Wickerman Festival 2010
‘Most people don’t realise that the Wickerman film was the first ever horror musical,’ muses Sid Ambrose, the man behind the Dumfriesshire festival that bears its name. So, alongside bands like The Charlatans, Buzzcocks, Unicorn Kid and Teenage Fanclub, they’re hosting a ‘Sing-a-long-a-Wickerman’ event this year. ‘It’s in the best tradition of musicals,’ he laughs.
Ambrose, it is fair to say, is unrivalled in the wild programming stakes. Amid the rock stages, dance tents and new music arenas of the ninth Wickerman knees-up, you’ll hence encounter silent ceilidhs (‘Well, you’ve heard of headphones disco – it’s such a surreal spectacle – and this is it with a Wickerman twist’), wood-carving demonstrations (‘That’ll tie in with this year’s werewolf and vampire theme’), grass-sledges (‘These are great, they’re like mini-tanks’) and a synthetic ice rink (‘Folk might want to bring spangly Lycra along’).
You’ll also find kids’ zones, hula-hoop workshops, and – not least – the festival’s iconic centre-piece: the annual burning of a 40ft Wickerman sculpture, in homage to the cult 1973 movie that was shot nearby.
Ambrose’s enthusiasm for the creative, energetic and just bizarre is boundless. Did he ever dream, ten years ago, that Wickerman would become Scotland’s best-loved family festival? ‘Let me tell you about the first year,’ Ambrose deadpans. ‘It was me and a group of teenagers. None of us worked in the music industry. We had no land. We had no money. We were treated with suspicion by the local authorities. But you know what they say: ignorance is bliss.’
Fri 22 Jul, Sat 23 Jul, East Kirkcarswell, near Dundrennan, south-west Scotland
For a full line-up, details of car shares, local buses, a Wickerman iPhone app and general festival info, go to: www.thewickermanfestival.co.uk