Tag Archives: Black Isle Beer

Jocktoberfest 2015… Beer…burgers and Brodman?!

Brodman at Jocktoberfest 2015

For anyone who has been following my blog since it began you will know that Jocktoberfest is one of the highlights of our year since we relocated to Scotland. This year was even more special than normal!

Since making the move up here in 2012 not only have I become a published author but I’ve also returned to one of my passions – music! My singing career was temporarily put on hold many years a go when I was diagnosed with a little known condition called Myasthenia Gravis but thanks to amazing doctors my condition is controlled which has meant a return to singing.

Lisa (Aka Lizzi)

A couple of years ago I met a very talented guitarist called Scott via a friend and it turned out our musical tastes were quite similar. We began to have jam sessions and it felt so good to be performing again. It turned out that Scott’s family are not only awesome but they are a multi-talented bunch! And so our third member was added in the shape of Scott’s son Ross. Ross plays guitar, violin, drums, keyboard…I think you get the picture!



After a few successful local gigs we decided to take a chance and ask about getting on the Jocktoberfest artists list for 2015. It was a long shot and we were absolutely astounded when Steve at 2010 Management offered us a half hour slot on the Hayloft stage! Once we scraped ourselves up of the floor we began to prepare!

Car park warm up

This past weekend was the culmination of months of practice, fun, laughs and song changes. We began  writing our own material too and had the opportunity to perform one of our own songs ‘You Never Knew Me At All’ which got a fantastic reaction! In fact we got some wonderful comments on our performance as a whole from the audience when we came off stage and it made us keen to come back and do it all again but with our own songs! Hint, hint Jocktoberfest!

Sound check – Thanks Stephen Bull!

As always the atmosphere was electric! So many smiling faces and lots of laughter. The smell of food tantalised our nostrils from the moment we walked in and the pizza and burgers were of course sampled more than once!

One of the most exciting things about the festival is waiting to hear what theme the minds at the Black Isle Brewery come up with. This years theme of Weeds Wildlife and Wings afforded people the opportunity to go ‘wild’ with their costumes. Pun intended! From Flamingos to Flower Pot People…from Adam and Eve to bumble bees the costumes were awesome! I can’t wait until next year now! I’m thinking pirates maybe? I could rock an eye patch and parrot!

Obviously the beer was as delicious as ever. I’m not normally a beer drinker but when it comes around to Jocktoberfest you can usually find a pint of Blonde in my hand! Well what else would I drink…I am a blonde after all!

The beer

The festival gives everyone a chance to discover new music and fantastic talent. As ever this year was no disappointment. My camera was crammed with photos of our own set and then packed up when I wanted to snap pics of other bands! Aaargh! *smacks head in frustration* Thankfully other folks have taken plenty! I’ve loved viewing them on Facebook and the Inverness Gigs website!


We jigged to the traditional sounds of Ho-Ro, stamped our feet to Hoodja, giggled along with Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 and Spring Break! I think the lyric “Digger, digger, digger and a dumper truck” will be my fave for years to come! Strutted our funky stuff to the Leonard Jones Potential, and rocked out to The Broken Ravens and Woodenbox. And this only names a fraction of the AMAZING music that was on offer! Sorry to those I haven’t mentioned but you were ALL awesome!! And it was absolute honour to be on the list as a performer with such fantastic bands and musicians.

Seriously, if you haven’t attended this wonderful event yet keep an eye out for tickets going on sale next year! You really don’t want to miss it!

Anyhoo, if you would like to check Brodman out on Facebook you can do so here!


Jocktoberfest 2013 – Author on the road!

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that my second book Through the Glass was released on August 30th.  This past year has been crazy to put it mildly.  Last time we attended Jocktoberfest I was in the process of submitting the manuscript for Bridge Over the Atlantic.  To think that my second book is now out there too just boggles my mind in the best possible way!

Lisa Book Covers

Anyway, this past weekend saw me taking a break from writing and heading off to the stunning Black Isle near Inverness where the Black Isle Brewery hold their annual music and beer festival.  Last year’s event was superb and so it was with excited anticipation that we pitched our tent and waited for the fun to begin! (Slideshow at the bottom of the post).

For those of you who haven’t attended Jocktoberfest before (firstly, ask yourself why not!) here is a little bit of info…

The festival takes place on the working farm where the Black Isle Brewery was originally set up.  The organic beer comes in a variety of styles to delight every palate (My fave is Blonde).  It’s truly delicious and we had our very first taste when we were on holiday in the area a few years ago.  Now it’s a favourite tipple!  Since moving to Scotland it’s been wonderful to see the brewery expanding and going from strength the strength.

The festival is a fantastic opportunity to sample the products and hear some of the amazing talent that’s out there.  Last year, thanks to Jocktoberfest we discovered The Lafontaines, Washington Irving, Esperi and The Whiskeys.  We’ve made a point of following them ever since (not in a crazed stalkery way I hasten to add!) 😀

The theme this year was 1940’s Land Girls and it was fun to see so many people getting into the spirit of things.  Some of the costumes were very authentic and I regretted not doing the fancy dress thing myself.  This year we weren’t overly familiar with any of the booked acts and so thanks to our passion for music we were intrigued as to what new talent we would hear.  We were not disappointed!  The fun began as soon as we were pitched and organised.  Down at the venue the beer was flowing and the smell of delicious locally sourced foods greeted us.  And so, armed with a pint of Blonde for me and Yellowhammer for Hubs we settled in to listen to the talent on offer.

Friday night was f-f-freezing cold and we laid awake for a while listening to some of the comical conversations going on as people returned to their tents in the wee small hours.  There was one random one that consisted of the line, “Your tent is to the right, mine is to the left but it’s Saturday tomorrow.”  It obviously made sense to someone if not us!  Then at around two in the morning someone ran past our tent shouting, “Let’s get naked!”  Considering how cold it was I’m pretty sure there were no takers!  Although, we didn’t venture outside to check!

Saturday morning was bright and sunny and so we ate bacon butties outside the tent and looked over the play list for the day.  Once we were fueled we set off down to the main venue a short walk away.  We didn’t catch every act but we did manage to see most of them.  The first act we saw was Ashley & The Cosmonauts.  The lead singer had an excellent voice and the original songs they performed were great.  The lead singer and guitarist harmonsied really well and they were a group of talented musicians that’s for sure.

Following this we sat in one of the barns that had been turned into the acoustic stage and listened to Steve Eaglesham.  What a thoroughly nice bloke he was.  Easy listening original tunes accompanied by acoustic guitar.  Later we caught the talents of Willie & Tabs Macaskil and boy these guys were good!  The emotion they put into their performance was shiver inducing and they were a pleasure to listen to.

After these we also watched Sara Bills & The Hasbeens (great music to jig around to and they clearly have a following of adoring fans), Josephines Sillars (a talented young keyboard player and songwriter), Be Like Pablo (these were great fun and we enjoyed dancing along with their very catchy tunes).

Saffron (a young lady with such a beautiful voice.  She sang a capella, in Gaelic and I have to admit to having tears in my eyes during some of her songs I was so moved), Cairn String Quartet (I love classical music but this was a classical twist on modern tunes which we really enjoyed!)  Andy Duncan & Fergus Weir (their own unique covers of well known songs had us singing along.  Both men had superb voices)

But the absolute highlight of our weekend was a band we had never heard before.  Woodenbox were beyond superb!  Wowsers we couldn’t stand still!  Such an eclectic mix of original music with its rocky guitars, crazily talented drummer, fantastic brass section and a front man who looked right at home on the stage.  The group had a stand in bass player in the guise of Ryan English (Washington Irving) as their own bassist had broken his collarbone (poor guy – we wish him a speedy recovery) But the band were so polished that we would never realised this (had we not recognised the bassist from one of our fave Scottish bands!)  So once again, the organisers of Jocktoberfest did us proud and introduced us to some brilliant new music.

The conversations going on outside the tent on Saturday night were just as random and giggle inducing (including one between us and a passerby about the fact that there was so much funk going on it couldn’t be contained in a trunk!  But it was okay because I had a large bag of crisps…Hmmm.)  But the cold must have put people off staying outside too long as it quietened down fairly quickly after Hoodja did their thing (which included an interesting rendition of Blurred Lines!).

The atmosphere was superb and it was lovely to see so many smiling faces.  Even though the alcohol was flowing nicely there was no trouble.  Everyone was friendly and the whole thing was lighthearted.  There was a group of men on a stag do – or marriage bootcamp as was indicated by their T-shirts!  They were dressed in army gear (all apart from the groom who was dressed as a woman!)  and they looked like they were having a whale of a time.  We wish the groom well in his marriage and hope he had a stag do to remember.

On the matter of the camping facilities, the site, food, etc.  This year was organised to a T.  The layout of the camping area and parking was a massive improvement on last year (and we thought last year was good!)  The toilet facilities were great and it was good to see that people’s comments had really been taken on board.  The selection of food was excellent; something for every taste (although the churros were a little bit too good!  The diet starts again now.)

All in all this was a fantastic weekend of fun, excellent music, delicious beer and laughs.  We will be recommending the festival to everyone we know!  See below for a few snaps.

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Beer, Bands & Bratwurst – Save The Planet, Drink Organic!

Around three years ago we visited The Black Isle, a stunning peninsula on the eastern side of the Scottish Highlands.  We immediately fell in love (nothing new there as far as our ever increasing love of Scotland goes) and spent a couple of subsequent holidays touring the area and getting to know our way around.   Whilst we were there the first time we came across the Black Isle Brewery and it’s wonderful beer and opted for a brewery tour.  This took all of ten minutes as, at the time, the business was relatively new.  Nowadays the delicious organic Black Isle beer is exported all over Europe and even further afield and the brewery itself has tripled!  It’s well worth a look.

Last year we heard about a festival organised by the Black Isle Brewery called ‘Jocktoberfest’ the tag line being Beer, Bands & Bratwurst.  We desperately wanted to go but simply lived too far away to make the journey.  This year, however, was a different story!

We booked our tickets as soon as they became available and were excited to finally be going to ‘Jocktoberfest’.  Camping, live music, excellent beer and good food!  What more could we have asked for?!  Good weather?  Well we even got that!

We set off on Friday 7th Sept on our mini adventure.  We drove through the undulating mountain scenery of The Cairngorms with its purple, greys and greens against a bright blue black drop.  The excitement was building!

We arrived on the makeshift campsite at 7.10pm to set up our small tent.  Said tent had been purchased prior to the occasion by hubby as, and I quote ‘the size is more appropriate for festival camping trips.’  The tent we usually take on holiday is somewhat larger and has an east and west wing along with a central hallway dontcha know!

The brewery is on a fully working organic farm and so the barns had been put to excellent use housing bars, food and live music.  When we got down to the event centre the site was already buzzing and the sound of the Peatbog Faeries was lilting through the sound system and over the breeze.  At 9.30pm a ceilidh launched into full swing, which would have been wonderful had I not been hampered by a broken toe!  We did the next best thing; we headed for the beer barn.

Puddleduck , who was not partaking of the delights on offer in the beer barn, I hasten to add, had been a little trepidacious  about the trip but her eyes lit up when she saw the number of other sproglets who had also accompanied their parents.  She quickly made friends and disappeared into the kids Hay Barn to play.  She returned with several new adornments to her face, arm and hand!  Yup, she’d been face-painted!!  Once we had eaten and drunk (not too much) we retired to our little tent for coffee and sleep.

The next morning we were greeted with bright sunshine, men playing rugby with loo rolls and the smell of bacon cooking.  We had a lazy morning before going down to the barns for a fun filled afternoon.  Live music was already blasting out of the PA system and we were bombarded with the mouth-watering aromas of churros and chocolate dip, bratwurst and a hog roast.

After watching a few bands we had a little bite to eat and a bit of respite back at the tent and then around mid-afternoon we ventured down to the barns once again for the evening festivities.  The atmosphere was already electric and the barns were strung with twinkling fairy lights.  The stage had come alive with colour and we had the opportunity to listen to some bands we had previously never heard of.  We were not disappointed and came home with a couple of extra CD’s for our already vast collection!

Esperi was AMAZING!!!  I have never before witnessed ayone playing a bass with a bow, a ratchett, a kids whirly tube and other bizarre items but WOW!!!  He is one to watch.  Bought his CD and it’s just beautiful.  Easy Tigers were nice and mellow – loved them too.  Toby Michaels and his Rolling Damned RRROCKED!!

The event was a huge success.  It was our first time at “festival” camping as a family and there were a few eye-openers along the way.  The lack of wash facilities and limited number of toilets on the makeshift site was unfortunate but understandable given the nature of the place.  We were inventive and it didn’t hamper our enjoyment in the slightest.  I think the whole experience was a learning curve; the lessons of which we will remember when we attend next year’s ‘Jocktoberfest’ event.  And I have to say we are already excited about that!!

Our love affair with our new home just goes on and on.  Long may it last.