Ok so I’ve done it again. I’ve left it too long. Life got in the way of the baaalogging – I make no apologies. Shit happens. I had high hopes and aspirations for the Belladrum blog this year. It was to be a sprawling, epic, romantic affair laden with skullduggery, hornswaggling and swashbuckling. Alas, this may not now be is not maybe perhaps !! It was nearly two weeks ago now and between then and now I’ve had a couple thousand photos to sort out, work and family life to be getting along with and a wedding shoot to finish. It’s not all sitting about on the yacht you know barking orders at my ghost writers and cocktail makers !!
So plan is – TRY TO REMEMBER MOST OF IT IN SOME KIND OF ORDER AND FILL IN GAPS WITH PHOTOS. Right then – off we go !!
My Friday all began with a great meeting of minds and livers !! I was finally given the opportunity to meet the legend that is Des ‘Des’ Irvine, partner to our favourite radiowifie Ms Marion ‘Marion’ Scott !! More on Des as this ‘article’ unfolds……. Cadging a lift down Bella way with the MFR team was a hoot – fine folk and they didn’t seem to mind my foul sweary mouth ( too much ). Marion used her charms to gain entry through the back door (ooer) and we drove more or less into the press enclosure. Perfect. AND EVEN BETTER – THE SUN WAS OUT – not just out either – twas beating doon !! This was looking like a top Belladrum weekend. Feel free to click on some of the photos – they will take you to wonderful, far off places……..sort of…….
Before I could get into all that photographing-the-bands malarky I had to do the photographing-a-wedding malarky. Quick sprint over to the Rockhopper to say hi to the lovely Jenny, Steve, Jack and Dave the ‘security guy’, chuck a half decent shirt on and make rude gestures at the Netsounds and goNORTH teams. Very quickly popped my head into the Rockhopper Oven to say hi to Bwani Junction who were about to record and I shot off to be a sensible wedding photographer at Belladrum Temple. Amazing place – if you don’t know what it is take a look HERE. Magical place to get hitched !! So that was the first couple of hours of my Tartan Heart Festival taken care of. Very stressful but at the same time great fun. Congratulations to Claire and Ali !!
I had to miss James Mackenzie on the main stage with his new band (featuring Blazing Fiddling legend Mr Bruce Macgregor) and Gerry Jablonski on the Grassroots due to the wedding shoot. A good cause. I found out earlier this week that the bride managed to sneak in a couple of Gerry tunes while we awaited her arrival at the temple. At least she was fashionably late for good reason. Nice one Claire.
So as Gordon ‘is a moron’ Ramsay would say……Wedding. Done !! Time for a tinny so off to the Rockhopper once more to don the summer festival garb of shorts and Bronto tee and see what delights Netsounds had in their arsenal of alcohol. Cider ? Dont mind if I do. Now I can get on with the serious business of Belladrumming !!
Quick hello to Fatherson in the Rockhopper which by now was basically cooking any bands who entered it. I managed a HIYA, 2 photos and a sharp exit. Sessions will be on the goNORTH youtube and well worth a look though. Rockhopper has firmly become on of my favourite things over the course of this past year.
Late afternoon Friday and a couple of hours were spent in the company of Lance Corporal Irvine of the 1st Inverness Des Battalion. Great fun and nobody got hurt. Well no-one in front of us – there may have been a few unintentional disturbances in our wake. Our intention was to go see Megan in the Seedlings tent which, miraculously, we did thankfully as she delivered a ‘confident’, ‘mature’ etc etc yawn insert rock journo cliché here, set. This lowly blogger has but this to say – she was bloody good. We also got involved in some extreme nu-rave child throwing in Mothers Ruin and SciFi reading teenager baiting over by the main bar. All this and it wasnt even teatime yet ! There may yet be a separate photo post on these manoeuvres
We are Scientists they claimed. A likely story – I caught them later playing instruments on the Garden Stage masquerading as popstars. Quite good they were too in a punky/preppy/we-have-razorlights-old-drummer kinda style. Now round about the same time they were kicking about in the press enclosure the guys I recommended you see from doon Sooth, This Silent Forest, were doing a wee acoustic shout for Marion. Slapped wrists for me as this was the only time I saw them play although our paths crossed much much later that day………. Galipaygos followed them into Marions den of musiquity (wtf?) accompanied by Claire/Abagail on fiddle. Marion also had cider ! Win ! Incidentally all of the sessions can be heard on Marions Moray Firth Radio show – 8pm Sunday nights !! GET INTAE IT !!
I’ve had some really nice emails from Ty Taylor of Vintage Trouble regarding my shots of them at last years festival – claims his mum loves one of them. Cool – no offer to buy it though. Bet he’s done a right-clicker and his mum has the photo framed on her living room wall beside the 3 ducks. Shame its got a huge fuck-off houdidontblog watermark along it eh. hehehehe. Better go take photos of them this year again though as they’re expected to be one of the highlights………
Got a bit of a shock with Mr Taylor – not the entrance through the crowd which I guess was kinda cool in an “Already Done to Death by the Cuban Bros” kinda way but when he climbed the actual barrier into the pit right in front of me a small boy – maybe 8 or 9 – reached out his hand to touch Ty Taylor as he passed and had his wee hand swiped away quite forcefully accompanied by a look that would sour milk and a scream of “NO !!!!!!“. Now I get that you may be psyched up for the gig and hyper aware but if that’s the case don’t come through the crowd and expect to not be touched. Poor kid looked gutted and quite shocked as was I – fuck I almost smacked the guy myself – bloody shame !! They went onto play a great set yada yada blah blah etc but it had already been soured for me with that wee incident. I did bump into Ty later in the day but didn’t ask him about it – epic fail – wish I had. Nice guy for all that which made it even more disappointing !! Did anyone else see it happen ??
Next up was my first RUNAWAY RUNAWAY moment of Belladrum. Yes it was time for the worst kept secret. The special secret guest was to be Kassidy. Underwhelmed to the fucking hilt I can tell you. I’m not going to bitch on about it cos those that know me will be aware of my feelings here. Like Mumford and Sons I just DO NOT GET Kassidy or rather the furore that surrounds them. I kinda feel with Kassidy that it’s not the music that has the women drooling over them cos I’ve heard many, many bands do what Kassidy do so much better than Kassidy. Needless to say I had better things to do than piss around photographing Kassidy. I file them in the Dangleberry box marked AVOID. Hey, as always, if you’re a Kassidy or Dangler fan then each to their own and I’m glad you enjoyed them – they’re not for me. OTHER OPINIONS ARE ALWAYS AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE……..
LATER THAT SAME DAY (the trolley may not have as many wheels as it started with…….)
“Jamie, hey Jamie”, I shouted through mouthfuls of Netsounds Kopperberg cider stuff. “Hey min are we going to see Rachel, where s Rachel on at…….?” Now I stupidly trusted someone who’d had about the same amount of cider to dull the ability to read a list of stages and artists as me. “Henhouse” he shouts – “Hothouse” I correct – “Aye !! ” And away we go. At least I thought it was ‘we’ till I got to the Hothouse the nick of time. No signs of Jamie as I entered the photography pit just as the band were taking the stage to loud cheering. Brilliant !! Front and centre for some nice shots of our local heroine Rachel Sermanni……I look up…..camera poised…….who the fuck is this guy ????? It’s not Rachel unless she’s morphed into a 60 odd year old punk !! Faaaaaaaaaaack sake !! Its Eddie and the Hotrods !! Rachel was playing a blinder up in the Grassroots Tent. Bastard !! Oh well !!
Tell ye what though – from what I saw of Eddie & the Hotrods they’ve still got it. Full of attitude and energy – not bad for an old bugger (I’m no spring chicken mesel mind). Shouldve probably hung around down that neck of the woods as The Buzzcocks were due to finish the day off at the Hothouse. I wanted to see them but loyalties come first and the Team that is known as Kapowski were headlining the Seedlings tent. Thats a must !! I don’t do Wombats – I don’t have the jeans or youth on my side.
Caught the tail end of The Stagger Rats on arrival but sadly remember very little of them. Damn you Strongbow !! The main memory of the last of The Seedlings tent was the sudden refusal to enter the photography pit. Now Id been in it earlier in the day during Megans set but noticed no-one else had ventured. On further investigation I was informed that it was something to do with spotlights on monitors in the front and was a Health & Safety issue. A real shame – made me work a lot harder but in the end I gave up so I’m not entirely happy with my Seedlings shots from 2012. Bummer because not many snappers venture up to that tent as the big guns have no interest in the upcoming bands – that’s where guys like me come in. Unfortunately the lack of access carried on through the Saturday too and the worst bit was I’ve yet to see those lights being used. Oh well. Thanks to Jonny Fordie for my Stanley Odd access on the Saturday – more of that next post !!
Team Kapowski went down an absolute storm !! I’m a sucker for their quirky, poppy, hip-hop, kitschy, quirky, hip hop pop (pardon the technical music jargon). Blair Stewart was born to do this !! If I’m honest I wasnt sure how they’d go down headlining this tent but they had no worries in that dept. Tent stowed oooooot. Place Jumpeeeeen !!
I have many post-music photos from around Mothers Ruin and the very entertaining wait for a taxi – those will stay offline for the time being (that huge sigh you’ve just heard is Marion Scotts one of relief)
BELLADRUM. FRIDAY. DONE (houdi, Marion, Des, Jamie, Murray and many many more……….DONE)
Finally after all is said, done, dusted, at the end of the day, finally, as it goes, etc etc we here at dontblog towers have to say a massive thanks to Dougie and his team at Belladrum, the Netsounds and Rockhopper guys, many of the bands for letting me point digital things at them when they’re trying to make quiet acoustic music and of course Marion and her crew for allowing me to hang about and hit them for cider and photoshoots !! You are all legends. Sober Saturday next !!
Interesting people I met on my wanders……….