on the whole The Wickerman Festival still gives a great family festival experience

The Wickerman Festival 2011 review

published: Tue 2nd Aug 2011

around the festival site (2)

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

On Saturday morning summer officially arrived in Scotland......I had years of sweet dreams about walking up to a cloudless sky at a Scottish festival and today my dreams came true.

around the festival site (1)
After a personal festival favourite of Stoate's porridge topped with lashings of cream, malt whiskey and brown sugar got me well and truly breakfasted, I launched headfirst into festival land. The tempo for the day was set early with Kings of Macumba bringing their samba sounds to the early crowd. There is noting like a bit of Brazilian flair to get things going, even if they are from Paisley its the attitude that counts.

The Scooter tent continued to build on Friday with strong sets from Glasgow's Fire Exit, and Jericho Hill (Johnny Cash Tribute band) getting the crowd going. Added to this the high energy ska set performed by festival favourites Bombskare set the tone for the day. The crowd was packed out with the stand out tracks from the set being 'Don't Give It All Away' and a 'Fist Full Of Dynamite'.

Twin Atlantic
On the main stage the late addition of Glasgow's Twin Atlantic upped the tempo on the stage. Where as the energy and enthusiasm seen by the band could not be matched by the laid back crowd (with the exception of the first few rows near the barrier), the set was full of energy. This is a band who I am getting increasingly enthusiastic about every time I see them. Their performance here eclipsed their set on the NME stage at T from a few weeks back.

Although 'Whatisthelight?Whereislaughter?' is an instant crowd pleaser, the set contained other highlights such as 'Time For You To Stand Up' and 'Edit Me'. For any small unsigned bands reading this; this band are proof that festival evolution works. Twin Atlantic first played Wickerman at the Solus Emerging Scottish tent three years ago. Take it form me they have emerged. This band are on the ascendancy. If you want to see them at a small venue, check them out soon.

The Pigeon Detectives
Im not a natural fan of The Pigeon Detectives and almost walked away to check out some of the smaller stages. This would have been the biggest mistake of the festival as their set set the place on fire and lifted the crowd into the type of frenzy not often seen at the smaller festivals. From the off with 'This Is An Emergency' the place was jumping. You cant deny it; Matt Bowan has stage presence and can work a crowd. I know Matt has a habit of squirting the crowd with water and then kicking empty water bottles into the crowd, but this being Scotland the crowd fired back with anything they could muster. Matt took this as a sign of affection. To turn a few into a bombardment, I'd not have invited a Scottish crowd to throw things at me and promise not to move, but unlike many rock prima donnas who would have stormed off Matt took it all in his stride. His crowd surfing added some rock and roll to the proceedings. Quite honestly it was one of the best festival sets I've seen all summer with 'I'm Not Going To Take This' and 'I Found Out' great highlights in a strong set.

I usually find The Coral too low key and chilled out for a evening festival set. Following on from the Pigeon Detectives they had their work cut out but they lived up to it. Maybe the crowd were just in the right mood for 'Dreaming Of You' and 'In The Morning' but the tempo of the main stage just continued to build. By the time they covered the Beatles 'Ticket To Ride' the atmosphere was electric.

As for the headliners - Feeder did not disappoint. The opened with 'Renegades' and continued at pace with the highlights being dedicating 'High' to the late Amy Winehouse and 'Feeling a Moment' The set finished with the whole front of the crowd jumping to 'Buck Rodgers' and 'Just A Day'.

I've seen several posts on eFestivals criticising the organisers choice of bands for the festival. In my mind for less than a hundred pounds everyone got great value. There was something here for everyone young and old.

After the ritual burning of the wickerman, in which the atmosphere was kind of ruined by a piper playing happy birthday, unlike many other festivals in Scotland that stop dead, Wickerman continues for most of the night, well into daybreak. They don't call it 'Boomtown' for anything.

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The late night got going with Craig Charles blasting a thousand festival goers in an early morning blend of international and home grown funk to the conga forming crowd.

With the main stages closed I took the opportunity to check out some late night folk music in the Acoustic Village. If Modhams set is an example of the quality on show at this stage over the weekend then its another example of the strength and depth that this festival offers.

My late night highlights include enjoying people watching the crowd in the Axis Sound System Reggie Tent. Dr Huxtable's late night (4am) mash up sets this tent up as a unique addition to the Scottish Festival scene.

The two boomtown stages offered a late night sound clash on both nights. Whereas I'm not sure of the morality of dancing round your baby in a buggy at 2am the tents certainly give the 'older' clubbers the opportunity to relive their past. Whereas I'm certain that the senior clubber I saw was in his late 50's his trilby hat and clubbing gear certainly matched his rhythmic movement and trance like being being. Basically this festival has something for everything. There are some issues that need sorted by the organisers like ensuring the sound is spot on and getting the security team to chill out a bit. On the whole it still gives a great family festival experience. Check it out sometime soon. In the words of three wise festival goers I know it's "Awesome, Crazy and Wicked" rolled into one.

around the festival site (2)
review by: Greg Forbes

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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