Missing Out On Festivals: There Could Have Been ‘Good Times’ at Belladrum

You know that feeling, the one you get when you know you really should be somewhere else having a whale of a time, but you dithered and missed out on the opportunity, leaving others to have all the fun. I’m having that feeling today as despite promising myself I would definitely go this year, if only for a day, it’s just not happened.

I’m talking about our local music festival, called the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival (theme this year – Myths and Legends). It didn’t happen in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic, but it’s very much back on this year, and what a line-up. DD always used to go when she was younger and we acted as a taxi service taking her and her friends back and forth, sometimes even if they were camping. Nice to be able to pop home for a shower and dry out the wellies, especially if it was a wet and muddy year. Until recently I had been happy to leave the rigours of an open-air festival to the youngsters but I’m conscious of the fact I’m getting on a bit now (sad but true), and there may be few opportunities left for me to see some of these acts live.


But I did dither and here I am sitting at my computer instead. There were still day tickets left this week but I had guests arriving at the holiday hideaway, and the weather forecast was for rain. Needless to say I don’t now think it will rain, and despite being a dedicated host (remember my plans for ‘Alyson’s Highland Adventures’), who tells her guests she is available 24/7 to help out in any way, most of them rarely bother me once they’ve been handed the house keys and the Wi-Fi code.

So, next year there will be no dithering. I will block off all the calendars (and in my current life there are many) well in advance, and will be prepared for all-weathers. If anyone wants to join me, you know where to find me – there will even be an empty holiday hideaway for you to stay in. Of course next year there will be a totally different line-up but as the eagle-eyed amongst you might have spotted there are always a fair few very lively Scottish folk bands on the bill. All adds to the local flavour of the festival.

He’s certainly been busy this summer popping up at all sorts of outdoor events so I would have loved to see the legend that is Nile Rodgers perform live. Here is a clip of him from Glastonbury 2017, a set I remember watching on television and it certainly doesn’t feel like five years ago. (The pesky pandemic has played havoc with the timeline of our memories.)

Good Times by Chic:


It’s a long time since he’s affected the ‘chic’ sharp-suited look, apparently inspired by Bryan Ferry, but I do like his 21st century ‘street hippie’ look just as much. He’s probably going to be staying in one of our premier hotels tonight (no, not that one) – wonder if I could persuade Mr WIAA to hover around the foyer nursing a drink with me, just in case we get a chance to schmooze with him after his headline act performance. A long shot though, on both counts.

Another act on the bill I would have loved to see live are these guys from Iceland, Daði Freyr. They will always be remembered as the band who would have won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020 had it not been cancelled, again due to the pandemic. No matter, they have made quite a name for themselves now anyway, and their dance routines have been copied many times on those social media platforms that feature short videos.


I really am going to have to get my act together aren’t I? Mr WIAA is not a particular fan of big open air concerts, as his middle-aged brain seems to no longer connect with his middle-aged bladder, reminding it that having no ‘facilities’ nearby really isn’t the end of the world! Too much information perhaps, but issues the youngsters don’t have to think about at all.

Time to start blocking off this same weekend in next year’s calendar I think. If I am still blogging this time next July, you will hopefully be reading about my exploits at Belladrum 2023. If not, feel free to give me a serious rollicking. No more missing out.

Until next time…

Good Times Lyrics
(Song by Nile Rodgers/Bernard Edwards)

Good times
These are the good times
Leave your cares behind
These are the good times

Good times
These are the good times
Our new state of mind
These are the good times

Happy days are here again
The time is right for making friends
Let’s get together, how ’bout a quarter to ten?
Come tomorrow, let’s all do it again

Boys will be boys, better let them have their toys
Girls will be girls, cute ponytails and curls
Must put an end to this stress and strife
I think I want to live the sporty life

Good times
These are the good times
Leave your cares behind
These are the good times

Good times
These are the good times
Our new state of mind
These are the good times

A rumor has it that it’s getting late
Time marches on, just can’t wait
The clock keeps turning, why hesitate?
You silly fool, you can’t change your fate

Let’s cut the rug, a little jive and jitterbug
We want the best, we won’t settle for less
Don’t be a drag, participate
Clams on the half shell and roller-skates, roller-skates

Good times
These are the good times
Leave your cares behind
These are the good times

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

13 thoughts on “Missing Out On Festivals: There Could Have Been ‘Good Times’ at Belladrum”

  1. I’m with Mr WIAA on the bladder front.Men of a certain age!
    I’ve never been a fan of outdoor concerts given our Scottish summer weather.
    If I sound like an old foggie that’s probably because I am!

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    1. Festivals just weren’t a thing when we were young (other than the obvious really big ones) but for my daughter’s generation that’s how they used to spend many of their summer weekends. I just feel as if I need to go to our local one at least once and with the weather yesterday being really good, I think this should have been the year. Oh well.

      Yes, those pesky middle-aged bladders!

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  2. Looks like a great line up. Hope you manage to get there next year. I’ve only been to one open air concert and what was way back in 1972 at the Oval Cricket ground where the headline act was Frank Zappa!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a long time ago Lynchie and I think you’ve mentioned it before at some point – must have made an impact on you.

      Perhaps, coming from the North of Scotland, we are very untrusting of the weather in summer for open-air events. As it turns out last weekend would have been perfect but a lucky break for the organisers.

      Like

  3. Oh no, what a shame. As John says, yes, next year: JFDI! I’d have liked to have come to this one too – seeing Ash on the line-up and having thoroughly enjoyed them at my little local festival just last month. And Nile & Chic! Oh I’d love to catch them, conscious too that he’s not getting any younger (although neither he nor his trademark guitar sound seem to age). I’m sure Edwyn Collins, Dreadzone and Sam Ryder would have been worth the ticket price too. But there are bound to be some equally good and interesting artists next year so yes, we’ll be looking forward to reading your reviews in 2023…
    It can be a tough one with open-air events though, of course, when it comes to the weather. We were so lucky this year with a perfect day (although a bit chilly once the sun went down, however by that time we were warmed up on the good vibes alone – oh and some wine) but the previous one (2019) it was cold and damp and we spent most of the afternoon shivering and huddled up eating chips, before we left the grounds and took shelter in the nearby pub! Anyway I hope it all went well at Belladrum this weekend – and fingers crossed for next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes and from all accounts it went really well – perfect weather and a great line-up.

      As it turned out, to assuage my disappointment, Mr WIAA and I got the bus into town late afternoon and we did a tour of all the bars with outdoor seating areas. It was a lovely sunny day so we mingled with the tourists and even met some people we knew so an enjoyable time was had. After some food we got DD to drive us home (payback for all those lifts we’ve given her over the years!) and then we watched Belladrum on BBC Alba (presented by Gaelic speakers) – fortunately Nile and Chic didn’t sing in Gaelic, nor the rest of the line-up! The big stage is in a bit of a hollow surrounded by tall trees so looked really good as the sun was going down when the sky kind of turns purple. BUT, next year I’ll hopefully be there.

      I know how much you enjoyed your festival this year, especially after a dearth of such things happening because of you-know-what. Let’s hope your 2023 festival will be just as enjoyable.

      Like

  4. That’s a great line up – I’d go for Hamish Hawk alone – except… I wouldn’t. Not anymore.

    I spent a large part of my 20s and 30s attending live gigs and festivals, but that’s dwindled to a drip in the last few years, and lockdown finished me off. I don’t have the energy or the money anymore – even Bruce couldn’t tempt me next year (seen him lots, nearest gig was Birmingham, £150 a ticket).

    Still, I hope you go next year, and I hope you have a great time. I’ll live vicariously through those in my blogging circle who can still manage it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always been quite happy to leave it to the youngsters and if it’s a wet year I’m sure it would be gruelling indeed. Having said that, I write (tenuously at times) a music blog and I’ve not seen many of the big acts live. If there is any chance of doing so before I get far too old for such outdoor foolishness I feel I should make the attempt. This year would have been the year though as the weather was just perfect. Next year I might not be so lucky.

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  5. A wonderful post, Alyson, I really hope the weather favours next year’s festival too and that you do get there and have a great time.

    I was very interested in this year’s line up: Rol and C mentioned Hamish Hawk and Ash respectively and I was surprised to see Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie on the bill, I didn’t realise they were back (or indeed, possibly never stopped). Ibibio Sound Machine’s latest album is a highlight of 2022 for me and there are so many others there that I’d love to see.

    I passed up an opportunity to see Nile Rodgers & Chic in Bristol a few weeks back. My loss, I think.

    As for Daði Freyr, thanks for the reminder, I’d forgotten all about them. How rude of me, they’re great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by Khayem. As for next year’s festival, I’m full of it at the moment having just heard how great it went this year, but maybe by next year I’ll have got cold feet (literally if it’s a wet and miserable summer – although the way things are going with the temperatures, unlikely). Cross fingers I get my ducks in a row and make it.

      Yes, other than the acts in the top half of the bill I didn’t recognise many names, but I did spot Goodbye Mr Mackenzie. I certainly remembered them from back in the ’80s when there were so many Scottish bands around doing really well. Seems like they did stop for a long time, and some of them now have health issues, but good that they are back together again (without Ms Manson of course). It’s a bit of a shock when you see bands like these back together again as they of course have aged at the same rate as myself, which is a bit of a rude awakener.

      As C said above, Nile doesn’t ever seem to age however and his guitar playing is the same as ever – would have been good to see him. The Icelandic band that you have to cut and paste to type out (unless you have a very clever keyboard) would have been good to see also – loved their quirky Eurovision Song and good to know that doing well in the contest can lead to great things nowadays. Last year’s winner Måneskin (another tricky one to type) from Italy won a Grammy I think, and our boy this year would have probably won the contest had it not been a year with exceptional happenings going on in the world. He was supposed to be at Bella too but ended up being sick and had to cancel – probably burnt out after his rollercoaster of a year!

      Like

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