Fes­ti­val’s sim­ply the best

Argyllshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

With 24 bands over two stages and plenty of great qual­ity home-grown food, drink and crafts to en­joy, last week­end's Best of the West fes­ti­val was a huge suc­cess. Peo­ple trav­elled from all over the coun­try to en­joy the three-day cel­e­bra­tion in the grounds of stun­ning In­ver­aray Cas­tle. Trad mu­sic su­per­stars Skip­in­nish, pic­tured above, closed the fes­ti­val with a bang – and al­ready ev­ery­one is look­ing for­ward to next year.

Set in the stun­ning grounds of In­ver­aray Cas­tle, Best of the West is a firm favourite on the Scot­tish fes­ti­val cal­en­dar.

Peo­ple of all ages came to en­joy the three-day cel­e­bra­tion of the best in mu­sic, food, drink, arts and crafts – and fam­ily fun.

The weather gods were mer­ci­ful for the Fri­day Septem­ber 7 open­ing, fea­tur­ing big crowds and a crack­ing at­mos­phere in an­tic­i­pa­tion of a great week­end of en­ter­tain­ment.

Cob­webs

And, the odd heavy Sun­day shower aside (to wash away the Satur­day cob­webs), the weather stayed fine for the whole event.

For the young­sters there was face paint­ing – also sur­pris­ingly pop­u­lar among mildly lu­bri­cated adults – as well as the ever-pop­u­lar climb­ing wall, danc­ing teacups and much more.

Top-notch fare in the Food from Ar­gyll tent proved as big a draw as it does ev­ery year, while lo­cal artists show­cased a myr­iad of crafts and art­work in their own pop­u­lar mar­quee.

Top chefs from award-win­ning restau­rants showed off their skills in the Fes­ti­val Kitchen, in­clud­ing Calum Hall, head chef at Loch Fyne Oys­ters, Sam­phire chef and owner An­drew MacLu­gash and Masterchef Pro­fes­sion­als 2016 win­ner Gary MacLean.

With 24 bands per­form­ing across the two stages, this was a real mu­si­cal treat in re­laxed sur­round­ings.

Mu­sic and the amber nec­tar poured from the whisky tent in a mel­low blend of con­vivi­al­ity. Mid Ar­gyll’s Bar None Com­mu­nity Choir were ex­cel­lent, as were duo Holly Ren­ton from In­ver­aray and Lochgilp­head’s Tie­gan Hol­royd bring­ing their soft, melodic tones to the fes­ti­val once again.

The big hit­ters were on the main stage. For­mer Run­rig front­man Don­nie Munro de­lighted au­di­ence mem­bers of a cer­tain age with songs old and new on Satur­day evening. At the op­po­site end of the ex­pe­ri­ence spec­trum, Cowal out­fit Heron Val­ley showed why they are cur­rently home in be­tween US tours.

Jump­ing

The en­er­getic Celtic sound of Amer­i­can band Seven Na­tions had the Fri­day night joint jump­ing ahead of Tide Lines, lead singer Robert Robert­son all blue eyes and bound­less en­ergy.

Ar­guably the Satur­day show was stolen by the colour, noise and drama of the Bhangra Bea­tles - with Fab Four favourites handed an In­dian twist of spice.

Ar­gyll acts held their own and more among il­lus­tri­ous com­pany. The Ca­mans, Rhu­vaal, Dr Hip and the Blues Op­er­a­tion and Ri Cheile put on crack­ing per­for­mances.

The whole thing was rounded off with a bang by Trad su­per­group Skip­in­nish. The main mar­quee, packed with folk of all ages, was bounc­ing.

Warmed by Skip­in­nish clas­sics in­clud­ing Walk­ing on the Waves and Alive, the au­di­ence was given a ‘heads up’ of next year’s dates.

Septem­ber 13 to 15, 2019 – mark it in your di­ary.

Pho­to­graph Stephen Lawson.

Bwani Junc­tion lead singer Rory Fair­weather gets into a bril­liant set of Paul Si­mon cov­ers. 06_a37BowFest

Oban’s Robert Wright, Del Car­son of Port Glas­gow and Jan­ice Duffy from Ersk­ine - pho­to­bombed by a lion. 06_a37BowFest

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