The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Building and Burning The Wickerman 2011

The Wickerman Festival is not on the same scale as the T in the Park music festival Rogan and Holly attended back in June; nor does it attract the same high-level bands. Whereas this year's T in the Park had headliners like U2 and Coldplay, The Wickerman had James and Feeder.

Basically, if you’re playing at the Wickerman, you’re either moving up from small, local band status, or you might have had a few chart hits several years (or decades) ago, but your fan base primarily comes from people who remember you from their youth.

However, it does have 2 distinct advantages over other, larger music festivals. The first is it’s less than 15 miles away, and the second is it has a giant willow sculpture that goes up in flames at midnight on the Saturday.

And it is damned impressive both before and after it does.

Because I know Trevor Leat, one of the sculptors of The Wickerman (built by, last year I popped out one day during the building of it to take photos (see - Building The Wickerman), then went along to the festival and took photos of it burning down (see - Burning The Wickerman).

This year we planned it a bit more and I went out on site half a dozen times so I could create a sequence of photos showing it being built at several different stages.

The steel frame was still in place from last year’s sculpture, but they repositioned the arms, removed the bow and this year added antlers to create a stag-headed man design.

Below are a few taster photos of the complete sequence, which can be found by following the links at the end of this post to my Facebook or Flickr albums.

As always, feel free to click on any of the images for larger versions.

Starting at the bottom of last year's frame and working upwards

The arms are repositioned

The scaffolding gets higher

The brave photographer scales the scaffolding to see the head being built.

Admiring festival goers give the completed sculpture a sense of scale

One food stall taking full advantage of bonus publicity...

Going up in flames

Because of the direction of the wind, one arm and one antler remain long after the rest has burned away


The full set of images on Facebook
The full set of images on Flickr

Trevor Leat's website
Alex Rigg's website
Leat-Rigg website


hope said...

It's been a year already?!

Although Hubby the Archery Shop owner might've mourned the loss of that bow, Hubby the Deer Hunter probably will like the update.

Amazing, as always!

LegalMist said...

Really neat... very creative way to have a big bonfire!

Brindy said...

What a fabulous structure for a skyline. Seems a shame to burn it down.

Anonymous said...

Checked all your photos out on Facebook and flickr...great shots...I enjoyed learning about The Wickerman and the men who built him. Thanks for sharing!

Pat said...

I don't really do bonfires but this is so impressive I'd love to see it. Off to follow the links.

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - made out of 10 feet of scaffolding pole, I don't suppose the bow would have been very useful. However he does commissions if you husband is ever looking for something interesting to have outside the shop :)

LegalMist - it stirs something very primal witnessing this huge willow figure going up in flames - it never fails to impress

Jacqui - it's built with burning in mind - stuffed with straw and soaked in diesel. A bit like ice sculptures, the temporary nature of them is what makes them extra special

Theanne & Baron - glad you like the images :)

Pat - it was very impressive. Hope you like the rest of the photos :)

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

I googled 'wickerman' and found the movie's plot [imagine very scared eyes bugging out of my head now]...

Falak said...

Looks amazing! I would have surely made it a point to attend the festival if I could stay put in Scotland for longer :(

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana_Gyal - the 1970s movie is a cult classic - the only version worth seeing. Do not waste your time with the Nicolas Cage remake. But some of the original movie was shot in this area, which is where they got the idea from. However, they don't stuff the Wickerman with people for the festival :)

Falak - it is a shame the timings were so bad while you were here - I would love to have been able to meet up

Anonymous said...

Has it been that long since I've not visited? Lots of new posts...great images of the 2011 Wickerman.

Kim Ayres said...

For several weeks I've rarely been posting more than once a week, but this week more has been happening...

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