Words: Ian Clement.
Images: Gavin Thompson.
Set in the lovely landscape of the Dumfries and Galloway area, Eden festival is one of the most popular festivals for those that want to avoid the behemoth that is T in the Park, and in many aspects it shows that the way they do things might actually make it a better festival overall.
For those arriving on the Thursday night however, there wasn’t much to get excited about. With the exception of “Rabbies Tavern” and the “Melodrome”, there wasn’t much on in terms of entertainment meaning that you noticed lots of the festival goers creating their own entertainment. You could easily argue though that this made for one positive; the campsite itself was brimming with activity. There was a definite feeling of campers making the effort to get to know one another and to make new friends, and let’s be honest here, there’s no better place to meet new people than at a festival campsite.
It wasn’t until the Friday when everything kicked off and it certainly kicked off in a major way. Everything was open for everyone to enjoy and there was certainly lots of visual and audial experiences to get immersed in.
One main concern going into Eden was how it was going to manage being a family friendly weekend whilst at the same time catering towards the more hardened festival goers, but thankfully they managed to create a perfect harmony of the two which helped add to the atmosphere. If you were looking to enjoy the “traditional” festival experience then you could of course head to the main stage to dance to some music, and there were of lots of other stages throughout the whole area with a vast of array of different DJ’s and artists showing off their stuff.
Yet at the same time there were plenty of workshops from stone sculpting to circus tricks (juggling, poi, diablo and so on) where you could see plenty of kids having a ball at learning new things. It was a genuinely lovely sight when you are used to spending other weekends focused purely on seeing bands.
Speaking of bands, the bands on over the weekend were on the whole an absolute delight and incredibly diverse, including the Friday headliners The Cat Empire who were one of the highlights of the entire weekend. There were also acts like Samson Sounds who perfectly emulated Bob Marley style reggae whilst still sounding fresh. There was also Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 (a heavy contender for one of the best band names ever conceived) who were a strong crowd favourite. On top of that you had acts like Dub Mafia and Nubiyan Twist who, if given the proper coverage, could go on to become big names in their own right. You also had rising band The Skints who as always on top form, Ms. Dynamite who was great with the crowd and even old schooler Grand Master Flash. Or if you wanted, you could have just been baffled by King Lagoon’s Flying Sword Fish Dance Band who are a band that just can’t just be described with words (the best you could probably go with would be a band wearing Eastern style clothing and giant golden cones on their head whilst they play trippy psychedelic rock… to be honest even that doesn’t really do it justice). The main stage ended with Submotion Orchestra who were the perfect closer to the main stage, with their chilled out electronica.
Of course there were those who maybe hit it a bit too hard but thankfully there were some great places to chill out. New to this year’s Eden experience was the woodland walk which was a lovely and tranquil place to chill out (complete with activities for children and families to do) and the popular Vishnu lounge, complete with hammocks and bath tubs to chill out in which was clearly a grateful feature for those that used it. Of course if you want to keep on going after your little “chill out session” then you had lots of DJ sets and music that lasted well into the morning to keep you occupied.
Overall, Eden festival is the perfect blend of traditional festival and family friendly experience which ensures that there is something for everyone to enjoy. This is no mean feat to accomplish and the organisers have made it look like something that’s incredibly easy to do, and it’s helped to create an atmosphere that other bigger festivals have problems accomplishing. As the festival grows with each year, let’s hope they’re able to keep that up.