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ButeFest - Isle of Bute Music Festival - 26th – 28th July 2024

You don't need to go to Glastonbury for music, mud, and mystic stones. The Isle of Bute's premier music festival, ButeFest, has it all - If you love music and have been looking for a music festival experience that blends the magic of live performances with the rugged beauty of Scottish landscapes, ButeFest might just be your thing.

Since its debut in 2015, ButeFest has flourished, firmly establishing itself within the Scottish music festival circuit. Much of its success is down to the unwavering dedication of an amazing bunch of music loving locals, who sacrifice copious amounts of their own time each year to organise the event.

ButeFest is very much a community festival and local produce takes centre stage, with a diverse array of food vendors onsite. Each year brings more vendors from across the country, ensuring a diverse selection from traditional Scottish fare to international delights, so I am sure there will be something to tantalise everyone's tastebuds. And of course, being located at Ettrick Bay, there is the tearoom, which caters to festival-goers' needs, from steaming cups of tea and coffee to hearty meals and delicious cakes.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, ButeFest has persevered, entertaining festival-goers year after year with its impressive lineup of musical acts, such as the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Skerryvore, Big Country, and the La Fontaines. Notably, the festival serves as a platform for some of Scotland’s emerging talents, providing a fantastic opportunity to newcomers whilst allowing the crowd to enjoy and discover some rising stars. 

Of course, no music festival is complete without the quintessential elements of *mud and camping, and ButeFest embraces both traditions wholeheartedly. The nearby camping facilities may be basic, technically just a field, you won’t find hot tubs and showers here, but the view is stunning and there are porta-loos. There is the opportunity to upgrade the experience with a stay in the quaint Ettrick Bay glamping pods, affectionately known as 'The Hobbit Huts', they can be booked via their website http://www.glampingbythebay.co.uk.  And what better way to start a day of partying than with an invigorating dip in the sea, perhaps not something for the faint hearted, a leisurely stroll along the beach with a cuppa might be preferable?

ButeFest is very much a family-friendly affair, with plenty of fun for everyone. From interactive theatre and magic shows to storytelling and puppetry, kids (and kids at heart) are sure to be entertained. Even four-legged friends are welcome, though visitors are reminded to respect the rural environment and are advised to review the festival's guidelines regarding pets. It just helps to ensure a harmonious experience for all. 

Adding to its allure, ButeFest boasts a distinctive feature reminiscent of Glastonbury—the presence of nearby standing stones. St. Colmac Cottages Stone Circle near Ettrick Bay offers a glimpse into the island's ancient history, dating back to the Bronze Age. Only a couple of the stones remain standing now, with the remaining stones visible only as fallen stumps. There used to be a beautiful old tree standing amongst them, but sadly it was brought down in a storm in 2022. Such a shame as it created a wonderfully dramatic effect in photographs. The stones are accessible via the Port Bannatyne to Ettrick Bay tramway path, a lovely walk along the old tram route, about 4.5km each way.  

Parking may be limited, so you may want to consider alternate transport to the venue. There is a regular bus service from Rothesay town centre to Ettrick Bay and there are taxis. It is a comfortable cycle, and a doddle on an electric bike, although I am not sure how easy it would be on the return journey, particularly if you had been sampling the delicious local gin! 

Each year, the festival adopts a theme to add to the fun, and this year is no exception. Embracing the spirit of adventure, the theme for 2024 is pirates. So, grab your parrot, pop on your eye patch and don your tricorn hat, and prepare to pAAAARty like a pirate at ButeFest! 🏴‍☠️🕺

ButeFest isn't just a music festival—it really is a celebration of community, culture, and creativity. So, pop the date in your diary, bring your dancing shoes (*wellies) and come on over to Bute, you are guaranteed an unforgettable experience. 

**Having mentioned mud and wellies a few times, I should mention that the sun does actual shine on the West Coast, so who knows, it may be a scorcher this year 😎