Eden Festival 2014: Your Guide
June 12th - 15th
Raehills Meadows, Moffat
Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
By Russell McMahon
Eden is a music festival filled with colour, eccentricity and imagination; qualities that will bring out your sense of adventure. The zealous organisers behind the weekend, where the aim is to celebrate dance and culture, have been consistently building Eden up year upon year by involving the surrounding community. It almost feels like a large family gathering of distant relatives, many of whom have never met. This year looks as if it will be the biggest year yet for the independent festival from the heart of the creative epicentre, Dumfries & Galloway. Lonely Planet have just included it in their top 10 festivals to visit in Europe this Summer (see picture right). It's not long away now so if you haven’t bought your ticket yet then now is the time so you can start preparing your creatures of carnival costume, which is the theme for 2014. Last year I went as a penguin for the 'Under the Sea' theme.
Spontaneity will be rife. Keep an open-mind, dive in with everything going on around you and expect the unexpected. You are bound for a ridiculous and weird, but wonderful, adventure. You might turn a corner and come across a man in a tux playing and cycling a piano; a crowd of folk partying around a disco cab selling iced mojitos out the back of it; or a posse of wee rapscallions bouncing about having water fights and space hopper races. At least those are a few things that happened last year. Organisers are spending 5 weeks this year on site putting up the handcrafted decor around the arena and stages which is undoubtedly one of the most striking aspects of Eden. The arena is ingeniously laid out as a ring, so there is slim chance you will get lost even if you are pie-eyed and a big chance you will come across people you meet throughout the weekend again and again.
This year hip-hop legends DE LA SOUL will be headlining, as well as all of this to keep you dancing right through to Sunday from the moment you arrive:
The line up for Eden is an eclectic armoury of local bands and DJs playing traditional music and all the new stuff. Nine individually designed stages and plenty of other attractions means there is an environment for all kinds of folk in every kind of mood. Celtic and Folk have always been at the roots of Eden's roster but expect a jolly selection of Funk, Soul, Disco, House, Balkan, Acoustic, Gypsy, Nu-Swing, Ska, Drum ‘n’ Bass, Jungle, Dub, Reggae and much much more. In addition, this years festival will see theatre troops and musicals added to the bill. New stages are being introduced this year including:
- The Melodrom Theatre which will be hosting plays, comedy, impromptu music and plenty of other quirky entertainment.
- The Lost Disco will be playing host to funky DJs and label parties in a flaming outdoor dance parlour. Definitely worth checking out, it will be hard to miss!
- The Drive in Cinema will be a little getaway where you can hop aboard a modern / vintage vehicle and chill-out with your friends or significant other in front of the silver screen.
Wander in to the Furry Chillum for a cocktail from the tiki bar and expect to be immersed by the warm sounds of reggae, brass, ska and swing courtesy of a wall of speakers. Stumble over to the Voltan's Psychadelic Temple and you'll find hardened festival-goers going at it all weekend amongst psychedelic neon visuals. If you need to get the blood flowing help a brother (or sister) out at the Cycle Powered Reggae Stage, the world's only serious bike-powered soundsystem where the DJ will have you pedalling hard for bigger bass-lines. The Vishnu Lounge is a prime chill-out space and plays kinds of music day and night. Based on an Indian wedding theme, the Vishnu Lounge is equipped with hammocks and bath tubs planted in the ground for you to relax in along with a cafe providing refreshments. Have you ever sat in a bathtub in the middle of a field after a night of partying with a cup of finely brewed Chai tea? It's paradise. For all the headliners, bands, big visuals, and of course Mr Motivator's step aerobics class on the Saturday, the Devorgilla Open Air stage is where it's at.
It isn’t all about the music though. Eden prides itself on being a boutique festival and there's plenty to see and do while you explore the arena. The Kidz Arena is a testament to how child-friendly the festival is (under 12s go free) and its supervised by a group of dedicated volunteers. The tents organisers are hoping to inspire new generations by providing a range of workshops and entertainment whilst being as sustainable as possible and promoting environmentally friendly arts and crafts in a natural setting. There will be plenty of opportunities to hone your circus skills at Spinning Jenny's Circus. Poi, juggling balls and Diabolos are just as common at Eden as a pint of luke-warm Tennents is at T in the Park. Craft Workshops are also on offer so you don't need to go the whole weekend without doing anything productive. Last year there was a massive paint fight on the Saturday afternoon, which has become a annual tradition amongst Edenites.
When things get a bit sweaty and you need to head back to your tent you can cool off in the river running alongside the campsite. Last year the Saturday was the hottest day of 2013. Alternatively stroll along a hidden valley just outside the main arena to the tranquility of the Mystic Sauna.
If words aren't enough then here is the official footage from last year.