Life’s a beach for festival

Butefest 2018 launch event at the festival's new home of Ettrick Bay. Photo by Steve Dick.
Butefest 2018 launch event at the festival's new home of Ettrick Bay. Photo by Steve Dick.

Butefest has unveiled a new location for 2018 – and its first big name act for the island’s annual music festival, now entering its fourth year.

Singer-songwriter Dougie Mac
Lean will take to the stage this summer as the event heads out of Rothesay for the first time to a new beach side base at Ettrick Bay.

Butefest 2018 launch event at the festival's new home of Ettrick Bay. Photo by Tim Stobart

Butefest 2018 launch event at the festival's new home of Ettrick Bay. Photo by Tim Stobart

For the past three years, Butefest has been based at King George’s Field in the heart of Rothesay, showcasing a huge range of bands and musicians across three stages, including two marquees.

Last year saw the event battle with torrential rain during the set-up period, and parts of the site were turned into a quagmire which resulted in the cancellation of the following event on the site, Bute Agricultural Show, for the first time in its 211-year history.

The move to Ettrick Bay means a whole new look for the festival – and the challenge of how it will get spectators, bands and stall holders to a different part of the island.

Butefest chairwoman Hazel Mulholland explained the venue change for the festival.

Butefest - Elephant Sessions on the main stage last year. (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Butefest - Elephant Sessions on the main stage last year. (Pic: Cath Ruane)

She said: “We decided to move there for lots of different reasons. Obviously you have to take into account that the Highland Games is a week earlier this year. So the turnover to take down the festival could be quite tight.

“And with the weather as well they were looking for us to put down matting, which we can’t afford to do.

“So the best thing to do was to look for a different site and we have landed on Ettrick Bay.

“It’s a slightly bigger site for us and it’s also all flat which makes it more accessible.

Butefest 2017 - one of the youngest fans watching Colonel Mustard & The Dijon Five (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Butefest 2017 - one of the youngest fans watching Colonel Mustard & The Dijon Five (Pic: Cath Ruane)

“We are really excited about the new challenge and what it is going to bring for us.”

The announcement of the new location was followed with the big reveal of the first confirmed performer, Dougie MacLean, at a gala launch event on the new site last Saturday. The singer-songwriter is best known for penning the Scottish anthem, Caledonia from his debut album of the same name released 40 years ago.

He has released 20 albums, and is touring to promote his most recent release, New Tomorrow, written, recorded and produced with his son Jamie.

Hazel added: “We are going to be announcing more acts over the coming weeks but we are very happy to get Dougie MacLean.

The Magic Numbers on the main stage at ButeFest 2016.

The Magic Numbers on the main stage at ButeFest 2016.

“It’s a great act to get and it’s all down to our artists team. We do try to have a variation of bands, as well as Scottish acts. We have had 300 applications to play at the festival.

“We had our launch on Saturday and we just grateful we are still getting support from everybody and hopefully it will go spectacularly well this year and the sun will shine.”

MacLean becomes the latest big name to play Butefest. Since its launch it has put the island on Scotland’s festival map, and brought a host of top names here. They include The Magic Numbers, Idlewild, We Are Scientists and The Wedding Present, as well as showcasing a host of Scottish bands.

Butefest 2018, at Ettrick Bay, July 27-29. For tickets go the www.butefest.co.uk.

Butefest 2016 - festival scenes  (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Butefest 2016 - festival scenes (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Butefest 2018 launch event at the festival's new home of Ettrick Bay. Photo by Tim Stobart

Butefest 2018 launch event at the festival's new home of Ettrick Bay. Photo by Tim Stobart