Solas Festival 2018 #4

Yesterday ended up being very long and busy, and so I’m only catching up now I’m home and have washed the dust and sweat off. It was a hot and sunny weekend from start to finish, which is just what you want when you’re camping at a festival, but it can be very physically demanding after a while.

Solas doesn’t have a particularly big budget for music, but it does an amazing job with what it has, and yesterday saw some fine performances – I particularly liked Lucia, Sagartoki and Walt Disco, but full marks for best act of the day go to Tom McGuire and the Brassholes, a jazz/funk band with a kickass brass section and a superb frontman. They were the last act to perform, and they really did close the festival in style.

I started off the final day at Solas with a film about the Faroe Islands presented and introduced by Lesley Riddoch, a prominent Scottish journalist. It was very interesting – hardly anyone has ever been there, but I have! Lesley is a very knowledgeable and interesting speaker and presenter, but I do feel that everything she does is very biased. While it’s impressive what the Faroes have achieved, the whole subtext of the film seems to shout “Scotland could be like this too, if it wasn’t for the bastard English!”, and I can’t help feeling that’s simplistic and naive. However, the film is well worth watching, as it does make you think what our priorities as a nation should be. It’s insane that the Faroes have such good internet connectivity – I live ten miles from the centre of Edinburgh and my internet is slower than an arthritic snail.

Lesley clearly likes things Nordic, as she then presented some Nordic artwork for us to admire, and it was interesting, although once again a bit anti-UK in outlook. Clearly a lot of Scottish nationalists like the Scandinavian model of doing things, and I suppose it’s fair that Scotland does have some cultural and ancestral links to our northern neighbours.

The rest of the day was largely music-orientated, but did include a bit of shopping with the traders, and some relaxing. The whole festival was really enjoyable this year, with a wonderful laid-back and inspirational vibe. It’s actually quite hard to describe what Solas is – it’s certainly not just a music festival, or just an arts festival. It’s got a bit of everything, and there’s a lot represented there, with a distinctly Scottish cultural vibe to it all.

I’ve normally left early on the Sunday but I stayed right to the end this time, being one of the last hardy campers to leave this morning. After six years at this gorgeous site, it’s all change for next year, moving to a new venue at Errol Park, between Perth and Dundee. I’ll miss The Bield, but it’s actually a religious retreat centre, so they’ll be glad to have their peace and quiet back! It really did make a great festival site, though, helping Solas grow from a tiny new event to an established fixture on the Scottish arts scene.

Looking forward to next year already!

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