Highlights: The Wickerman Festival

Tess Askew | Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Highlights: The Wickerman Festival

The Wickerman festival takes place in July of each year on the idyllic Solway Coast. Two full days and nights of entertainment culminate in a breathtaking climax on the Saturday night, with the burning of the Wickerman, which this year was especially spectacular. With fog low in the sky, booming music in the distance, nothing but hills, people and the giant Wickerman in flames this is one festival that is decidedly above average.

Musically, there is something for everyone: you are never lost for musicians to watch. Everywhere you turn, there’s a tent with something on. Take your pick from a range of genres; dance, acoustic, reggae, ska, indie, punk, folk, chillout, it’s all happening. The music had been booked with no pretense in mind, and it works so well. The festival has a very relaxed, family-friendly feel to it in the day, and by night turns into a lovely little community-feeling party venue.

The one new band that stood out in particular were a Scottish band named The Fire and I, who played the Capitol 'emerging talent' tent. It was easy to be drawn in by their sound, which is energetic and powerful. By the sheer volume behind this band, you would think that there were more than just two of them; and this is what makes them interesting and different.

The band consists of a lively, tight drummer, and talented bassist, who both use effects and samplers. Sounding a little bit like Biffy Clyro, these guys are definitely a tip for the future from the festival. What makes this band so special is the fact that you can see on their faces that they love what they are doing, and that makes you love what they are doing too.

Another impressive band playing the Capitol tent is Root System, with their up-to-date ska that’s crazy, perfected and very, very energetic.
The tent started off relatively busy, and just got busier and busier, to the point where it was full of people moving; everyone was dancing, or at least taping their foot and nodding their head.

Frontman Kevin is a treat to watch; boots and a kilt is all he wears - it seemed right at a festival such as this, set in the middle of nowhere with nothing but hills and greenery surrounding. He jumped into the crowd to have a dance a couple of times, and got some fans up on stage to join in, creating a real party vibe, which is perfect for Saturday afternoon festival entertainment.

The Capitol tent is a real winner for the weekend, it's one of the busiest and most energetic and is full of emerging bands that are on the brink of becoming massive.

In the Solus new talent tent, Jesus H Foxx performed. The band are making a name for themselves on Edinburgh’s local indie scene at the moment. The band are a bit of a shambles, but it seems to work, and they are going to continue the growth in fanbase they already have.

Edinburgh drum-and-bass duo Codenine warm up the Bhuta dance tent nicely in the afternoon with their summer vibed tunes. The potty-mouthed, fake tanned, y-front wearing Cuban brothers get everyone going with their comedy/music routine on the main stage, followed by Dance/Ska specialists Dub pistols; their sound is perfect for this weather and these surroundings. Dance legend Annie Nightingale also performed a blinding breaks set in the Bhuta tent to much acclaim.

After the midnight burning of the Wickerman on Saturday, X-press 2 performed an impressive set full of exclusives and remixes, the perfect end to a perfect festival.

These are just a few of the highlights of what was overall a very impressive line up of musicians at an amazing festival. Wickerman is highly recommended if you are looking for good music, good people and good vibes in one of the most beautiful places in Scotland.