We have been lucky to have so much coverage of Belladrum this year. MDA offers us a more mainstream perspective, seeking out the likes of Frank Turner, Texas and Vintage Trouble
As with Christmas and New Year, the other regular and most looked forward to
calendar date, Belladrum has passed for another year.
With many great life experiences, Belladrum serves up an emotional rollercoaster of good, great, bad and ugly, served up alongside some amazing surprises, diamonds in the rust and quite frankly, some dire disappointments, but I am merely one person out of 14,000. There has been another 13,999 different festival experiences this past weekend.With such a banquet of music and culture on show, unfortunately its impossible to catch it all.
After settling in to our campsite through the deluge of rain, we kicked back
on the comfy seats to enjoy the Thursday night comedy with host Sandy Nelson
and two guest comedians, Susan Morrison and Keir Macallister .The air turned blue and our faces red with the laughs, but without doubt, the star of the show was host
Sandy Nelson with his sharp wit and observations of the audience. This man
could be and should be the next Billy Connolly.
Friday started late in the day for me, but what a start. Vintage Trouble
from LA on the main stage were amazing. Blues rock with a singer who could
be James Browns love child. Quite simply, they rocked, and very quickly the
crowd swelled. Its easy to see why this band recently supported Bon Jovi.
Great songs like ‘Still and Always Will’ and ‘Not Alright By Me’ will soon
be added to my ipod.
I then had a brief liaison with my old friend Davy Cowan and the
Stormchasers (including Derek Urquhart (who played in his first band with me
at the tender age of 14), Robin Abbott (an old school mate) and Rachel
Parker (who along with Dave I know from directing Coinneach videos). Dave
has his own unique style and deserves a place on the main stage. A modern
day rock/folk poet that knows his way round a catchy tune with meaning.
Ed Sheerin was my next planned visit, but unfortunately, it looked like two
thirds of Belladrum had the same idea. With the help of my determined six
year old daughter we managed to push ourselves through to a vantage point
where I could hear ‘A Team’ (the current biggest chart hit by any of this
years Festival bands/acts). It would have been great to experience more, but
frankly, it was just too claustrophobic!
Next, for me, was an unexpected and pleasant find. Keen to get a good
vantage point to see Texas, we ended up by default watching Frank Turner. He
was loud, brash, funny and brilliant. His songs were anthemic, his music had
all the right highs and lows for the audience to participate and its fair to
say he warmed the crowd nicely for Sharleen and co.
And so to the close of Friday with a band I first seen at Jings, Dingwall in
1989 as ‘I Don’t Want A Lover’ stormed the charts. And it was with this song
they opened with a huge ‘Kiss’ style logo lighting up the stage. From start
to finish, hits such as Halo, Black Eyed Boy and Summer Son had the crowd
dancing and singing. With the addition of a new song and an Elvis cover,
Texas very much put their mark on the Festival, and anyone who doubted their
inclusion had no option but to change their mind after that performance.
Great end to a great day.