A review of the Big Stooshie, Giffordtown, on the 4th to the 6th of May 2012, by Christina Tatlow.

big stoosh

Music festival season officially begun this May bank holiday in the shape of The Big Stooshie. The first music festival date in the Scottish diary, giving an undercover experience like none before. A total of 62 bands descended to the hills of Giffordtown near Fife for one common goal, charity!  Unsigned, up and coming and well-known artists all performed over three days in an aim to raise money for SSAFA and Help For Heroes. Each day was filled with every genre taste you could cater for Disco, Indie, Pop, Punk, Rock and Ska over two stages, revellers were practically overdosing on choice.

Opening from 12pm on Friday were bag-piping rockers, Bags of Rock, fronted by former Red Hot Chilli Piper, Gregor James who played the Inverness Hogmanay celebrations last year. Kick starting the drones and tones of the infamous Scottish instrument and fusing a loud performance at the Main Stage opened proceedings quite nicely to the newest charity festival.

Throughout the afternoon saw a dolly mixture of acts on the Kingdom FM Stage such as Fire In effect and Felix Champion, then swooping in from 5pm saw seventies new wave favourites, the Boomtown Rats (minus Bob Geldof) fulfilling fans with the likes of ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ and with a tweak of nostalgia it was over to the next performance from two-toner reggae and punk legends, The Beat. Crowds dressed in black and chequered uniform in ode, gathered and looked on as from the underground came, From The Jam. Original member Bruce Foxton joined by Big Country drummer, Mark Brezicki, who together put in a boisterous effort of punk in time for Friday headliner Croydon’s, The Damned. Dressed as always to impress, lead singer Dave Vanian busted out vocals to much delight, bringing the house down.

Saturday saw sunshine and stirling efforts from The Begbies, Dead Sea Souls, Katie Sutherland (formerly of Pearl and The Puppets) and pop trio, The Hoosiers were back on form opening with last years hit, Choices. An hours performance whizzed by finishing with Goodbye Mr A. Crowds couldn’t of been happier to see there return to the festival circuit.

All the while soldiers, music lovers and party goers all mingled and prepared for headliners, Glasvegas who were vocally disappointed by James Allan who was not on par for hits such as ‘Euphoric Heartbreak’. However, passionate drumming from Jonna Lofgren shone through and provided the energy to pump the crowd.

Final day, Sunday, was met by traditional Scottish weather of rain and hail. Thus, not putting festival goers off in the slightest as Big Stooshie saw a healthy mix of un-signs catching peoples attention, the Catch 22s and Phlight. Rock infused, gravel-voiced and our own home grown Highland talent, The Lost put in a punchy effort which didn’t‘t go un-noticed.

Eager eyes were all on surprise guest Newton Falkner. His one man band music extravaganza saw him play semi-acoustic guitar and pedal the bass drum single footedly, whilst dressed in grey and was met by plenty of claps and cheers with favourites ‘Teardrop’ and ‘Dream Catch Me’.

Second from the top saw the return of Simon and Oscar from Ocean Colour Scene who put in an acoustic performance finished with, ‘The Day We Caught The Train’ being echoed back from the tresses of the horse shed aka Main Stage which at most could cater a 4000 capacity crowd.

Roaring crowds, claps and jeers rang out for the late arrival of concluding headliners, James. Andy, Dave, Jim, Larry, Mark, and Saul arriving first to take up their positions, then Tim Booth striding to his mic from the shadows of side stage. With trademark beannie, leather jacket and donning a Ming the Merciless black goatie beard, dived straight into ‘Seven’, where by fans cried and screamed from the depths of their lungs in excitement as Tim halfway through teetered on a steel barrier to greet them.

A psychedelic, guitar and trumpet fuelled performance included ‘She’s A Star’, ‘Say Something’ and heavy lighting followed throughout to the final moments of an encore including Hey Ma, Sit Down and drawing the last note to the first ever Big Stooshie with ‘Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)’.

Audiences deserted for their buses, cars and tents after watching a wealth of talent and gained a sense of well being in the knowledge they had supported a good cause! However, even though tickets sales were slow, The Big Stooshie offered a plethora of choice, cause and an enterprising start to the festival line up for 2012.

Last word has to go to Major Tim Grantham, the representative for Help for Heroes ;

“What a weekend – I would like to thank the team so much for all your efforts in making the event go along with a buzz!

It was apparent as the weekend progressed the numbers were not as had been hoped – this was certainly not due to you or your team and all the pre event promotion. I guess like many events the ‘first’ one is always the most difficult – look at T In The Park! I appreciate due to this you will be unable to apportion any direct income from the ticket sales. We did, however, manage to sell some product and wristbands over the period.

As far as I am concerned you did Help for Heroes proud we had the opportunity to increase awareness as to what the Charity does plus importantly H4H benefitted from all your pre event promotion campaign.

A massive thank you to all involved.”

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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 chris@igi.gs