Wickerman Festival 2008

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Gemma Fraser | 07 August 2008

But, like everything to do with the Wickerman Festival, the heart of the operation is as unpretentious as the big guy himself.

Everything is run from a stifling hot caravan where one of the festival's organisers is single-handedly juggling press enquiries, police coordination, setting up interviews and dealing with the artists' demands and egos.

There's no luxury suites, fancy press packs or public-school E4 presenters sporting sparkling new wellies attempting to get down with the common folk.

And it’s this fantastic no-frills approach that makes the Wickerman what it is, as well as being everything it stands for.

"We're not in it to make money", says Caroline McCleary who runs the whole event with husband Sid Ambrose.
"If we were, we wouldn't be doing this."

With acts such as Gary Numan, Dodgy and The Fall amongst the big names playing, it’s fair to say that the Wickerman doesn’t attract festival-goers solely on musical merit.

But there are dozens of other plus points about this mini-Glastonbury that make thousands take the trip to Dundrennan, in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway, each year and here’s hoping it never changes.

Here are just a few of the festival’s highlights:

A is for the acoustic tent, featuring great up-and-comings acts like those playing in Doctor Ruby’s Travelling Medicine Show and the more established musicians like the wonderful Fudge and Meg

B is for BMX bikers

C is for Cars by Gary Numan. Classic moment

D is for Dodgy. 90s indie nostalgia in the pouring rain

E is for emerging talent tents, featuring the likes of Attic Lights, Broken Records and The Ads

F is for the fog which encompasses the whole festival site, making the burning off the Wickerman the eeriest thing ever

G is for gastronomic delights on offer in the various food stalls

H is for headphone disco

I is for Ingrid Pit Word Stage. Poetry at a festival - genius

J is for jugglers, stilt walkers and other circus tricks

K is for kids. There’s hundreds of ‘em

L is for the Luxury Accommodation area, complete with lovely hot showers and spotless toilets

M is for Mohicans and the growing band of people who acquire them at the festival (then probably regret it by the time Monday morning comes)

N is for neat and tidy. There’s no litter to be seen anywhere thanks to the Wicker Pickers and abundance of bins

O is for organic food stalls. True to the style of the Wickerman Festival, they always have the biggest queues

P is for peeing cow. Not sure of its purpose, but it’s cool all the same

Q is for quirky. It’s the only word to describe it

R is for rulebook. It gets ripped up and put on the fire at Wickerman

S is for stunning scenery and rolling hills

T is for tipi. Highly recommended

U is for UK Festivals Award winner 2007. Here’s hoping for another one for 08…

V is for village shop where you can buy all the essentials

W is for the 25ft sculpted Wickerman, which this year sports his own Mohican

X is for marking the date – July 24 and 25 next year

Y is for Yurts and Squrts bohemian accommodation which look like giant toadstools

Z is for  zen-like calm. There’s no stress at the Wickerman

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Photographer: Matthew Jones

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