> Howlin’ Fling’s Just The Thing For Anything and Everything - Festival Review - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Howlin’ Fling’s Just The Thing For Anything and Everything – Festival Review

I don’t know how many attendees there were: some said 100, some said 200, but either way, I was one of the lucky few who was part of this tiny festival in paradise. Every set transcendent; strangers swapping Smidge and ciders within their opening sentences; the clear seas surrounding the Isle of Eigg calling us from the corners of our vision. Just to set the scene a little more, the fashion choices of this motley bunch of festival-goers could be described as either very future-forward or an absolute bomb scare, ‘vibrant but practical’ for a festival on a small isle. Shimmering green gowns were paired with hiking boots, velvet flares were tucked into thick socks, and fairy lights draped around necks were covered by garish anoraks, and so on. 

Credit: Hannah Close

Friday began with the ethereal Faith Eliott, their friendly face drawing us into their beautiful secrets. Then followed Both Hands, a band so brand new they changed their name between the set list being printed and their performance. Consisting of Hailey Beavis and Brian Pokora, Both Hands’ infective playfulness, truth-filled lyrics, and heart-stopping sounds created a space for our brains to be taken to another plane. They were followed by L.T. Leif, smiling in suit and tie and accompanied by a fabulous band of musicians. They again seemed to get to the heart of the human condition and for a moment it was more than just a festival. The rest of Friday followed suit, with a frenetic ceilidh in there to boot. I went to bed at a reasonable hour this night.

Credit: Hannah Close

The same could not be said for Saturday night. I stumbled down the hill from the glittering village hall to the campsite without the need for my torch as the sun was already fully risen by the time I headed for my scratcher. My highlights of the Saturday lineup were Amy May Ellis (strikes to the soul), Alabaster DePlume (does things quite differently), and Free Love (we all screamed like Beatles’ fans throughout, OH MY GOD). Jon Hopkins’ DJ set was briefly delayed since his laptop did not want to play ball, and he ended up playing using a giant telly as his laptop screen. I have to also shout out to all the pop bangers and DJ sets played in between acts. The choons were immense. 

Credit: Hannah Close

At the centre of all of this is the record label man himself, Johnny Pictish. He is an Isle of Eigg resident and runs Lost Map from there, now celebrating a decade of creating new Scottish music. Johnny was everywhere, always smiling and drawing us in. Throughout the weekend, it was evident just how positive an impact he has had on the Scottish music scene. I implore you to join their PostMap Club – an easy way to support this indie record label plus you get cute stuff sent to you in the post. I also encourage a visit to Eigg – a place that is lush and verdant, with the most scintillating seas and most stunning sunsets. 95% of their energy is created by sun, wind and sea on the island and there are fascinating little museums all over, detailing much, including how the islanders came to own this wee isle of heaven. 

You can find out more about upcoming gigs, artists, merch and more at Lost Map’s website: lostmap.com

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