Attend first festival of the season – check.
Meet a bunch of amazing people – check.
Get smashed and jump about like an arse – check.
Keep up the pace when you’re with someone and going at it and some random tries to come into your tent – check.
Bin your tent when it falls apart – check.
Get home before 2pm, put 3 bars on the fire and crack open the wine – check.
Repeat in a few weeks at Knock…
Leaving Edinburgh on a terribly dreich & windy Friday, I was heading to the west coast to get a ferry to the Isle of Arran for the Deoch An Dorus Festival, held for one shiny, single saturday on Saturday the 30th of April on the coastal shores of North Sannox on Arran. As the ferry sailed towards the island, the snow-capped mountains skipped out of the distance, beautiful but chilly. As we docked at Broddick Harbour the sun appeared and blue skies followed. A great sign for the shennanigins to come. It had been 7 long months since the last bout of outdoor music, fun & hcrazy chit-chat, & Mumble Festivals wanted to be there right at the outset for 2016’s collection.
A few miles north of North Sannox you came across the camp site and festival. Situated on the coast in one of the best locations I have seen, it was a magical start to the festival season. With a complete sell-out and a crowd of 400 people and 12 bands attending the spirits were high. There would have been more, Deoch could have sold 10 times as many tickets, but the local council limited numbers, & being one of the lucky ones to be there I felt kinda special.
At roughly 12.30 pm the Well Happy Band began to invite us into their world of music, happiness and dance. A fourteen-piece band of magical characters and an array of inviting instruments, this was their first performance at a festival. Colourful in costumes and in song they delivered a uplifting set that even had the power to move the clouds. With Alaine’s soft & magical words casting magic over us all, the clouds parted and the sun shone with blue skies to follow. Between sun, sea and snowy mountains the crowd engaged themselves with the band into a movement of warm April dancing. A wee gem in the making, we hope to see the Well Happy Band again this year.
Walking around the site the feeling of togetherness was apparent, you felt everyone had waited long enough for a chance to enjoy the wonderful out doors of the Scottish Festival Season. The joy of catching up with old friends and familiar faces was clear to see , greetings, laughter and shouting , hugs and embracing was all shared with a big smile.
So the day continued, & catching as much music as I could fit in, I wandered to & fro between the two stages. The Fast Camels were a rocking bunch of lads, with hard rock beats they did themselves justice. Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 gave us the yellow fever… bright, colourful music that had us skanking like bees making honey. They never fail to deliver their unique brand of fun & funk. A tight set with well timed beats. The No Name band consisted of a group of young lads who had only rehearsed a few times before this gig. With such songs as “Get a Job” they were well tuned into the reality of what matters when it comes to lyrics. With a rock and folk feel to their sound they deserved all the applause they got. Well done !!!!
With a small intermission between bands I managed to capture the feel of the festival by chatting to festival goers and taking some memorable photographs. Then I had the pleasure of catching new band, Ichy Pinks, fronted by Nima Mariaaida, a sonic blast of beat-driven good times, choral glory & one hell of a funky costume. A real treat.
Next up were the funky, slick soulful disco band “Tinky Disco” with MC Mike on lead vocals. This band have been evolving well over the last year and with their funky beats and sleazy slick guitar sounds they have been entertaining audiences. With the down to earth fun of “Pussy Bus” and hard hitting message of “Dynamics” the members of Tinky Disco approach their music in a unique way. You can skank, dance, boogie, jump and shake your arse to Tinky Disco as their diversity in music has something for everyone. With the addition of keyboards and percussion on the side this band I would expect to become a familiar sight on the festival circuit. As the sun set on the coastline their set came to a close with “Tinky Disco Party” and it surely was that, a party of spiritual togetherness. Well done Tinky Disco for bringing alot of warmth and good vibes to Deoch An Dorus Festival…
As the night went on a chill appeared in the air and signs of a storm were brewing but the show must go on. With the Girobabies taking to the stage the rain lashed down and tents flew away but this did not dampen co-organiser Mark’s spirits. It was like he swallowed up the rain and blew away the cold as he and the Girobabes wanted nothing more than to do what they always do. Executing their set with precision and heart their melodic tunes blast their way through the Arran night sky. This was a beautiful start to the summer months ahead and with such locations as these the Deoch An Dorus Festival will only thrive in further years. Thanks to all for a memorable experience.
Reviewer : Spud
A couple of days after the festival, the Tabloid Press concocted a story about a baby Seal, which the Mumble didn’t want to go on about, but felt obliged to mention. Mark McGhee, god bless him, did a cracking job of organising, running & even playing at Deoch – a kind of hippy, hip-hop Napoleon. Divine describes Mark McGheewith the following words… Scotland is rich in its creative talent, especially in Glasgow. Young entrepreneurs with one aim. That aim is keeping the music alive and encouraging grass roots genius to flourish. One of the key players in this Bohemian culture. Is a man that has many times over earned my respect. Mark is a champion promoter who’s Punk Rock ethics shine in all his endeavors. From being the lead singer of The Girobabies. The name in itself is pure poetry.
We at the Mumble think the final word on Sealgate should be left to him…
Today was going to be the ‘quiet day’ after spending nearly a week n a field in Arran trying to organize, implement and dismantle a independent music festival of our own creation. Instead of relaxing and reflecting on one of the best ever shows I have ever been involved with, I am instead getting phonecalls from national newspaper journalists and being interviewed by the police due to an alleged incident that took place on Saturday. It has been dubbed ‘sealgate’ by some and I would just like to clarify a few things. There has been claims made that a seal was killed on Saturday afternoon and the band Azure Halo have been blamed for it. We have yet to find one person who actually seen said crime but yet the chinese whispers keep growing and it has now reached shitstorm levels of media interest. What we do know is that a seal died a couple of days before the festival began on the rocks behind the festival site . This was noted by the local forestry commisioner and many of the crew and punters. Somehow that seal ended up in the backstage area. I was informed by someone that ‘Azure Halo have killed a seal’ and right away went to see what had happened. When I arrived the seal had already been removed but I could see some blood and smell the smell of a very dead poor seal. Azure Halo were soundchecking and I was baffled by what was going on . I then had the bizzare job of asked them if they had indeed killed a seal. They obviously replied they hadnt and that one of them had merely been trying to move it away hence the reason one member literally had blood on his hands (well, jeans actually)
I could find not one person who had actually seen them harm any sort of animal dead or alive so I had to take their word for it. I believe their general attitude from one or two members had been unsavoury but there was no proof anywhere that they had done anything untoward wit the seal. We came to the conclusion that one of the dogs running around was far more likely to have been responsible for bringing it up rather than a stoner, hippie, prog rock band about to play a main stage. We could not find one person who actually seen anything of the contrary . Plenty rumours and accusations kicking about but nobody actually seen anything that I have yet spoken to. If someone did indeed move a dead seals carcus onto our site then they would be ejected and I would never want to work with that person again. That is the worst case scenario of what went on as the seal was long dead before any bands turned up to the isle of Arran. I havent spoke to Azure Halo since they got offstage but If someone has information or evidence suggesting that they did do something then they can reach out to me in confidence as this is casting a horrific shadow over an incredible event where no other incidents or troubles were reported. The police, the stewards and the locals were delighted with everybody’s behaviour and I would just like to thank all the acts, the crew and the punters for creating an outstanding atmosphere in such a beautiful location. It has always been a dream of ours to run our own festival and we pulled it off with the help of a hard working skeleton crew and zero budget or any kind of sponsership. I am aching from head to toe mentally and physically after one of the most hectic fortnights in my career and all we can do now is hope that these rumours do not affect the festival’s reputation or indeed harm our chances of doing it all again. I have yet to return to the mainland or get online properly but just thought I would say something since random journalists are somehow getting hold of my phone number. So in conclusion , until someone gives me an eye witness account to the contrary , we have no reason to believe that Azure Halo killed a seal. (what a sentence to have to even type)
Shouts to all the Deoch an Dorusers. It’s been brilliant apart from all this shit. we appreciate any support or kind words you may have about the festival to try and counter act the negative nationwide spotlight we are currently being put under