“Reality on its own is worth nothing; we have to transform it into culture”.(Villalobos)

Situated in the middle of Carron Forrest, Kilsyth, last weekend saw the return of one of the last remaining boutique festivals, the aptly titled “Doune the Rabbit Hole”, a play on Villalobos’s drug addled wonderland book featuring a quest to grant a child’s wish.  The prevailing vibe throughout was one of no restrictions – no security searches, no ticket barriers and certainly no pretention. Child and dog friendly, despite the wafts of pot and woodstock esque feel, the music presented a very mixed bag.

Unfortunately I didnt witness the Friday but was well informed that the hit of the evening was Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells, as a full band set up, with double bass and trumpet, accompanied by Wells’ stunning piano and Moffat’s succinct solliloquies.

Saturday was kicked off by much dreadlocked dancing to stoner rock band Dead Temple, who then lost the crowd due to a torrential downpour. We were then treated to Teen Canteen on the smaller stage, championed by the Vaselines and BMX Bandits, these 3 girls-1 boy sounded amazingly lofi, with 60s harmonies and a poptastic cover of Kylie’s “All the Lovers”. A pleasing contrast to the miserable rain.

Other Saturday highlights included Sacred Paws, a female 2 piece, featuring ex Golden Grrrls drummer and Siouxie Sioux inspired punk vocals and guitar from Londoner Rachel Aggs. They were followed by the equally interesting The Rosy Crucifixion, who brought summery surf pop to an otherwise mud-sodden tent.

Saturday headliner King Creosote’s set featured Beta Band and Aliens covers and although much anticipated, didnt seem to ever get off the ground.

Sunday was peppered with highlights from the Second Hand Marching Band, who swapped their many members around to keep things interesting, backed up with heavy ceilidh style drums. Three Blind Wolves delivered a strong but singular styled set, which would benefit from a bit more diversity in its influence.

Olympic Swimmers were a major highlight, delivering one of the strongest sets of the weekend, beautifully set off by Susie Smilie’s impassioned vocals. Sharing drummers, the set of the weekend was then delivered by Malcolm Middleton’s “Human Don’t Be Angry”, and whether you’re an Arab Strap fan or not, this set proved Middleton to be one of the best guitarists and songwriters in Scotland.

Overall, the libertarian vibe and mix of artists made this an excellent festival for any laidback weekender.  Just remember your wellies.

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