Cycling home in the dark into the teeth of a growing southerly gale, sitting at Cambridge Festival base camp seems a lifetime away. It is not just the music but the people who make the trip so worthwhile. Talking about this and that with guys you are comfortable with
while the Tiger Moths fly overhead in a warm climate is a great way to break the day-to-day routine of life in Applecross. A spot or two of music also played at camp.
We often meet up either at the Main Stage or Stage 2 as we head for the same area to watch the music, around 15 guys meeting up in a 14,000 crowd just happens again and again and is a lovely part of the Festival.
Also taking time out to wander by the Duck Pond when things get a little too tiring.
Other activities also took place like green haircuts, pedaling to produce the energy needed for the hairdresser.
Sunday morning began with a world band called Varldens Band, strong Swedish influence but they opened by dedicating their set to their lead singer, Charu Hariharan, who was refused a visa to enter the UK to sing at Cambridge. How ridiculous is that, she can travel round Europe but when it comes to sing here she gets turned down. Some of the group were quite visual in their appearance
and the Chora was out again.
They had a great set but really got the crowd going when they turned Scottish with some tunes by David Foley of RURA. He plays the flute as well as he beats the bodhran. Stayed at the Main Stage to hear Solas followed by Blazin’ Fiddles,
good rocking Celtic music at its best. Tiring badly by now but went over to the snooze spot by the back of the Stage 2 to listen to Della Mae, a grand all female blue grass band. Out for the count within minutes and woke up with Alister on one side
and Harry on the other. Appreciated the wake up as I heard them sing a brilliant version of Sixteens Tons. Was not too bothered as I knew they were back on at the Club Tent later and they were exquisite. By now I was well awake, fed and watered, and ready for what turned out to be one of the high lights of the Festival, a set by the brilliant Duncan Chisholm.
I have always known about his fiddling but never up till now paid too much attention to it. Back in my hazy past I was putting on events at our local hall and one of the best nights was to bring in Wolfstone, one of Duncan’s earlier bands. Struan was also playing in this band but has now turned his hand to marine electrics and has worked on the Varuna….fascinating how lives take different turns. Back to the gig and it was truly captivating, He has just completed a trilogy of albums with many slow airs and he took us all the way back to the Highlands up to his homeland of Farrar, and Affric. It was simply stunning and I turned round to some of the guys and could see in their eyes they were in the glens with me. His music and playing were immense. His band was not too shabby with Ali Hutton filling for Innes Watson, Megan Henderson, Jarlath Henderson, Greg Lawson and Su-a-Lee on the cello.
Noticed that Bruce MacGregor, Julie Fowlis and Jenna Reid were all on the edge of the audience watching and listening and that says so much to Duncan’s status. Went to buy the trilogy and chatted to him after and true to form he is very much a gentleman, naturally interested and appreciated the praise heaped on him. So by shaking his hand I completed very briefly meeting and shaking hands with a fine threesome of top Scottish fiddlers having already met up with John McCusker and Bruce MacGregor. It is not that any of anyone’s music was any less enjoyment but his Mr Chisholm’s set was awesome. Still to come, Baaba Maal, from a distance as was Imelda Mae, followed by another blast of Della Mae and finally although torn between the New Orleans Hot 8 Brass Band and Kila,
I opted for Kila to finish my Cambridge break.
Wonderful time, great food, company
and not too much cider and left with some great memories to see through the rest of the summer gales. A rapid and organised pack up
with Andy kindly running us back to Peterborough to catch the train north on Monday morning meant the Highlands were calling us home again.