Doune the Rabbit Hole 2020 51

Long term readers know that the Doune the Rabbit Hole Music Festival is run by my family and myself and is a major part of my life. It is in a sense my “day job”. The full line-up for 2020 is now here.

The artistic direction of the festival is very much the province of my son Jamie, though when you see something entirely unexpected like the Morriston Orpheus Choir you know there is some input from me!

I have written before about why we do the festival. It is about lifestyle and community, about creating a nicer, kinder world for a short time in the fields on the edge of the Highland Line. Doune the Rabbit Hole is a conscious attempt to maintain the communal values of the earliest music festivals, and the experience is very different from that of the large commercial ones. It is a family festival not just in the sense of being family owned and run. Under 12s come free and there is a huge amount of time and other resource devoted to providing facilities and entertainment for them. The very presence of so many children is important to the sense of being a community, not an audience, as is the extraordinary age range of those who come. There is no dominant age group. Pets are welcome and lots of people bring them.

The finances of the festival are a huge challenge. The fixed costs of the required infrastructure – fencing, temporary roads, water, stages, lighting, sound systems, toilets, tentage, signage, security, first aid and more – are colossal, amounting to over £400,000. This is why many of Scotland’s camping festivals, including Wicker Man and Electric Fields, have closed down in recent years. In the modern age, much of that is mandated by the authorities, for example we would be much happier without six miles of fencing. That is before you pay the musicians. Live performance rather than selling recorded music is nowadays a much higher percentage of a musicians’ income, and the cost of leading bands has increased exponentially in real terms over the last couple of decades. Plus, as a matter of principle, we pay all the musicians, including those looking to break through, of which we have masses.

Ten years of trying has proven to us that the only way a camping festival can survive financially is to reach a size of about 8,000 people, due to the fixed costs. You can imagine the challenges of attempting to grow the festival to the size needed, with all the infrastructure required to keep that many people entertained, safe, fed, watered and with clean toilets (and having the cleanest toilets of any festival is very high on our priorities), yet at the same time retain the community, family, non-commercial and above all friendly atmosphere. I hope that this link might take you to the public reviews on Google. My feeling was last year that we achieved this atmosphere for the visitors but not for the crew, who were over-stressed. I am spending a lot of time on how to make the community work for everybody and keep the finances together, while avoiding commercialisation. We are always very keen on keeping bar and food prices down to ordinary, non-festival levels and making sure that people never feel ripped off on site.

Let me be perfectly open with you and say that this is the year we finally hope we will reach a size where the festival stops losing money. The reason that it has been able to survive and develop to this stage, is that I have over the years put in a six figure sum of my own money to keep it going (which is also the reason I do not now have any!)

The Douniversity proved a very popular innovation last year, with a legion of talks including by Kristin Hrafnsson (editor in chief Wikileaks), Robin McAlpine and myself. This year Common Weal are curating the Douniversity, which I am sure will be great.

The festival has become to me an essential annual spiritual refreshment, and a vital part of what keeps me going.

Finally, I would as every year very much welcome volunteers from our readers who would be prepared to come and help out at the festival, particularly behind the bars, but if you have other particular skills or preferences I am sure they can be accommodated. In the first instance, please send me a message via the contact button top right of the blog to introduce yourself. Please do let me know if you have done it before or if you have otherwise met me, as I have a terrible memory for names. We do, however, need to sell a great many tickets, and if you fancy coming just to enjoy the event you will be very welcome indeed. You can buy tickets here.


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51 thoughts on “Doune the Rabbit Hole 2020

  • Skye Mull

    Good luck! Hopefully the Coronavirus will have died away by then. If not…….????

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Securing Public Enemy Radio as an additional act is quite a coup. Chuck D is a big Bernie supporter and parted company at the weekend with Flavor Flav over the latters refusal to do an unpaid Sanders rally gig. Chuck D is also a supporter of Scottish independence (not that he has a dog in the fight). Suppose that’s fraternal support to fight the power and take down the man.

    • nevermind

      I bet Chuck D will not do DTRH for free because Craig supports ndependence, but its worth asking, but I am equally excited about public enemy radio.

      • Brianfujisan

        Doune the Rabbit Hole is a wonderful Festival indeed.. A breath of fresh air, and a welcome escape from all the negative word and domestic goings on

        It’s a pleasure too, seeing hundreds of Teeny Tots running wild mostly barefoot, and with such joy.. Then there’ s endless world music. One felt the desire to be in three places at the same Time

        Stanley Odd are also an Indy supporting band.. Peatbog Faeries..And Tide Lines Carrying on from last years Skerryvore with the Celtic Rock n Pipes

        See yas there nevermind, Craig, and Clark, and Sqounk

        p.s I hope the weather is kind to the set up crews

        • David Hay

          I had the pleasure of working the bars at the 2018 festival and, likewise, I cannot recommend it enough. The atmosphere is absolutely unique, so chilled, so friendly, and there is an incredible range of music on multiple stages.
          Craig is on site most of the time and you too could be surprised to discover what a charmingly avuncular chap our host is in the flesh…

  • Jack

    Wow, I had no idea your family have your own festival! Was listening to John Cole the other day.
    Pussy Riot, well now no one could ever call you a russian agent.

  • Brendan

    You’ve booked Pussy Riot, close associates of the oligarch and wannabe dictator of Russia, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Serious?

    • Gotlev

      I was wondering the same thing. What are these Empire capitalist puppets doing in Doune the Rabbit Hole?? Come on Craig, you MUST know how toxic these people are. Hillary Clinton loves them. What more proof of total establishment compromise can you possibly want?

      • craig Post author

        We had several people speak at the Douniversity last year I don’t particularly agree with. You must lead very dull lives if you only mix with people who agree with you about everything. Besides, I do not myself believe that Russia’s internal democracy or human rights situation is beyond criticism, as I have frequently stated.

        • Ben

          “Besides, I do not myself believe that Russia’s internal democracy or human rights situation is beyond criticism, as I have frequently stated.”

          That’s big of you..

        • Gotlev

          Dear Craig, you will always be one of my heroes, because there simply is no other word for what you do and the status you have in the new world.
          Sometimes though, I cannot understand your replies.
          Nobody is ever ‘beyond criticism’. Not in this world, it’s simply not possible. And that is not what Pussy Riot is about. Pussy Riot is not about criticizing your government to advance positive change. You know much better than I do how Washington has an endless list of fake NGO’s that will immediately buy any opposition in any country it targets. Pussy Riot was bought long ago, just like Bellingcat etc. You don’t ‘disagree’ with Bellingcat. You don’t invite those people to a party. You denounce them for the horrible war and hate facilitators they are.
          Nobody is perfect and beyond criticism, but you and I know that Putin is at the moment the adult in the room who is keeping nuclear war at bay while the Empire gives no other option to its global dominance. This is about an empire strangling the whole globe.
          I’m sure the Syrian government isn’t beyond criticism either. Are you inviting the white helmets next?
          FYI, I live surrounded by people who swim in koolaid and I need blogs like yours to keep some mental sanity.

      • Magic Robot

        Pussy Riot’s members entered the doors of Moscow’s main Orthodox Cathedral. Not to worship, but to ‘protest.’ Protesting to a few defenceless old people in a church, peacefully doing whatever they do in their religion, is bullying. I wonder how they’d take it if their stage was invaded while they performed? They are a bunch of misguided bourgeois prats at best.

        Had they done this in a Synagogue or a Mosque, what would the West’s media have portrayed them as then? Would they still have been ‘defending free speech?’

        To be properly in context, their ‘protest’ ought to have been held near a government building, for example.

        One reason why I wouldn’t go anywhere near this ‘concert.’

        • craig Post author

          Yes, and look at that Martin Luther – defacing church property – terrible eh? And as for Jesus in the Temple…

          • Magic Robot

            Poor diversionary tactic.

            Does not answer the point I make regarding the media’s response, if a different faith had been attacked.

            Or the lack of context.
            But protesting Putin from a church? Your comment regarding Luther is meaningless, he was definitely in context, as was Jesus.

          • Kempe

            I’d hardly put them in the same league Craig.

            The biggest reason for not having them is that they’re bloody awful but it’s your festival.

          • Pooh

            Greetings, Greg

            Thank you from my heart for everything you’ve been doing for Julian, bless him, and your readers. Your blog is great.


            “Yes, and look at that Martin Luther – defacing church property – terrible eh? And as for Jesus in the Temple…”

            I respectfully beg to differ.

            “При поднятии гвоздя
            близ каретного сарая.”
            Козьма Прутков, Выдержки из моего дневника в деревне

            “When picking up a nail
            near the carriage shed.”
            Kozma Prutkov, Excerpts from my diary in the village

            I’m sort of certain that you had in mind Luther’s alleged nailing/attaching to the gate of the Castle Church in Wittenberg an invitation to discuss his 95 theses. As far as I know from academic sources, there is no reliable evidence that Luther had done as alleged. In any case, he was not found by the authorities in his country to have been guilty of blasphemy and/or desecration.

            You might’ve been holding the wrong end of the ‘Temple stick’.

            Matthew 21:12-13 (KJV)

            “12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

            13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

            If that’s what you had in mind, then I would propose that Pussy Riot acted as had done those “that sold and bought in the temple” , and the guards who expelled the lasses from the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour acted in accordance with the Evangelical “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

            Luther’s and Christ’s deeds on the one hand, sacrilegious and unlawful actions of a bandwagon-jumping “bunch of misguided bourgeois prats [hooligans]” on the other… Well…

            Magic Robot’s March 4, 2020 at 16:17 comment seems to be standing unopposed, and the two salient questions – “Had they done this in a Synagogue or a Mosque, what would the West’s media have portrayed them as then? Would they still have been ‘defending free speech?’ – remain unanswered.

            Magic Robot: “One reason why I wouldn’t go anywhere near this ‘concert.’”

            Our possible differences apart, I’ll buy a ticket or two as a gesture of goodwill and gratitude. I hope that everyone who can easily afford it will consider doing likewise, and perhaps many have already done so.

            And just a little something I find truly Russian, inspired and unfailingly touching:

            “Одно, чего и святотатство
            Коснуться в храме не могло:
            Моя напасть! Mое богатство!
            Мое святое ремесло!”
            Каролина Павлова, 1858

            Odnó, chegó i svyatotátstvo
            Kosnút’sya v khráme ne mogló:
            Moýa napúst’! Moýe bogátstvo!
            Moýe svyatóye remesló!

            “One thing even blasphemy
            Touch in the temple could not:
            My misfortune! My treasure!
            My holy craft!”
            Karolina Pavlova, 1858

            Bit that, PR lasses (as if you could)!

            Good wishes.


        • Tony_0pmoc

          Pussy Riot, who for years, exhibited absolutely zero musical talent, yet did their best to totally outrage anyone (even me) who saw how offensive they were to ordinary Russian people in their supermarkets (The Sex Pistols wouldn’t do that, even if they were female and the chicken might just fit) and on Altars, both inside and out Russian Churches – how their videos weren’t banned?

          They have now, actually learnt to play some musical instruments, and sing a few interesting songs, well if you like Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa and The Residents. If you are into the Beatles or even The Sex Pistols, you will probably not be too impressed, but if you are 18 and like any of the current awful dross… may think this Great..It’s had over 1 Million views.

          “Pussy Riot – Police State”


          • N_

            Pussy Riot are pro-western and from what I recall not exactly multiple steps away from the CIA’s infowar effort (which by the way the FSB would squash tomorrow if they wanted to), but the chicken incident wasn’t done by Pussy Riot. It was authored by Voina. Voina are much more radical and as far as I know they are neither a tool of the CIA nor funded by any oligarch. I liked Voina’s FSB-bridge-penis action (those who haven’t heard of it, please research it for yourselves), their “Kiss a Cop” (the sound track is great too – connecting back to Yiddish-speaking workers’ struggle against the bosses and the autocracy in Tsarist Russia), and their bucket head stuff. Their bucket stuff is obviously against the oligarchy or the mafia as it used to be called. Of course it doesn’t do much damage, but what are people supposed to do against the mafia? Call a strike? Bossnap a few criminals out of their bodyguarded limousines? Go mental and get themselves shot? They’re much better than a tosser “artist” like Banksy.

        • Brendan

          I remember seeing Pussy Riot’s recording of their Cathedral ‘performance’ and it showed an elderly nun there who was desperately trying to get them to stop. She looked like she was about to get a heart attack. Pussy Riot put this scene in their video, as if they were proud of it.

        • N_

          You need to nuance your take on Pussy Riot and religion, @Magic Robot. They are not anti-Christian or even anti-Orthodox. They are anti the role of the modern equivalent of the Tsar, which is to say Vladimir Putin. The main Orthodox hierarchy has been dominated by the state since the time of Peter the Great. It was part of the state before, during, and after the Soviet period. There is a great deal that is religiously themed in the whole Putin image. At the same time Orthodox Christianity is very organic, “of the people”, and for most people it is not about moneygrabbing, lying and cheating as Lutheranism is and as the disgusting bucket of stinking despicable sick called Calvinism is even more so.

          There are “performers” who truly do mean to insult Christians and Muslims too – for example the group called “Femen” from the Ukraine. While they are attractive to a lot of men because they get their knockers out, they have either carried out or been associated with some vile and totally unjustified Christophobic and Islamophobic actions such as using a chainsaw to saw down a large Christian cross in the Ukraine that was a memorial to war dead (that kind of action is not an insult to the state – it is an insult to the people) and carrying signs insulting Muslim women by saying “Muslim women, get naked” (and obviously defending western capitalist culture and the way its spectacle uses sexual imagery, while mocking women who prefer to cover up more of their bodies than Femen cover up of theirs). Femen are funded by a Jewish billionaire called Wadim Rabinowicz. They too have done actions in places such as St Peter’s Square in the Vatican and in Notre Dame cathedral before it burned down – actions mainly featuring them getting their tits out. While I don’t like Pussy Riot particularly, they need to be distinguished from Femen who have absolutely zero that is radical about them and who are basically paid by a billionaire to mock the population in general and the majority whether in Russia or Italy or France or the Ukraine itself who follow other religions than his own.

          So I am saying distinctions need to be drawn between at one end of the scale Femen and then you have Pussy Riot, and then you have Voina.

          • Magic Robot

            I agree with most of what you say.

            Further, given that PR’s antics were, at best, crass and at worst, bullying, the sentences they received were totally unnecessary.
            The state probably did itself more harm than good in that decision.
            A fine or some sort of community service punishment would have been appropriate; they did not physically hurt anybody.

            Good luck with your concert, Mr. Murray.

          • Pooh

            I appreciate your comment, N, and you may even be right that PR are not anti-Christian or even anti-Orthodox and that they are anti the role of the modern equivalent of the Tsar, which is to say Vladimir Putin. However, entering a ‘house of prayer’ for any purpose other those assigned to it by the relevant authorities is illegal in Russia. I believe.

            The Bolsheviks separated Religion from the State, and after the USSR split, Russia followed suit.

            Article 14 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation:

            1. The Russian Federation is a secular state. No state or obligatory religion may be established.
            2. Religious associations shall be separate from the State and shall be equal before the law.

            I guess you know all that.

            To quote Magic Robot: “Pussy Riot … did their best to totally outrage anyone (even me) who saw how offensive they were to ordinary Russian people in their supermarkets (The Sex Pistols wouldn’t do that, even if they were female and the chicken might just fit) and on Altars, both inside and out Russian Churches…“

            “… given that PR’s antics were, at best, crass and at worst, bullying, the sentences they received were totally unnecessary.
            The state probably did itself more harm than good in that decision.”

            “Had they done this in a Synagogue or a Mosque, what would the West’s media have portrayed them as then? Would they still have been ‘defending free speech?’”

            I think, in Russia, PR’s antics were viewed as premeditated aggravated hooliganism, a crime. And PR did “totally outrage anyone … who saw how offensive they were to ordinary Russian people in their supermarkets.” I respect Magic Robots’s opinion that the sentences they received were “totally unnecessary.” I gather she/he is not a Russian of Russian Christian Orthodox persuasion. I think it unlikely the absolute majority of Russians in Russia, regardless of their religious affiliation, would agree with Magic Robot on the harshness of the sentence.

            Had PR ‘performed’ in a Synagogue or a Mosque in the way they had done in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, what would the Western media have portrayed them as then? Would they still have been ‘defending free speech? How would such ‘performances’ have been judged if staged in the West in a nationally and/or historically important place of worship, say, St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, or Bevis Marks Synagogue, or Fazl Mosque? Just being curious.

            Thank you, N. Have a good weekend.

          • Iain Stewart

            Pooh says “No state or obligatory religion may be established.”
            Have you not seen the newly proposed constitution?

          • Magic Robot

            March 6, 2020 at 15:43

            The first quote in your comment that you have mistakenly attributed to me (the bit about ‘supermarkets’), was actually made by:
            March 4, 2020 at 19:53


          • Pooh

            Thanks, lain @20:26

            I didn’t say that. I quoted the Constitution of the R F.

            I am aware of the proposed amendments, but that’s irrelevant to what I was saying.

  • Cubby

    Good to see the Peatbog Faeries are among the musicians playing.

    Best wishes for a successful Festival and fingers crossed it is not mucked up by the coronavirus.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Good luck with “Doune the Rabbit Hole 2020”

    Over nearly 40 years, my wife and I have been camping at well over 150 Festivals. We have never seen a fight, and we have only been robbed once.

    We still go to lots of festivals, but only small ones now – less than 5,000 people, usually less than 1,000.

    I think you are very financially brave, putting on a festival with six miles of fencing, costing over £400,000, just on basic infrastructure and facilities. There are other much cheaper ways of doing it using already largely existing infrastructures, such as country houses and gardens, or even remote moorland farms, with agreement of their owners, and supportive local authorities.

    Some festivals are still literally free (except for the camping), because they bring in large numbers of people, to the local town or village, and they spend lots of money on beer, food, art etc, but even they get too big for us, and we find out about other smaller ones mainly through word of mouth.

    Good luck,


  • Kev

    Craig I had no idea this was your family’s baby. I always thought you went along each year just to unwind and pour some beers 🙂

    Having followed each year’s lineups I have to say it’s a very eclectic and amazing roster of bands and things to do. I wanted to come to last year’s event because Mono (from Japan) were playing (been a fan for many, many years and they don’t often play the UK, let alone Scotland) but was unable to make it. I think you’ve created one of Scotland’s best kept secrets, whilst I realise you need to turn a profit, I hope it doesn’t get too big. Good luck for this year’s event.

    • craig Post author


      I think I would like it to settle around 12,000 eventually. I was very surprised when I went to the Levellers’ Beautiful Days festival, which is a lot bigger, to find that they managed to keep it very non-commercial and homely despite the size. It changed my mind about what is possible, but I still don’t want to aim as big as that.

  • Gary

    I certainly hope it goes ahead. From the looks of things it could well face cancellation due to the Coronavirus. although I hope it follows the SARS outbreak and mutates into something much less serious…

  • Matt

    I saw Public Enemy a few years back. Well, I say that but I left after ten minutes. It was awful, he doesn’t sing, he shouts, he sounded like he was going to give himself an aneurysm. I saw Bad Manners the same weekend, and I tell no lie, Johnny Rotten is fatter than Buster Bloodvessel.

    The Buzzcocks are one of the best bands I’ve ever seen though. RIP Pete Shelley. If they’re half as good without him, it’s a must see.

    • Matt

      Yes, that was a stupid post. Public Enemy are not Public Image Ltd.

      Public Enemy are pretty good. Hip-hop not my thing, but that’s a huge name to pull.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        Matt, I nearly fell for that as well. I know nothing about Public Enemy, when I realised they weren’t Public Image Ltd when I did a google search. I agree with you about the Buzzcocks, but John Lydon in the early 80’s was as innovative and interesting in PIL, as for example Brian Eno and David Byrne. Both some of my favourite albums. I like The Fall too. Sad Loss.

        Pussy Riot are growing on me. I might even go and see them.


        • Matt

          I saw the Fall the same weekend I saw Public Image. They were incredible, I danced non stop. I’m so glad I saw them. Mark looked ill, and he died a few months later. Such a sad loss indeed, much like Shelley. I feel blessed to have seen them both.

          Not a fan of Pussy Riot. I’ve tried, I quite fancy the one, but frankly I think they’re crap.

  • Jade Webster

    As a fan of Kate Tempest and Pussy Riot this looks an amazing lineup! You and your family should feel very proud, it sounds like my kind of festival xx

  • Craig P

    Public Enemy and Peat & Diesel on the same bill?

    I think that covers just about everything…

  • Wikikettle

    Will love to attend Craig. I am on the English south coast and will explore sailing to the nearest marina/anchorage to the festival.

  • Alastair McP

    Strength to your elbow, Craig!

    We spoke on the phone at some length around 18 months ago (I was the guy from eBay with the record player). I also seem to recall seeing you at Phoney Tony’s 2003 embarrassing car crash meeting of the Ambassadors in Pimlico…but I may be wrong there. Could have been the late Hugh Mortimer. I cannot be bottied with detail abt that now.

    Whatever you can do for Julian is now all you’re worth
    . That is worth much more than you appear to know. Imagine all that soft shite about…
    Ghhfg45} hhhuggGgh

  • Dungroanin

    Its a long way – but if the weather is looking good may turn up for bitthday week.

    Don’t mind buying ticket and helping out too.

    What’s the policy on caravans? Mates got one and my ridge tent is pushing 30 years old and may have deteriorated for not being unpacked for at least 5 years…

  • kashmiri

    [UNRELATED] You might consider switching your email provider to the Swiss secure email provider ProtonMail, a similar German service Tutanota, or alternatively use a home-based email server (in your own domain). Reason is, is compromised to/from all sides.

  • Gordon Wellard

    I see Pussy Riot are your music this the anti Putin group who aren’t actually musicians…Paul Craig Roberts has a very dim view of them as a Hillary Clinton favoured bunch of depraved anti Christian sex shockers….what is your view?
    They had no records out when they first claimed to be a band..
    Gordon Wellard….The Jazz in Schools Project..

  • Tatyana

    Well, I approve of the decision to invite Pussy Riot to the festival, and that’s why: I am sure that this name on the poster will attract russophobes. Actually, I like the idea that russophobes will pay for the opportunity to enjoy (God forgive me for this heresy) the incomparable skill of these, ahem… artists.
    Russophobes will bring money, I believe that this is a good business.
    Earning on a trend, right?

    In my country, if someone commits an unacceptable action, an offence, then people condemn him in a very simple way – they do not shake hands and do not invite this person to their home.
    Such is the passive way of upholding moral values.
    But I understand that 1. all people have different values, 2. business and moral values ​​are a bad combination.

    I try to understand and respect your values ​​and your business.
    Enjoy the festival!

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