I’m starting with a quote from Woolly Dermal. I wanted to know how to best define the review below, to which Woolly after reading it stated it displayed “the offerings of Jocktoberfest as more than just a place to go see some bands.” I’m happy with that. Also that this means that I added this introduction that I didn’t have in the original draft. Points for extra effort! TheNettle.scot does it, for The Nettle cares.
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In relation to TheNettle, I think that it managed to cover a fair few elements of the festival that was JocktoberFest this year. There was for e.g. strong coverage for a range of bands and perspectives on them, as well as uploading some footage about them so people can judge for themselves whether they would like the music of a band.
There were 2 parts to my tactics on how to cover this whole festival thing. What I thought I’d do beforehand, and this below, which is not very much like that plan…
Then again, the plan did unravel a touch in that the music was a bit hit and miss for me this year at Jocktoberfest. I saw some great music and had a great time watching it, but there were also some which didn’t capture me. I think that it was more me than the entire rest of the festival, but there were times when I was in there, beer in hand and wanting to see something that grabbed me, and there wasn’t.
I also know that there were bands that others said were great when I wasn’t there to watch them, so there was this element of not being caught by the music a couple of times, but another of just spending him in the campsite. These both combined with the fact that there’s lots of other Nettle people and – I’m sure – others elsewhere as well writing about the music there.
This is good for me as it gives space to ramble on about other things that did catch my eye and that did happen at Jocktoberfest. In terms of where to start, there were so many choices that there were sniffs at options that, at times, literally threw themselves in front of me.
For e.g., I believe that it was the 3 in front on this picture that may have been the first to pick up the straw from the floor and starting chucking it in the air. Pinky, Hattie, and Glowing Medusa-Dreads (actual names not known) were throwing it out there and kicking it loose, and they had a bit of a look around to check if the mood was ready for it. It was always gonna happen, Jocktoberfest is set up for it, ye olde straw tossing fun. But was the rest of the crown ready for it to start happening already, these fine people wondered…?
The band was Guilty Pleasures. They were the standout band for me Friday night – put an amazing voice in front of a good quality, good time party band with excellent song choice and you’re not gonna lose. Other music heard was good also, but this was the starting time and place of a couple of themes for the weekend for me.
One thing that came to mind then and there was the tentative beginnings of straw throwing revelry by Meddie-Boo & Co. Another was the start of hearing an interesting, and good, but surprisingly a lot of covers by a range of bands. Then again that was what Guilty Pleasures was doing, and I was dancing to it, with everyone else, so I can see how the other bands also saw the chance of doing a good cover of a good song that people know and like. It was prevalent, and got people up dancing often across the weekend.
Dancing was another 3rd thing that started then and there. A 4th thread that started when dancing to this fun band and good voice was that of the good times to be had within the area for bands, as opposed to at the tent.
There are always, it seems, people flowing between their tents and the festival, partly because they are so close and convenient, and partly depending on the music on offer, or catching up with at the campsite, or because of how nice it is to lay in the quiet in the sun, when you’re not dancing and kicking up the straw.
We got there early enough to set up camp and then gloat that we had this time carved out of general life for the weekend ahead. To be able to stop, with beverage of choice, in the sun in front of tents on soft dry grass (although recently cut grass, meaning some was harsh on the bare foot at times, with strong stems cut low & spiky).
The scene was one of the tents up, the sun out, the gates not open yet. Nothing to do but chat and have a drink in the sun.
All in all, it was a good start to the festival. It’s also a lure though, as being at the campsite is something that is a feature for a lot of people going to Joctoberfest. It’s always tempting to stay and be and talk and such, but the Guilty Pleasures was the start of thinking about the benefits of being inside the JoctoberFest band space. To be honest, not sure what they call it, the space inside, with the rest of the punters and revellers, the bar and the bands and the burgers, etc. I’ll call it ‘Inside’.
Quickly on the food topic above, there was good food all around – with people sharing, got to try all foods except the lamb on the spit. Really do have to line up long in the first line for that shit. Not shit, absolutely delicious, but missed out this year again! (Curse you Gadget!! But I will get you next time!!).
Once again there were some stand-out efforts with the costumes (kicking from the food critic into the fashion part of the evening). I think that I’m with the other non-official Nettle opinion that I saw – the person inside a t-rex skeleton full-body suit was the winner for me. There was a lot of options in and around. There was a lot of guys on hanging skins and clubs. Leopard-skin loin-cloths for any and all, but there were a lot of different efforts to dress on theme, or at least dress up with that as an excuse.
Some might have been on theme, or not. I liked pretending that the glowing pink dreadlocks were meant to represent the snakes on Medusa’s head. I was going to ask, but thought it risky to look him in the eye to do so.
I have a photo here of some of my favourites, the most in one natural ‘they were there and I can keep them anonymous’ photo I got. Anonymous that is except for one guy – but my bad photography means that the photo was overexposed where he was. Also he had a mask on, so who the fuck knows who that could be. Superman got away with it when he was just wearing glasses. This guy (I’m assuming a guy, but who knows – it was an excellent mask) was the ultimate enigma.
Part of the fun of Jocktoberfest is that people come along for the ride. The costumes are a part of that for some people, but all people there love to see it (sure – a little presumptuous to speak for ‘all people’ at the festival, so wind that back to a believable % for you).
Having covered beginnings, camping, food and fashion, there are a few other elements to the festival, so I think that I’m going to do them (reasonably) rapid fire.
It’s a festival at a brewery, and one of the good things is being able to taste small batches that they either have experimented with in terms of brewing production, i.e. making the stuff, or the other experiment – if it sells. For me my favourite new untasted Black Isle Brewery beer that I hope they put in pubs was the Brown Bear Ale.
The glow in the thistle behind the bands at the main stage in the Dutch Barn came via the spotlight shining on it just so, in order to make it shine bright like that. It is not a festival where you’re going for the amazing bells and whistles of stage and setting, but what they do is done well. The wood fires, the bulbs string overhead, the lighting glowing up the thistle, the set up between the stages. The space ‘Inside’ is a good atmosphere, and this more than music got to me this year. This of course is added to by the environment created by the people there, who came to play, and did.
(Rotating clockwise from top left):
a). I call this piece “Log standing and turning to glower embers: Overexposed # 4”.
b). Strung up lights. They were quite high.
c). The field and forest behind the campsite, and the Saturday sun that held warm all day.
d).Midday-ish, not long after opening up on Saturday. Sarah Galligher was playing just then, another good voice and set.
In terms of music, I think that my favourite for the Saturday was Emma and the Ragmen. Right at the very start of the day I got really keen and saw the first on for the day, Sarah Gallagher. Again apologies if this is incorrect. Anyway, I really liked her set as well and wanted to give it a mention. Nice voice, good presence on stage, relaxed, funny, comfortable there, and hopefully get to see her play again.
I can’t remember the names of the bands exactly and just looked too long to try to find the information now. The information on the line-up has moved off a lot of sites already as it has closed as an event to look at. I get the logic of it, but it’s not helpful – I should have held onto a programme, or photographed it like a lot of others did. However, I didn’t, thinking it’d be less of a hassle than it was to go back to the same sites I found the information on before, thinking I’d find it there again. So hoping either someone else at The Nettle, or if someone reads this and knows the exact name, please do.
Emma and the Ragmen. Hard to see, but there was a young guy in a Harrington jacket on lead guitar left of stage, and the double-base centre right. The whole band was good, but these were both good guitarists.
Anyway, Emma and the Ragmen were my favourite band for the Saturday. In saying that Coco T (forget her complete name – apologies Coco!) was one of my favourites last year and mostly missed her this year. Got to see 2-3 songs, fortunately! There were bands that deserved more of a look, and there were ones where I got to see more than enough.
I think that Emma and the Ragmen got a longer slot as someone else pulled out – this could be wrong, but felt like a longer set than most for the weekend. They got the crowd up, they got the dancers up. You don’t see too many double-basses being played in and around Inverness, and people were liking it and commenting on it. The guitarist on the left for them was talented, not just skillful, but held them together well. There was other good music, but they were definitely my favourite for Saturday.
I have been to Joctoberfest before, and once again I found that I felt this pull between two places that I would like to be, the campsite and the arena (too big a word) ‘Inside’. I know that there would be a lot of coverage of the music there, so in this review I wanted to highlight a few other component parts of the weekend.
The last thought on the weekend is how once again the weather came through. It rained close to closing on the Saturday, but that was such a good warm day that some rain at night just around heading back to the campsite doesn’t weigh hard against that. The sunshine did make it hard at times to give all the music the credit it deserved. I do feel bad for acts playing inside and trying to coax people out of that sunshiny warmth.
In saying that, a festival where you have such good options, and such a pull between them, as the examples highlighted above, is one I’m going back to. Hope to dance with you there next year!Follow us on social media