> Solas, the small festival packing a punch – Festival Review - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Solas, the small festival packing a punch – Festival Review

A very family-friendly and accessible festival, Solas may be small, but it packs a punch with its assorted programming and stunning setting replete with beautiful vistas, verdant towering trees, and long-eyelashed Highland cows.

Solas covers a lot across its programme, including talks, activities, and music.

Radical female friendships

My favourite talk was held in the cosy Book Nook, and was between Anahit Behrooz and Ali Braidwood, discussing Behrooz’s 404 Ink Inklings book ‘BFFS: The Radical Potential of Female Friendship’, covering concepts from ‘brunch friends’ to protofeminist texts. I added lots of books she referred to to my ever-growing TBR pile! This was closely followed by the densely packed talk from The Scottish Geologist – I now have my latest special interest! This was held in The Stables, an intimate fairy-light-lit venue that was a favourite space as the nights wound down.

Connect with nature

I began my Saturday with possibly my favourite activity of the whole weekend – forest bathing. Led expertly by Lindsey Gray of Nature Happy, she carved out a period of peace for her participants. How often do you lie down outside and just look up? How often do you take time to feel your surroundings, petals brushing your palms, fibres in your fingergaps, moss through your toes? Unfortunately, we only had an hour and I could have stayed there all day, but I would recommend looking out for her other events that allow much longer to connect with nature.

Musical Elements

Tom McGuire & The Brassholes – Video Credit: Natalie Jayne Clark

The musical elements were a highlight for me. You know a band is going to be good when even the gobbledygook of a sound check draws the audience in – Tom McGuire and the Brassholes were super funky, super funny, and the keyboardist was absolutely flying across that stage. CK McGinty’s whistling was a preternatural power, and his stabbing lyrics were all wrapped in a deceptively delightful gift wrap, many underscored with harmonica too. Brìghde Chaimbeul was described in the programme as ‘trancelike’ and we can certainly attest to her hypnotic prowess.

Highlights of the highlights

It was Tinderbox Orchestra and An Danssa Dub who were the highlights of the highlights, however. I have no idea how Tinderbox Orchestra all fit on that wee stage, nor how they managed to use so many levels and dance moves as they played – they had choreographed battles and layers to complement their music. How on earth can someone playing a wind instrument twirl up from kneeling to standing without missing a note? Claire Docherty’s voice in particular was astounding – rich and reaching the heavens. An Dannsa Dub were equally playful with space – and at one point the flautist and fiddler stepped down into the crowd, and another time they started some reels with the audience on the dancefloor.

If you’d prefer a festival and all its trimmings but with everything within easy reach, without having to trek miles through floods of mud, then this is for you.

Solas Festival took place from Friday 14th till Sunday 16th June at Errol Park, Perthshire.

Photo Credits: Skaiste Klaniute

Solas Festival Website

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