The line-up for the 2015 Wickerman Festival is their strongest to date while remaining typically eclectic; offering a fantastic mix of new and up and coming music alongside established and legendary artists.
Synergy Concerts have taken over the booking of acts for the festival and they have brought in some of their favourites and used their experience to bring in some acts that could and should make Wickerman 2015 the best yet. If only they could book the sunshine!
Who am I looking forward to?...
In no particular order, here are 20 acts that I am hoping to catch over the course of the weekend...
Of course there is much, much more on offer and part of the joy of Wickerman is just wandering around the beautiful site and taking in a melting pot of everything.
Stereo MC's at the Barrowland Ballroom back in 2002-ish was an incredible show. Over 10-years down the line Stereo MC's live shows still have a reputation for being high energy; with singer Rob Birch bounding all over the stage and getting the crowd on his side with ease.
The 1992 album Connected spawned massive singles including the title track, Step It Up and Ground Level. An early evening slot in the sunshine would be a perfect time for this band. Funk, pop, dance and soul.
I caught the Sugarhill Gang at King Tut's last summer. Rappers Delight will be one of the songs of the festival and the summer. Look out for loads of people trying to rap along.
Lulu is sure to get the party started. Shout is going to be a massive Wickerman hit with the audience bellowing along. Little known fact - Lulu has also written some monster hits including Tina Turner's I Don't Wanna Fight so expect her band to play some of these songs and some choice covers - Lulu released a cover of Bowie's Man Who Sold The World back in the day.
Up The Junction is a guitar pop fave of mine, it is pure pop perfection and the thought of singing a-long to it at Wickerman is a good one. Squeeze have much more than that in their arsenal though and I expect them to be a real festival favourite and gain many new fans.
Buffalo Stance at a sunny Wickerman - oh please, please, please. Neneh Cherry's show at SWG3 received outstanding reviews, as did her last album. The lyrca and shell suits may be gone but Neneh will bring a set of sassy funk, jazz, pop and soul to Wickerman. Sure to be a hit. Check this extended re-editversion of Buffalo Stance
The legendary Julian Cope is a must see for me. Pop hits like World Shut Your Mouth and Trampolene will hopefully feature alongside some material from The Teardrop Explodes and surely Out Of My Mind On Dope On Speed will be a festival anthem for many
I can't wait to see this genuine legend live and to hear his stunning voice on hits like Many Rivers To Cross, The Harder They Come, Wonderful World Beautiful People and You Can Get It If You Really Want. Sunshine reggae vibes will be perfect for Wickerman.
Brian Reynolds who is one of the bookers for Wickerman 2015 has mentioned this band a few times on his Facebook page. He then tweeted me to make sure I checked them out ahead of the festival. I can understand why.
One of the great things about Wickerman is that it will give bands a chance and literally a platform. Tal National's jazzy african rhythms could steal the show - expect quite a performance if their videos are anything to go by. Embrace it.
Bellshill legends the BMX Bandits have just been announced as the first headliners for the new Phoenix Tent. Their warm guitar pop is sure to be a festival favourite. Serious Drugs is their most famous song, but look out for some stunning songs from recent albums and I hope they also play songs like Little Hands. I know I'll be going to see them and if you haven't then you should try to pop in.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
A rush of indie guitar pop always warms my heart and this band are masters at that. Catchy, fuzzy, fun, melodic and pure - I look forward to seeing them play songs like Heart In Your Heartbreak.
The winner of the 4th annual SAY Awards with her stunning debut album Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I Have Spilled. Check the gorgeous live version of Bones below. Kathryn's music and reputation is growing by the week, making this a perfect booking for Wickerman - an artist on the rise.
Electronic pop pushed as far as possible. Miaoux Miaoux are capable of sublime moments and also downright dirty dance stuff like Hey Sound! Stop the Clocks is one of my all time favourite songs and It's The Quick off their new album could be your favourite of the festival.
Are another new band I intend to make the time to see at Wickerman. Their upbeat punky guitar pop is winning them lots of fans. Check L.U.V for evidence of what to expect - could be a real highlight if they have a set of songs like this.
Legendary garage band The Sonics have some incredible songs and their guitar sound is one that many look to for inspiration with James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem being a real fan of their raw punk edge. Have Love Will Travel is a garage classic.
Errors are on the rise and made the shortlist for the SAY Award this year with their latest album Lease Of Life. Their expansive, spacey, electronic vibes and soundscapes will gain them new fans at Wickerman.
Stephen Pastel has been on about Ela Orleans for ages, converting Tim Burgess among others to the beautiful leftfield electronic pop that the Polish artist (now residing in Glasgow) is capable of creating. Listen to The Sky And The Ghost below for starters and imagine this at Wickerman.
Withered Hand is gaining fans with every release and performance. He blew me away with a solo show in tiny Bowlers Bar last summer. Dan Willson has an incredible ear for melody and his lullaby voice is a joy to listen to.
Tuff Love are picking up fans as they go about their busy touring schedule; supports with Ride and an assortment of festivals added on to their own gigs over the last year or so have turned this fuzzy scuzzy indie guitar act into one that is road ready and set to win you over. They were in brilliant form at the SAY Award ceremony and i look forward to seeing them at Wickerman.
I have yet to catch Neon Waltz live and fully intend to do so at Wickerman. The band hail from Wick in the Highlands and the fact that they are so removed from any 'scenes' has stood them in good stead as they remain true to their own style and tastes. Definitely ones to watch over the next year or so.