Glorious sunshine, only a couple of tiny showers, a rainbow, a stunning setting,a friendly and upbeat atmosphere and all kinds of brilliant music ensured that Electric Fields jump up to a 2-day festival was a roaring success.
In only the third year of the festival, it was a considerable leap from a 1-day festival with a 1,000 capacity to a 2-day festival of 5,000. It worked......and then some.
There were 4-stages; the main stage with all kinds of eclectic acts and headlined by The Charlatans and Primal Scream, the Sneaky Pete's dance tent with the likes of Erol Alkan, the Tim Burgess curated Tim Peaks Diner with great coffee, sofa's and bands from Wales, Northern Ireland, England and Scotland and then the Stewart Cruickshanks tent with all kinds of bands and artists including The Go! Team.
The festival site is only 1-hour from Glasgow, in the stunning grounds of Drumlanrig Castle. It is a gorgeous setting for a festival.
FridayNeon Waltz are a band I've mentioned a few times previously on this blog. I last caught them just over a year ago at the Wickerman Festival and they seemed to have stepped up a gear. A 7-piece band creating some great guitar music with plenty of melodies, gracing the Main Stage with ease.
Tuff Love pulled a good crowd to the Stewart Cruickshanks stage where their old school fuzzy upbeat indie guitar tunes will definitely have won them some new fans.
Tim Burgess had curated a real eclectic line-up for his diner. Yucatan were a band I really fell for when I discovered them upon announcement back in February. Think Sigur Ros meets Spiritualized in the Welsh Valleys - beautiful music that can soar and swoop, sung in their native tongue. I spoke to the band and was delighted to hear that they were going off to tour in Germany as their latest album Uwch Gopa'r Mynydd has been received extremely positively over there. It was there first trip to Scotland and for me that summed up the Tim Peaks Diner concept in a nutshell - giving brilliant bands the opportunity to play to new audiences across the UK. I'd love to bring them back to Scotland in the future.
The no-show of Sugarhill Gang left a huge gap on the Main Stage on Friday afternoon. They should have been the act to really kick start the party. As a result, it was slightly postponed until Public Service Broadcasting took to the stage.
PSB are the kind of band that would generate a response anywhere. Mixing electronica with old broadcasts from the BBC through to NASA. The Other Side was euphoric, building, building, dropping and then exploding to a rapturous reception.
The Charlatans absolutely smashed it. Opening with a triple blast of Weirdo, North Country Boy and a glorious Just When You're Thinkin' Things Over ensured that the crowd were in full on festival party a mode. If anything, this only helped the band on.
Let The Good Times Be Never Ending was a total groove and then One To Another (being played on the 20th anniversary of its release) sent the field wild. There was plenty more to come; including The Only One I Know that created a festival indie disco. Come Home Baby jettisoned straight into near the top of my favourite Charlatans songs chart upon release. I sang my heart out to the chorus.
How High was delivered in blistering form, Tim Burgess was bounding and dancing across the stage, conducting the crowd and sounding better than ever.
Sproston Green, the traditional set closer for The Charlatans started with a slow, menacing bass and organ groove, exploding into life and not letting up until the band brought it all back down to the start.
It was a stunning set from The Charlatans and it was great to meet some seasoned Scottish music veterans the next day and hear them singing the bands praises and talking of them smashing it out the park.
We hot footed it over to the Bowie and Prince disco at the Tim Peaks tent and danced like crazy to I Wanna Be Your Lover and Controversy and reached for the sky and sang like crazy to Starman. What a great end to a brilliant day.
SaturdayThe campsite was certainly lively and the ear plugs worked a treat! I felt reasonably fresh and a Tim Peaks coffee and some chat in the early morning sunshine worked wonders.
Plenty of others were also feeling fresh, choosing to take part in the Northern Soul dance class that was on at the Tim Peaks Diner. It was great to see people of all ages participating; indeed it was great to see lots of families and young kids at the festival.
There was plenty of things to do. I chose a 10-minute neck, shoulder and back massage and almost fell asleep to the strains of Time Will Pass You by coming from the northern soul class. Along with the coffee, some fresh homemade soup and a cheese and onion toast - I was ready for another day.
The weather on the Saturday was absolutely glorious. The sun broke through what little clouds there were early on and remained out for the rest of the day.
Mix sunshine with a festival and the Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 and then you have a winning combination. Despite being a fan of the band, this was actually the first time I had seen them live. There were plenty of fans there to see them, in fancy dress and in loads of band t-shirts. The bands yellow movement is growing with each and every show.
The absolutely nailed it. Coming on stage and turning the festival into a giant party. At one point the good Colonel instructed everyone to go to one side. His compadre David Blair then jumped down with a flag to play lollipop man to a song called Cross the Road with everyone then dancing to the other side. This played out a few times and people were grinning from ear to ear.
We also had a song called Dance Off, with David jumping into the crowd to egg everyone on. They didn't need too much encouragement!
Another song had the Colonel instructing everyone to dance to certain moves; drive your car, first pump, hands in the air...... everyone had to join in - security, police and people trying to be cool.
I've blogged about These Are Not The Drugs You Are Looking For before and it was perfect for Electric Fields with the Colonel confirming that peace, love, happiness and friendship are the only drugs we need.
This was a family show, the Colonel had his kids on stage, plenty of the 6th Dijon's had their kids in the crowd and everyone could join in good old fashioned fun.
To say that the crowd was buzzing after this performance was an understatement. I suspect they might be back next year! If so, they should get a later slot and longer time. They play a HUGE hometown show at the ABC in Glasgow on 23rd December. It will be the Christmas party to end all Christmas parties!
There was time for a laze about in the sunshine before Mark W Georgsson took to the Tim Peaks stage with 5 friends to play songs from his forthcoming debut album that will be released via Last Night From Glasgow Records in January. The warm acoustic country rock/Americana feel to the songs was warmly received by the crowd.
We began the Honeyblood set at the side of the stage in blistering sunshine. We then walked through the site and out the back to wander up towards the castle and rest in the shade under a tree. It was a beautiful half hour listening to the sounds of Honeyblood from the main stage.
By the time we walked back down and in the back of Tim Peaks Diner, Documenta were on stage and creating blissful drone pop. They brought a sizeable crowd and again I thought of how brilliant the concept of Tim Peaks is - bringing this band over to Scotland from Northern Ireland to play to a new crowd.
Steve Mason was in fine form, dedicating a song to his keyboard player who was married the previous day, joking he was paying him time and a half. Mason's vocals were crystal clear, cutting through the summer sky and captivating the crowd. His bands shuffling laid back grooves were perfect for the weather.
Back at Tim Peaks Diner, TeenCanteen were soundchecking to an already impressive crowd. By the time they were 3-songs in the tent was packed and people were peering in from outside. Sister and Kung Fu Heartbeats were uplifting pop, Roses was Motown updated for 2016 with a dash of C86 thrown in for good measure. The sweetness of Honey drew large cheers and Cherry Pie was delicious. Amanda Williams was back on acoustic guitar after returning from her travels, turning the band into a 5-piece and bolstering their modern Spector-esque wall of sound. It was the best I have seen and heard them, brimming with confidence ahead of the release of debut album Say It All With A Kiss on 9th September. Closing with a brilliant Sirens ahead of their cover of TLC's Waterfall with a slice of All Saints I Know Where It's At left the crowd wanting much more.
There was time to catch up with TeenCanteen afterwards and the feeling on stage had been the same as off - quite a show.
We waited for friends as actor Paddy Considine's Riding The Low blasted through a high energy set, although it was their chiming guitar song Rocky 99 that won my heart. Although Paddy definitely won a few girls hearts!
Then it was the turn of Everything Flows DJ's to get the crowd in the mood for Primal Scream. I decided to hand the music duties over to my friend Phil Redfearn and he played an absolute blinder.
Opening with the end of Bowie's Memory Of A Free Festival, Phill packed the tent and generated the best atmosphere of the entire festival. Chic's Everybody Dance got....well everyone dancing. Electronic's Getting Away With It was a delight but Blondie's Atomic was the tune of the night. The place went crazy! A Dimitri from Paris mix of Take That's Relight My Fire was a brave choice but it also kept people dancing. There was room for The Stones Get Off Of My Cloud and an incredible re-edit of Marvin and Tammi singing Ain't No Mountain High Enough into Primal Scream's Movin' On Up before we packed up quickly to get out to see the Scream team.
Thank you to everyone who came to see us (Phil). The atmosphere and reaction in the tent was incredible. Phil has recorded the mix so hopes to get it online soon. You can follow him @philthedriller
Primal Scream came on stage just as we met up with friends near the sounddesk. Bobby Gillespie was moving a little more freely than the Kelvingrove Bandstand show and Movin' On Up was the perfect intro. A blast of Jailbird kept things moving. Gillespie did need to sit down for some of the show but Primal Scream kept the party going with Country Girl going down a storm. Everyone wanted to have a party and Loaded was predictably the song that did it and I doubt there is a better song to end a festival with than Come Together.
Top marks to everyone involved with Electric Fields - stunning site, great line-up, perfect size and that touch of luck with the weather.