'The Independent Music Show Magazine' August 2019 - Page 9

A Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival Summer Tale!


"Are your all ready for Belladrum then?"

Belladrum Festival has become the biggest cultural event in the Highlands and is the only Festival in Scotland that sells ourt year after year.

I spent a long hot and sweaty day yesterday (and today) trying to tie down loose ends and answer everyone's Belladrum Festival questions, to make sure everyone know where to be and when to make their gig with us next weekend we have over 50 acts involved again this year.

This will be my 16th Bella, I was in with the bricks, programmed and publicised year one and much of year 2 with the amazing Joe Gibbs whose vision Belladrum is and whos ground its held on. Ever since that first one in 2014 its taken up a good bit of my year and is always the high spot of my summer. About now a week before it feels more like the low spot, I inevitable am wondering why I do it to myself like this every year, the excitement of what is about to happen never truly kicks in till I know every one is in and were all sett up for them the audience and they are all going to get paid.

I woke up yesterday exhausted with the heat and on top of Belladrum worries beset with the traditional end of the month money worriers too, Its been a hard year for many of us, the independently minded music industry seams to get more challenging by the earths orbit (true story) as does living on this planet for most of us.

Many will know I live on the road full time, I don't know if, in the words of Townes Van Zandt that it "Is gonna keep me free and clean", but I do know I woke up that morning with "Breathe Just Like Kerosene" !

We have 2 Community Camper Vans both I call home and that everyone else knows as The Medicine Show Radio Moose Mobile's, one here that helps Stateside artists tour and is going to have a wheen of them living out of it or the next 2 weeks, including Moose Mother Ruth Purves Smith who is currently in with The Merican Moose in Canada helping Hogan & Moss and the Old Weird America Its Ruth's first time in Europe.

Some gigs we get payed for, some we don't, few these days we end up having to pay for (though that can still happen). Belladrum I'm very please to say we do have kind sponsors who help make sure its all getting payed for.

I'm very pleased to say there is a team of kind folks that do help with different aspect IE The Medicine Show Radio Moose Mobile, The House Concert European Hub, Flyinshoes Review Medicine Show Radio Medicine Show Records and 2019 Hootananny Belladrum Potting Shed Stage By Medicine Music (thank you you all know who you are and that I love you) but it is always a challenge to maintain financially as well as logistically, a real and eternal plate spinning exercise which relies heavily on my work as a publicist for Independently minded professional travelling musicians through Medicine Music www.medicineshowpromo.co.uk all of which is designed to help me do the best job possible for them as a publicist and friend .

Some times, usually every year just about a week before Belladrum admittedly, I question, is it all worth the work, hassle, the stress and the worry? Yes that happened again yesterday in that blistering heat??

So I went to my favourite Moose Roost on

front at Nairn (my home town) Beach

looking for some sea breeze and a cooler

head. (quick back story, The Ellen's are

Moray Firth fisher folk that can be traced

back to 2 wayward boys of Helen Main who cause so much havoc in 1750's Nairn they

were just know locally and dismissively

as "the Helen Boys", their kids became The Ellen's.

Anyway forgive me I digress, meanwhile

on the beech I decided to cool off and

change my thoughts with a brisk dook in

the still to warm up Moray Firth and was after said very very quick dook eating my pre-prepared "Chittery Piece" (as is tradition) with a cup of hot tea and one after another a procession of folk stopped to chat, all leading of with the inevitable and always doom ridden question "are your all ready for Belladrum then?" some folks I don't even know, which is always embracing but always very faltering.

The last one was one of those, a Stuart Fraser Nairn born and bread, must have chatted for the best part of an hour, a Belladrum regular, he missed the first one but had been to every other one and proceeded to tell me his Belladrum Family story.

This year is the first one he and his wife are doing without their kids, who now have have flown the nest but will be at Belladrum doing what young people do for them selves this year. Stuart told me how Belladrum was so important to them as a family and so influential on their kids that the youngest is now a qualified sound man, and the other is a Dee Jay and is playing Mothers Ruin stage this year for Bella, 2 more Wayward Nairn Boys it would seam.

The sound guy son, apart from Mum and Dads love of music, was the reason they always took the kids. You see, hes autistic and they truly believed music and the fraternity of the Festival would be good for him and it was and they firmly believe the medicine of Belladrum work magic in their family.

Both kids due to this early exposure to the music community of Belladrum found their creativity early and are now in the transition to manhood with a true and real purpose.

I nearly cried I'm nearly crying now.

Pinch me! this stuff happens to me all the time, I really am and we all are part of something so much bigger than our day to day worries and concerns are we not? And kick my ass hard if I ever forget that!!!

Now back to trying to make it all pay for its self and keep me alive while it does, this all on the second hottest day of the year (eeesh) A nice light drizzle would help.

Rob Ellen

Rob Ellen