Drams in the Field
Glenelg music festival Drams in the Field celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Jo Morgan speaks to the headline acts and discovers why it’s set to be the best rooting tooting field party yet
Drams in the Field, Glenelg’s annual music festival, is celebrating its 10th birthday this year and, if previous years are anything to go by, it should be one hell of a hoolie. In a nutshell; be prepared to dance like a lunatic, make loads of new friends and, as the name suggests, have a dram or five along the way.
The overall objective of Drams in the Field is to bring all types of music to the people in the locality of Glenelg, during a weekend of music and entertainment. And the good news is you lucky people are invited to join in with the shenanigans. Emphasis is placed on local bands and artists, with a line-up that won’t fail to get you busting out your best dance moves. What makes the festival that little bit more special is that it is run on a non profit-making basis, with excess monies being used to fund the following year’s event.
Situated in a marquee in the tiny Highland village of Glenelg, the festival caters for a few hundred like-minded revellers who pitch their tents in the adjacent field and prepare to party hard. And for all you budding musicians out there, you are heartily encouraged to bring along your own instruments and join in with the noise- making. There is a second tent for practise sessions and the village hall is used for daytime workshops, where you can learn fiddle, accordion, guitar, songwriting and dance.
Or, for the less musically talented, there is the inaugural festival football tournament (if your hangover’s not too brutal) that raises the game as well as funds for the Homeless World Cup.
To get us in the festival spirit, we catch up with Glenelg musician Sandra MacBeth for a natter. Sandra is currently riding high on the release of her debut album Conjugal Scene and will be taking to the stage at Drams in the Field on the Friday night – and she can hardly contain her excitement at the prospect of playing on her home turf once again…
The Midgie: Most memorable drams moment?
Sandra MacBeth: I was in the middle of my set when a dog ran on stage, took off with the set-list and ripped out my guitar lead. It was hilarious and the whole place just cracked up. I have also been subjected to some pretty mad human stage invasions, but that’s the norm here - people just love to get involved.
What makes Drams stand out from other Highland festivals?
For me it’s the best of the bunch, as it’s on my home turf. It’s attended by passionate people from the local community, who all make sure everyone has a great time. I always think the festival creates a positive representation of my community to those who are just discovering it for the first time.
Why should our readers go to Drams?
Unlike other big festivals, Drams is up-close and personal and people are welcome to join in and mix at close quarters with the bands and musicians they have just been watching. Above all, though, it’s a beautiful place to wake up with a hangover!
Tell us more about the area?
There are some really interesting places to check out, like the Iron Age Brochs (ancient houses) or perhaps a wee visit to the Wagon (Gypsy van turned café) where you can have a bite to eat and meet the locals.
Essential festival survival tools?
Whisky, wellies and a tough constitution.
Drams in the Field will be held on the weekend of Fri 25 & Sat 26 Sep, Glenelg. For more info visit www.dramsinthefield.com. Sandra MacBeth will be playing on the Friday evening and she will also be launching her new album on 17 Oct at Sloanes bar in Glasgow. For more info visit www.sandramacbeth.com
Other autumn music festivals
Fest ‘n’ Furious
A bit of a baby on the festival circuit, Fest ‘n’ Furious celebrates its fifth year with a top folky line-up of the Peatbog Faeries, Saltfishforty and Michael Marra. There’s also a programme of films, talks and community events to keep you on your toes.
Fri 2–Sun 4 Oct, Dundee, various venues, www.festnfurious.co.uk
Jura Music Festival
The scenic Isle of Jura is home to 6,000 deer, 200 people and – once a year – it is taken over by one big massive party: the Jura Music Festival. It’s a foot-stomping, fiddle-plucking affair, with the Jura Ceilidh Band reforming especially for the occasion.
Fri 25–Sun 27 Sep, Isle of Jura, www.juramusicfestival.com
Sound is an exciting showcase of new bands and a chance to hear a wide range of emerging acts from a varied line up of popular, jazz, classical, electro, acoustic and sound art. Who needs big name headliners anyway?
Wed 28 Oct–Sun 22 Nov, various venues around the North-East of Scotland, www.sound-scotland.co.uk
Knockengorrach Doonhame Hairth
Forget the music festivals that just run over a single weekend, the Knockengorrach Doonhame Hairth stretches over five whole days – and you know what that means? Maximum party time, that’s what. The scenic area will become home to an array of local and big name bands.
Wed 16–Sun 20 Sep, Knockengorrach, www.knockengorrach.org.uk