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Summer Festivals: Looking Back At The Fab Four of 2018

Updated: Mar 21, 2019

As I spent my most of my twenties and my early thirties living in Asia, I had never really attended UK festivals until I had a baby. However - and this is one of the reasons I created the Babble Rock community - I found that the birth of the tot saw me engage other hobbies that hadn't previously been on my radar, especially kayaking.

Along with Xani's dad and my friend Andy, I hit Eden Festival and Doune the Rabbit Hole in 2016, when he was 4 months and 7 months old respectively, peeled back a bit in 2017 by managing just the one trip to Eden, and then went large last year with tickets to Knockengorroch World Ceilidh, Eden Festival, Kelburn Garden Party, and Doune.

We are tremendously excited about our upcoming plans to attend Wildhood Festival and Knockengorroch World Ceilidh this year. I hope you'll join us there and if you do, please check out the Babble Rock event pages created to help us coordinate with each other when setting up camp (links further down post). Remember, the Babble Rock event pages are for us to coordinate our camping and meet-ups only. All tickets must be purchased via the official festival websites only (again, links at the end of this post).

But before we put our entire focus on 2019's forthcoming fun, here is a quick review of The Fab Four Festivals of 2018....

Knockengorroch World Ceilidh 24th-27th May 2018:



By far the best one last year, and if we do any other festival apart from Wildhood this year, it'll be Knockengorroch. The vibe was an eclectic mix of what felt like lovingly chosen strands of music and culture from the Gaelic heart of Scotland, radiating out to encompass unexpected and intimate performances circumnavigating the globe . It was like nothing I've ever heard at a festival before - even those billing themselves as "boutique" (I bloody hate that phrase!): from Tibetan chanting, to the justified rage of Loki the Scottish Rapper; from spoken word performances to a group from West Africa whose identity draws on a rich cultural heritage of female warriors in the Republic of Benin.

Arghhh....Knockengorroch was sooo good; my crappy words don't do it justice, and neither do my photos!

Eden Festival 7th-10th June:



OK, I'll preface this by saying that I attended Eden in 2016 and 2017, and loved it both years. However in 2018 it was my least favourite festival, and I don't think I'm alone in finding it a different atmosphere to the family-friendly vibe of the preceding years. The sound system was awful; throughout the festival it was a talking point amongst people as to why. Position of the stages? ....Technical problems with the speakers? Who knows....suffice to say, it was a bass-y, throbbing headache. In addition, there was a crowd there that were more T-In-The-Park and less child-friendly than at previous years. I mean seriously less child-friendly. However, as you can see from the pics, a lot of that was our issue; there were quite a few child-friendly activities & Xani seemed to enjoy himself!

Kelburn Garden Party 29th-2nd July:



I don't know how it happened but I took practically no photos at Kelburn Garden Party! Which is a shame for the purposes of this post, because the environment was absolutely beautiful, set in the grounds of stunning Kelburn Castle, with its ancient forest, and its coastal views. However I think perhaps it was the "busiest" festival: the most widely spread out, and possibly the one with the most variety, encompassing as it did the main festival area, the Neverending Glen (which incorporated art installations and pop-up stages throughout the forest), and a whole host of fantastic family-friendly activities. It wasn't as intimate as Knockengorroch or Doune but for activities with a huge appeal for every age group - from the award-winning and totally awesome Let's Circus, to the Lullabies Collective, where you could give your babies a bubble bath in a communal tent whilst performers played music and read stories to them - it really was an amazing weekend!

Doune the Rabbit Hole 13-16th July:



Ah Doune...

The music wasn't as culturally varied, nor were the artists - aside from the lemon-freshly-stingingly talented Justice-for-Grenfell warrior Akala - as interesting as those who stunned us at Knockengorroch. It didn't boast the plethora of experiences that Kelburn offered. So why did I love Doune the Rabbit Hole so much? I've been mulling over the same question, and I think, like most things in life, it partly comes down to the F-word: Friends. I attended Doune with one of my oldest friends, Andy Inglis, and also one of my newest, fellow Babble Rock moderator Allan McDermid and his family. Their collective company lifted what was already a fantastic festival into an even more wonderful experience. But even for those of you who aren't friends with Andy or Allan (😉), Doune Festival still comes highly recommended. With solidly decent music and a family area where the activities are designed to encourage kids and adults to play together, rather than the latter watching the former, it was a fantastic wee festival to finish the 2018 season off with. A focus on family-centered wellness was a nice touch, with a kids' yoga tent and The Scapa Experience tent (a taster for the Scapa Fest, which is a multi-day outdoor yoga and adventure event, well worth checking out in 2019 here).

Looking back at 2018 whilst writing this review has reminded me how fortunate I feel to have made Scotland my home. Four fantastic festivals attended last year, all under an hour & fifteen minutes drive from my door; most around 50 - 60 minutes away.

And Xani's dad and I are really excited for what 2019 has in store: not just attending Wildhood Festival and Knockengorroch World Ceilidh ourselves but how many of you lovely folk from Babble Rock have said you'll attend one or both of those with us! Remember, if you are coming, do consider signing up on the Babble Rock Facebook group meet-up pages for Wildhood here and Knockengorroch here* and use them to keep in touch, and coordinate camping or meet ups with other Babble Rockers at the festivals. As well as the Babble pages, do also sign up to the following official Facebook pages for both festivals for up-to-date info put out by the festival organisers.



*Remember, the "Babble Rock Goes to Wildhood!" and "Babble Rock Goes to Knockengorroch!" event pages are for friends who are attending these festies together. They are NOT official festival pages, nor are they affiliated to either festival in any official capacity, nor does does Babble Rock seek to profit from either festival in any way whatsoever. Like all other Babble Rock events, they are just a peer-to-peer grouping of like-minded friends who are attending the same event 🙂 .

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