This Linkylea article was written by Ruaridh Fleck, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse
Linkylea opened earlier last month on the 11th September at Colstoun Estate in Scotland. The first thing that struck me was the sensational layout; everything felt close together and intimate. I could especially see the appeal to families with small children who were able to keep an eye on them from the other side of the site. At other festivals I often find myself trailing back and forth over long distances, which in rain is particularly unpleasant. However the proximity at Linkylea made it easy to slip in and out with only a drop or two on your head.
The tents consisted of the Granny Radge, The Samedia, Sarita and the Mighty Oak Sound System. They were decorated beautifully, all providing their own unique aura – something many dance tents at other festivals lack. Often it’s difficult to process what the themes are, but certainly not at Linky.
The size of the tents was also perfect. Sometimes dance zones are too big and feel rather forsaken or tiny, claustrophobic and severely difficult to manoeuvre around in. At Linkylea the tents were heaving but also allowed enough room to comfortably wriggle in and out of.
The buoyant daytime activities really kept the festival alive. It was the first time I had ever seen hamster wheels at a festival – and what a tremendous idea! The kids absolutely loved bumping and crashing into their buddies and it was completely safe! The arena also doubled into a small football pitch. Belly dancers moving to an invigorating mix of electronic dance music made a lovely change between bands. Also there was an ample selection of craft stalls and of course face painting! This created a wonderful atmosphere; everyone was giddy with excitement.
There was also a great fire, the perfect place to loosen up. The twinkling sparks shone up into the night like fireflies. However, besides the bonfire, Linkylea lacked somewhere to chill-out. If you didn’t want to dance it was difficult to find somewhere to sit back and relax. It would really benefit from a chill-out space like the Vishnu lounge at Eden.
Linky offered a nice selection of different music. Nine Bullets at the Granny Raj had a really nice yet aggressive attitude to their music, but the singer wasn’t to everyone’s taste. The Bluesberries later on had a unique swing to their songs, and their extremely talented guitarist had everyone swaying to the beat.
Supa & da Kryptonites, undoubtedly one of the best acts of the Friday night, surprised everyone with their rare combination of rap and rock. It was absolutely outstanding; the soothing trumpets, the heavy drums, and the smooth female vocalist enriched by an unbelievably brilliant wordsmith: a prodigious feat. On straight after were Frantic Chant, taking things on a psychedelic journey with their fluid guitar rifts and dreamy vocals.
Another band I really loved was Logan’s Close. This sweet rock’n’roll and rhythm and blues trio were awesome! They really rocked the roof off with their sleek guitar solos and incredible vocals. The audience was enticed with their beautiful music and, with a similar style to Chuck Berry and early Beatles, it was wonderful to find a modern band of a similar calibre – certainly one to watch out for.
With the Saturday followed more ace musicians. My favourite act of the afternoon was The Draynes. This two-piece band had some exceptional guitar riffs that and combined with the pulsating drums created musical ambrosia.
Jemima Thewes delivered a beautifully evocative set in the early evening. Her voice meandered a sultry line on top of accompanying instruments and, along with her pretty delicate tone, really enchanted the festival. The Giro Babies offered something different altogether. I revere the lead singer’s strong Scottish accent that set them apart from the standard English monotone that most songs seem to have these days, and, along with their heavy guitar melodies, they got everyone moving.
Colonel Mustard & the Dijon 5 delivered a performance that made everyone dance with delight; an eclectic vibrant band with catchy melodies, and a smooth bassist. ‘These Are Not The Drugs You Are Looking For” was my personal favourite of the set, and rounded off the Saturday to this wonderful festival.