Doune the Rabbit Hole
Three of this year's acts explain why Doune the Rabbit Hole is a wonderland for music fans
Good things come in small packages, or so the saying goes. It’s certainly true for Doune The Rabbit Hole, which despite a capacity of just 1,000 revellers has sorted out a seriously impressive lineup for this year’s knees up in Stirlingshire: a veritable who’s who of Scottish and international alternative and DIY artists, from the Mercury Prize-nominated C Duncan, to modern folk favourites Admiral Fallow and alt-pop heroine Emma Pollock.
To get the inside scoop, we spoke to three of this year’s billed acts – Julianna Barwick, Mungo’s Hi Fi and Teen Canteen – to talk about the acts they were looking forward to seeing and the unique draw of the country’s smallest music festival.
Speaking from Asheville, North Carolina where she’s touring her latest album Will, Julianna Barwick said she was looking forward to returning to Scotland. 'I’ve only played there once [in 2011], in a little club in Glasgow. I remember that everyone was super friendly, that was really nice,' she says. Barwick reckoned that artists have to work a little harder to make themselves heard at festivals. 'It’s different if I’m playing a small art gallery to when I’m playing in a tent so I make fine little tweaks to the set, but what I do has a lot of room. That’s sort of what I like about festivals – being put into crazy situations with a bunch of other artists, and you’ve got your one little slot and only a line check. It’s less about you and more about everyone, about the festival.'
Douglas Paine, of dancehall sound system Mungo’s Hi Fi, who are billed to play the opening night of the festival, said that Rabbit Hole provides the perfect salve to urban ennui. He says, 'For us, Doune the Rabbit Hole is about real music, not hype music, music from and for the soul. Therefore the people it attracts share this warm-hearted ethos. In a world that can seem cold at times, it provides an antidote.'
Picking out his favourite acts from the line-up, Paine said, 'Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 stands out here for high entertainment value. They perfectly capture the rough and tumble abandon of the summer festival.'
Rabbit Hole veterans Carla Easton and Debbie Smith of Teen Canteen tell us, 'The fact that it isn't a mainstream festival makes it very special. Because it's such a small place it makes it really intimate to play and everyone is always so friendly. It's great that they support so many independent Scottish acts too.'
Easton said that Rabbit Hole’s DIY sensibilities made it one of her favourite festivals. 'This will be the third time we've played Doune The Rabbit Hole and we're really excited to be performing on the main stage,' she says. 'It's endearingly ramshackle. I've attended Doune in blistering sunshine and also when it's been rain-soaked and no matter what the weather it's always been incredible fun.'
Smith’s hot tips for the weekend included Bossy Love and Cate le Bon, while bandmate Debbie Smith gushed over Emma Pollock. 'We are really excited to see [her]. Also Honey and The Herbs – they played an event we ran last year and we fell in love instantly.'