LAST weekend, Skye Live returned to Portree after a two-year Covid-induced hiatus. 

Amidst the excitement of our trip to the much-anticipated music festival, we unwisely chose to ignore all weather forecasts and instead embarked on an extremely wet and windy night's camping in Glencoe en route, which ended in both a broken tent and a broken night's sleep in the car.

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With two days of music ahead of us, our arrival on the island's capital on Friday morning saw our Friday 13th bad luck change for the better: The rain cleared and after veggie breakfasts all-round in Café Arriba, we were ready to deal in tents once more.

The National:

As far as festival campsites go, you can't get much more idyllic than this. Situated on the peninsula, we were surrounded by views of the sea and Skye’s famous Cuillins in the distance.

Already one tent down, we went about pitching a borrowed tent which regrettably turned out to be the biggest the world has ever seen. It was so big that I am 100% certain that anyone who was at the campsite will be able to instantly identify the tent in question; I would therefore like to take this opportunity to formally apologise to those whose aforementioned sea views were obscured by a grey tarpaulin mass.

The National: Project SmokProject Smok

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From one massive tent to another, as the sun peaked through the clouds on Friday evening, we trooped down to the festival site where the theme of stunning views continued – the red circus-style tent stood on a hill on the peninsula looking directly out to sea. The tent meant that come rain or shine, the audience could enjoy the music while remaining dry, but this year we needn’t have worried – the forecasted rain never transpired, and we were gifted with warm temperatures and wind, eradicating any possible chance of midges.

On both days, the line-up was so good that the tent filled and the bar queue emptied as each act came on. It’s hard not to list all the acts as stand-outs, but on Friday Heisk, Project Smok and Talisk were particular highlights. Meanwhile during Niteworks’ closing set, the tent was alive with elation at the return of festivals.

The National: Elephant Sessions (Credit: Tim Craig)Elephant Sessions (Credit: Tim Craig)

On Saturday we headed down early to catch Skye local Brìghde Chaimbeul on the Scottish smallpipes. Joined by a guitarist for the latter part, the set increased in beat as it went on, culminating in a bopping crowd by 4.30pm.

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This energy was carried right through the night, with the bops soon developing into full-blown dancing. A shoutout has to go to Fat-Suit’s amazing set, with the eight-piece band clearly as delighted as the audience to be back in Skye. Dàimh, Trail West and Elephant Sessions followed in succession and had the crowd buzzing as strangers swung each other around.

The National: Trail West (Credit: Tim Craig)Trail West (Credit: Tim Craig)


What stood out most from the entire weekend was the pure joy felt by both the acts and audience alike at the return of Skye Live. From tiny babies sporting oversized headphones on their parents shoulders to festival-goers on their first of the season, hundreds of people were united under the roof of the tent by the common goal of having fun.

The vibe was infectious – everyone we spoke to, from fellow festival-goers to security on the doors, had a bounce in their step and smile on their face. It was a truly positive celebration of Scotland and I look forward to returning again, normal-sized tent in tow.