Review: Kelburn Psychedelic Forest Disco 2013
For those of you who don’t know, Kelburn Castle & Country Centre is a magical corner of North Ayrshire near Largs on the west coast of Scotland. There is a host of live music events that take place over the summer every year and most recently it was the turn of the the Psychedelic Forest Disco.
You arrive in Largs by train, hop into a taxi to take you out of the town into the grounds with the Brazilian mural peeking out of the trees. It’s grey, windy and there is a slight drizzle of rain falling down but the one thing that it cannot dampen is the festival goer’s spirit. The event was sold out weeks in advance and even though you arrive hours before the music starts, the campsite is already packed with revellers.
The theme is outer space and it’s safe to say the aliens have landed. Along with the Daleks, Jedi, robots, the tin-foil hat brigade and even a panda. For a brief moment before the sun sets it shines out through a gap in the clouds and bathes the site in glorious sunshine. Everybody stops what they are doing and cheers erupt from all around. The night has begun, and the sounds of the first bands begin ringing out through the forest. This is sure to be a great night and you decide to take a tour around the grounds.
While areas like the waterfall pool, adventure course and secret forest are closed off over the night, there’s still plenty of little gems for the intrepid explorer to find. Walking through a dragon’s jaws, you find a long wooden path beset on both sides by mattresses and chairs – most likely a chill-out area for those who need a little respite throughout the festivities. As you delve deeper you come across a personal favourite of many Kelburn veterans: a slightly hidden alcove looking over the Viewpoint Stage. It has changed a bit since the last event at Kelburn; the hammocks that once decorated the rim have been replaced with wooden benches (most likely made on-site from local wood) and a tree swing, while the entire flooring is a generous layer of straw.
You sit and enjoy what you know will be your one window of sunshine as a remix of Marlena Shaw’s California Soul floods through the trees. It gets you in the mood for dancing and after a quick bite to eat, the night is well and truly under way. While the Psychedelic Forest Disco only has two official stages (the Viewpoint Stage overlooking the castle and the Electrikal Stage further down the hill being manned by the Electrikal Sound System) you manage to find a wee tent with a sign outside reading simply “welcome to the jungle”. Inside is yet another sound system with, that’s right, a lot of Jungle playing. Satisfied that you’ve had a good look around, you decide it’s time to get down to business and horrify the merrymakers with your ‘dancing’.
(Picture taken by Melted Beetle)
Usually at a festival, it can be a challenge to find a stage you belong at, but not here. You’re spoiled for choice. Whether it’s Fresh Milk Daily, Astroboy, Mosa Funk Club, Wasabi Disco or JD Twitch and the funky vibes at the Viewpoint Stage, or Animal Hospital, Noface, Lockah or Taz Buckfaster going back to back with Era with the bass rumbling music at the Electrikal Stage, you are not disappointed. The castle’s mural is fully lit up, everyone is merry and there isn’t a single person without a smile on their face. Before you know it, it’s gone 3am and you’re dancing next to a French guy dressed as Pickachu. Yes, you read that correctly.
Where has the night gone? It doesn’t matter, you’ve had a great time anyway.
As a strong crowd chants ‘one more tune’ in the tall trees in front of Electrikal’s rig for the third time it’s finally brought to a close, the ear ringing begins to set in, legs feel heavy and it’s time to take it down a notch.
After a few minutes, you head up to the Viewpoint Stage and catch the closing speech, where everyone is invited to a fire in the campsite to see the sunrise.
By this point, it’s getting late. Actually, it’s past late, it’s early. Do you call it a night and get some sleep before the journey home? Or do you brave the cold and join those around the camp fire? The choice is yours but one thing is certain – you’ll be back for the Kelburn Garden Party on the 6th and 7th of July. (Picture taken by Melted Beetle)