On today - the shortest day of the year - my thoughts turn back to the longest day. For the past six months I've been meaning to blog about where we were then.
We were at Solas, a "wee festival" made in the image of Greenbelt, but on a much smaller scale, and with a distinctly Scottish feel.
At first it felt curious to have driven up from south-east England to a Scottish event, but were weren't at all the furthest travelled. Anyone coming from the far north of Scotland would have had a similar journey, and those heading in from the islands would have laughed at our relatively short trip.
What we found was a festival where even the English were welcome! With about a thousand people on site there was a very friendly atmosphere. Food was excellent (pheasant or venison burger anyone?), and although the weather was inclement all venues were close enough together that the rain wasn't a problem.
Above all else, the memories I keep revisiting are of the stunning performances of artists I'd almost without exception never heard of. I hope to blog another time about Stanley Odd, Rachel Sermanni, Michael Marra, the Campbells, Adam Stearns and the Glass Animals, Open Swimmer and Jo Mango.
Solas is a festival where art comes first, where a curated diverse programme excels, where toddlers are free to dance at the front of main stage and end the weekend on first-name terms with performers. It's a festival of faith, justice and arts in the grounds of an old lodge at the foot of a mountain.
It was a wonderful weekend, and I hope we'll back back next year. You should go too.
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