I have summer cold and a hacking cough but the sky outside is a beautiful blue, the water of Leith is still and the sun is slowly setting so you know what, it really isn’t that bad. I just wish I could sleep properly so apologies if there is any daft ramblings in here. This brief illness, I hope it is brief, has also postponed any trips local tourist trips but on the plus side I had a brilliant time at Kelburn at the start of July and that’s what I thought I would blog about today. I am planning another blog post about their single use plastic shortly.
So that’s my yearly festival trip done. I’m not brilliant with big crowds and after one day at T in the Park many years ago I had kind of decided that weekend long festivals weren’t my thing. Mr IHR has been to lots of them and had recommended I come to Kelburn Garden Party but a mate’s hen do meant the first year I joined him was last year. I was nervous and thought that no amount of scenery or music would make me enjoy myself, I steeled myself to endure the weekend rather than enjoy it. I was proved entirely wrong – last year I adored Kelburn I loved the place, the music and the people we were with. I took hardly any photos, same this year actually – but I remember it well.
This year the weather wasn’t as kind as last year. Friday night ended up in a tent-aggedon situation with people returning in the howling wind and driving rain to find their tents flat and gathering water in what had been its roof. I was cosy in our van, wrapped in a duvet in a gin-based sleep but the wind did wake me once or twice. One of the stages (The Landing Stage run by Chapel Perilous some of Mr IHR’s friends) had been destroyed and their equipment flooded but due to their absolutely, amazing, awesomeness they were back up and running by nine o’clock on Saturday night. Their stage was truly breathtaking on the Friday night with the music seeming to come from every direction and incredible visuals. Saturday and Sunday they only had half the stage but the sound was still enough to force you to move and dance up a storm. Friday night I particularly enjoyed Sketch the Rhyme and Nightmares on Wax.
Kelburn had extended the site this year up into the glen with art sculptures dotted around the trail. I didn’t care for a lot of the art sculptures but that’s just my taste. The twenty minute trek up through the trees to the furthest away stage was stunning, past waterfalls, through tea caves with background music from the various other stages drifting up the trail. When the treetops seemed incredibly close and the gorge to the stream steeper than ever the noise of an old school rave could be heard. Sitting on a log, drinking a cider with friends punctuated by dancing like a loon in the treetops was lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Dancing into the wee small hours with good mates and some White Russians were the perfect way to see the sunrise on the Sunday. Saturday night gave me a new favourite band too – Gentleman’s Dub Club and then I got to relive some Glasgow memories courtesy of Optimo.
Sunday was fuelled by a three course breakfast courtesy of my mates. The right fuel to explore the Secret Forest which comprised of goblin castles, wee wooden houses, chinese-style pagodas and a gingerbread house. More dancing followed with Orkestra Del Sol being a highlight along with DJ Vadim & MC Sena and some fireside chat while listening to Rozi Plain (not a favourite of mine but my friends loved her) and watching the sun.
Kelburn is a beautiful estate. The trees and glen are stunning and the views across the Firth of Clyde as the sun goes down and comes up can’t help but make you smile. The castle itself is special in its own right having been graffitied with colours and images jumping out at you and each time you look at it you see something different. We always talk about going through to Kelburn at another point of the year just to see what it is like – as yet we haven’t managed it!
As someone who will probably never go to Glastonbury or any of the big festivals Kelburn is just perfect for me and I would recommend people try to get a ticket. I’ll see you there with a cider in hand dancing like a maniac to some good music!
*All photos are from the Kelburn Photo Gallery 2015 the images used are photos taken by Graham Wynne and Stevie Powers.