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Guest Kowalski

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First time I've been since 2005, and apart from the main stage the festival was almost unrecognisable - it is quite a bit bigger now. I was very impressed the whole weekend, there's lots to do and a decent variety to keep people interested. It's a proper little boutique festival.

A really good weekend and everybody was really friendly. Some amazing food in the Argyle area, very reminiscent of Connect, and the Black Isle bar was superb.

Musically, Alabama 3, Peatbog Faeries and The Horrors were my highlights, also enjoyed the Johnny Cash tribute Jericho Hill. Wasn't too impressed with the Straits or Rumours of Fleetwood Mac though.

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Only made it along for the Friday but had a great day.

About the same capacity as Kendal Calling but seemed a lot smaller! Easy to get around the place and as mentioned, lots to do for everyone.

Food was very nice if a little over priced and the Black Isle bar was indeed great (as usual). On the whole only 2 bars meant massive queues a lot of the time, although I was driving so didn't have to endure them.

Good weather too which always helps! Will go back again for sure.

Musically we saw Frank Hamilton, We are the Ocean, Seasick Steve and Twin Atlantic.

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Ive not been since 2009 and I did notice how much bigger the festival is now. Here is my good and could be improved from my view point:-


Line Up was brilliant.

Lots of creative stuff for kids to get involved with.

Portaloos were cleaner than expected, I'm sure the ones near Mothers Ruin smelled of vanilla!!!

Exiting, car park took 5 minutes (at 9:25am Sunday morning mind), stewards were very helpful at directing us out quickly.

Stewards were very helpful and great with the kids.

The pizza bar...wow these were so tasty.

The atmosphere, not once did I see/hear any bad vibs.

Lots of other activities, fire show, bonfire (not sure what had been set alight though).

Could be improved:-

Lack of signs at the turnoff (luckily I had remembered from before)

Lack of water points or signed water points within arena.

More info on the website other than who is playing e.g. I didn't know there was a co-op shop on site although more expensive than off site it would've saved me time, space and energy lugging in my cool box filled with essentials for the weekend.

Bring back the kids snack bar, this was great for the little ones only wanting a cheese toasty or beans on toast and not a huge and expensive ostrich burger.

Toilets for family camping were too far away from each other, luckily we could use the ones at the entrance gate but not after midnight. I had purchased a Posh Loo ticket which was great for little one in the morning who can sit for a while but they should have been situated or at least another set within family camping.

I did noticed a lot more paying activities for kids, I liked that in 2009 there wasn't so much and more creative activities, I'm sure the only thing you had to pay for was the bouncy castles.

Where did the Heilan Field go?

Musically we saw Lucy Spraggan, The 1975 were amazing as expected, The Horrors, James, Alabama 3, Scooty and the SkyHooks and my fav Admiral Fallows.

Artists : John ??? Poet was witty, Mr Boom, Pyro Celtica were so exciting, don't think I've oohed and aahed so much at a fire display. Oh and caught the tail end of the girl doing acrobatics under the inflated balloon...wished we had managed to catch it all.

And what about the fireworks made me go all goosebumpy and a little sad that Bella was nearly over with, cant wait to come back next year.

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Took 5 yr old grandaughter (her 2nd time there) - makes it a different experience from the usual festival goings on, don't see so much music but just as good in a different way.

Activities for kids were great - could be pretty pricey though specially if you had more than one child with you, there was quite a lot of free things though, we did lots of 'crafty' things, saw Mr Boom (who is surreal) and she took part in the parade. Also there was a brilliant magic show 'hopscotch' - the guy was really good with the kids. That was in the Heilan Field - which has now moved down beyond the kids field to the walled garden, it was there last year too - we only found it on the Saturday last year.

Think you're right about the 'boutique festival' - it gets prettier every year.

Did seem silly having the posh loos in the general camping, those pesky kids there aren't going to be buying tickets for that. I didn't go to the posh loos but I have to say the portaloos were spectacularly clean all weekend, as they were at the Wickerman last week (what's happened?) Big thank you to those who worked to keep them that way.

Most hilarious time was watching the roller disco. Brilliant idea. My daughter and grandaughter had a go (I chickened out) but I had tears running down my cheeks watching.

Kowalski,sorry never saw you but I was being a granny and had 2 cans of cider and 2 whiskeys from the Tomatin Bar all weekend so I guess that's why!

And music - Alabama 3, Anderson McGinty Webster Ward and Fisher, Mersault, Malcolm Middleton and The Lorelei were great.

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First time for me at Bella although I have done Loopallu. I'm more of a big festival goer.

Loves: The setting, the main stage arena, proximity of car parks, camping and arena, the food, Black Isle bar, how laid back everything is. Friendly security doing just enough.

Dislikes: Pissed up parents falling about the place whilst their kids run riot. Nearly crushing unsupervised tots running about the front of the main stage crowd, festival n00bs getting arsey when they get shoved, numpties that think it's fine to bounce around a rammed crowd with rucksacks on, muppets holding up ipads in the crowd to video the performance. Poor signage for stages and water etc. Took us ages to find the seedling stage on Fri night despite asking every member of staff we saw for about 30 mins. None knew which it was. The map was pants.

Overall I think it's nice, maybe too nice. I'd definitely go again but I couldn't have it as my only festival of the year, it doesn't quite reach the parts that bigger festivals do :)

Musically I loved Toby Michaels Rolling Damned, We are the Ocean, Noisettes, James and MacFloyd. Others were good and nobody was poor. Win win then :)

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Fab time overall again – here’s my minor niggles and top marks J


Well security at entrance / wristband at family camping has chilled a little thankfully.(taking camping mallets off folk a couple of years ago showed a remarkable naivety ) and as previous poster remarked, security in general were as they should be, blending in till needed.

Line-up was pretty well balanced i think. You’re never going to please all, but enough to keep both young and more mature festival goers reasonably happy.

Personally I thought James, Admiral Fallow,(who should never have been subbing a Fleetwood mac tribute act in MHO),Dougie McLean and Springsteen sessions (what a fab sing-along-a-Bruce that was ) were my highlights.

Black isle brewery. After experiencing the beer options at other festivals we should be very grateful for their continued involvement. And what a lovely chilled area that is for us beer lovers. Got chatting with some lovely random folk on the straw bales :-)

Loos at any time of the day were the best ive seen at any festival .hats off not only to folk who keep them cleaned but also to the punters who seems to have made an effort to think of those behind them in the queue.


I love the late night comedy tent. Usually. But they have taken a lot of the character away in my opinion by replacing all the random sofas they normally have with these inflatable jobs! They are terrible. Couldn’t take more than 30 mins bobbing about on them and I left. Bring back the sofas Bella !!

Tomatin whiskey shed. It’s become more popular year on year. Surely you can stretch to a couple more staff and a bigger hut! Queues at times this year were over long. And after being in the queue for 30 mins we were then told no lemonade left ( which is base mixer on most of the cocktails and they were using coke! You ever tasted peach schnapps with coke ! yuch .

Water points. Need to be clearly signposted. It was warm and if you’re going to take bottles of water off folk at the entrance, you need to , like most festivals . (a) Have them clearly sign posted (B) marked on the lanyards’.we had to ask the hairdresser tent folk to use there’s after seeing it through an inaccessible fence.

roll on 2014 :-)

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Had a great weekend! It get's better and better each year! Didn't bother camping this year as very few of my mates were going, although when I turned up on Friday I did miss the camping so will definitely be back to the camping next year!

Over the weekend I saw The LaFontaines, Lucy Spraggan, Nina Nesbitt, Gavin James, Seasick Steve, and of course Twin Atlantic who were incredible!!

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WOW Had a fab time. No idea who Rush 2012 is but have to agree with everything in reply!!! We also had to ask the lovely hairdresser to access the water tap!!! And the sofas in the comedy tent were such a let down. This is usually one of our fav places but alas we didn't stay long there this year

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My 5th Bella after a year off last year. I had a great time and saw some old favourites and discovered some new gems too. The only down side was the complete eejits camped near us in the campervan field who never shut up and never said 2 words without swearing. Thank god for earplugs. Thought the toilets were the best yet and you rarely found one that wasn't usable.


Seasick Steve

Gavin James


Colin McLeod

Lucy from X factor (really pleasantly surprised me)

Admiral Fallow

Roll on 2014!

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  • 7 years later...
On 8/5/2013 at 11:22 AM, Johnny Mac said:

Only made it along for the Friday but had a great day.


About the same capacity as Kendal Calling but seemed a lot smaller! Easy to get around the place and as mentioned, lots to do for everyone.


Food was very nice if a little over priced and the Black Isle bar was indeed great (as usual) [url=https://www.carton-pas-cher.com/]Carton déménagement double cannelure[/url]. On the whole only 2 bars meant massive queues a lot of the time, although I was driving so didn't have to endure them.


Good weather too which always helps! Will go back again for sure.


Musically we saw Frank Hamilton, We are the Ocean, Seasick Steve and Twin Atlantic.

But it's nothing to want to eat this kind of food once in your life, is it.

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