Wickerman Festival 2010 – The Words

The Wicker Man

The Wicker Man

So… Wickerman Festival. Over 250 miles from home according to the AA routefinder, and not so public transport friendly but a line up that made my eyes water. I’d considered going on the Happy Bus from Aberdeen but that meant travelling during the day on the Thursday and there didn’t seem to be much happening on the Thursday night anyway so the decision to drive was made. Had considered leaving really early on the Friday but since the car was packed and I was eager to get there I set off around midnight on the Thursday. The journey was pretty straight forward until I got to leaving the motorway for Dumfries around 5/6am or something. Twenty minutes I thought from the motorway to WM after a quick scan of the map. WRONG. Although the area itself was very beautiful it took what seemed like HOURS to do that final step of the journey. I also found that after Dumfries there were very little signposts so after driving a few miles you have that nagging doubt that you’re on the right road. After you leave the motorway there seems to be limited places to fill up with petrol so that’s something to be aware of should you ever travel to WM.

Sunrise in Dumfries and Galloway

Sunrise in Dumfries and Galloway

Once you get there finding the site itself is pretty easy and you are about 11 miles from the nearest town (Dalbeattie I think it was) with a petrol station with decent opening hours so not being sure when I was leaving the festival I took the chance to go and fill up in preparation for the drive home arriving back at WM around 8am. It was a leisurely drive and as I said, it’s a cracking area if you appreciate scenery and suchlike. A visit to Kirkcudbright is well worthwhile if you have time.

MacLellan's Castle, Kirkcudbright

MacLellan's Castle, Kirkcudbright

The River Dee, Kirkcudbright

The River Dee, Kirkcudbright

Sorting a parking space at WM was very straight forward, no hassles there and from what I can gather although the festival arena area itself is vast even the furthest away parking spaces are two fields (a form of measurement that is apt to festival discussions) away from the main arena so there’s not too much time wasted in walking to your car. There had a been a bit of rain in the last day or two in D&G but the ground was mud free so far with the only dampness down to the morning dew. So, parked up and now queuing for the proverbial wristband to gain entry to the Wonderful World that is Wickerman. The tent situation can wait till later. Browsing the site when its newly opened lets you see just how big it is, it actually looks much smaller when it’s populated by the WM residents.

The Scooter Tent

The Scooter Tent

Summerisle Stage
Summerisle Stage

Before I go any further I think I should mention what a super-handy bit of kit the `programme` was, not an A4 glossy magazine as some may imagine but a series of small shiney cards that come with a neck lanyard. The cards show the running order of all the various stages even with times to give some sort of guide as well so you can (roughly) plan who you want to see, where and when. Well worth a fiver in my humble anyway. A map of the venue is included as well as listing for all the smaller events that are going on. If you are going between just a couple of the stages then putting their cards at the front and the back of the set makes finding them much easier.

Drinks were purchased by a token system, which were £1.70 each. A soft drink was one token, and an alcoholic drink was two tokens. Other than late at night the queues to the bars didn’t seem too lengthy and I don’t remember having to wait too long to be served at any time. Food was available from a circle of sources, from traditional Scottish food to Thai. For a price comparison a cheeseburger was £3.50 and a portion of chips was £2.50. I couldn’t see myself paying a fiver for a Braveheart milkshake though, however challenging it was to finish it.
There seemed to be a number of families in attendance, the kids seemed happy, but never intruding and running about unattended. Having said that there was plenty for them to do with all sorts of minor events taking place, storytelling, juggling, puppets, kite making, clowns, and of course the singalongs! The child/youth/adult divide was a million miles away and everyone just seemed to be there to enjoy themselves and just got on with it.
Browsing some of the smaller tents and outdoor stages was a totally timeless and rewarding experience. I visited the acoustic tent on a number of occasions over the weekend but one of my favourite stories was from a more traditional Scottish  band playing outdoors. I stumbled upon it just as they were playing Loch Lomond (one of my favourite songs anyway) and one couldn’t help but join in with the singalong that the small audience had generated. Next to be played was the teasing Gay Gordons no doubt with the hope that the audience would get their dancing shoes on. One couple did, as did a dad with his wee boy. Now, after the dance was finished that wee fella made his way to the stage where he was invited to be drummer for a few minutes. There was a silence and a long pause as he initially hesitated but when the skin finally made a pow there was generous applause from the crowd. Not sure if that’s described very well but I guess maybe you had to be there! The band are below, and the drummer is next.
Beautiful Music From Beautiful People

Beautiful Music From Beautiful People

I did it Daddy!

I did it Daddy!

I could probably go on for ages about some of the other stuff that was going on but to save me boring you even more here are some pictures that might help.

Bloke on a Bike on a Narrow Beam

Bloke on a Bike on a Narrow Beam

West African Drumming

West African Drumming

The Official Merch Stall

The Official Merch Stall

Have to say that even the toilets were more than acceptable for cleanness, and there didn’t seem to be too many queues at any given time, not that I noticed anyway. A trivial point perhaps, but maybe something that festival goers appreciate.

A Urinal, Wickerman Style

A Urinal, Wickerman Style

Despite everything going on sometimes its just good to get some `chill the fuck out` time…

Chilling at Wickerman

Chilling at Wickerman

At midnight there is the ceremonial burning of the Wicker Man, which was followed by an 808 State DJ set. A perfect way to round off an amazing weekend. Thanks WM people, its been awesome.   Still Burning.

Wicker Man feels the heat

Wicker Man feels the heat

808 State DJs at work

808 State DJs at work

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