This ‘Doune the Rabbit Hole’ article was written by Ruaridh Fleck, a GIGsoup contributor
Doune the Rabbit Hole opened for its 6th year on a sunny Friday, 21st August 2015 – the yearly Glastonbury rain was no where to be seen north of the border. Just west of Stirling the campsite has a picturesque view overlooking dreamy countryside and twisting rivers. It’s a spacious and green affair with different areas provided for families and the crew and certainly offers a unique alternative to your standard commercialised festival.
This years Doune the Rabbit Hole had a wide variety of music from Rock to Folk, Psytrance, Jungle tech, Reggae and more. The music stages consisted of the Baino, the Jabberwocky Main stage and the Whistle Blower – there was also the Dance/Reggae tent Tweedledee Tweedledum.
The festival offered the perfect density and lay-out for the amount of people; everything felt busy but not over-crowded and the festival was awash with spectacular decoration such as a dragons head, toadstools and trippy wall hangings that really enhanced the atmosphere. The grand tress shone at night and with the rest of the spectacular lights created a rather unique ambiance. There was also a really safe and friendly vibe – at Doune everyone was your friend.
The music on Friday kicked off strong and really got the festival going. The King Capisce set was impressive. Their catchy saxophone melodies were the perfect introduction and left the audience in no doubt that this festival was not your run-of-the-mill rock or dance ladened event.
The first band on the Jabberwocky stage, Hannabiell and the Midnight Blue, offered something completely different – Afro Psychedelic Funk! The bands wide range of percussion, string, woodwind and brass flowed together fluidly creating an almost tribal sound. Shivering Shakes also delivered a stunning set to round off Friday night at the WhistleBlower Stage with lots of audience participation and dancing.
At the other end of the musical spectrum Golden Teacher played a sweet abstract set at the Baino which got their audience hypnotically tapping their feet to the tantalising electronic sound. Another electronic highlight on friday was Frog Beats at the dance tent. They offered up an experimental blend of electronica and their live performance was certainly impressive.
The quality music and weather carried on through the next day. Around-mid day at the Whistleblower Stage Honey and Herbs performed one of the stand-out sets of the weekend. Their enchanting sound was utterly alluring, enticing a large crowd around the stage. The combination of the virtuosic guitarist, the mellow brass and beautiful four part harmonies created a chilled vibe that everyone enjoyed – it was like a slice of heaven.
Another band on the lips of most of the festival goers over the weekend was that of the John Langan band. Their Eastern European feel meant it was almost impossible not to be drawn in to the set and they too will go down as one of the weekends highlights. Blood Sport at the Baino stage offered something different again. Their addictive melodies, mental distortion and adept singer made them irresistible.
Doune the Rabbit Hole isn’t just a music festival – it offers something way beyond the music. They’ve taken aspects of everyday life and dropped them into a stunning surrounding to create an eclectic festival experience. You could get up early and have a yoga sessions, grab a shower, lie back and enjoy a relaxing massage, doze off in the cosy steam room, get something delicious to eat at one of the many food stalls or simply grab a drink and watch a band. Sure other festivals do similar things but at Doune it felt more natural.
Importantly, there were so many activities for kids. Hula hooping, facepaints, sock fighting and even a glitter fight – and that barely scrapes the surface. Doune has a special intimate feel and a really lovely community. People loved being able to bring they’re dogs and there was no need to worry about people going through you tent or peeing in your shoes. Doune the Rabbit Hole really stands out, it is one of the best festivals in Scotland and being given the opportunity to watch stand-out live music and introduce children to an experience that doesn’t involve Spongebob, Tinky Winky or Igglepiggle should be grasped with both hands.