so many things that we loved about the Wickerman have changed and gone

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

The rain had cleared away by Saturday morning, which was bright and breezy, unlike many of the campers, even in the Quiet site.

around the festival site (3)
We spent most of the early afternoon by the free football games, entertaining the six boys we had between us and soaking up the sunshine and the slightly more relaxed atmosphere. A wander round the stalls took in the usual suspects, with a couple of new attendees, specifically one of those fish spa thingies that clean your feet by nibbling your toes.

First band of the Saturday and probably find of the weekend for me was Stagger Rats, an unusual combo of sleazy Stray Cats style rock 'n' roll coupled with a Hammond organ and some heavier, more progressive rock style songs. It was an interesting mix but it seemed to work, with the early afternoon crowd digging them a lot.

Jericho Hill
Performance of the afternoon in the Scooter tent was Jericho Hill, which bills itself as "the songs of Johnny Cash, the style of Johnny Cash, the attitude of Johnny Cash." The tent was packed and the band had the look (all black trousers and red shirts) and the sound. They opened with Fulsom Prison Blues, and covered all the greats - Jackson, Personal Jesus, Walk The Line, Ring of Fire, as well as a cover of Dolly's Jolene.

Back on the main stage it was time for Gun, another home grown and reformed band, who provided their customary brand of old school rock to an appreciative if select audience. Of the oldie songs, they opened with Taking On The World and also played Better Days and their cover of Cameo's Word Up, all of which sounded better than I remembered them sounding in the 90s. They also played some new tunes, including Steal Your Fire.

It was back to the Scooter tent for BombSkare's early evening slot. They were as tight and popular as ever with the Scooter audience. We heard The Bangles' Walk Like An Egyptian and the band were joined on stage by Jane from the Amphetameanies for Do All Dogs Go To Heaven. They also played set regulars Man on a Mission and Beatrice, which climaxed with the theme from the James Bond films.

The Pigeon Detectives, and The Coral were next up on the Summerisle Main stage, the former commenting on the prolific bottle throwing, something that is not characteristic of Wickerman.

Feeder's rocking headline set flew by - a mixture of their classic hits and their new material. They didn't disappoint and got the crowd going with hits such as Buck Rogers, All On My Own and the haunting Just The Way I'm Feeling.

The haunting atmosphere continued as the obligatory Wicker mist descended over the field with the Wickerman effigy just before midnight. A piper on a 10th birthday sign kicked off the ceremonial burning of the Wickerman with a medley of tunes including The Proclaimers and Happy Birthday before a very impressive firework display closed the weekend's festivities.

around the festival site (4)
There were a number of things that are still brilliant about this festival: the line-up, the organisation, the wide open spaces in the arena for kids, the circus, the free football, the ever-reassuring sounds of Bass Camp. One of the highlights for me was when six very over excited boys started chasing a man dressed as a dinosaur or a crocodile or something, right round the arena so noisily that grown-ups got involved too. He was eventually brought down and squashed by around a dozen adults and kids. But moments like that aside, so many things that we loved about the Wickerman have changed and gone, not least the recycling facilities.

The 'alternative' types - the hippies, the crusties, the punks - seemed to have deserted Wickerman, edged out by the Jack Wills, Hunter welly, hot pants, checked shirts and fake flower garlands brigade. The kind who leave their tents cause they "can't be fagged" taking them home, despite having paid fifty quid at Cosy Campers just two days before because they forgot their tent poles (as happened near us).

around the festival site (3)
There were people being sick at the side of the fences in the arena. There were the people throwing bottles at the main stage, security was taking cans off people at the front. None of this used to happen. We saw a couple getting very intimate in a corner of a toilet queue, which never used to happen here, although good luck to 'em.

The television programme Embarassing Bodies was rather bizarrely there with a stand, with an even more bizarre plea for custom on the main stage. The original Wicker folk (the crowd that went to the first Wickerman festival ten years ago when artistic director Sid was on the gate) don't even have televisions, much less watch something as mind numbingly awful and devoid of dignity as Embarassing Bodies.

This year for me was not so much of a perfect ten for Wickerman.

around the festival site (1)
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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