Last weekend, Aviemore had its own festival to rival those of Glastonbury and T in the Park - the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Festival. We had it all: the amazing music, the sea of mud, the party, the rainbows, the campers, the beer, but with the unique backdrop of the beautiful Cairngorms.
It was all happening on Rothiemurchus Estate, a perfect venue for an event like this. With an estimated 18,000 people attending, it all ran extremely smoothly, despite the weather gods not getting the memo…
We expect a proper festival to have rain – and there was plenty coming down from the heavens on Friday, turning the grounds into must-have-wellies-territory and the first call outs for the estate tractors to pull cars out of the car park. The festival-goers were not put off though and the party continued despite having to wade through ankle-deep mud the next day.
Highlights included the very visual set of Ben Howard who enchanted the soggy audience with vivid light displays till well into the late hours of Friday. He’s come a long way since playing to a small audience of locals at the Old Bridge Inn in 2011…
Local songbird, Rachel Sermanni, was on earlier in the day. Having just returned from Canada she was cheered on by the audience who were treated by a number of new tracks from her recently released album ‘Tied to the Moon’.
Our personal highlight on the Saturday was London based singer songwriter Lianne La Havas who just released her second album, Blood, the day before the festival. Her energy and funky grooves had everyone dancing and made for a memorable set and resulted in a huge number of new fans.
The early evening’s entertainment was provided by Primal Scream who dug out several classics from their ‘Screamadelica’ and ‘Give Out But Don’t Give Up’ albums as well as new releases. The skies cleared and made for some lovely light as the sun set behind Craigellachie. The Cairngorms at its best!
And as the moon was rising behind the stage, it was time for the main headliner of the festival, the incomparable Mumford & Sons in their only Stopover appearance in the UK this year - we were honoured! Two hours of their wonderful songs, accompanied by a suitably stunning light show, were more than appropriate finish to the festival.
Well done, Gentlemen of the Road!