Down From the Mountain 15


It is hard to describe why I find DTRH such an uplifting experience. To quote this year’s Herald review “you’d have to be half-mad to dream up Doune the Rabbit Hole. Since 2010, the family-friendly Stirlingshire festival has appeared to shirk any nod to corporate sponsorship or commercialism, in favour of a home-grown hillside hoopla.” The “appeared to” hides nothing – it most definitely does shirk all sponsorship and commercialism, and that is a little it of its charm. Another element is, as Festival Director Jamie Murray put it “It’s only a pop-up community, but it’s a community nonetheless.” Great way with words, that man. Wonder where he gets it from?

It really is a community, and one in which former strangers talk to each other readily and sometimes profoundly. Add to that a delight in the skills of music creation of highly eclectic kinds, and you achieve this happy mix between the cider fair in Far From the Madding Crowd, a hippy sixties commune, and a very peculiar Glasgow night club. Throw in hundreds of very happy children and beautiful tranquil countryside, and you start to get the idea. I always return envigorated and somehow washed clean of the pollution of the corrupt abuses of power I analyse in the other 51 weeks of the year. I don’t pretend this makes sense. It’s magic.

Could partly just be exhaustion of course – I put in one 20 hour shift organising and running the bar, and at one stage had 13 hours sleep in 96 hours. Many readers of this blog were there as volunteers or just soaking it in, and a special shout out to Clark, Nevermind and Bill who all put in an astonishing amount of unpaid labour. It is worth pointing out that none of the directors, organisers or volunteers is paid or remunerated. The bands are.

This nice little video from Stirling Council gives some idea of the daytime atmosphere

While there is a lovely gallery here from the same source.

I love this video, which briefly features a head shaking Nadira and gives a broader perspective:

Finally this little snippet gives an idea of the audience experience in the evening:

The challenge now is to keep its special atmosphere and amateur community nature as the festival gets bigger every year. Part of this is eschewing plastic commercial music acts. The continued involvement of the readers of this blog is another part. Planning for next year has already started. I have just about come down from the experience now, but feel buoyed amidst a sea of troubles.


15 thoughts on “Down From the Mountain

  • Mary

    We heard about your 16 hour shifts running the bar but there was a typo and the letter ‘f’ was omitted.

    Well done all.

  • fedup

    At this rate I may join the festival next year, although I have to juggle around my holidays and such like.

  • Riverman

    I know exactly how you feel Craig – sums up how I feel when I return from Supernormal at Braziers Park, Oxfordshire. I now make sure the Supernormal weekend is the start of my holiday as I’m relaxed the minute I get there and it’s a few days of pure joy.

    http://www.supernormalfestival.co.uk/

    I wonder how many more of these gems exist out there…

  • Frazer

    Great time was had by all..thouroughly enjoyed the festival…Well done to Jamie and the team.

  • nevermind

    Thanks to all those who made DTRH such a great experience, never changed so many beer barrels within 72 hours…..
    managed to see Spooglenifty, awesome and uplifting, a Scottish band for the 21st. century combining traditional with modern rhythm and acid house.

    never will forget the little tot who came into the bar with his daddy beaming at me when I handed him his slice of lemon, he equaled the sunshine we were blessed with.

    Further increasing the impact of the festival on that beautiful land is a decision that should not be taken likely, upping the numbers will mean that the logistics will scale up. I would not want to see the same thing happening to this festival that happened to others, i.e. becoming an unsustainable situation were the land can’t recoup itself and it deteriorates, year by year.

    The laird and his wife very much liked the English wiski I proffered him and I’m happy to say descent and revolution was avoided.

  • fwl

    That you get up to these things and post them makes your blog the real thing and gives it some honesty. Is Doune the Rabbit Hole always in Stirlingshire? I thought it had been in Holland or somewhere last year…

  • nevermind

    Its a Fair held in Scotland and it started in Doune, FWL, small compact, family friendly, a Scottish fair that gets people excited and recharges the batteries.
    The fair can be improved upon and its a good thing, although it should be sustainable, unless you have two locations and can swap, let the land rest and recover, while you use the other plot.
    This would also set an example to outdoor festivals, a well organised event which has the environment at its center.

    There is a lot to improve and its good to please

  • Mary

    I found the words of this short poem to be reassuring.

    In the Badlands
    by Jon Taylor / August 30th, 2015

    As wealth and power
    retreat to their walled-and-gated
    and their island-off-the-coast
    greenzone enclaves

    It’s worth knowing
    that here on the outside
    where aliens legal and illegal
    dodge the authorities

    The mesquite
    and palo verde of Arizona
    and the redbud and dogwood
    of Tennessee

    And the Juneberry
    and pussy willow of Northwoods
    Wisconsin and Michigan
    still bloom together in spring.

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/08/in-the-badlands/

    Some other poetry here. It’s a regular weekly feature on DV – Poetry on Sunday.
    http://dissidentvoice.org/category/poetry/

  • Clark

    I’m late to this thread – but for my few comments some days ago, this is my first session back on-line; the last of us finally left the site on Saturday. My thank you to Craig for his ‘special shout’, but as usual Craig worked hardest of all. Good to see and work with Nevermind and co, Bill and BrianFujisan.

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