Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2011 - Beauly, Inverness, 5-6 Aug (4 stars)

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2011 - Beauly, Inverness, 5-6 Aug

Deacon Blue. Photo: Steve Perks

Newcomers prove themselves at summer festival highlight

Selling out in record time once again, this year's Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival put up a good fight against the weekend's floods to deliver arguably its best instalment to date. Mule-packed with a dizzying array of arts performances, from the graceful to the bizarre, not to mention numerous stalls, workshops and activities, this two-day event is getting bigger and brighter by the year, and we haven't even touched on the music - no doubt the biggest draw for most of Bella's faithful followers. As usual, the two-day spread brought an eclectic selection of artists to the highlands, performing everywhere from beautiful walled gardens to the inside of a boat and the back of a caravan. The main stage headliners, Texas and Deacon Blue, were understandable choices by reputation alone, but ultimately, both of them fell slightly flat at the final hurdle, and it was an influx of (relatively) new blood - from Paws, Capitals and Bronto Skylift to The Phantom Band and Anna Calvi - that brought the most excitement in the end. That being said, the weekend also played host to triumphant sets from festival veterans such as Echo and The Bunnymen, Guillemots, Frank Turner and Roddy Woomble, further cementing Belladrum's status as an unconventional summer highlight.


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