Knockengorroch World Ceilidh - Dumfries & Galloway, Thu 23-Sun 26 May 2013
- Amy Russell
- 5 June 2013
Congo Natty, Luke Vibert and Orkestra del Sol among the highlights of this eclectic, quirky festival
You wouldn’t chance upon Knockengorroch by accident. A modest, hand-painted sign points you off the single track road and through the dramatic Galloway hills to the remote festival site. Not that many of the festival goers need much direction – family-run Knockengorroch has built itself a loyal following over the years, creating a sense of community which has disappeared from some of the bigger, brasher offerings on the festival circuit. With crystal stalls, yoga workshops and an impressive array of creative knitwear, some might pigeonhole Knockengorroch a ‘hippy festival’, but its small site holds curiosities catering to all tastes – from games of gilded ‘bling pong’, to comedy and film tents, a pop-up sauna and its impressively authentic wattle and daub longhouse (which serves as an acoustic performance space). This inclusive, anything-goes spirit is also reflected in the programme which, while mostly focused on roots and world music, has enough stretch to cover electro-swing, techno, drum‘n’bass and dubstep. It's an intriguing lineup geared towards a mix of new experiences and old favourites instead of back-to-back huge festival names.
This year did however see some true veterans of the British music scene take to the stage, including jungle pioneer Congo Natty kicking things off on Friday night, Luke Vibert bringing his legendary goofy electro beats to the Sheiling World Stage and Asian Dub Foundation giving an energetic and heartfelt set suitably celebratory of their 20th anniversary. Taking the theme of ‘birds and stars’ (a nod to partners RSPB and the Dark Sky Planetarium) feathers sprouted from many outfits, while a huge owl with glowing eyes hovered over an indoor stage, at one point seemingly about to swoop off with North Atlantic Oscillation’s unsuspecting drummer. On Sunday the always popular Orkestra del Sol and Mungo’s HiFi were amongst those left to take the festival out in the eclectic, quirky, dancing style one could only expect from Scotland’s very own World Ceilidh.