DOUN tae Drumlanrig Castle at the weekend fir the Electric Fields music festival. Bocht tickets fir this a while back. We aye went tae the Wickerman Fest at Dundrennan an we wir richt hairtbrucken when they announced it wis tae fold eftir 2015. Houanevir, the evir entrepreneurial ee o Richard Buccleuch spottit an opporchancitie oan his duirstep an Electric Fields set itsel up as a rival pop festival in 2014.

Electric Fields is no quite oan the samen scale as Wickerman wis, but they hae goat a wheen o things richt in their recipe fir whit maks a successfu music fest. First ava, “location. location, location”! – the backdrop o Drumlanrig Castle, a muckle Battenburg cake o lowein rid saundstane, sittin in its bower o the Lowther Hills, maks fir a picture perfeck settin fir ony event! It’s a loat mair accessible as the Wickerman wis; reuchly an hour frae Glesga or Embra bi caur. It alsae sits a stane’s-thraw frae the main A76 road, connectin Ayr an Dumfries, sae that hale south/west corridor hae easy access til it. Public transport is available frae train stations as weel. This year (because it wis ma birthday oan the Friday!) the sun decided tae mak a big appearance as weel! The waither wis miraculously sunny fir baith days o the fest! Uncanny, gien the simmer we hae hud this year! Mind you, Buccleuch cuid faw in the Nith an cam oot wi twa salmon in his poackets!! Waither can mak or brek festivals!

We drave intil the estate Friday lunchtime. There wis quite a queue o traffic an it taen a wee while tae get the caur parked up an then humph oor gear til the admission gate. Agane thair wis a muckle queue streetchin doun the road o festival-goers. Aabody wis in fawmous fettle tho (frae twenty-stane Mohicans tae Dorothy an the cast o The Wizaed o Oz!) an the queue muived steadily forrit til suin we wir steggin up the brae tae the festival site itsel.

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Lik maist fowk we hud a boattle or twa o “adequate refreshment” in oor rucksack! But mair security at the gate suin pit peyed tae that! “Ye cannae tak alcohol in,” said the security man, addin apologetically, “Ah dinnae mak the rules”. Ah askt him: “Wha dis mak the rules?” He cuidnae tell me this. It’s ane o life’s mysteries; the “rules” are aye there – but naebody kens wha maks thaim! Whit a scunner! Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) alcohol wis then available oansite – at vastly inflated prices! Ach, weel, that’s festivals fir ye!

The festival field itsel hud a secure fence aroond it, an plenty o security men (an polis) subtly mingled in the backgrund. Ah daur say in these days o global craziness a wee bit weel-managed security disnae gang agley!? Onywey, enow o yer threipin Rab! Ye’re here fir a music fest!

Likesay, Electric Fields is no near oan the same scale as the big pop fests, but in its wee’er scale it dis exackly the same joab. Aiblins because it’s sic a manageable size the hale thing hus a verra relaxed, family-frienly an chilled-oot vibe tae it. Weans wir verra much in evidence an thair wis plenty ongauns at the site tae keep thaim amused! Soapy bubbles wis a big feature this year! Aawhaur ye luikt wee weans (an a wheen o big weans!) wir blawin these bubbles – an ither weans wir aye-an-oan chasin thaim tae pop thaim! Braw!

In the middle o the field wis a kindae fun-fair; a muckle Ferris Wheel an a big Waltzer, constantly birlin an whirlin day an nicht! ‘ Like Wickerman (whase model they must hae eidently studied…) thair wis a raw o beer/alcohol tents (wha likesay, chairged lik the Gordon Hielanders!!) an a byordnar selection o food ootlets at The Pitt Food Market that sellt aathing frae sushi, burgers, noodles, pancakes, pizza an e’en guid auld haggis! The staundart o the food wis really excellent! Oor Mag washt the scran doun wi a strawberry daiquiri frae the cocktails tent (it wid hae blewn yer heid aff!).

Ee’n tho thair wis a selection o entertainment available; Main Stage; Discover Stage; Sneaky Pete’s; Redeemer Stage; an the tremendous Neu Reekie “word tent” (whaur Liz Lochhead an Billy Letford gien stormin poetry readins!), we set oot oor pitch in front o the sound desk fir the Main Stage an ettled oan juist listenin tae some eclectic music acts. A wheen o the baunds werenae fameeliar tae us, mind you it wis a braw mix o auld an new that hud somethin fir aabody! The warm sunshine made it aa soun guid! New acts lik This Is The Kit and Whyte Horses Experience made us sit an tak in whit wis fir us “new music” – an we wir nane the waur o it! Whyte Horses Experience ah especially likit! A kindae surreal/melodic mix o Stereolab meets Nico an The Velvet Underground. Sunny day music indeed! The next act wis e’en sunnier! 80s Ska/Two-Tone heroes The Beat hud the hale crood dancin lik crazy! Local Scots rockers Fatherson wir tremendous! A group oan the brink o global stardom! Then fir the auld codgers lik masel we hud Peter Hook (ex Joy Division/New Order) an his baund The Light. Hooky’s music hus loast nane o its pouer ower the decades. He wis great! An hud time fir the fans – takkin his shirt aff at the end an chuckin it intil the crood! Anither super-appreciatit set cam frae Jim Reid’s The Jesus and Mary Chain – a huge crood o fowk surged tae the Main Stage fir this. Yin o the heichlichts o the festival. Tae roond things aff they hud Dizzee Rascal – whae’s manic rappin an braithtakkin licht show blew aabody awa! A fittin finale tae twa days o superb music!

Aye, Electric Fields hae the richt recipe tae tak ower as south-west Scotland’s premiere pop festival! Fareweel tae the Wickerman! Lang leeve the Leccy Fields!!