Butefest 2016 - counting down to Rothesay's great music festival

The countdown is on to Butefest - the island's own three-day festival of live music.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 16th July 2016, 2:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:36 pm
The Magic Numbers - headlining at Butefest 2016
The Magic Numbers - headlining at Butefest 2016

The bands are booked and the planning is now at an advanced stage for the event, which runs from July 29-31 at King George’s Playing Field.

All the organisers are hoping for is some sunshine after torrential downpours tested everyone to the limits at the inaugural festival 12 months ago.

It was, admitted Hazel Mulholland, chairman of Butefest, a “baptism of fire”.

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Butefest 2016 logo

“It can’t get any worse this year!” she said. “We certainly learned a lot from it – everyone still had a great time despite the weather – but we’re hoping for some sunshine to allow everyone to enjoy themselves.”

Butefest is very much a family-orientated festival – as well as bands there is entertainment tailored to kids, and ceilidhs which appeal to all ages.

That approach, coupled with a chance to visit and explore the island, means it has unique appeal.

Put together by an 11-strong local team, it’s a chance to put Rothesay on the festival map at a time when other major events have taken time off or folded altogether.

Butefest 2016 logo

“We’ve gone for more diversity in the line-up this year, and it’s very much family based event,” added Hazel.

“Under-11s get to come along free of charge and there are lots of activities throughout the weekend.

“It’s all about bringing people to the island – maybe folk who haven’t been here before, or who last came as young children and want to relive those childhood holidays.

“We’re 40 minutes and a ferry trip from Glasgow, so to have something like Butefest is great for the whole island.

“Now people have seen what the festival is about they are giving us a lot of support which is great.

“Hopefully that continuesd and we can go from strength to strength each year.

“We’re a small team but we all pretty much live on the island so planning it has gone very well.”

For music fans – both in Bute and from across the central belt – it’s also a chance to see some well known names up close.

The bill covers everything from punk to ceilidh bands.

Folk rockers Skerryvore headline on the Friday night – and for them it’s a case of second time lucky.

They were here last year only to see a downpour force the closure of the site just as they were about to take the stage.

Saturday’s top billing goes to the highly rated Magic Numbers – a rare Scottish outing for the band – while Sunday’s headliners are acclaimed Scottish outfit Idlewild, led by Roddy Woomble.

Add in veteran punks The Rezillos, singer-songwriter Tom McRae, and a host of other bands, and you have a three-day event with something for everyone.

“Getting Idlewild was fantastic,” added Hazel.

“There’s a nice wee buzz going as we get everything ready.”

The festival campsite is ready to welcome music fans who are planning to live under canvas, while local hotels and B&Bs should also enjoy a spin-off.

The festival’s small army of volunteers are also being put in place to ensure it runs smoothly.

Tickets ands full details of the festival programme can be found by visiting www.butefest.co.uk