“ Inverness-shire / Scotland „
**EDIT**I edited this after a comment saying that my list was basically my whole review so I have cut out most of the list and left in a couple of bands I went to see that were good
The tartan heart is different from T in the park. This year (2008) there was more drunken teenagers than the last time I went. This is possibly because of the selection of bands. But more about that later.
THINGS TO DO
There was not many things for older children to do last year, say kids that were JUST getting in for the under 12s go free offer. There was some things there though. There was some things for 15+ ages to do such as belly dancing, yoga, and the drinks bar. There was also the worls smallest nightclub there which sold tiny martinis at the side of the club. There was a buddhist temple there where regular chanting, meditation, and reciting took place, an there was an awning type tent where arty things were taking place. For example, You could make a collage out of magazine cuttings, you could paint a pattern on a small circular bit of wood and thread string through it to make a medallion or draw whatever you like on a prayer flag.
Also the Co-op had a few stalls. one where you could make a speech on anything for 3 minutes and win a dram of scotch whiskey. next to that was a fairtrade cafe and poetry behind it.
across from that was a smoothie cycle. this cost £2. What you do is sit on the bike that powers the blender, you pedal like mad untill your smoothie is smooth enough. then you can really fell that you have earned it.
there was lots of bands at this years festival and the most famous one was definitely Scouting For girls. Here are the ones that I can remember seeing
Scouting for girls
Kazoo Funk Orchestra
Orkestra Del Sol
The Kazoo Funk Orchestra were great! My friend and I just sort of stumbled across them on our way back from the stinky portaloos and I am thankful that we did! (stumble across the band not go to the stinky portaloos you understand) Nobody saw all of them because to fit in that many bands in 3 days you would need to play some at the same time.
There were quite a few stalls to buy useless holiday crap from to give to your friends. these same things are sometimes the sort of things that spontaneously combust if you look at them bus in saying that I got my cat a hairbraid with a feather attached to it and it is still there! (well... parts of it is.)
There was many portaloos but they dit start to get rather smelly. by the saturday, there was puke in the sinks and people had adopted them as rubbish bins.
I did enjoy this festival but might not go again next year.
It used to be really good but since scouting for girls got famout it is more 15 year olds that have went with their tents and wellys.
I wouldnt really reccomend it for younger children.
Tartan Heart Music festival is held annually in August at the Belladrum estate a few miles from Inverness. It is different from the mainstream music festivals as it is family friendly with kids under 12 given free entry. The music is not mainstream music on the whole, it is a mixture of Scottish music and there are also various environmental events, poetry readings, food stalls and kids events over the weekend. I have visited the festival twice, in 2006 and 2008 and will share my different experiences of the event.
My first visit to Tartan Heart was in 2006, we visited in a group comprising of 3 adults, two ten year olds and two teenagers and had a great time. The festival was only in its second or third year and was relatively small. The atmosphere was very family friendly, the kids attended various free art and drama events over the weekend and had a whale of a time. We stayed in the family campsite but to be honest there was very little difference between the atmosphere between the family and general campsite. There was a relaxed feel about the whole camp, there were adults enjoying a drink but nobody was rowdy and there was a good banter amongst the campers with hot air balloon rides and a massive campfire being lit in the evenings.
Inside the main festival the headline act were The Proclaimers who played in the open air amphitheatre and the atmosphere was great fun. I was also impressed by the vegan wholefood café, the mobile cinema showing free films and the ceilidhs and smaller music tents. The fashion police were also wandering about giving fashion advice to campers who were soaked by the rain.
Moving on to 2008 we decided it was time for a return visit to Belladrum, this time my group of two adults and a child stayed in the relative luxury of a caravan instead of a tent. The festival had grown by then, in 2006 there were probably less than 3000 visitors but in 2008 there was a full capacity crowd of 12000. This meant that the campsite had grown enormously and we were now a long walk away from the festival, I saw tents camped in fields a very long way away.
We found the festival far less enjoyable second time round, mainly because of the crowds but also due to the different type of festival goer. There were still loads of kids visiting but there were also a lot of unaccompanied teenagers and young adults who were there solely to get as drunk as possible away from parental supervision. This meant that the campsites were really noisy overnight, the toilets were spotless the first time we visited and unusually for festival toilets were also stocked with loo roll all the time but in 2008 the toilets were littered with empty booze bottles and vomit.
The musical line up had changed in 2008, this time popular act Scouting For Girls were playing which accounts for the larger number of teenagers visiting but the smaller tents still had smaller acts and Scottish music. We visited the poetry tent where there were readings but most seemed to just want to sprawl on the sofas to have a rest and we also saw some awful band singing bad political songs.
The whole festival felt more commercialised second time around, the vegan café and cinema were gone and replaced with a porridge bar and burger bars and there were fewer kids attractions. We still enjoyed some events like the worlds cheesiest disco playing in a field one night and visiting the Buddhist temple but overall the even just didn't have the same laid back vibe.
If you decide to visit Tartan Heart festival in Belladrum estate here are some tips to help you prepare. The festival is at the mercy of the Scottish weather so come well prepared by bringing a raincoat, wellies, a woolie hat, sunscreen, flip flops, shorts and midge repellent. Make sure you take some baby wipes so you can have a quick wipe down every day, there is cold running water for drinking but no washing facilities within the campsite. The campsite is set on a hill and both years I attended cars got stuck in the mud and needed to be pulled out of the site by tractors so either aim to leave early or prepare to wait in a long queue to get home again. There was poor mobile phone reception on the festival site, like most of the Highlands Vodafone had the best signal and O2 only had a very patchy signal.
I think it's a pity that Tartan Hearty festival seems to have strayed from its roots in Scottish music to become more commercialised, still it has a wide appeal to a large age range of visitors and if you prepare well you can have a good time.
One of the biggest concerts in the UK!