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This was our THIRD visit to Jocktoberfest since relocating to Scotland in 2012 and we were rather giddy in the weeks leading up to the event. I say giddy…that could possibly be an understatement! I’ve spent the last few months editing several books and publishing my fourth contemporary romance novel Bridge of Hope and so this was going to be a escape for a wee while before the whole process started again! All of my books take place in the Highlands and it was so good to be back there!
After spending a rather romantic Thursday at a superb B & B in Inverness we set off to the Black Isle with great excitement. You see, this festival has led us to the discovery of some amazing music. Every year we find a new favourite band! Our first Jocktoberfest back in 2012 was where we discovered The Lafontaines, Washington Irving, Toby Michaels and the Rolling Damned and the magnificently talented mind blowing Esperi. Knowing that Esperi was going to be performing again was simply the cherry on top of the chocolate frosting on top of the worlds best cake…EVER!
The inclement weather of the few days prior to the event made us a tad nervous. No one like to put up a tent in the pouring rain after all! But thankfully we arrived to bright sunshine and erected our little blue tent with big smiles. And who could complain at the setting?
The thing that never ceases to amaze me about Jocktoberfest is how friendly everyone is. Within five minutes of sitting down when the venue opened on Friday – me in my Sons’s of Anarchy T-shirt and hubby in his Washington Irving one – a lovely young woman began chatting to us about our taste in TV and music! And she even said “Hi” and chatted again when we saw her later in the weekend. I love the fact that the event brings people of all ages and musical tastes together and that the atmosphere is buzzing from the get go. We have never encountered trouble and come away each year looking forward to the next time.
It was great to see Dr. Wook of The Whiskeys performing on Friday evening and we hope all is well with his wife as she was about to give birth at any second! The evening was lively and Tweed had us jigging around with silly grins on our faces.
The weather overnight on Friday was sooo cold! But we still woke with determination to make the most of the festivities on Saturday. We donned our checked shirts and cowboy hats and went down to the Wild West themed venue wondering what other crazy costumes we would encounter! We were NOT disappointed! Surrounded by horses, cowboys, Mexicans and even cacti – yes you read it right – we wandered around clutching our favourite beer – a Blonde for the blonde and a Red Kite for the Hombre ;-) And we sat to enjoy our first act of the day.
I’m not going to review each individual band as I’m no reviewer and I know little about music other than what I like but all I will say is that we hardly stood still the whole time. There was a lot of smiling and joining in when the bands requested audience participation. But one of the highlights for me was a band called Gabbro. I honestly never thought I would see the day when a spontaneous Ceilidh would break out at four in the afternoon when I was surrounded by cowboys/girls! You couldn’t help but tap your feet and clap along to this lively bunch of talented people. Absolutely loved them and I’m sure we will be hearing much more from them in the future.
The other thing we love about Jocktoberfest is the way that the bands seem to be like a family! You will spot a bass player from one band standing in for another…a drummer will pop up somewhere you didn’t expect and so on. It’s fantastic that there is a willingness to support each other. Just how it should be.
Now I will have to wax lyrical about one particular artist. I may be his number one fan ;-) Esperi was back at Jocktoberfest! Woohooo! AND I got to have my photo taken with him! I may have fangirled a little. We met Chris at our very first Jocktoberfest and were completely wowed by his unique way of producing music. Add that to his multifaceted talent and you have a recipe for amazing music. I was so excited when he finished his set with my all time fave Esperi song ‘Silo the Fire’. I absolutely LOVE the way the song builds and builds until the crescendo of Chris drumming live to a track of sounds he has looped from all manner of items – kids toys to a Melodica (if that’s what you call the thingy with the keys and the long tube!) This guy is lovely and after chatting to him he may just be making an appearance in one of my upcoming books. His new CD became the soundtrack to our journey home :-)
At lunch time on Saturday we went back to the tent to chill for a while and let some of the yummy beer soak in. We sat outside the tent eating our noodles and listening to ‘Hallelujah’ by Jeff Buckley being played a couple of tents away on someones portable MP3. See we even had music at the camp site!
Now I will briefly chat about our new favourite bands for this year. It happens every year like I said before. This year was no different. We discovered the fabulous Verona. Wow! Heart meltingly good tunes. Great stage presence. A band to watch for sure.
This year we were also BLOWN AWAY by Red Kites and I don’t just mean the delicious Black Isle beer – oh my word! The guitarist was AMAZING! Such a massive amount of talent and enthusiasm. His grin was infectious. The band were all VERY talented and musically – wow – like I said, I’m no reviewer but I will most definitely be buying some of this bands music without a doubt. My phone battery had died by this time so I will update with pics when hubs gets home as I think he took some.
Now you may be wondering why Ray Bans are mentioned in the title of this blog? Well… During Saturday evening we went to sit on one the straw bales in the Dutch barn and were approached by the people who had been sitting there before. They asked if we had seen a pair of sunglasses when we had sat down. Unfortunately we hadn’t. We had a good search of the area but the glasses were nowhere to be seen. The friends walked away looking very dejected. In a bid not to give up, hubs and I began rummaging through the piles of straw and my foot caught something. Hubs bent to see what it was and it turned out to be the lost glasses! He went running after the friends and handed over them over to their rightful owner. The reaction he got almost knocked him off his feet! To say they were happy would be an understatement! He was enveloped in a bear hug and thanked over and over. The woman kissed him and then rushed over to apologise to me :-D I got hugs too. We realised why the poor guy had been so gutted about losing them when it turned out what brand they were. So we made a couple of new friends too!
The weather wasn’t the best we had experienced at the festival but sadly no one can book the good stuff where that’s concerned. And in any case the weather didn’t spoil our fun! The beer was scrummy the staff were fantastic (as they always are) and the only thing that we were sad about was the lack of the Churros cart!
If you haven’t been to Jocktoberfest then you really should give it a go next year. It is well worth sleeping in a tent for!
Simply CAN NOT WAIT for next year! Well done Black Isle Brewery and Jocktoberfest!
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