Millport Country Music Festival is a bit different from your average festival. It seems to spread across the whole of the town, if not the island. That’s the Isle of Cumbrae just off the west coast of Scotland. American flags were hoisted along the seafront, lots of American apparel was displayed in shop windows and even local businesses dressed up to lend their support.
In fact, a parade takes place across the island, leaving Kames Bay and heading along the front streets past the site. You’ll witness American cars, vintage trucks, Harley Davidsons and lots of fancy dress.
The festival site consists of 4 stages surrounding the beautiful Garrison House. Nashfield is the main open-air stage, Cactus Jack’s the party marquee, the Maverick acoustic tent and a dedicated line dancing venue. Accommodating all ages there is a fun fair and food vendors in the centre and a couple of stalls around the periphery, including Country 2 Western and Ariat, who ran a competition and gave away a pair of boots!
Over the weekend 50 artists performed, ranging from big US names, artists from across the UK and American, and a selection of emerging talent.
This year, the 25th anniversary saw Cam and American Young as headliners on the main stage on Saturday and Sunday nights respectively. Over the weekend the stage also hosted Lockeland, Elles Bailey, Stevie O’Connor, Zoee Byrne, Remember Monday, and CC Smugglers.
On of the highlights of the Maverick stage was an acoustic jam session on Sunday night. How many country stars and their guitars can you fit onto the one stage? The answer - just about everyone! The special line up included Gasoline & Matches, Stevie O'Connor, Simon James, Kenny Foster, Lars Pluto, Zoee plus Jamie from Backwoods Creek on keys.
Cactus Jack’s partied hard throughout the whole weekend, with everyone encouraging the crowd to get up and dance, this included ourselves (Silverball Country) as not only the stage managers but the after-party DJs.
The event also helped to raise money for the local cause: Save the Waverley, a beautiful old paddle steamer, sadly missing from this year’s festivities due to the need for an urgent refit. An auction was held of a guitar and drum cover signed by all the acts in addition to a beautiful picture of the Waverley drawn by Millport Festival team member Scott Watson.
This truly is a festival with a difference and there is something for everyone. Gavin and Christine Chittick and Scott Watson did an outstanding job selecting the line up, I cannot wait to see who they invite next year. Finally, our thanks to everyone involved, all in orange (or black) who give up their time, and to all of you, country music fans: thank you for your support, braving the weather and undertaking the journey not matter how far. Hopefully you too thought it was worth the effort and have amazing memories.
Hopefully we will see you all next year and maybe even the sun!
Francesca & Rik