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Electric Fields Festival - The View From Far Out

It was a bright and early start at the brand new festival, Electric Fields, at Drumlanrig Castle and walking through the gates we’re instantly greeted a large ‘Let’s Have Fun’ sign surrounded by quaint decorations.

It was very much a chilled out, modest affair with two main stages by the entrance, The Arc and Carse Valley, and a small acoustic tent: To Lose La Trek at the far end. It had charm and scenery by the bucket load with a beautiful location, ideal for the new, small and independent festival it was.

With an all-Scottish line-up and an array of local bands, there was that great feeling of support and camaraderie, that you often feel at smaller festivals. Paired with the outgoing and welcoming nature of the crowds, it made for a delightful place to sit on the grass or at a picnic table and listen to the music around you or talk to a random.

The main stages kicked off with some bands hailing from close by the festival site, like Barstow Bats, Cammy Black, The Sheepwagon and the endlessly entertaining More From Jim, who were sadly playing their last public gig.

They were ridiculous and brilliant in equal measure and it’s a shame they are taking a hiatus but they did some interesting covers including ‘99 Red Balloons’ and ‘Come on Eileen’ – stinks of uncle nobhead dancing at wedding but it went down surprisingly well.

As the site filled up and we made our way through the morning and early afternoon line up, the crowds got rowdier, and more excitable. Resident champion of Scottish music and compare for the weekend: Jim Gellatly at one point gave a particularly boisterous few a bollocking for throwing drinks in the crowd. He shouted “This isn’t T in the Park!” and he makes a good point.

T in the Park is by far the most well-known and popular festival north of the border and the huge mainstream acts draw masses of people ready to get off their faces, but for some seeing a gurning teenager can be somewhat off-putting.  Festivals like Electric Fields are important and we need them, both for the bands and the audience. It’s a welcome breath of fresh air for those who want to immerse themselves in the music as well as enjoying the ‘festival feeling’ – or whatever that is.

An unexpected favourite on the line-up was Anderson McGinty Webster Ward & Fisher from Dundee. Their country, blues and folk sound filled the fields and blew the crowds away with an excellent live performance, each member of the band as talented as the last with more than their fair share of skill and showmanship.

Glasgow band Prides came on in the early evening and it was the first time we had the token girl screams with accompanying shoulder rides from an unwilling male companion. With a welcome cover of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’ and their synth soaked number ‘Messiah’ as their finale, they made their mark of the Carse Valley stage.

Twosome, Honeyblood, despite some initial guitar sound problems, went through the songs from their debut album, released this year, with a bit of attitude and rock and roll spirit. Lead singer Stina Tweeddale asked if there were any Glaswegians in the audience and dedicated the next song to the city, which happened to be called ‘I’d Rather Be Anywhere But Here’ – clever.

As it got darker, colder and a bit more drunken, and you knew the quaint charming festival of the day time was done, it was time to step it up a not and that time coincided with The LaFontaines taking over on The Arc stage. This was the time for the families with toddlers to step aside and the real party to start. They were the band to take it there, that’s for sure.

The night culminated with performances from national favourites We Were Promised Jetpacks, Fatherson and Roman Nose. For the Lucky ones who were camping overnight, I can’t think of a nicer place to wake up to, despite the impending hangover. Electric Fields was a great success, and long may it live.

Sylvie Metcalfe