Audio Soup – The Back Braes, near Dunbar, Fri 30 Aug–Sun 1 Sep 2013 (4 stars)

Audio Soup – The Back Braes, near Dunbar, Fri 30 Aug–Sun 1 Sep 2013

A fun, friendly, locally-minded festival in East Lothian

Like many of Scotland’s low-level (often euphemistically referred to as ‘boutique’) DIY festivals, Audio Soup attracts a diverse range of people. As well as your average punters who are just interested in checking out some decent new music (see more on that below), there are representatives from the many tribes of Scotland’s festival mainstays: psy-trance ravers dancing the night away in the Wub Hut; dreadlocked new-agers weaving about to politicized acousto-folk in the vegan-friendly Beat Root Cafe; groups of fancy-dressed revellers tripping (metaphorically and literally) over hay bales at the main stage; school leavers flinging a last embrace at childhood via some special adults-only bouncy castle sessions. The great thing about all these groups (at least in this environment) is that, by and large, they’re easy to get along with – you’ll often find yourself caught up in a chat around the bonfire or falling into a natter as you queue up at the (very well managed) Thistly Cross cider garden.

Of course, a music festival can’t get by on good personality alone, and that’s where Audio Soup’s broad but selective approach to the music programming comes into its own. Guitar-and-drums twosome Man of Moon were the stand-out of the weekend, delivering xx-y guitar hooks backed by skittish, hyperactive drums. Shout-outs are also due to psych-freak riffmonsters Robot Death Monkey, soulful hip hop team DarkSoul, ska ensembles Sea Bass Kid and The Mighty Vipers and ‘Eurasia’s premiere Weezer tribute band’ Beezer (the highlight of a specially programmed ‘tribute Friday’ alongside highly decent Clash, Blondie and Elvis coverers).

Of course, any festival with grassroots-level admin is going to have some issues: the toilets were a tad oversubscribed, there was at least one brief powercut a day and the festival’s valley site created a wind tunnel effect that spirited away more than a handful of revellers’ tents. It speaks volumes about the level of good feeling on-site that such issues were met by the Audio Soup massive not with grim determination, but with an attitude of smiling, shoulder-shrugging c’est la vie – they were but minor inconveniences in the wider scope of a highly enjoyable weekend.

Audio Soup Festival

A grassroots festival taking in indie, rock, techno, DJs, world music and more. Featuring acts include A Skillz, Slamboree, Bombskare, Heist, Shogun, Neil Landstrumm, Henge, Brass Gumbo, Jesse Rae, The Hempolics and Riddim Tuffa.