Review: Knockengorroch Festival 2019
Wow! Well, where can one begin to describe the Knockengorroch experience? Located in Scotland, it boasts absolutely spectacular landscapes in the Carsphairn hills of Kirkcudbrightshire in the east of Galloway. It is not the easiest of festivals to access and this is more than made up for by its sheer beauty. There is something human and natural about waking up within the valleys, washing your face in the crystal clear water compared to waking up to the stench of toilets and rubbish strewn everywhere.
The festival started in 1998 as a ‘rainbow gathering’ and has grown massively at its current state. The remarkable aspect of the Knock experience really is the feeling of isolation in the hills and the intimate and personal hospitality. Cheers Soapy!
You really can tell it’s a family and we have been honoured to attend, be apart and add to the experience.
The festival has grown from an audience of 300 locals to over 3000 from around the globe. Each and every person had their own story to tell and having the chance to meet such an amazing and varied crowd of people will always be at the top of the list and holding the happiest memories.
The Knock experience is far more than catching a few bands.
The origin of the festival’s name is unclear, but in Gaelic ‘knock’ (Cnoc) means a hill and ‘gorrach’ has a variety of meanings, such as foolish or puzzling. This name is absolutely fitting for the craziness that occurs within the hills.
The objective of Knockengorroch’s artistic direction is to establish progressive links between the celebration of the natural amphitheatre of its venues and now far-flung Celtic diaspora. A local man explained how the main stage area has been naturally stomped on for many years before the festival began and has created a natural surface for the crowd to dance and boogie.
The featured artists originated from Celtic, world and roots music styles however the festival also hosts a multitude of genres and I would be hard pressed to find somebody who could not find something they loved. This year’s event stretched from Japanese percussive drumming, to the magnificent poet Benjamin Zephaniah headlining the main stage to a 4am soundsystem set from SpongeBob SquareWave.
The stage that stood out at Knock for us would easily have to have been the Mood Swings tent. We couldn’t keep away!
Mood Swings are an eclectic mix of live bands, DJ’s, artists, themed décor and performers hailing from Leeds, UK. It was their first time hosting a tent at a festival and they smashed it. The artists booked raised the roof and the tent was bouncing from start to finish and we appreciate the effort and stress that it took to pull it off. The stage colours and lights were mesmerising and the raised platform allowed for an intimate experience with performers. Highlights would have be LVL’s very own Sparkz (+ HF’s Pitch 92) and the rest that followed; Krinkle Cut + HRVSTR (Harvester), Pete Cannon & Yes Kru, to name a few.
We had our Don Hardware headquarters just outside the Shieling tent who were blaring out a massive variety. As we were trading it was a little tough to run between our stall and the tent but there were a few huge stand out sets for us. Friday evening a thick Glaswegian accent was heard spitting some hilarious and thought provoking lyrics. Upon hearing this we instantly had to dash to the stage to find out who on earth it was! Turns out it was Solareye from the Stanley Odd gang. Stay odd!
Next up on the Sunday night were the “worst band in Scotland” Edinburgh’s own The Matatunes. A mix between ska, punk and rock & roll they completely tore the roof off with their own stamp on music.
FOOD AND DRINK
Food and drink at the festival is catered for all appetites. There was a plethora of veg/vegan/meat options sited at all angles. There were bars sited perfectly near stages and venues. The bars stocked traditional local beers and ciders at absolutely fair prices at all hours of the day. They had Buckfast by the glass! No complaints when these are the options. Bottles of Buckfast were clearly the drink of choice for the many.
This is easily the most family friendly festival we have attended. A family could choose to park and camp near the kid’s section where they will make loads of new friends or camp further afield and have the privacy to cook meals and relax if music isn’t a priority. Camping is allowed virtually anywhere you can get a peg down, as close or as far from the stages as you’d like. The kid’s area had a ton of recreational activity for children, including face paints and other great activities. We saw children of all ages and not one had a frown.
In conclusion this was easily one of the most amazing and dynamic festival experiences we’ve seen across Britain, thanks to the beautiful people we crossed paths with and the fantastic landscape that is the Galloway hills. We hope we have helped create some amazing memories with even more amazing people!