Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Wickerman - Preview

Home of the burning 30ft wickerman, Wickerman Festival returns this Friday and Saturday (20th/21st July) for it's 11th year.  Over those 11 years it's became a firm favourite on the Scottish festival calendar, offering something that it's bigger rivals, RockNess and T In The Park, tend to overlook; the relaxed family experience.  It's all built upon an eclectic choice of music, spread over several stages located in the East Kirkcarswell Farm in Dundrennan.

The festival is easy to access for us central belt dwellers, only an hour off the M74, and it's wide choice of camping facilities mean even the slickest city dweller can camp out in style.  Choose from yurts, squrts, cloudhouses, tipis and the luxury camping field or brave it with the elements in the normal camp site.  Reports of rain should not be too concerning as organisers state the ground is in top notch condition at present.  And for those of you travelling with kidlets in tow, there is a fully fledged children's area to keep those hyperactive ankle biters entertained.

The festival culminates on Saturday night with the ritual and primal burning of the festival's namesake; the 30ft Wickerman.  But before that you can enjoy a plethora of music treats, including reggae, ska, punk, pop, indie, folk and everything in between.  Here's our pick of the weekend (you'll note there's a slight shift towards the brilliant Solus Tent!)

Friday 20th July

Bwani Junction - The Edinburgh quartet have been seizing 2012 as their own, making good on their SAY Award 2011 Longlisted album 'Fully Cocked'.  Their blend of indie/afro beats will coax a hip shake from even the most solemn crowd.  Catch them on the Summerisle Main Stage.

Dog Is Dead - This five piece indie band are popping up to Wickerman from Nottingham, and are now coming back stronger than ever after an initial wave of success in late 2010 - 2011 thanks to many festival performances and an airing on Skins.  Uplifting and joyful, think of a more jazzy Noah And The Whale.  Check them playing the Summerisle Main Stage.

Tragic O'Hara - Far from tragic, Tragic O'Hara is a one man wonder, bringing music, blues, folk and comedy all into the one set.  Expect some well spun yarns.  Tragic plays the Acoustic Village Main Stage.

Rachel Sermanni - One of Scotland's most glorious talents, a voice that captures your attention, and heartfelt lyrics beyond her years, Rachel Sermanni will be an absolute joy to behold playing the Acoustic Village Main Stage.  Recent tracks such as 'Eggshells' and 'Black Current' will be accompanied by tracks from the forthcoming debut album 'Under Mountains'.

Campfires In Winter - If stirring and layered post-rock melodies are your thing, then Campfires In Winter are a must.  Their recently posted '2012 Demos' are a sign of great things to come from these guys.  They'll be playing the goNORTH Festival Tour Tent.

Olympic Swimmers - Creators of one of 2012's finest albums' 'No Flags Will Fly', Olympic Swimmers boost the vocal prowess of Susan Smillie and orchestrated musical bliss to blow you away.  Head to the goNORTH Festival Tour Tent for their set.

Quickbeam - Had enough of guitars and keyboards?  Fancy some cello, double bass, viola and harmonium?  Quickbeam are your best bet then.  Together on stage, these musicians weave music as delicate as butterflies wings, and if you allow the soft waves of beauty to envelope you, you won't regret it.  Head over to the goNORTH Festival Tour Tent.

United Fruit - Loud?  Check.  Tight as fuck?  Check?  Blistering debut album?  Check.  United Fruit are an absolute MUST if you'll be at Wickerman.  Think of their music as a full on assault on all five senses, and a barrage of break-neck tunes with bark, bite and attitude.  They'll be rocking out the Solus Tent.

Holy Mountain - Three guys who make a hell of a lot of noise.  This is rock 'n' roll they way they made it back in the 70's.  They are well worth going to see in the Solus Tent.

Beerjacket - Alt/folk singer songwriter from Airdrie, Beerjacket is, IMO, Scotland's premium songwriting talent.  He's been riding an overdue wave of praise since the release of 'The White Feather Trail' last year, topped off by last night's headline show in King Tut's.  Do yourself a favour and make Beerjacket a must see set in the Solus Tent.


Stanley Odd - One of Scotland's finest purveyor's of hip-hop, the Stanley Odd collective will bring fun, beats, hooks and killer rhymes all to your ears during their set on the goNORTH Festival Tour Tent.

Michael Cassidy - If Beerjackey is our favourite Scottish singer songwriter, then Michael Cassidy is close at his heels.  Having just been announced as the winner of the inagural Gerry Rafferty Songwriting Prize, Michael has shown just why he is head and shoulders above the competition.  Go see his live show for the unique banter and the crackin' tunes.  All happening at the goNORTH Festival Tour Tent.

Human Don't Be Angry - Malcolm Middleton under his real name, Human Don't Be Angry has yielded positive reviews and a whole raft of '80's inspired work.  Largely instrumental, the set will no doubt mirror a hugely rewarding debut album, full of electronic wonder and power pop riffs.  The full band performance will be in the Solus Tent.

The Machine Room - Making bewitching pop musings, The Machine Room are an Edinburgh five piece that you should go out your way to see this weekend.  Playing songs from their latest EP 'Love From A Distance', they'll be on stage in the Solus Tent.

Julia And The Doogans - Julia Doogan is a pop genius.  Backed by her band, rather egotistcally called The Doogans, of cello, piano and flue, Julia's voice and lyrics create some of the most introspective and heartbreaking music you'll have the good fortune to hear.  Catch the ladies playing in the Solus Tent.

Of course the above is just a handful of the bands playing this Friday and Saturday at The Wickerman Festival.  There are plenty more great bands and artists, and for the full line up, as well as all ticket and travel information, head over to the official website.

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