Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival is a music festival just five minutes from my parents home near Beauly in Inverness-shire. Since one of my favourite bands, The Proclaimers, were headlining we decided this summer was the perfect time to see what the “friendliest, wackiest, most inclusive festival in Scotland” had to offer.
John had never been to a festival before so didn’t know what to expect and our first impressions weren’t what I wanted his to be! The five minute journey from my parents took an hour and then we had to queue for over two hours for our bags to be checked and to collect our wrist bands. This year was the first the festival ran over three days and in past years campers were granted access a day early to ease congestion. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case this year and everyone arrived at once causing long delays and the first few bands to play to empty arenas. When we eventually got in we pitched up (with some help from a very nice soldier who was collecting for the Royal Legion), made ourselves some chicken burgers then headed out to explore the festival.
The festival itself is very artsy and there was an installation around every corner.
Everywhere you looked there was something different going on. You could try your hand at trapeze, circus skills, a myriad of dance styles, yoga, meditation and more or sit back and enjoy some live music, poetry, comedy or even an aerial stunt show.
It turns out circus skills aren’t my forte..
Performing artists roamed the arena with a metal unicorn and a highland cow whose rear end you needed to keep away from if you wanted to stay dry!
The lineup was varied and really did have something for everyone. Our favourite area was the Walled Garden which housed The Burk and Hair stage, a crazy steam punk bar where we watched a man DJ using two gramophones and another sing some pretty hilarious songs about celebrities.
Music wise we had three priorities to see over the course of the festival and none of them disappointed. KLOË, an 18 year old artist from Glasgow had amazing stage presence, Honeyblood, a musical duo also from Glasgow were album perfect and The Proclaimers were every bit as good as I had hoped.
To get a taste of what was on offer you can listen to the Belladrum 2015 playlist below.
There was a fantastic selection of food available and I enjoyed some mussels in white wine sauce from the Loch Fyne tent and a stone baked pizza which was the perfect way to sober up. The bar operated a token system which made it pretty quick to get a drink. We bought our tokens during the day when the queue was small and spent most of them at the main bar.
Having been to a couple of festivals one of the real pluses for me was that the toilets in the arena were cleaned continuously over the weekend. If you’ve been to a big festival you might empathize although if you’re planning to camp in the main site it might be a good idea to invest in tickets for the posh loos! For us camping in the main camp site turned out to be a little ambitious. The place was full of teenagers who had no intention of letting anyone get a wink of sleep and one who decided to use our BBQ as a football so after one night we accepted my parents offer of a comfy bed and some peace and quiet. In hindsight we should have opted for the family area but I was determined we were still too young for that!
We loved the chilled out atmosphere, beautiful setting and variety at Bella and will be back although next time I think we’ll leave the tent at home..