Butefest: Three days of music and fun ...

Butefest 2016 - festival scenes  (Pic: Cath Ruane)
Butefest 2016 - festival scenes (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Max Yasgur summed up the spirit of music festivals when he spoke of how ‘’people can get together and have three days of fun and music, and have nothing but fun and music.’’

The dairy farmer owned the land which hosted Woodstock, and his words were addressed to some 500,000 people who attended the generation-defining 1969 event.

Butefest 2016 - Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Butefest 2016 - Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Five decades on, there remains something special about a music festival.

Big or small, bespoke or corporate, they have a vibe of their own.

Butefest sits at the very opposite end of the spectrum to huge festivals such as Glastonbury and Hyde Park Calling, but it isn’t about size.

By curating the right line-up, and developing your own ethos, you can carve out a niche on the festival circuit.

Butefest 2016 -  juggling to entertain young festival goers Pic: Cath Ruane)

Butefest 2016 - juggling to entertain young festival goers Pic: Cath Ruane)

In just two years, Butefest has done just that – and has joined the growing list of Scottish islands leading the way with small, boutique events.

Many celebrate the very best in Scottish music too, as well as pulling big names to places far from the usual stadium and city venue circuit.

A number of the bands playing Butefest are also doing the circuit of events such as Hebfest and Belladrum, the latter also welcoming headliners Franz Ferdinand, KT Tunstall and The Pretenders.

Those names also underline the possibilities when it comes to curating future Butefest events.

Butefest 2016 - banners round the site (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Butefest 2016 - banners round the site (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Butefest 2016 had superb sets from Idlewild and The Magic Numbers, and the latter were happy to kick back and enjoy the event sitting in the crowd. Not many bands do that at a festival - most opt instead for the backstage VIP area out of bounds to most folk.

That gave an insight into the relaxed, chilled out atmosphere of Butefest.

The festival was the perfect size for the island, and the location, and it was genuinely family friendly, with a raft of events and activities to keep kids busy all day long.

Butefest 2016 got the sunshine all festivals hope for, but at any outdoor event in Scotland, you expect to get wet, and plan, and dress, accordingly.

I once waded through a mini-swamp at Hyde Park to see Bruce Springsteen, and punched holes in a bin bag to create a makeshift rain jacket listening to Van Morrison in a downpour at Fife Aid in St Andrews.

I’ve been soaked at T In the Park, and taken shelter under a huge tree at Big Tent in Falkland, which was one of the finest eco-friendly festivals Scotland has ever hosted.

And I’ve also sat under a golden sun listening to Roger Waters perform Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety, and returned to Hyde Park the next night to see 50,000 people – from kids to grandparents –- dance with unconfined joy as Paul Simon completed the whole of his Graceland album with a glorious rendition of You Can Call me Al.

And, while those were huge gigs on a massive scale – Springsteen duetting with Paul McCartney remains one of my greatest ever festival moments – I have to say that Butefest 2016 was every bit just as special and enjoyable.

Great music, smashing food, ace cider, a location that was so easy to wander around, tents and marquees bursting with superb bands and solo performers … and all within a 15- minute walk of the centre of Rothesay.

The best things do come in the smallest of packages. Three days of fun and music await at the end of the month.