festival with Vic Galloway and Jim Gellatly bothdescribing the four piece, fronted by Anna Meldrum, as ones to watch. One of the local “one’s to watch” are The Whisky River Band. The Inverness band have racked up numerous gigs at both Hootananny and Ceol-Mor will be showing why their folk rock style is something not be missed. Their E.P “Open Your Eyes”, released back in March, is likely to be heavily featured on stage, watch out for “Take You There” and “No Regrets”.
The music scene in Inverness is clearly growing and it is showing with even more bands from around the area being called up to play, the first of which is Iain McLaughlin & The Outsiders. Along with James Mackenzie and The Aquascene, Iain and his band have almost become music ambassadors for the city and have all right to do so. After a tremendous performance at Rockness and a performance at Belladrum in the waiting, along with countless performances around the city, Iain McLaughlin’s catchy melodies put into dirty and dark influence showcase the life and experiences around Inverness. Try and catch “Remedy” if you make your way to the festival.
To continue with the Inverness music scene, we arguably have the biggest band from the area, The Side, trudging up to Wick. The band return to B-Fest following a their support act at the O2 in London of Bon Jovi to 23,00 people. The band fronted by Hugh “Whinnie” Winton, who have also played at Belladrum, Rockness, Loopallu, goNorth and Wizard festivals. Need I mention more? If you love BritPop, funky, catchy tunes, sung with a lust to sing more then it’s not going to be difficult to deSide if you are going to see them. Sorry, bad joke.
From Inverness, to the Central belt and the second band I recommend to watch. The La Fontaines, a Scottish rap band who hail from Motherwell come up north again after their support slot for Twin Atlantic, several months back. The crowd at the gig where almost universally pleased with what was put in front them and they return to Ironworks after a mere 24 hours after appearing at B-Fest. A rap artist is a genre I’ve never been too fond of but I believe that it is the way in which front man Kerr Okan raps/sings which entices audiences. He refuses to adapt to the generic American or London rapper voice or style, but yet prefers to belt out in his native tongue and this is shown with ease in “Superstar” which can be found on their myspace.
Keeping in the central belt we have The Dykeenies. The Glaswegian band who where up in Inverness at the Ironworks in February this year head, up to Wick to showcase music from their album Nothing Means Everything and a new album that is to be released soon. I have been avid fan of The Dykeenies for a number years and the band always receive a warm welcome from their fans up north.
Closing the festival this year will be Gun. The Glaswegian band who have previously supported the likes of The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard will be making the long trip up the A9 in hope of blowing revellers away with their hard/glam/classic rock anthems. The band has been chopped and changed more times than they could even remember with Sharleen Spiteri and Baby Stafford performing with the band at some stage. The band are unfortunately most known for their cover of “Word Up!” but their album “Swagger” is a must have on any die hard rockers shelf.
By Mark Thompson
Keep you eyes peeled over the weekend on the website for a little competition for B-Fest 2011