Tractor Girl has written about her take on this weekend’s Solas Festival. We managed to make it just for the day yesterday, it was great to catch up with people and meet new people and see a bit of the beginning of a festival which I hope goes from strength to strength.

I’m having a few issues with uploading pictures to flickr, and my photos are too big for the wordpress Add Media thing to be able to cope with them, so I shall have to do photos some other time, sorry about that!

We arrived shortly after the communion service had started, so by the time we’d parked and got our ticket and found the loos and whathaveyou the service was over half way through so we headed off for a cup of tea (bargain) and were joined after the service by Tractor Girl and TOH (TOH if you’re reading this: sorry we laughed at your geeky faux pas, HD wasn’t offended in the slightest, it was just a lovely moment 🙂 ). We then headed on over to see Alastair McIntosh’s talk – like TG I loved Soil and Soul and his gentle delivery, and even if you don’t agree with his theology there is always the sense of real substance there. The questioning afterwards was interesting – Doug Gay was rather annoyed by McIntosh’s take on Calvinism and atonement (something which surprised me – I’ve only heard him speak before a couple of times, once at a wedding and once at Greenbelt where he was talking about nationalism, and the whole Calvinist edge wasn’t that obvious to me then at all), but I thought it was good that there was room for criticism and robust debate rather than just cuddly affirmation. After that HD and I grabbed a (delicious) veggie burger and then wandered into the Christian Aid tent for a coffee where we ended up listening to a conversation with Verene Nicolas (Alastair McIntosh’s wife). We hadn’t heard her talk (TG talks about it in her entry) but the conversation I found a bit vague and hand-wavy and I didn’t have the same sense of ‘substance’ that I felt with Alastair McIntosh’s talk.

In the afternoon we wandered over to the marquee in the campsite to listen to some acoustic music – we both liked Brian McGlynn – HD last saw him about 15 years ago and has one of his CDs so the first song I recognised, and we enjoyed a mellow set. Then I left him to listen to music (and then to sit under a tree) while I went to Mary Ann Kennedy’s Gaelic Singing workshop which was fun. Gaelic is such a beautiful language, though so unscrutable. I could listen to someone reading the phone book in Gaelic and be transported somewhere heavenly. I doubt my singing it would have the same effect on anyone else though!

In the evening we went along to Kim Edgar’s acoustic set, as TG says she has a beautiful voice and I enjoyed that very much. After more good cheap festival food we went back to the camping area where the ceilidh was in full flow, though we just watched from the sidelines and caught up with various people, rather than doing any dancing ourselves. Finally we headed over to the main venue for the final 3 bands of the evening. Kitty the Lion were OK but didn’t particularly grab me; Stanley Odd were just brilliant, so so funny (maybe it was just not expecting Scottish hiphop) and full of energy – I think the music team were getting them to sign up for next year as soon as they left the stage, as they were fantastic; and then a brilliant end to the evening with the Peatbog Faeries from Skye (though, worryingly they did make me worry that I’m turning into my dad – I found myself thinking a couple of times I’d prefer them a bit more trad and without the brass section. I was fine with the bass and drums though so perhaps there’s hope for me yet!).

[Edited: have sorted out my flickr problems. There’s a set of photos here.]