The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Festivals, Photography, and The Cracked Man

Music Festivals come in all shapes and sizes - from the megaliths such as T in the Park, where more than a quarter of a million people gather in front of stadium-sized stages, down to local pubs putting on a few bands and maybe a couple of extra flavours of beer.

This corner of Scotland has many music festivals of one kind and another across the summer, although not those which are the size of a small city.

Two of my favourites were this month - Eden Festival, which completely sold out its 8,000 tickets this year for the first time in it's short history, and Gatehouse Midsummer Music Festival, which has attendance numbers in the hundreds, but is nonetheless passionately organised by local musicians and is spread across the pubs and community spaces throughout the wee town.

Although very different in size and feel to each other, one thing they did have in common was my band, The Cracked Man, performed in both. At Eden we played late on the Friday afternoon in the beer tent, Rabbie's Tavern, and a week later, at Gatehouse, we were playing in the Masonic Arms on the Saturday afternoon.

The Cracked Man at Eden Festival
Photo courtesy of Pete Robinson of PR Imaging

When you're a local band without a huge following, payment tends to come in the form of a free ticket to the event. In exchange for anything from 20 minutes to an hour's performance, you get to spend the rest of the weekend watching other bands play and, in my case, wander around with the camera.

For a photographer, one of the great aspects of Eden Festival is upwards of 40% of people will dress up to varying degrees - from a bit face paint and glitter, through to unicorn onesies. At Gatehouse there's a casual intimacy where you can't walk more than 5 yards without bumping into someone you know.

Unlike the giant festivals - run and sponsored by huge corporations, which see them as a money-making machine - local music festivals only survive by the passion and support of music lovers and the local community. Everyone is volunteering and any money made is plowed back into next year's, with the hope they can afford a bigger band to headline it.

Live music is an entirely different beast to listening to CDs or downloads on your iPhone. The connection between the performer and the audience takes the experience to a whole new level.

Make sure you go along and support your local music festivals, and if there aren't any in your area, then come to Dumfries and Galloway in Summer and you'll be spoilt for choice.

On the 9th of July we're playing an entirely acoustic set at the Newton Stewart and Minnigaff Traditional Music Festival. Come along if you can.

In the meantime, here's a wee selection of my photos from Eden and Gatehouse festivals, and you can find more on my Facebook page here:

Eden Facebook Link
Gatehouse Facebook Link

Susi Sweetpea - the best faerie in Scotland

Mobile piano

Dressing up is not just for teenagers

There's a reason I mentioned unicorn onesies in the main part of this blog...

King Charles - it was a music festival so I thought I'd better put a band pic up, although at Eden I think I enjoy photographing the revellers more

One of Galloway's hardest working singers, and a festival favourite, Zoë Bestel playing at Gatehouse

The Barr Stools are great for good rocking pub folk music

Samson Sounds - lots of influences - from Dub to Jazz

Headliners, Bombskare were awarded BBC4's Best Part Time Band in the UK. It was announced on TV at the same time they were playing in Gatehouse.

Susi the faerie's daughter giving it laldy


Pat said...

How tempting to just drift round and feast one's eyes. And then there's the music

Pat said...

Forgot to say you got me with the mobile piano. What a face.

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - it was a lot of fun :)

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