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Friday, March 27, 2015

Festival Forecast In The Heart Of Galloway

From Sid Ambrose Wigtownshire Area Arts Convenor

Nostalgic acts booked for several of the regions festivals

Music lovers and festival fans may have noticed a strong nostalgic vibe emanating from some of our region’s major events being held in deepest grooviest Galloway this summer.
Lulu, Status Quo, Grandmaster Flash, Squeeze, the Waterboys and Big Country are like a who’s who of bygone rock royalty. In search of meaning l read some tea leaves and consulted with the bones to find out why, it appears that a frothy cloud of nostalgia has been snagged on the lofty peak of the Merrick and looks to be settled in place for our northern summer. However fans of contemporary and new music need not be alarmed as strong westerlies have blown in a smattering of current acts such as Example, Tom Odell and The Cat Empire.

This retro and newbie mash up may have been influenced by the Gulf Stream which flows northward past our shores, but it is more likely that the population demographic of ageing stalwarts and bright young things have championed for a series of line up’s that reflect the eclectic musical tastes of our collective shires and dales. Wickerman, Eden and now Palmerston Park may have secured some of the music industry heavy artillery but let’s not forget the likes of Knockengorroch who have booked timeless acts such as Shooglenifty and the Peatbog Faeries for their World Ceilidh in May. Electric Fields who champion new Scottish music have just released their line-up of new pretenders and our "way out west" event Park Fest in Stranraer will probably combine a weekend of Young Guns and veteran performers in late August. Youth Beatz are building a national reputation amongst a tween audience whilst Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival continue their 30-year run of bringing quality and diversity to pocket sized venues all along the A75 corridor.

So what’s the long range forecast for the regions festivals and events l hear you ask. Well barring external factors such as those that affect the economy and travel l feel that future of our festival industry is so bright we are probably going to need shades, the combination of niche market events, family friendly gatherings and rock offerings means that we must be several isobars above other comparable regions when it comes to outdoor live music. In my experience live performance can never be matched by pub jukeboxes or in- car stereos and luckily for us you can hardly swing a selfie stick in Galloway without hitting a festival.

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