Echo & the Bunnymen deliver a storming performance, which sees steam rising from the Wickerman crowd

The Wickerman Festival 2011 review

published: Tue 2nd Aug 2011

Echo and the Bunnymen

Friday 22nd to Saturday 23rd July 2011
Kirkcarswell Farm nr. Kirkcudbright, Galloway, Scotland, Scotland MAP
£90 with camping and parking
last updated: Wed 13th Jul 2011

This was the 10th Wickerman festival and while it is true to say that it has come of age it is also fair to say that what was once billed as Scotland's alternative festival now seems to be the 'alternative' festival for a different reason.

around the festival site (3)
Wickerman's idyllic location slap bang between Manchester and Glasgow, and with tickets for T in the Park selling out within minutes of going on sale, means that the Dumfriesshire festival has become the next best alternative.

But let's deal with the bands first. Arriving on Thursday tea time, the Quiet Campsite was already quite full, although the 'Late n loud' site was the least busy that I have seen it. The atmosphere was already different to previous years, there was more aggro in the Quiet site, with people being moved by security, something I have never seen over the six years that I've been going to this festival.

The Dangleberries were one of the first bands on and were popular with the audience, getting the party started early on the Friday with their usual blend of bagpipes and drums and covers of popular hits, including the Black Eyed Peas anthem, you know that one that goes "tonight's going to be a good, good night."

Sound Of Guns
Next up was Sound Of Guns from Liverpool, who also gave a strong performance for their main stage slot. The crowd responded to the lead singer's enthusiasm and he had a good voice, while the accomplished guitarist led the band through some very rocking riffs.

Following a few recommendations we headed to the Go North tent for The Imagineers . It was stowed out with other people who had clearly heard similarly good things, including Scottish DJ and supporter of new bands, Jim Gellatly. I loved the singer's mellow, Davy Jones from The Monkees style voice, and the general 60s vibe of the band and would definitely try to see them again.

The sixties vibe continued in the Scooter tent with Berry Tweed and the Chasers, a well received covers band that certainly looked the part in vintage dresses and beehives. It was a slick performance, although the audience numbers may have been boosted slightly by the downpour outside.

We missed the math band Trapped In Kansas which I had heard much about and wanted to catch, but their slot was brought forward. Catching up with the singer afterwards, he told me that despite the rescheduling the tent was still busy and that their set was well received. He also said that it was a lovely festival and very chilled out - which was interesting to hear from a newcomer bearing in mind my initial misgivings.

The Bluebells
By three o clock on the first day, the mojito bar had run out of mojitos, so it was back to the main stage for the highly anticipated (by me anyway) appearance by The Bluebells, home grown and reformed. Their performance was an early highlight for much of the crowd, with the sun coming out and classic hits Forever Young and of course Young at Heart.

Next up was YasmIn, who performed at Radio 1's Big Weekend. Her performance included her singles Five Minutes and Runaway, as well as her new single featuring Ms Dynamite, although I have to say I am slightly dubious that it was the first airing "in the world" of that song as she claimed.

Noisettes
After Noisettes, it was back to the Go North tent to see local band The French Wives, whose fiddle player had performed on the main stage with The Bluebells and who were really good. They put in a tight performance and certainly had our kids spellbound.

Echo and the Bunnymen
Echo and the Bunnymen had much to live up to in my book following their unimpressive performance at Loopallu festival a couple of years ago, and although Ian Maculloch's banter with the crowd seemed to go down like a lead balloon, the set itself went down well, particularly their cover of Nothing Ever Lasts Forever. This was a proper, storming, rock performance, which saw steam rising from the crowd. It set the mood for Friday night's headliners.

Disappointingly, James's set was beset by technical problems, with the sound cutting out intermittently and for almost their entire performance. Classic sing-a-long anthems were hampered for the audience by an effect similar to a CD jumping. The band played on though, giving it their all and putting on a fantastic and professional show, but the sound and the increasingly persistent rain meant much of the audience drifted back to their tents, or perhaps to see The Damned, who were by all accounts excellent.

around the festival site (4)
review by: Clare Damodaran

photos by: Carol Keith / Greg & Rachel Forbes

Friday 22nd to Saturday 23rd July 2011
Kirkcarswell Farm nr. Kirkcudbright, Galloway, Scotland, Scotland MAP
£90 with camping and parking
last updated: Wed 13th Jul 2011


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