Folk music is the new rock 'n' roll. And just to prove it, The List’s Sue Wilson brings you the ultimate guide to Scotland's summer folk festivals. This is where combat trousers meet tartan trews and woolly jumpers are relegated to the bottom of the sleeping bag. So get ready to party folk style, the length and breadth of Scotland.
Totally folked up
SCOTLAND‘S SUMMER FOLK festival circuit has never been more vibrant than in the last few years. The current re-awakening of interest in traditional music and its cross- fertilisation with other forms of music has led to an explosion in the scene. Put simply. there has never been a better time to have a good time.
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Over the next five pages. you‘ll find a comprehensive guide to all of Scotland‘s
summer folk festivals along with details of
where to stay and. more importantly. which bars have the best atmosphere and where you can get yourself some grub when the pub shuts and you're completely folked-up.
Anyone still labouring under the mis-
Martyn Bennett: more Raveheart than Braveheart
apprehension that folk music is the preserve of old weirdie-beardies. should pull their heads out of their asses and smell the coffee. Some of the scenes at this year’s Celtic Connections resembled a Rezerection rave more than anything else. Bear in mind that there’s a long standing tradition of raising hell at folk festivals.
One festival. which we had better keep nameless. witnessed the arrival of a gang of bikers who uprooted two wooden huts. stacked them in a pile and torched them. After a spot of dancing around the flames. the lads felt a touch thirsty and broke into a nearby brewery for a few crates of the old gutrot. Appetites stimulated by the booze. the animals then raided a nearby grouse pen and started tossing the birds onto the fire. Come the morning. there was nothing left apart from a scorched circle on the ground and a few feathers ﬂoating about forlornly.
()ur cover star. Martyn Bennett — a man who uses flutes. fiddles and pipes to create beat heavy house. drum ‘n‘ bass and garage — has many a nefarious tale to tell of festival debauchery. During one particularly gruelling tour. Bennett found himself with a Romanian band called Traf De Hiiidouks. The Romanians were brilliant musicians who could play the most incredibly complex tunes as easily as breathing. They were also extremely light- fingered and left venues stripped of light fittings as well as the audience’s umbrellas and coats. Bennett wasn‘t surprised to see the band clamber on stage clad in his freshly pilfered shirts. As a slightly built guy. he was even less surprised when the considerably tnore portly Romanians started bursting out of his shirts and bombarding the audience with bursts of popping button fire.
Now. we're not saying that every folk festival turns into a viking rampage but we’ll
just point out that drowsy evenings spent by
the peat fire listening to the weary lament of Hamish McBore are few and far between. If. as is likely. you do overdo it. then maybe the Stonehaven Festival is the best place to wake up with a hangover. The Aqua Ceilidh at the local baths will wash away any traces of previous success and you‘ll be gagging to join in the Splashing White Sergeant.
Pack your bags. you'll have a folkng great time. (Jonathan 'l‘rew)
Martyn Bennett's new album is out in September.