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Guest Paul ™

My thoughts

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Here are my thoughts from a 4th time Belladrummer -

Entrance/Parking

We arrived on site at 2pm, with the gates being open from 1pm. At that point there were only 20-30 cars there already and therefore no queue to get into the campsite. Simple search from friendly security and we were in and all set up within no time at all.

Campsite

We headed for General Campsite again, with this being the preferred option each time we have been. Plenty room between the tents and a short walk up to the arena entrance, plenty toilets and a few food stalls doing breakfasts/porridge. Had heard that family camping was very cramped this year, and there did seem more families there this year. In General, there was an increase in younger groups of people with no adult supervision. This seemed to be an excuse for 14-16 year olds to get a bit loud and very drunk over the weekend though never seen any trouble apart from one lad who fell into my tent while arsing about.

Toilets

Seemed to be less in the arena this year, with only a couple of blocks actually having the urinals next to them this year. Should have a urinal block at each place the toilets are located as this helps keep the queues down. Never really found a very dirty toilet, even on the Sunday morning the one I used was slightly full but still flushed. Seemed to be replenished frequently with toilet roll, but did here some complaints about them not being emptied as regular as they could have been.

Stewards/Security

The security was provided by Showsec and never had any problems with them at all. Friendly when arriving and seemed to be walking about the campsite at nights which was fine. We had a raised fire in a BBQ on the Thursday night and despite them coming over, allowed it until the police decided they didn’t want it so extinguished it. Searches for alcohol going into the arena were non-existent and it was very easy to sneak a few cans in. Only daft rule was no alcohol was allowed out the arena despite this being purchased in there!

Police

Seemed a high presence in the campsite, with them patrolling on quads. Still didn’t seem to stop all the underage drinkers who were up shouting all night but since I was awake anyway it didn’t bother me. Did have CCTV in the campsite and it did work as it focused on our small fire all night 

Litter

Arena was kept very clean, with the cup deposit scheme which allowed all the kids to run about collecting them for extra pocket money. Lack of bins in the arena too, especially next to the food court which resulted in them overflowing a few times over the weekend.

Campsite and in particular general camping was a disgrace by the Sunday morning. Even as early as Friday morning, the place was getting messy. A few youngsters next to us started throwing their litter into our shared communal area, but a quick word with them and pointed to a black bag they could use, it seemed to discourage them from doing it the rest of the weekend. If only everyone could take a subtle hint and clean up after them. This festival never used to have this issue, so no idea why it got so bad this year. There was a severe lack of bins in the campsite which doesn’t help, but it’s not an excuse to live in your own shit all weekend. Was the only thing I was disappointed with this year!

Layout

Slight change to the layout this year as I wasn’t there in 2008. It seemed as if there was a lot more space to ensure the sell out 12000 capacity crowd didn’t make it seem over-crowded. Few of the stages were re-located and the introduction of the dance stage area was a nice addition. Also the newly extended area at the bottom of the kids area and ‘heilan’ fields was a nice touch and kept that area nice and quiet and away from the bars/stage areas. Already mentioned a few more toilets were required and it seems the ideal layout will be in place.

Food/Drink

The main part of the food area was made up with the excellent Argyll Food tents which are doing the festival circuits these days. I sampled Haggis Rolls for £2 on several occasions, absolute bargain for what you got. Other delights I had was Salmon pasta, Haggis Neeps and Tatties, Sticky Toffee pudding and a Venison Burger. All them tasted delicious and no complaints with the prices either.

The drinks were tokens which to be honest are a complete pain in the arse at this festival. The one token booth had huge queues at times and put me off spending more (probably a good thing). Luckily it was easier and quicker to go back to the tent for a few cans, though when I did buy drinks I always made sure I went to the Black Isle tent for the Organic Suffolk Cider which is lovely. Drinks were £3.20 and are average festival prices.

Line Up

I never attended this festival last year due to only being about 2-3 acts I wanted to see. This time there was around 10 I wanted to plus a few others. As usual I never get to see them all, but my highlights were Broken Records, Alabama 3, Editors, 3 Daft Monkeys and British Sea Power. Only act I seen that I wasn’t impressed with was Noah & The Whale. There was plenty of choice of stages though so am sure there would always be something on to see. Plenty of other non-musical entertainment also which there was something for all the family.

Overall

This was my 4th time at Belladrum, and has a great time every year I go. The site is beautiful, with even more decoration making it look great especially at night with the illuminated hearts on trees etc. Definitely seems to be an increase in the younger element which isn’t a bad thing but they need to be a bit more responsible. In saying that, no trouble and only 7 arrests ensured the event was a success and I will most likely return in 2010.

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Very fair and constructive points there Paul.

Here are my thoughts from a 2nd time Belladrummer -

Entrance/Parking

We arrived on site at 6pm and there was barely a queue to get into the campsite. Simple search from friendly security and we were in and all set up within no time at all.

Campsite

We headed for General Campsite again and got a good sized pitch for 6 of us no bother at all.

Toilets

I agree with Paul here regarding the urinal blocks. If every 'block' had at least one urinal then the queues would be much shorter. I think maybe a block at the back of the campsite would be good as it was a fair for from our tent up to the toilets. They were clean most of the time, the only bad experince I had was Saturday morning in the campsite toilets. In desperate need of emptying.

Why on earth aren't their handwashing stations beside the toilets though? Luckily my friend had taken some hand sanitiser stuff which I kept on stealing.

Stewards/Security

Security seemed ok. More effort to stop underage drinkers wouldn't go a miss though.

Police

Seemed a high presence in the campsite, with them patrolling on quads. Still didn’t seem to stop all the underage drinkers who were up shouting all night but since I was awake anyway it didn’t bother me.

Agree with Paul's comment above. They really need to learn how to behave as it was as if it was the first time they had been allowed somewhere without their parents so went a bit crazy.

Litter

More bins defo required in campsite. We had our own bin bags but it didn't seem like many others did.

Layout

Lots more room with the Hothouse Stage moved which was good. No complaints about layout at all.

Food/Drink

Excellent choice of food. Love the Argyle area. My favourite of the weekend was my Lamb Stew.

Line Up

Spot on. I hope they keep attracting the great variety of acts they had on. My favourites were Shed Seven and Little Comets.

Overall

As was the case last year, great festival with a great atmosphere. If they can cut out the drunk fighting teenagers then it'd be perfect. (I'm only 24, not 64 as my compaints about 'teenagers' make me sound!)

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