Belladrum or not Belladrum? – that is the question……

I went and done an email again.  Ok it was an email, faecesboke messages and a few tweets.  Hassling, harassing and generally nipping the noggins of some of the artists, press, ne’er-do-wells, thieves, vagabonds and other fine upstanding members of the local and further afield musical community.

I asked them all the same question.

This was the question.


Lazy bastard aren’t I ?  One word and a question mark and I’m looking at these, already busy, people to do all my work for me.

Here’s what came back, along with some images (of course) and whatever stage, times, fashion info or details of personal bests at tiddlywinks were available to me at time of posting.  Hey !!  It’s a busy week for me too eh……….

HERE is where all the Bella stuffs happening and you can see images from the last few that I managed to stand up at HERE

Busily researching for Belladrum posts.......honest

Busily researching for Belladrum posts…….honest

Peatbog Faeries 

“That’s a very difficult question Houdi!!

How about Belladrum is a phenomenon, the best new festival in the last ten years. Pride of the highlands!!”

My first experience of Peter Morrison and his band of merry men was way back at the first Belladrum in 2004 and Ive been a huge fan ever since !!  Wako King Hako had BETTER be on the setlist for tommorow down on the Garden Stage round about the 4pm. 


Ashley Mackay (Ashley & the Cosmonauts)

“Haha, possibly the most inventive question I have had this week. Well Belladrum indeed……….the excitement has hit today. I can’t wait. There are lots of aspects coming to mind and of course our Ashley and the Cosmonauts Gig is most prominent for me. I feel that I will definitely be creating special memory that I will hold onto forever (deep but true). Can’t wait to sing my heart out. As we will be finished doing that early on, the rest of the festival is free to focus on ‘getting involved’. Cant wait to see the carnival outfits; still hope to be getting dressed up myself on one of the days. Looking forward to being with friends to celebrate the 10th anniversary. Looking forward to the Noisettes, Seasick Steve, LJP and wandering around finding new music and banter. Bring it on, three more sleeps!”

Garden Stage – Friday

ash and cosmos

Jamie MacDonald (Netsounds Unhinged)

“Please don’t use the taps to clean your wellies. Happy Bella.”

Hmmmm – cryptic or craptic – you decide but remember and stay cool around the taps !!  Taps aff ?  Jamie and his team of professionals will be wandering aimlessly taking turns at being in charge.  In between this they will be promoting, shouting about and screaming on the subject of new, unsigned, under the radar Scottish music – they are after all the guys in the know up here.  Accept no prostitutes substitutes !!


George Mackie (Flares & Seagulls)

“Bella you say houdi? You mean the festival from up your way that walks the walk, talks the talk and generally lets all of us have a hoorin’ good time? Aye, see you there pal”

F n S is Aberdeens alternative on-line music magazine and a damned fine piece of work it is too !!  George is a regular in the pits and a fellow Nikon user which makes him ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS !!  🙂


Emma Mitchell

“Variety, creativity, acceptance & outrageous costumes with the freedom to express yourself”

Emma will be popping up in various guises around the Potting Shed Stage throughout the weekend (as per usual).  Shes worth the watching and a helluva voice

emma m

Ali Downer (Woodenbox)

Belladrum is my personal favourite of all the festivals….its the perfect size and people always seem to get what woodenbox are all about at Bella…..this is our third Bella and each time we get better catering….no one else is so gracious , i love taking a sip of a cool beverage and walking through the tree laden grounds whilst having a muffled soundtrack of different music sweeping me along in a hazy march that follows the sun into whichever vacuum i allow….no rules ….no rules…power to the people.  Love Ali

Woodenbox are Garden Stage, Friday


Barry Mackay (Furry Vengeance)

“The best festival around and will continue to be for years to come. Furry on the seedlings 1.55pm friday the 2nd be young be foolish be furry.”


Fash Stewart

“Fash Stewart and The Great & The Good, Potting Shed Stage 12 noon. People have asked me “what songs are you going to do?”, well if you know my shows i’ll be doing my encore set, no beating about. I’m looking forward to playing only my third gig of 2013, and playing with The Great and The Good. I’ll be laying on breakfast again. As for my compering duties, I can’t wait to introduce to the audience so many of my favourite artists and bands, Rob Ellen comes up with a great line up every year and this year is no exception. See you there! About the bush”

Fash is the compere without compare over at The Potting Shed Stage – he also performs with, ohhh, just about anybody that leaves space on or around the stage for him.  A seasoned performer in his own right and a good bloody laff.  Im still owe him beers !!


Kris Douglas  (The Whiskys)

Today we got news that we are to play The Hothouse stage on Friday @ 12:45pm, happy fucking days:) The Whiskys, 2 sets ( potting shed @ 9pm friday ) 1 day the best festival around what else can I say ahhhh there are 18 different animal shape in a box of animal crackers.

P.S we can’t  officially announce this info till bella do and the animal cracker factory return my email in regards to the 18 shapes in a box.

Cheers   Kris “

Nothing worse than a fucking exclusive that I’m not allowed to excluse with (excluse ??) (Well excluse me !??!).  The fact that I fucked up and accidentally announced it by posting this article 36 hours early was a tad irritating.  Especially since Kris received an email to tell him so at 5am.  Whoops.  Panic Deletion Measures Def Con 27

The Whiskys are to be found at lunchtime and supper time – see above for info. 


Ben Hesling (another Cosmonaut)

“Where adults get to be children and children get to be adults”- Said by my niece Catriona when she was 10 years old at Belladrum 2 years ago, I think that answers that better than i could x”

From the mouth of babes !!  True dat !!   Ben and Ashley and Robin and Bills and Bills’ Hat will be on the Main Stage Friday

Ben (2)

Paul ‘Two Els and two Tees If you Please’ Eliot (The Outsiders & The Oxides)

“Actually spent ages going over your million dollar question lol, and I still don’t actually know what to say so am just gonna go with the flow here…

Bella is my favourite festival, and I’m absolutely delighted to be playing at the 10 year anniversary with The Oxides. You’ll probably see me enjoying the emerging acts on the Seedlings stage & the Hothouse stage – some of acts I’m looking forward to seeing include Brown Bear & the Bandits, PAWS, Fat Goth, Vasquez and as many of the locals as I can.
I also look forward to seeing your face (and camera aswell…) at the Seedlings Stage at 7.45 on Friday. Archie may tell a joke, Duff might rap, Jake might give himself a stitch and I might have my trusty bottle of Lucozade with me, what more could you ask for?
To sum it up, I can’t wait, and here’s to at least another 10 years of this beautiful festival right on our doorstep 🙂 yay.  Pels face.”

Pel takes the Seedlings stage apart with Jake, Archie and Duff as the Oxides at 745pm on Friday !!  Not to be missed – bet I fucking miss it now I’ve said that


James Murphy (Be Like Pablo)

“I remember when I first met Bella. She was kind, welcoming and fun. I have seen her grow into a wonderful addition to the Be Like Pablo……family and we welcome her with open arms and humming guitars. I’d like everyone to be upstanding for the wonderful bride, Bella.To Bella! See you at Bella.”

Opening the Garden (main) Stage on Saturday – cheeky popsters !!  That should give me a chance for some updated photos cos the one I insist on using has a totally different lineup.  Nob !!  Heres a video !

Barry Gordon – (The Earls of Caithness)

Having attended just about every festival in the land, I’d say it’s the best family-orientated festival there is. I admire their lack of alcoholic sponsoring; however, while no festival is entirely devoid of bias, inconvenience and skullduggery, Bella comes tops for me.

Barry and the funky Northerners will be hitting Potting Shed at some point later on Saturday ( I have to see them so that I can finally stop churning out these shots from Ceol-Mor in 2010……sorry Barry)


Mr Steve Robertson (Booker, Bassist, Promoter)

“Belladrum is like Christmas for Highland music fans at Joe Gibbs house.”

Steve is the 4 string plucker in Kobi and Rolling Damned as well as the booker, promoter, disco ball repair man and general man-about-town for Iworks and Hoots and has been involved down at Bella for faaaaaacking ages !!  It is believed I may be owe him a pint but I’m admitting to nothing.


Miniature Dinosaurs

“Not sure… house kit.”

I’m thinking that’s a cryptic drum reference – they’ll all be using the same kit on Seedlings where the young fella m’lads will be appearing on Friday about 430pm


Matt Campbell (Shutter & Little Mill of Happiness)

“We have really enjoyed playing Belladrum in the past and are coming out of hiatus to play for the 10th Anniversary. We’ve had some memorable gigs at Belladrum in the past, from hijacking the Potting Shed to opening the Hot House in 2009. There is a really strong line up again this year and will definitely be checking out Fat Goth, Paws, Vasquez, Cleavers and local acts. We did a sneaky gig this year but we haven’t played together in years so this will be very special for us. Wish we had a longer set! We are planning to wake up the camp site with some heavy riffs at 12pm on Saturday. We play the Hot House Stage. Hope to see you there. HOPE, get it? “

Shutter at the Hothouse Stage EARLY DOORS on Saturday.  If youre camping near there and looking for a long lie past lunchtime – tough Shit !!  You have been warned !!


Margaret Chrystall (Highland News)

“The earth has spun thrice on its axis (well probably a third of once, actually) since that dread question was uttered from your lips. Er, mouse but there can be only one answer when the gods and planets align to bring forth such an utterance on the Eve of Belladrumnacht.  It’s got to be a great smacking oh-yes-please, love.  That is all.”

Margaret will be omnipresent as always, dotting about Belladrum like the magical creature that she is.  She doesn’t carry a notebook – she transmits all her thoughts back to Highland News Grotto via a magical wi-fi connection.  

As always, I like to keep busy throughout the festival

As always, I like to keep busy throughout the festival

Chris (Casual Sex)

“This tenth carnival 76.3 miles from Achiltibuie is home turf for our bass player Peter, and a first for Casual Sex. We’ve done our research and regardless of the weather, we are going to give rock and roll to you.  I also intend on receiving rock and roll from Seasick Steve, The Horrors and Mac Floyd. Watch out for Twin Atlantic though, that’s bad rock and roll.”

The nothing-like-orange-juice Casual Sex will be taking to the Seedlings stage around the 930pm mark on Saturday night


Andrew Barnett (Red Ronson)

“10 years of the loveliest jubbliest family friendly fun. I was at the first bella as a young man and it was one of those moments that really inspired me to be that person on the stage and as such is partly to blame for me still making music… 10 years on i’m absolutely over the moon to be back there as that person on the stage for our festival debut. with any luck while we are playing i’ll catch a glimpse of me 10 years ago and hopefully inspire that person to either think…. hey i can do better than that… or hey this is excellent i really want to do what they are doing! Belladrum, inspiring the wayward for a decade.

Thank you Bella keep up the good work x

Andrew and his team of lovely friendly types will be in the Seedlings on Friday about 230pm



Belladrum? The End?

(Eloquent as ever – soon after I received my tweeted reply to the question I saw their announcement that they were taking some time out so this made more sense.  More about that on their site)

Cleavers close the Seedlings on Friday night.  This may be an emotional one – maybe not tho……..maybe tho…….but maybe not…….


Bronto Skylift 

“A Highland festival where, in 2011, we played the Hot House Stage.At lunchtime. And woke up the campsite sound checking. Some disgruntled camper yelled “SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!  Love Belladrum”

Bronto are not even playing.  I just wanted to include them cos I was interested in their reply and I harbour a deep deep man love for their noise !!


Garden of Elks

A highland festival where Niall once stripped naked and fell in poo and got the bus back to inverness covered in poo

830pm Seedlings on Saturday – bloody marvellous !!


Dougie Brown (Irownworks & Belladrum)

“An incredible festival where there genuinely is something for everyone, also the one weekend where I always think I really shouldn’t enjoy ‘work’ as much as this!”

Dougie is the man who looks after all of us degenerates in press/blog/media community during the festival and throughout the year at the Ironworks and many many other behind the scenes types of things – rumour has it he’s the Stig, Father Christmas and The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance.  None of these facts have ever been proved.  Here is a photo of Dougie ‘working’.  Thank you for everything, ever, Dougie !!


Dougie and Netsounds – Dougie is the one with the ice lolly 😉

Them & Us

Hey Houdi,

We’ll be putting some round things in some spinny things and making boom booms from 9-10pm at the Mothers Ruin. With the addition of more fist pumps this year.


Mark + Liam (Them & Us)”

There you go – 9pm.  Muvvas Ruin !!


Nicola McAlley (our very own wifie aff the telly)

Bella has her own space in the cosmos as the mother of music, mayhem & mighty good fun! It’s impossible not to enjoy yourself, she’s magic! that’s my essay 🙂 let me know if you need any more alliteration-littered nonsensical ramblings! Boooo to Wellies!!!!”

Nicola brings her own brand of stand-up to the Garden Stage at 7am on Sunday morning (some, most or possibly all of that statement is a lie)


Hootananny Inverness

Hoots loves Belladrum more than a Scottish kid loves irn-bru! Happy 10th birthday Belladrum!”

Hoots is a local Inverness Bar and Music venue so it would be silly to expect it to attend the event.  That’s crazy talk – it is, however, embroiled in the spirit of Bella (Eh?)


Duncan Overmeer (Matchstick Maker)

“My actual response:

I believe there are no further words necessary. See you there!


A very 21st Century answer via Vine – cheers Duncan.  Free Range Stage Saturday 515pm !!


Rob Ellen (Medicine Music)

“Tempted to answer with one word to, that would be “community”, I like to think of Belladrum as the way we would all like to live, but with more mess.  Its been a great ride, can’t believe were coming up to number 10.”

The Guvnor, Bellas favourite crazy Unkle, Rob Ellen hosts the Square Wheels Potting Shed Stage from tonight onwards.  GO THERE !!!  OFTEN !! (Theres always a permanent link to Rob over there >>>>>> on the sidebar of this site)


Rob, seen here with Jason Scorcher. Rob is wearing a hat 😉


The FINAL word in all of this lazy journalism has to go to Murray Cameron of Netsounds Unsigned (seen above) who when asked the burning question BELLADRUM ?, he replied with the absolutely top-notch answer as seen below.  This is what Belladrum means to Murray and if we think about it this works for a whole lot more of us !!  I had one of these toys and it was just bloody, blooming, totally and utterly amazingly brilliant in every way.  Hey – sounds a lot like……..


Many many thanks to all of the above who got involved.  Many many more local and otherwise were contacted however they did not reply.  Bollocks to you then.  You better have a note from home or a doctors line (except Marion – she gets special dispensation cos I said so)!!  Apologies to anyone who thought they should have been included – no agenda here just a bit last minute so I no doubt missed folk that should have had a shout out.  There are certainly those who were never going to get one – ahahaha !!  (evil laugh)

See you at the Bar !!



2 thoughts on “Belladrum or not Belladrum? – that is the question……

  1. Houdi, your a true icon of Bella, We cant make it this year for our 1st wedding anniversary as I am due a baby in 4 weeks, but i shall be keeping a close eye on your blogs so I can feel apart of the festivities. Thanks for keeping it real, see ya next year though. Claire :o)

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