Festival Column: Five of the Best for 2012

As Summer approaches, we recommend five fantastic music festivals we strongly feel you should frequent

Feature by Paul Mitchell | 25 May 2012
  • Knockengorroch 2012

Knockengorroch: 31 May - 3 June, Galloway 

Here at The Skinny Travel, we like to head out and about, taking in, well, the world. But at times, it's kinda cool when the world pitches up on our back door, which is what's going down at the Knockengorroch World Ceilidh (the clue etc. etc...). We can't think of a finer place to put our guests than the Dumfries and Galloway hills beside the Water of Deugh; beautifully picturesque, and, conveniently for a music festival, also a 'natural amphitheatre.' Celebrating Scotland's ancient Celtic roots, the festival takes in the music from that diaspora worldwide by dealing in tradition, but also by looking at how that music has transformed itself into the latest cutting-edge sounds. So, observe Jamaican dancehall legends The Skatalites and Senegalese jack-of-all-genres Samba Sene rub shoulders with some of the best and most diverse of Scotland scene, including Stanley Odd, The Banana Sessions, Pumajaw and Morphamish. [£87 for four day pass]

N.B. A taster event is being held at The Caves, Edinburgh this Thursday (23 May) featuring many of the aforementioned acts and more.

Kelburn Garden Party: 30 June - 1 July, Kelburn Castle near Largs

In the words of previews and reviews past, KGC features "a fucking painted castle!!!" specifically and surreally designed, it would appear, to optimise your festival frolics. Not that you'll require much coaxing, with party-starters from the Scottish scene in abundance. Phantom Band headline, but make time too for Miaoux Miaoux, Washington Irving, The Mike Kearney Ka-Tet, DJ Food, Samba Ya Bamba and the Tinderbox Orchestra.  [£65 weekend pass]

Benicassim: 12-15 July, Spain

Of course, if you're checking out the travel pages, we'll assume at least a modicum of interest in the vagaries of wandering from A to B in distances greater than the local Tesco, so we've found a festival for you on the sunny East Coast of Spain (between Valencia and Barcelona). Those mad, mouldy Mancs The Stone Roses have been assigned headliner status (along with Bob Dylan and New Order - next year we're expecting Bill Haley and The Comets) alongside a host of other familiar setlists from the likes of The Horrors, Florence and The Machine, Bat For Lashes, Kurt Vile, Zola Jesus, and At the Drive-in. [£155 for four days]

Hebridean Celtic Festival (HebCelt): 11-14 July, The Hebrides

Stornoway provides yet another idyllic Scottish setting to drool over while you take in the folk and traditional-flavoured craic - and there will indeed be craic to be had at HebCelt 2012. Kassidy, The Proclaimers and The Waterboys take top billing in the Outer Hebrides, but be sure you take the opportunity to see the wonderful song and music craft on offer from the likes of Roddy Woomble, Admiral Fallow, Sketch, and the wonderful Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson Band. [£70 weekend pass, no booking fee]

Thistly Fest: 28 July, Dunbar

The makers of this fine brew and the crew at Skinny HQ go back a long way (sometimes down a deep, dark hole, but that's our fault, not theirs) so it's nice to see a festival dedicated to all that's Thistly and Crossy. A one day only event (we couldn't handle any more, tbh) this independent music festival takes place in the shed at Belhaven Fruit Farm 'where it all began' (we assume they mean the cider, and not the Big Bang, but stand to be corrected). The mighty Meursault headline along with a barrage of quality settage from Woodenbox with a Recent Truncation. Remember Remember, Found, Bwani Junction and others to be announced but with some slots still open for local bands to get involved. Check the website for deets. [£28] 

For further info on line ups, ticket bookings and travel arrangments, see the websites below: www.knockengorroch.org.uk fiberfib.com/ www.kelburngardenparty.com www.hebceltfest.com www.thistlycrosscider.co.uk/thistly-fest-2012