Kenna Ross has a look at the Ptarmigan stage of Groove Cairngorm

Waiting at the foot of the funicular railway was very cold but there was a feeling of excitement in the air. There weren’t many skiers, the wind had put paid to that, but there were numerous people in ski jackets and bobble hats. Someone in our part of the train was also playing, the guitar case was the giveaway, but we didn’t know his name and tried to second guess what his sound was like. The scenery on the way up was stunning, no skiers just snow and Loch Morlich far below. This festival is unique, where else would the mode of transport be a funicular railway.

Entering the ‘highest café in Scotland’ the first thing we saw was the stage waiting for the next performer which was our travelling companion. I’d never heard Chris Andreucci before but very quickly took to his style of music, easy listening with a bit of a hard edge. The larger than expected audience also showed their enjoyment clapping enthusiastically after each song. He finished with ‘Caledonia’ and hours later the tune is still resonating in my head. He is someone I’d like to hear again.

Next up were Carma (wink (Kenna is also 1/2 or 1/3) and they were brilliant, superbly supported by the sound engineers who did a great job throughout the day.

The afternoon acoustic stage didn’t have the high energy of the evening sets in Badaguish, but it did have a very appreciative audience who were there to chill, some after a previous heavy night. Looking round the room, there were groups of young males and females enjoying a beer with friends as well as families with young children who had travelled up to have lunch and enjoy the music. It was a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

We popped out quickly onto the viewing terrace and although the view was impressive, the -29 degrees because of wind chill factor meant it was a very short visit. This was at odds with the café room which was cosy, some people were sitting in short sleeved t-shirts.

Next up was Calum Mackenzie Jones who also had a gig later that day in his home town of Buckie. Calum used a stomp box and guitar to accompany his singing. Although he was flying solo in Groove Cairngorm, Calum is multi-talented and plays drums in one of the other groups he is a member of. Calum put on a very mature performance for one so young, he is not quite eighteen. His rich voice filled the room and completely fitted in with the chilled vibe of the afternoon.

The café stopped serving hot food and it was time for the final act on the acoustic stage and what an act. Not for them the chilled vibe, the three-piece band Gordon James and the Power had the audience clapping, nodding and tapping along. Their music is full of energy and before I knew it they were on their last song. I think they caused the funicular railway a bit of a headache as the driver kept coming in and counting how many people were left in the café, obviously concerned that they wouldn’t all manage to fit in the final trains of the afternoon. We left just as they played their final chords to catch the train back down the mountain.

We had the most fantastic afternoon and as we reached the bottom of the railway, the train jerked and started climbing back up, no-one complained!

Check out our recent interview with Calum Mackenzie Jones;

Calum Mackenzie Jones – Who are you? #16