In Anticipation: Eden Festival
Boutique festivals are a great thing. Not only do you have great music and great people, there’s a host of staff, volunteers and revellers whose main aim is to make the weekend as enjoyable and memorable as possible. While some festivals are more concerned with keeping the big names happy and (in Scotland at least) channelling the mud away from the stages, there are others where the focus is firmly placed on good sounding music and the overall festival experience. Eden is one of these.
Recently we’ve given you a window into Kelburn Garden Party. Eden is a slightly larger festival in a similar vein. From the 7th to the 9th of June Raehills Meadows near Moffat in Dumfries & Galloway will become a hub of culture and creativity in south west Scotland with eight music stages blasting sounds out to the masses.
Eden also promotes a green attitude; encouraging the use of public transport and car-sharing for travel to and from the festival. They even go so far as to provide map routes for cyclists on their website. Once the weekend is over, the local Crichton Carbon Centre calculates the net carbon emissions of the festival. This is a group of people who truly care about the environment, aiming to be as close to carbon neutral as possible, but that doesn’t mean they turn people away. In fact, they are so keen to create a family-friendly atmosphere that children 12 and under go completely free and those under 16 have a reduced ticket fee.
I’ll get onto the music soon but first, a bit of information about the other activities planned. There is something called “The Information Hub”. At first, you might imagine this to be a digital collection of all recorded human history. Not quite. It’s actually a grouping of tents providing information on the local and international issues that the people of Dumfries & Galloway are attempting to tackle. You can just tell this festival is being run by well-intentioned people. For the younglings, the Shellycoat Kids Area offers a huge range of activities. There’s performances to watch, team games to play, dress-up activities and, of course, creative workshops. These include making lanterns, sea creatures, “funky foam headbands” (whatever funky foam is) and even forest skills. Oh, and the best part? All of these activities are free.
For the adults, there is a truly grand plethora of things to see and do. Fancy a souvenir? For up to £10 you can make your own stool and have a personalised design carved into it. When you feel the need to refresh your body and soul, head on down to the Eden Healing Area for massages, aromatherapy and even Shamanic Bodywork. The National Elf Service are back this year with a “Mystic Sauna” in a top secret location if you are prepared to search for it (here’s a clue – it’s near the ‘nude is good’ stage). If you’ve ever considered running away and joining the circus, you might want to check out Spinning Jenny’s Shenanigans. Here you can try your hand at a range of circus skills, from juggling to the trapeze and everything in between. Yes, even unicycling. Looking for something more risqué? Then head on down to My Giddy Aunt’s Cabaret Stage. It’s not just cabaret in here: there’s burlesque, open mic, a cinema and more. Of course, all these activities will no doubt leave you rather peckish. When the belly starts rumbling, you’ve got a great choice of food stalls and refreshment areas. From Rabbie’s Tavern (a traditional Scottish pub) to the Rheged Fair, which is a collection of cafés and vendors picked because they share the festival’s drive for locally produced, healthy, environmentally friendly products. This is just a small selection of what Eden Festival has to offer this year and we haven’t even taken a look at the line-up yet! Speaking of which…
It’s difficult to describe the sound of Eden. There’s such an eclectic mix it boggles the mind just thinking about. You’re going to hear Ska, Reggae, Celtic, Balkan, Electro-Swing, Drum ‘n’ Bass, Dubstep and a whole lot more, including Psy-Trance. There’s even a Ceilidh for the country dancers among us. Suffice to say, there’s a good taste for everyone’s music palate.
Looking at the headliners, the emphasis appears to be on Bass music. The first name that jumps out at you is Shy FX, a huge name in the world of Jungle and Drum ‘n’ Bass. He’s been making the rounds for over 20 years now, having worked with the likes of Ebony Dubsters, T Power and Dizzee Rascal, and promises to put on a great show.
In similar taste, Ed Solo & Deekline will be bringing Drum ‘n’ Bass, Dubstep and Breakstep to your ears. Both are established producers and DJs in their own rights but when they work together, they never fail to get a crowd moving.
Dub Mafia are making an appearance too, having taken the U.K. and Europe by storm over the past two years winning over many fans around the world with their mix of Dub, Dubstep and World Music.
Slightly more local compared to these acts from the south of England, it’s Mungo’s Hi Fi, bringing a more laid back Reggae/Dub-Reggae sound from Glasgow. They follow the original Jamaican sound system tradition and have gained quite a name for themselves both in Scotland and farther afield.
That’s just a small taste of the bigger acts performing this year. There’s plenty more, like Victorian Trout Conspiracy, some comedy if you’re looking for a giggle, and, would you believe it, Mr Motivator. There’s a theme too – Under The Sea, so you’re advised to bring your snorkels and submarines with you.
For a bit more information about the festival and to buy tickets if you haven’t already, head to their website. It promises to be a happy, eco-friendly weekend. All we need is the sun. It’s close to midsummer so we might get lucky. Might. Hope to see you from the 7th to the 9th of June!