Photography Credits – Kevin Sloan, KSS Images
The Edit reporter Phoebe Inglis-Holmes started her festival season at Scotland’s first boutique festival. Here’s what she thought.
I’ll admit it. Before going to Eden festival, I had been thinking to myself that naming a weekend of fun after a biblical pleasure playground was somewhat arrogant. Yet I was wrong. So wrong. Eden festival was literally a utopia, a paradise for an escapist like me.
With not one piece of litter dropped on the ground, not one rowdy drunk in sight, not one short-shorts arse cheek hanging out, I could tell that this festival was different. Special. And it was down to the clientele – the rumours were true, this was the most hippy-ish festival I could have encountered. Dreadlocks, bare feet covered in mud and the slow haze of sweet smoke was everywhere you turned, as were happy, headphone-wearing babies in slings and giggling children running amok with no danger of getting lost or hurt; families were out in full skanking force, as were groups of friends, making new friends in the ‘all-for-one’ atmosphere.
Everything about the festival is immediately appealing to your inner earth child. The main walkway was adorned with stalls selling boho clothes and finest vegan food, all blasting out their favourite selection of tunes. Rabbies Tavern, a traditional ale house, hosted fiddle folk music for ceilidh celebrations, and a 24 hour campfire was surrounded by benches for you to toast marshmallows on and tell stories around at any hour of the day.
Round the corner lay the the glorious main stage, held up by trees and adorned tastefully with gentle lighting; no massive, self righteous rigging as I’m so used to seeing at festivals. And whether they were bringing out breakdancers, splitting the audience for a man vs woman boogie-off or teaching the crowd to chant their uplifting lyrics, every act seemed designed to make you feel good about yourself, your surroundings, and your life.
Then there was the garden of eden; marked by a giant willow structure of Eve about to bite into the forbidden fruit, this was a hub of self-sustaining encouragement, hosting workshops inviting you to ’come and play with axes!’ so you could learn how to make your own stools, spautlas, wooden spoons – anything to get back to using your hands and abandoning technology.
Candlelits tea and shisa yurts, with comfy cushions to recline upon as you inhaled banana flavoured smoke were surprisingly quiet, perfect for resting your tired legs. Sit-in eating establishments The Dandy Lion and Hurly Burly had a constant flow of customers consuming their utterly delicious meals, with DJ decks in each meaning you could dance off the mouthwatering cakes to chilled electro or smooth jazz. If you were – somehow – bored of the music, horse riding stunt shows and Pyroceltica fire displays were there for your entertainment, and a bicycle powered stage meant you could sweat out the wooziness and let the dub blast loud.
Although wonderful during the day, the site became magical at night. Despite being the most family friendly festival I’d ever encountered, once the little ones had laid their sleepy heads down, out came the ravers to explore. Paths decorated with glowing chinese lanterns and delicate fairy lights lead to the astounding dance tents.
The Vishnu Lounge was full of trippy trap beats, listened to by those swinging in hammocks or lying in bathtubs immersed in the ground. The Voltan Pyschadelic Temple was the territory of the ‘hardcore hippies’; trance and hardcore dance was accompanied by head spinning art and light insallations, whilst the more relaxed outdoor Lost Disco played – you guessed it – disco tunes, which you could stomp to on the multicoloured flashing platform floor. Ghilli Du was home to the impressive JSS sound system which was constantly rammed, no matter what time of day, with people skanking as fast as they possibly could. The larger Furry Chillum cocktail lounge – teeming with reeds and bushes to make you feel even more animalistic – was just as busy, and crowds tended to dart between the two as they competed for the sickest bass of the sunrise.
As somewhat of a festival connoisseur, I’ve never experienced a shenanigan that felt such like a permanent community. Despite nearly a week now having passed since festival close, it is hard to imagine that the site is now non existent; it feels like everyone should still be there, singing loudly, exchanging stories with a smile, letting their children rub mud into one anthers hair and hypnotizingly dancing from sunrise til star time in the ethereal world.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. In association with The Edit, Radio Caley gave lucky competition winner Corin Halliday two tickets to Eden festival. Here’s what he thought:
“Having been to Eden the previous year, I was beyond excited when I found out that I had won two tickets for this years festival. This year though they had made a number of small improvements including another dance area called the lost disco. One of the best aspects of the festival is the sheer amount effort they put into the decor. Most of the pieces are painstakingly hand crafted and include the likes of floating jelly fish dangling from to huge fire spitting organs. There really are no boundaries to the imagination that goes into this festival. The line up for the weekend was also equally as good as the decor, with an electric mix of everything from hip hop to reggae, the line up had it covered. My personal highlight was artful dodger on the Friday night who are known for the countless garage classics. The whole of the dance tent was bouncing to anthems of the noughties.”
Stay tuned to Radio Caley and The Edit for more competitions and tickets across the summer.