Updated: Aug 2
This year was to be our third visit to Belladrum, and as we approached the venue, we joined a queue of about twelve vehicles, which was eleven more than last year! However, hundreds more were coming the other way, so we counted our blessings and waited thirty-odd minutes to be waved into the Belladrum site. Once in the campervan/mobile home park-up area, we introduced ourselves to our neighbours and started to set up camp. It was about 9:30, and the clouds were moving on, leaving a light drizzle in the air, so we had plenty of time before the arena area opened at midday.
Once we had everything as we wanted and having scouted the immediate campsite for facilities, we settled down for our morning cup o' java and relaxed in the mounting festival vibe. Soon it was time for the gates to open to the festival arena, so having donned our ponchos and packed our rucksack, we set off to visit Belladrum 2023 for the first time. And, as Lady Luck looked lazily down at us in the queue at the entrance gate, she shooed the drizzle away and ushered in the sunshine. God bless her! The only 'fly in the ointment' was that access to the arena was delayed for 45 minutes; however, as everyone was in good spirits and full of antis........ipation (as Tim Curry memorably sang in the Rock Horror Show!), there was only good humour and positive vibes all around.
And so began three days of Festival exuberance; the music, the venue, the food and (some of) the beer were all enjoyable. I say some of the beer as I found the Festival sponsored ale not to my palate! Over the three days, we took in many exciting bands, and the standouts included The Alabama 3, Pigman and the Rubberband, Riddemption, Spyres and Katie Whittaker.
Lossiemouth's Windswept Brewing Company's Weizen cloudy wheat beer turned out to be our favourite beer, whilst the haggis and red cabbage wrap possibly shaded it for our favourite meal! Also, over the Festival, we managed to clock up 36,855 steps (just north of 15 miles)! However, the best part of the three days was that the much-predicted wet weather never materialised, and we were blessed with two and a half pleasantly warm and sunny days!
Unfortunately, there were some issues, including some highly unpleasant sanitary conditions, severe delays accessing the Festival on the first day (we heard of someone taking 10 hours to travel a 4-hour journey!), and overcrowding on Saturday when the local youth turned out in force and got drunk! There were also some bizarre sights, of which the oddest was the 8-foot-tall, chubby horned devil-esque character that strolled around the arena 'entertaining' the kids!
However, and considering that all 25,000 tickets sold, we enjoyed our three days and came away with some happy memories.