Eden Festival 2017 Review

Eden festival was a weekend of eclectic tastes and diversity celebrated in a garden of wonder that swallowed us all in its sumptuous quagmire. The weather was crazy but no matter rain or shine, everyone was having fun. The rain even gave it, its all, showing an assortment of styles from thick incessant misty drizzle, torrential oriental downpour, sideways slanted rainy rip winds and warm wet gentle plops. All such examples eventually turning the previous greenery into an absolute mud bath. However the range of indoor venues thankfully saved the weekend.

Thursday was the first time this gorgeous garden festival put a big band on the main stage: Gogol Boredllo. This had many people (including press and performers) rushing on site in the worst windy unforgiving wild wall of rain of the Scottish summer season so far. (summer? Ha ha!)

Yet it was worth getting base camp set up early so those of us who had to could head back off site for such day to day tasks as going to work or university or picking up children and loved ones. Grateful of the home interlude to change out of soaked to the skin outfit number at home before returning to site later. Grateful to make it under either our caravans or campervan roofs we grabbed a few beers and bounced down the track between the trees in time to join friends and see the mighty Gogol Bordello perform.

What a great show and encore too. The crowd were loving it. We were loving it. Especially great when they played ‘Start wearing purple’. A favourite of mine and my mums, who was obsessed with purple being the colour of spirituality, love and all things weird and crazy. I think she was on to something. The flames of the main stage exploded, Gogol Bordello got every hyped and happy. Under the fleeting but impressive moonlight of the pleasantly dry dark sky we danced like no one was watching. Supping beer from our special Eden cups, which if you hang onto, takes two pound off the price of a pint of some very nice ales (or larger) indeed. All of us utterly stunned and over excited about being on site having such fun and it was still only Thursday! Wahaaaay.

We went round the back past the sonic henge musical stone circle the big wheel being enjoyed by many. We stomped our feet to some wonderful beats drifting of Cream T and Bann Fada. The joyful cheerful crowds singing along to some funky mix ups of old dance anthems, cheesey disco and funky rhythms.

The temptation to eat from the some of many tasty food vendors and buy glittery accessories or sequinned shirts soon over came us and we soon found ourselves adorned with reasonably priced glistening blinking attire. Which would be of great benefit when everything turned brown...

So off to Rabbies Tavern we rushed and caught the last two lively acts, Mad Ferret and Acoustic Butterfly. Enjoyable boogie on the full and friendly dance floor, then hung out in each of the five different areas off of the main tavern. What a great venue. All wooden crafted bars and doorways, with The wee Timorous Stage and the stunning main hall draped in tartan. You could go upstairs to a cute square viewing area and watch the crowds below. Or take yourself through to the square snug for about twelve people! Or through again to the wonderful Piano bar, complete with shoe homage installation to a very special lady and a piano with seats, tables and sawdust. The smell just made you feel rustic and homely, comfy and warm, even though it was now drizzling outside.

So off to bed as the rain sprinkled down, to get warm, keep some energy for tomorrow (aka later today) and be ready for a great Friday.

Which of course started with…yes you’ve guessed it...more rain. None of us rose before twelve, the sounds of the rain on our roofs snoozily satisfying and the greyness of the sky fooling us into thinking it was earlier than it actually was.

When we did arise is was to the wonderful neighbourly collaboration of our courtyard canvas covered campers providing a variety of options in meaty or vegetarian brunches and lunches to get everyone filled with treats. Then everyone starting with numerous cocktails to ignore the rain in stylish fashion. Outfits on, glittering up, crystals and gems on and eagerly awaiting Friday arrivals, put our actual arrival into the main arena about 6pm. By 8pm we were bumbling from place to place investigating and showing first time Eden babes around its eclectic and eccentric enchantments.

We found an amazing adventure in the woodlands, coming across the Melodrome stage, the boardwalk stage and in the general area of the trees, a small adventure playground, that amused the adults in their giggly childish state much longer than you would think. No injuries either. Just jaw ache from laughing. We danced in many places and we danced from and to many places. Always with good beats through the garden and into the new Great Mountain Stage. This new stage is both a pleasing and impressive structure in an awesome space.

Before we knew it, it was time to stop adventuring, leave the rest of the explorations and head to the Devorgilla main stage to see Cat Power, who we were actually late for but she was very good and packed the field. We had no choice but to take a rest near the bar, refill our ‘one weekend, one cup’ and watch while sat in a small red and white boat with a right good plain and simple plank of wood for a seat. Yet it was comfy.

Alabama 3 soon had us up on our feet by thrusting out the big gun tunes and the stage flares roaring to life. We danced our way into the multitude of muddy moshers and enjoyed ourselves.

Our legs taking a beating with mud suckicity (yes its a word for mud suction) and our torsos doing all the work but Alabama 3 were worth the physical workout to strut and stomp as best we could to such a great finale. After Alabama 3 we lost all sense of time and order of events. Much hilarity and imbalance commenced. The mud was all sorts of consistencies everywhere and determined (and often successful) at bringing people down. There was much gaffawing and point scoring of close shaves and impressive topples alike. Many hands were offered both in applause and in care.

We ventured around the venues down the snake pit. Saving the Lost Disco for our favourites on Saturday and Sunday, we chilled in The Vishnu Lounge, had mental half hours in Voltans Phsyche trance tent, or funked it out in Ghilli Dhu Dance Emporium. all uniquely decorated and all remarkably impressive. We have no idea by this point who was what. Time became one enjoyable loop of friendly faces, interesting places and musical experiences.

Our programs had long became soaked and departed. Our sense of timing somewhat inhibited by mud consistency, rain ferocity and enjoyable beer stops, all while we staggered, slipped, slithered and slugged through various types of wellie wanting mud.

Finally in dribs and drabs we all became prunes and had to return to our beds for shelter and a long dry out. But by golly had we had a wet and wild day. It certainly felt like it in the leg muscles.

Our Saturday started rather late but we knew it would end very late too with our highlight for Saturday night being at 12:30 for 2 hours followed by some incredible options in the snake pit tents. So we were happy to outwait the on off downpours to ease and praying that the acts would keep us moving and jovial against the relentless rain.

Although Saturday bought a very wet start we literally energetically and gleefully hoped away its potential to set in from the cocktail seats of our campers. Our stiff bodies just about coming round to the fact that today was programmed to be the best day. More delicious foods, some tipples and some topples. Sparkles on, tu-tu’s and tartan, caterpillar jumpsuit for giants, neon uv paint, hair glitter, shimmering shirts and twinkling tights, rainbow glasses and strobing led lights, tonight was the big guns, tonight was THE night.

We made it onsite actually in the afternoon, Bravo! Just in time for the ridiculous crowd surging, coordinated routines of the mighty Mr Motivator. What a spectacle he creates! It is quite something else to see a massive throng of synchronised exercising people. Lots of splodging about in the carnage from this mornings mud creativity. A good laugh when you joined in, carefully and a good laugh when you didn’t. Then straight into a crowd of two halves for the paint fight. Beautiful to watch but I took the option to stand well back this year. Wet and fluff and paint was not a great idea for festival gear this year. Everyone looked so colourful at the end but I was glad I didn’t have that as well as mud splodges to clean off everything. Good job guys!

But stand back for long did I not. For the outstanding Dumfries Community Choir opened their performance set with an incredible rendition of The Prodigy; Outta Space and we were down the very front in a flash. Power house performance of moving massive proportions. tears of emotion in the crowd, local supporters whistling loud and standing proud. Melodic versions of old and new, with about 70 amazing voices all conducted by an exuberant wiggling buttocks of the entrancing conductor of epic energetic proportions. Great banter in between medleys, upbeat inspiring words and a touch of peace, love and unity.

Dumfries Community Choir bought the sunshine to the site. They did! Not just with their excellent set but for a moment the sun appeared, everyone cheered, dance enhancing sun rays glancing across the choir and the back of the confused conductor.

They ended their extraordinary set with Stone Roses; Resurrection. How could you not love this choir? Not only did it put huge smiles on faces and bring sunshine to our hearts but they sang the clouds apart and for a while the sun shone down on a rather emotional and impressed Eden crowd.

After the excitement and emotion of the choir we met half of them coming out from back stage and enjoyed a wander and a much needed seat among the garden of Eden, the lady in proud stance over us as the sun appeared on and off for a delightful while.

Again we lost all sense of time and ended up wandering with more new friends and exploring the delights of the boat and old car adorned Drive In Cinema. we didn’t stop to watch much but it was fun playing there for an interlude. Meeting new adventurers and hearing stories of mud incidents and spectacular splatters on people.

Before we knew it, it was dark and time to visit base camp for a grub top up and more splatterings of paint, glitter and a change of outfit into something more disco ball or shiney and dryer than what we had on through the day.

Then a few cocktails later we were poised and ready for Shakti Mama Disco Diva. One of the highlights of the weekend. You just cant imagine a more captivating glitteratzee DJ, knocking out traditional disco tunes beefed up with heavy dirty bass lines. All the while singing along to you with her silver glitterball arms as wide as her grin. Even if Shakti Mama’s tunes are not to your liking, you just would not be able to stand still when her smile hits the Lost Disco, she has so much fun and really gets on down to her own banging tunes.If however you do like it, then you probably actually bloody love it and find that her tunes lift you into ecstasy. Lots of hard core dance moves among sticky forcefully slippery mud made it interesting but most of us didn’t go down. However a lot of glitter, neon uv paint and jewels were down. Danced off in that frenzie of funky grooves. we all laughed and smiled and boogied into the night and the morning.

At the end of her stomping two hour set the crowd were shouting, ‘one more hour’ and we joined in. But alas, the next chaps turn it was. Well done Shakti Mama Disco Diva you geared us right up into a dancing troupe of chaos. Where ever we stopped we danced. By now everywhere all on site exploration had to be done with great care in the exhausting and persistently changing dodgy ground. really hard work moving from place to place. However you have a few seated retreats in the Vishnu Loung, Rabbies Tavern and round the camp fires. The lovely thing about Eden is you don’t loose anyone for long. And along the way you meet nice people and you share stories of mud glories or momentous mud falling memories. I just love the random costume chats, the wonderful people in wonderful hats,

A refreshing ginger ale before we reloaded our energy and ventured in and out of the Chilli Dhu and the Voltan areas, taking in the sights and banging sounds and not realising the time until daylight descended and our energy ended. We landed exhausted into the Vishnu Lounge for a sit down on a bean bag and chatted away while we boosted up our energy to make the final journey home. The mud took us about half an hour, rather than 10 minutes to slip backwards and forwards towards our campervans. Eventually falling face first into a warm welcoming lair, kicking off mud until we were all fast asleep face first in furry blankets.

Sunday was wet again, torrential at times. Laughably tropical. Base camp was getting boggy and sloppy. There were many friends to wish farewell who had to get lifts home or be picked up. We stayed on hand to pack and offer support while simultaneously snoozing and trying to recover from being slightly hungover, exhausted, stiff and surrounded by mud. We ate an exceptionally good saag aloo curry, drank mojitos and espresso martinis. Welcomed visitors under our damp but protective layers. Helped unstuck welly’s from the mud. Pushed vans and generally were great hospitable neighbours.

We literally swam onsite through knee high ponds, slowed down to snail pace in calf high gloopy foot sucking marshes. Felt immensely sad for the people in boots or trainers and pointed and laughed heartily when falling over took place. MWA HA – HA HAA HAAAA HAAAAAAA©

Including when its you.

More torso only dance grooves in the Lost Disco as our feet embedded into the gloopy mud and we all got shorter and shorter until you stepped out of your dance hole and made a new one. Disco Shiva certainly had us all moving and smiling. A Dj duo with one particularly dancing dude and a whole crowd of enthusiastic supporters. When you run out of energy, just watching the front of the DJ booth bounce was a magical vision.

The entrance to the snake pit from the main arena was the slowest darkest ground of all and thank goodness there were seats both sides of the main out and in. You certainly needed them after all that calf work.

Occasional group break off interludes for more delicious food, crepes, hot chocolates and taking turns to stand still and eat with vendors, chatting and watching people navigate the slippery tundra. Oooohinh and Ahhhing along with the fearful outbursts from the slipping people themselves and remarking, neigh actually scoring, the recovery moves of the closest escapes. Pure people watching pleasure uniting over slippery footwork.

And such did our Eden extravagana end, a bendy unsteady eclectic blend of adventures through the tardis (actually onsite) travelling slowly through time. Like a dream when you just cant seem to run away fast enough except this garden is a festival dream come true. Thrumming with enticing sounds and plenty of playgrounds and showground’s. Muddy or not you determinedly plod in to lose yourself down the tunnels of wonderland delights.