I headed down on Thursday for the first time. Good weather and a weekend with mates and music seemed like the perfect recipe - it was. It seemed like loads of others had the same idea and Wickerman veterans I spoke to noted that the campsite was at least 100% busier on a Thursday than previous years.
Thursday isn't an 'official' day at Wickerman; but you can start camping then and the Greenman Inn (the bar) is open for business. We arrived and set up camp quickly so we could get in for Them Beatles who had packed out the tent. They looked sharp in black suits, white shirts and skinny black ties, belting out classic hit after hit and ending with a euphoric Twist and Shout. I wish they had played for longer. After that it was a local bands playing covers followed by a DJ until the small hours.
Scorching sunshine turned our tent into a sauna by 7am, so Elliott and I got up and headed to the Down 'n' Dirty showers and thankfully the queue wasn't that long. The facilities there were excellent and Wickerman has to be commended for their regular cleaning of toilets throughout the festival. Martyn had been out partying until around 6am! However the sunshine and the promise of a slap up breakfast got him through the day.
A walk round the site and the obligatory picture in front of the Wickerman (Highland dancing) led us to the Secret beer garden and some ice cold mojito's and a sugar boost set us up for the day.
Like many others, we plonked ourselves down in front of the main stage to enjoy the glorious sunshine. The Hosts were impressive guitar driven pop rock whilst Skinny Lister brought punk folk to the festival and got people dancing down the front. Their double bass player had a brilliant 'this machine kills dub step' message painted on and their female singer was impressively energetic, swigging from a big jug of cider.
We caught the last 3-songs from Atom Tree in the Solus Tent - their blissful electronica was warmly received - as was the chance to shelter from the sunshine. Reports on site said that water consumption was up 100% already compared to the whole weekend in 2013.
It had been quite a day - my plans of spending a good amount of time wandering round the tents went out the window thanks to the glorious sunshine. However that is what being at a festival like Wickerman is all about - don't make too many plans, just go with the flow.
Sunday was cooler. I think even the most hardened sun worshippers were quite happy. We had a lazy morning outside the tent talking to a lovely couple from Edinburgh who were there with their 17-month old son Roco. I am definitely thinking of taking my daughter next summer when she will be 4.
We opted for mojitos to start the day again. That all important sugar boost!
Elliott and I had caught The Tea Street Band at King Tut's when they supported Jimi Goodwin, so we went down to the main stage to catch their set. They played well and have a real clubby element to their guitar tunes.
We pretty much stayed by the Main Stage again other than a few wanders. The weather was still reasonably good at this point and there were a number of bands I wanted to see.
Model Aeroplanes were one of those and they didn't disappoint. It is about 9-months since I last caught them and the progress in that time is very evident. Confident in taking to the big stage, the 4-piece played a great set of 3-minute pop songs with influences from the likes of Vampire Weekend. There is a real buzz about this band in the Scottish music scene and they lived up to it and enhanced it. Well worth checking out if you haven't already.
Big Country went down well with the crowd. Big guitar tunes with a Celtic edge to them drew the masses from the campsites.
The Zombies were brilliant. Musically they were pretty untouchable, extending songs into brilliant funky jams, playing a delicious cover of the Motown classic What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?, a beautiful version of Time Of The Season and closing with a crowd pleasing romp through She's Not There. I really enjoyed their set and hope to see them if they come back to Glasgow.
We nipped back to the tents to get jackets as the rain clouds were coming in and there was some light rain for a few hours. Nothing heavy though and it must have been one of the few times at a festival where some people were actually pleased that things were cooling down.
When we returned I had the pleasure of interviewing Del Amitri front man Justin Currie for the brilliant lads at Tenement TV. I play seven-a-side football with Justin and he kindly agreed to come in for an interview. I'll post a link when it is ready.
My sister Carla's band TeenCanteen were booked to play the GoNorth tent, so there was time to hang out with them in the VIP area before heading up the hill to to the tent and await their show. I managed to peek into the Solus Tent to watch a bit of the Amazing Snakeheads from behind the stage. The tent was rammed for them.
TeenCanteen played very well, probably the best I have seen them. The 4 girls were in excellent form, coming directly from the Indie Tracks Festival where they had played the day before. Their harmonies were exquisite and their sunshine indie pop went down well, drawing in a good crowd. You're Still Mine got a great reception whilst the closing Motown beat of Coming Up Roses and the sing song chorus ended their set with the crowd wanting more.
There was only time for a quick well done cuddle with my sister and the band as we headed back down to the main stage for Del Amitri. They kicked off in style with Always The Last To Know and Kiss This Thing Goodbye. The band were sensational when I caught them back in January at Celtic Connections and they were even better at Wickerman. Spit In The Rain was utterly gorgeous, as was Tell Her This while Move Away Jimmy Blue was one of my songs of the festival, as was Nothing Ever Happens which caused us all to hug and sing-a-long. A real festival moment.
The Ramones-esque Drunk In A Band caused Craig and I to bounce around like loonies. Craig was celebrating his 30th birthday in great style. There was also a wedding underneath the Wickerman at one point!
Del Amitri hadn't quite finished though and romped through a surprise cover of Motorhead's Ace Of Spades, sharing the vocals among them.