Musings from my first solo day-festival

Stag and Dagger headliners Dreamwife play Glasgow Garage. (Photo credit: Owen Garner)

Spurred on from the success of my first solo gig I decided to up the stakes and head out to my first solo day-festival. I went along to the Stag & Dagger festival in Glasgow on the May 5th bank holiday. Heres how it went down… 

Before we begin this I feel it’s important for me to point out that I do actually have friends, I just came to this festival on my own because I had a lot of fun at a solo gig and I wanted to find out if that would translate to a day-festival.

My first stop is a spontaneous trip to Firewater. I had planned to go to spoons to get a drink before the first gig like I do when I’m on my own (ok I lied I’ve got no friends). However, I am drawn into the bar by the joint promises of free entry and live music. Not five minutes has gone by and I’ve had a drink spilt on me (a good omen). In fairness it was a minor spill but a direct hit on my ‘gig-shoes’ ( which are more like socks with laces these days) and now I’m squelching around (ew, sorry).

Real Life Entertainment playing at Firewater. (Photo credit: Owen Garner)

Last time round I was already half cut by the time I made it to the gig but this time I’m starting my journey with a far clearer head. This means that you won’t be hit with the constant toilet content from the off, but you will be able to witness my decline in real time as my writing gets more manic and starts making less sense.

First drink down and Its time to head to the first gig on my magical mystery tour of the venues of Sauchiehall Street. Up first is Honeyblood playing something of a homecoming show at The Garage to a crowd that seems very excited. I reckon I’ll just take in the set and report back after.

[some time later…]

Honeyblood was such a perfect set to kick things off with. Being a homecoming gig the band were really excited to be there and the crowd were right there with them. Their 45-minute set was tight and you really felt like you got your moneys worth even for such a short set. There was the perfect mix of talk and tunes and the set-list was filled with crowd pleasers, from new singles like She’s a Nightmare to old favourites like Biro.

 My next gig, Dreamwife, is very handily in the same venue easing me into this day as I’m not really being tested that much yet. However, never fear the manic run from venue to venue will surely come later on.

Dreamwife are the band that tipped it for me when I was deciding to buy the ticket as they instantly became one of favourite bands with the release of their fantastic first record. Now back in the studio after touring their debut album they have promised new music soon. I’ve seen them once before and I can’t wait to experience the sense of pure joy that their gigs instil once more.

I had originally planned to tell you about Dreamwife’s set after the fact but I got too excited and now here I am writing about it. I’ve been enjoying this so much that I think I might not have blinked up until now and my eyes are streaming, or I’m just crying, either is possible. Guitarist, Alice Go, has a beaming smile across her face while lead singer Rakel Mjöll is tearing up the stage, all the while bassist Bella Podpadec is as cool as ever. This truly is a joyous thing to witness.

Riot Grrrl band Dreamwife at Glasgow Garage. (Photo credit: Owen Garner)

Dreamwife’s set is tragically at an end. That was incredible. The highlight had to be the moment that I realised that I didn’t recognise the song being played and that it must be new material, a fact confirmed just moments after. The group seemed to be having even more fun than the crowd if such a thing could even be possible, every second was celebrated by both band and audience.

We now do a little bit of a time jump as I got slightly distracted by all the running around from gig to gig that I forgot to keep writing. If this were a film there would be a time card here telling you that about an hour has gone by, I’m rapidly approaching incoherency and I’ve been to two or three more sets (actually that would be far too long for a timecard and more like something from a monty python film).

The next milestone in tonights festivities is Pip Blom playing at the CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts). I ran to get here and am now slightly regretting it as I seem to have entered the hottest room in the world. In what is essentially a sauna I shuffle through the impressive crowd that has already amassed. I have no idea how all of these people got here before me but I’m assuming they must have teleported.

Now onstage the band seem humbled by the amount of people that have turned up to see them in, and I can’t stress this enough, the hottest room on the planet. I’m trying to decide whether me complaining about how hot it is here is better or worse than me constantly writing about cinnamon scented toilets. Either way it’s very hot and I’ve undone most of the buttons on my shirt and my chest is pretty much fully out. Aside from the tropic temperatures this has to be one of the highlights of the night. The band are clearly thrilled to be here and are playing an amazing set to a very appreciative audience.

And now for the final stop on my solo adventure. Yet again I have run from one set to another this time for Goat Girl’s show at the secret stage somewhere on Bath Street near St Stephens Church. A side door leads down a set of stairs and into a massive hall underground with a grand stage. It might be the beer goggles speaking but I feel like I’ve stepped into a whole other world.

The band are now onstage and the lighting and music are blending together in a strange mix that makes you feel like you’re being haunted (in a good way?) (if there is such a thing)). This is the perfect place to finish my adventure as the slow tempo, low-fi  sound of Goat Girl is washing over me and the excitement of discovering this hidden stage has ended my night on a massive high.

By Owen Garner