Tartan Heart Festival 2009 @ Belladrum, 7-8 Aug
If you're tired of being swept up in the whirlwind of mainstream festivals and looking for a more chilled out affair this year, Belladrum’s a welcome respite from the chaos: a refreshing cocktail of scenery, music and more than a little Highland charm. With RockNess fast biting at the heels of T, in terms of festival size, it may be easy to forget about another highland festival that quite happily makes the most of it's smaller grounds.
Sitting on the Belladrum estate near Beauly, just outside of Inverness, the Tartan Heart Festival has won several awards for its comfortable-yet-modest approach, not to mention its fair share of none-too-shabby entertainers. Though fully embracing traditional/folk music as well as avant-garde dance and theatre productions, previous years have seen the likes of The Lemonheads, Biffy Clyro, and Echo And The Bunnymen grace with their presence. This year sees Editors and Ocean Colour Scene taking their place as headliners, yet some of the strongest prospects are the more indigenous talents: the notoriously sublime Dananananaykroyd will no doubt leave an indelible mark on the turf, as will Edinburgh's Broken Records - irrespective of the hoo-ha surrounding their debut LP - certain to provide a fitting soundtrack to the lush Highland surroundings. And don't dare miss the inspired dustbowl-Americana of Sparrow & the Workshop - one of Glasgow's most promising new bands.
Then there's our February cover stars The Phantom Band, bolstering an already strong Scottish contingent with the aid of fellow Glaswegians Sons and Daughters. Rounded out by established Belladrum favourites such as Kid Carpet and Seth Lakeman, as well as newer faces like Denver's frankly awe-inspiring gypsy troupe DeVotchKa, here's a truly diverse family-friendly festival for any punter craving an experience a little less hectic.
£80 (Weekend Camping Ticket)http://www.tartanheartfestival.co.uk