Over.

Hung.

Overhung.
My sleeping bag shroud was choking the life from me. The singing in the next tent was draining my will to live. The throbbing in my temple, I imagined, would be visible, an all too obvious betrayal of, as Belle and Sebastian almost put it, the state that I was in. And the music…where was the music coming from?

Hungover.

With a truly Herculean effort, I rolled over and came face to face with Tony. Squinting, I questioned him on the finer details of the previous night. Unfortunately from the point of view of forming a coherent narrative, Tony’s recollection of events ended abruptly around ten-fifteen. Sambuca coffee and snoring were the only two items he recalled with any degree of certainty.

And where was the music coming from? It seemed to be coming from…a-ha! My iPod. Clearly, it had been playing all night. With the mystery solved, and Neil Young silenced, I determined to face the day, if not with a grin, at least with a wan smile.

The dew was still lingering on the grass as I wandered off in search of food. Foregoing the conventions of breakfast, I found a pasta stall and, parking myself on the still moist grass, scoffed a gargantuan portion of macaroni cheese. Suitably fed, and three cans of Irn Bru to the good, I set off in search of further adventures.

Watching a festival wake up is a wonderful experience. The heady mix of over-indulgence, regret and anticipation is intoxicating, and I soon realised that my own hangover paled into insignificance when confronted with some of the more adventurous revellers. The queue of shame at the Village Shop resembled a casting call for a George Romero movie, boozed-up zombies in search of caffeine, paracetemol, and, if at all possible, an end to the suffering.

As the sun rose high over the festival site, however, life went on. The cheer which greeted the opening of the bar was robust if unedifying, and, it seemed to me at any rate, the world seemed a much brighter place as soon as I was reacquainted with something cool and alcoholic.

By midday, the majority of the assembled masses had caught their second wind, and my thoughts once again turned to music. Wandering around the acoustic village, I strolled into the Ingrid Pitt tent and spent a thoroughly enjoyable hour watching one of the rising stars of the festival, the ridiculously young and prodigiously talented Kimmi J. Mitchell. Kimmi’s blend of gentle, acoustic music and confessional lyrics entranced her audience, her lilting voice soaring like a ballsy Joni Mitchell (no relation, I’m assured).

After Kimmi’s set, with the sun blazing down, we headed for the shelter of the VIP bar. Exemplifying the spirit of the festival, the VIP bar is a haven of eccentricity and laid-back ease. Gin and tonic followed gin and tonic, sadly leading to the first disaster of the weekend: we missed Roddy Hart’s set on the main stage. Disappointed, we sought solace in yet more gin, before toddling up to the Scooter Tent to catch a blistering set from the Amphetameanies.

The shadows were lengthening by the time Dexys took to the main stage.

Kevin Rowland and his merry bunch delivered hit after hit, each executed impeccably. Rowland seems to be one of those truly fortunate individuals whose voice has not diminished in quality and power in the thirty years or so since he first came to prominence. His stagecraft was incredible, and under his leadership, Dexys provided a master-class in performance.

Returning to our spiritual home of the Acoustic Village, we were captivated by “Scotland’s Best Kept Secret,” Roy Moller. We had seen Roy several times prior to his appearance at Wickerman, and each time we had been profoundly impressed by his vocals, his humour and his song-writing. This set was no exception.

By this time, darkness was encroaching, and it was with a genuine feeling of sadness that I began to realise that there were only a few hours of Wickerman remaining. There was, it seemed, only one way to banish the encroaching melancholy: a blast of throbbing gristle courtesy of The Rezillos. Fay Fife et al. had us bouncing as only men of a certain age, relieved of dignity by lashings of gin can bounce, and when their set ended, we wandered down the hill to watch the spectacular burning of the Wickerman and a truly sensational firework display. Enjoyable as it was, though, the burning ceremony was tinged with sadness: it marked the beginning of the end of a wonderful weekend.

As the first flames licked around the effigy’s legs, the skies opened for the first time of the weekend, dousing us in cooling, refreshing rain. Whether it was the booze or simple elation at a weekend well-spent, the sensation of a simple rain shower caused an outpouring of joy such as I have seldom experienced. We headed back to our tent, happy in the knowledge that we had enjoyed a wonderfully life-affirming communal event. It may have been a grassy field in Galloway, but for that moment, indeed for the whole weekend, it had been truly magical.











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