A Stroll Through Eden
- Small glen near Moffat, Dumfries & Galloway;
- annually at beginning of June;
- family friendly;
- range of genres;
- join vehicle convoy on approach track;
- collect wristbands;
- pitch tent among many already there;
- head for stage area – RELAX!
You find yourself standing beside a small sound system, but this is a bit different. Right in front of the speakers are five bicycles that appear to be connected to the electrics. There is what appears to be a group of revellers powering this little stage. As if the DJ could read your mind, he interrupts the music to tell some of the other dancers to replace those cycling as ‘they’ve done their bit’. They all change over rather rapidly and the party continues. You make a note to come back to this later, because you’ve just seen an interesting tent up ahead.
It seems to be called “The Furry Chillum Tent”. It’s dark and there’s some kind of Jeep on one side. Next to that Jeep is the sound system: one massive speaker surrounded by lots of little ones, and to the left of that is the stage. There’s a band on and the crowd seem to be really getting into the swing of things. The vocalist tells everyone that they are called the Mezzanine Allstars. Not everybody hears that and you spend the next few minutes reflecting on how difficult it is to pronounce ‘mezzanine’ with a bit of rum swilling around your belly. The blaring trumpets don’t help matters either, but eventually everyone seems to have the name, and the dancing has well and truly gotten under way.
It’s getting closer to midnight and by this point the festival is in full flow, the weekend is well and truly under way. Reggae baselines echo around the Rae hills as Shy FX takes to the main stage and catches the strong crowd ready to get their skank on. His jungle classic ‘Orginal Nuttah’ is played which causes the crowd to lose their minds and for the next hour or two the main stage is awash with ravers getting down to jungle.
2am rolls around and it’s time to take a take break before the you get back into the jungle rave. You find yourself in the “Vishnu Lounge” which can only be described as a living room in a tent. That might sound a bit odd but seriously, there’s a few dozen hammocks and couches (even a few baths sunk into the ground), chilled out music playing and lamps galore. To make this place even better, tea, coffee and cereal is served at all hours of the morning, brilliance!
Before you dose off to the relaxing music it’s time to get back out into the next tent for more jungle where Ed Solo & Deekline are playing. Just like before for Shy FX the tent is packed and you can hardly move, water is being handed around and the sounds of jungle rumble around the tent. ‘No No No’ is dropped, a brilliant version of the Dawn Penn track remixed by Ed Solo and Deekline, the crowd sing along and lighters are put in the air.
5am rolls around and you find yourself sat in a bench having political discussions with complete strangers. Yes, that time of night. Music is beginning to come to a close and people flock the “Vishnu Lounge” as the sun begins to rise. It’s high time to hit the hay and catch a few hours sleep before it begins again tomorrow.
You wake up surprisingly early. It’s about 8am, the sun is well and truly out and as you drag your sweltering body out of your tent you notice several collections of sunbathers lying on the ground soaking up the rays. There isn’t a single cloud in the sky. As the morning rolls on and the sun gets higher and higher, more and more people begin to emerge from their abodes. You and your friends come to the unanimous decision that it’s too hot not to go to the river.
Finally getting back to your tent in the early afternoon, you’re preparing to head off and catch an event some passers by referred to as ‘the paint fight’. You know Mr. Motivator is on just now but some people need to dry their clothes and re-fill their water bottles. By the time everyone’s collected themselves and you’ve left the campsite, a parade of rainbow people appears around you and it becomes clear you’ve missed the paint fight. You’re a little relieved actually, that would require another trip to the river to wash off.
Arriving at the “Devorgilla Stage” you’re made aware how just messy a paint fight can be. There’s multi-coloured bodies strewn all over the ground and the grass looks like it belongs on an alien planet but there isn’t a frown in sight. You decide to head off to “Rabbie’s Tavern” closer to the main gate.
Just who Rabbie is and how he’s managed to set up a tavern in the middle of nowhere is not explained, but it certainly looks the part. There’s a stage with a dance floor at one end of this rectangular tent and a bar at the other. The entrance is slap bang in the middle, with benches and tables/casks dotted around. You and your friends take a seat and watch as a band set themselves up to play. They’re called Looking For Lola. As they start to play, you realise there’s a distinct folk element to this lot. The sound seems a little off, but you’re in a makeshift pub so can’t really complain. There’s a really whimsical sound to these guys – it’s as if they’re playing the soundtrack to a walk through green meadows. The crowd (following what seems to be a tradition at Eden) is fairly small at first but before you know it the floor is filled with people jigging along.
After a while you leave the tavern and bump into some friends you haven’t seen in months. You catch up whilst sitting in the “Overflow Parking” outside and soak up the sun. Eventually you come to the realisation that if you don’t move soon, you’ll spend the entire evening there. Your group bid the others farewell and pledge to meet up again later on. The “Devorgilla Stage” is usually a good shout for something interesting and different so you head in that direction.
As you arrive you are confronted with what must be the strangest collection of instruments you’ve ever seen. Fiddles, drums (of course), trumpets and even some you don’t recognise. They call themselves The Carny Villains and describe their band as a “circus show band”. It’s very bizarre but before you know it your view has been blocked by hundreds of heads bouncing around. Suddenly, a short haired man appears on stage. He looks a bit out of place but The Villains don’t bat an eyelid. He starts beatboxing and the sound is transformed into something resembling electro-swing but it’s a bit different. Then it clicks. Maybe this is that electro-balkan music you’d read about on the website. You hear a voice nearby saying ‘I have no idea what this is but it’s so damn good!’. It seems you’re not the only ones to come across this accidentally. By the time the band finishes the sun is beginning to set. Looks like the night is on its way.
The “Devorgilla Stage” is taken over by a couple of men called Mr Bruce and Chuck who, when they combine their powers, are known as The Correspondents. Chuck DJs in the back, while Mr Bruce MCs and dances like a maniac in front. They’re billed as electro-swing but there’s definitely a dubstep undercurrent to their set. At first the majority of the crowd seem to agree that it’s not quite their style. However, Mr Bruce’s flamboyant style wins you all over.
Night is well and truly here and the entire festival area has been drenched in UV lighting. It’s nearly time for Mungo’s Hi-Fi to come on in the Ghillie Dhu Dance Tent so hordes of people are migrating towards it. After strolling along a kind of channel through the trees you arrive but there’s a queue coming out the tent along the fence being controlled by doormen. It takes about 20 minutes to get in, looks like the majority of Eden had the same idea as you.
The sun is out again, but thankfully there’s a few clouds drifting around providing a few minutes of shade at a time. After coming to your senses and enjoying the sun through the early afternoon, you all head in to hear some music. With “The Furry Chillum Tent” on the horizon, you float through the “Drumtroddan Performance Area”. There’s all manner of professionals and what appear to be amateurs picking up diabolos, devil sticks, hula hoops and anything else they can twirl and juggle to astound onlookers.
After watching the antics for a while, you head into the tent. Nobody’s on just now but you hear Edinburgh’s Victorian Trout Conspiracy are preparing their set. They’re a ten piece band so there’s a lot of instruments on-stage. They kick off with a bang, their big sound and energy acting as one final salute to the sun. Towards the end of their time, they decide to cover a few Pendulum tracks. ‘Tarantuala’ and ‘Propane Nightmares’ are played to the delight of the crowd. By the end of it, every single person in “The Furry Chillum Tent” looks shattered but everyone’s had a great time. It’s time to wander off and sample other tents.
As the night begins to come to a close you bumble back into “The Furry Chillum Tent” and gaze upon a sight that belongs in Sunday nights at a festival – the majority of the audience are engaged in a conga line making its way around the crowd. The singer on stage declares that the band and crowd need to trust each other. This is followed by members of the band and revellers falling backwards off the stage into other peoples’ arms. Another announcement is made. It seems the drummer has disappeared but it’s okay, one of the Girobabies has stepped in to help Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 put a cap on the final night of this brilliant festival. The cap is promptly blown off, and by the third encore (yes, they were cheered back on three times) most of the crowd have joined the Colonel on-stage.
Before heading back to the tent for the night, you make a short stop at the bonfire. Gazing into the flames and reflecting on the weekend with new friends, the group it’s time to go to bed. Most of the partying has died out and everyone just wants one thing – sleep.
You get a long lie-in today. There’s a car to get you home and you aren’t working at all so you can take your time. Your friends start dismantling their tents while one of them sits back in a broken camping chair they’ve acquired and collects their thoughts over one last beer.
With the tents finally down and the car on its way from the car park, you hear an odd sound. Turning around, you see a lone trooper walking through the remains of the campsite playing the saxophone. It’s time to go home.
What some of the acts thought:
“We were so chuffed when we were asked to play at The Eden Festival. We had heard it was good but never expected the amazing feeling that was throughout the site. Everybody was really cool and chilled and created a feeling that you rarely get at festivals these days. We played a great set to an enthusiastic crowd. When you get that kind of feedback from the crowd you can really channel it back into your own performance, that kind of sums up Eden, everybody feeding into the good feeling on the site. The other bands were great too, and we took advantage of being able to see as many acts as we could, from performer to groupie in one move. Cannot wait to play Eden 2014.” – Taylor & Leigh
“Really chill, friendly people, and thanks to those people in the banana costumes, high in potassium.” – Victorian Trout Conspiracy
Photos by P R Imaging (http://www.primaging.net/)