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Rock’ndaal is less than 48 hours away…

Scene setting

Fèis Ìle 2022 starts on Friday 27th May. It’s a week-long festival of malts and music built around open days at each of the island’s distilleries, unique accompanying bottlings, plus all sorts of community events from cèilidhs to quizzes to lawn bowls. The island is thronged with happy whisky people – returning this year after a two-year gap for the pandemic.

At Bruichladdich Distillery, Sunday 29th May, we are planning to rock our socks off. With a capacity crowd of 2,000, the distillery courtyard will be electric this year. Having ramped up our digital offering in the years when we couldn’t meet in person, we’ll continue in 2022 with a full day’s festival programme for our extended community to watch from home. It will all be broadcast live online from our new studio in the old malt lofts at the distillery, in parallel with everything happening on the ground on Islay. It’s totally free, but you need to register to join it here: Rock’ndaal Access All Areas

We’ve reconfigured the layout and made it pop with music festival inspired visuals – think South by South West meets Andy Warhol  – and extended the band line-up. Five incredible music acts will light up the stage this year.

We have some festival debuts and some familiar faces on stage

The Rock’ndaal Band Line Up

17:15 Tide Lines, headlining exclusive to Fèis Ìle 2022

Captivating lyrics and beefed-up folk tunes. This folk-rock-pop quartet from the Scottish Highlands pack a punch with big guitar sounds overlaid with electronica and alt-rock. Lead singer Robert gave us a set for our Laddie Lockdown digital Fèis in 2020 which you can see on our IGTV.  The band are increasingly well known – they’ll support Deacon Blue playing Edinburgh Castle in July.

16:10 Trail West 

Six-piece ensemble Trail West have been blasting out the sounds of the Western Isles with a modern twist for the past decade. Guitars and drums join pipes, accordions and whistles for a rocking ‘West Coast’ fusion of a ceilidh. 

15:05 Rhythm and Booze Project  

This eclectic duo blend roots, folk and blues in a gritty mix of hypnotic grooves and raucous energy. These showmen are huge whisky fans; the band was originally conceived on Islay. 

13:30 Rhuvaal  

Vocals, fiddles, drums, pipes, accordion and guitars, these six young guns from Argyll have plenty of energy to deliver traditional Scottish music as well as crowd-pleasing classics. 

12:30 Rock and Reel 

Guaranteed to get the party started, this will be an Islay festival debut for the Oban outfit. Trad tunes, smoking hot banjo, and a rocking rhythm section to get everyone dancing. 

Other attractions at the distillery.

Bruichladdich Distillery’s legendary festival day always starts with our Head Distiller, Adam Hannett’s, Masterclass. It is a tasting of six drams, held in the warehouse where we do all our vattings before bringing the whisky down to the bottling hall. With an audience of only 250 people in the warehouse, we will be streaming the full 90 minutes to our global community tuning in from home, as part of our virtual festival proceedings.

The main gates to the distillery open after the masterclass finishes, at 12:30. We’re delighted that the Islay Pipe Band will have a presence again this year, giving us a few tunes after lunch. Then there’ll be a performance from Ella Edgar’s highland dancers at 14:35. There are some proud parents among our staff! Our CEO, Douglas Taylor will host a Charity Auction at 14:50, in add of Ukraine. Local traders will provide the food – from cakes to fresh oysters – and talented makers and small businesses from the island will have stalls in warehouse behind the stage. Tours will run through the day from the Laddie Shop – Duncan “Budgie” MacFadyen will be manning the stills and Neil Gillies will be putting in the mash.

Meanwhile, online…

10:30 Virtual venue opens.

10:45 Welcome, with anchor hosts, Frazer and Katie

11:00 Masterclass live stream from Warehouse 12

12:50 Rock and Reel streams from main stage

13:20  Masterclass Afterparty.  A chance to ask Adam any “always wanted to know” questions, and get a quick reaction to this year’s masterclass drams.

13:45 Rhuvaal streams from main stage

14:10 Martini Time.  Brand Ambassador Abi Clephane instructs members of our team on how to make the perfect Botanist Martini in front of a small studio audience. The Botanist bar will be serving some of Abi’s original creations and gin and tonics all day, as in previous years. You’ll find it positioned in the small courtyard behind the millhouse building.

14:35 Distillery News. Ask CEO Douglas Taylor and Production and Operations Director Allan Logan about what’s been happening on site and future plans.

15:20 Rhythm and Booze Project streams from main stage

15:45 The Malts Bar – the hotly anticipated follow-up to last year’s malts bar, in which our co-founder Simon Coughlin and Global Marketing Manager Lynne McEwan plunder the archive and discuss your all-time Bruichladdich Distillery favourites.

16:35 Trail West streams from the main stage Tide Lines

17:05 Thank you Rock’ndaal!

17:15 Full Tide Lines set streams from the main stage

We have pre-recorded a tour and have other video content for you to browse within the virtual venue.

You can also interact with each other and with us all day through the virtual venue chat – we will try and answer any questions and gather some opinions – Helen Weeks and Megan Croall, from our digital team, will be behind that, from within the loft studio. You might have chatted to Helen during last year’s digital festival, but this is Megan’s festival debut.

Transport

To get to the distillery on Sunday 29th, we are laying on buses from Port Ellen (09:00, returning 15:15 or 18:45) and from Bowmore (09:30, returning 15:00 or 18:30). There is also plenty of parking at Uiskentuie strand, with a free shuttle bus running to and from the distillery all day. There aren’t many taxi operators on Islay; if you know you need a pick up then it’s best to book in advance.  There is a public bus service during the day from Monday to Saturday.  Transport, transfer, and public transport information can all be found on this excellent page of Islayinfo.com

Get involved! Be immortalised in pop art

Competitions this year

We want to see your moves! Whether you are online or on Islay, post a photo of yourself or your friends hashtagged #Rockndaal and tag us @Bruichladdich on either Instagram or Twitter to enter. Our designer Dan is going to pick out two winners – one from on Islay and one from our online attendees – to turn into pop art.  Winners will receive the framed print.

Here are Dan’s photography tips:

  • Candid shots often work best
  • Go full-length – stand back to try to catch as much of the action as you can
  • Make sure you have permission from anyone who’s in the shot

The competition will open on Sunday 29th May and close on Wednesday 1st June. Please read the full Ts and Cs before entering.

The rest of the week

You can find the full programme for week laid out on the Fèis Ìle website. But you might want to mark these things in your diary:

Tuesday 31st May at the Laddie Shop

We will reopen the Laddie Shop on Tuesday at 11am. We’ll have two single casks in the Laddie Shop for festival week. We expect them to sell quickly, and the number of bottles is limited by the size of the cask, as with all our regular “valinches“.

At 12:30, 14:00 and 15:30 on Tuesday only, we have special tasting sessions with Senior Tour Guide Lesley McGeachy, pairing whisky and chocolate.

We’ve teamed up with craft chocolate sellers Cocoa Runners, alongside writer and broadcaster Rachel McCormack, for a unique chance to taste our special barley expressions alongside Icelandic craft chocolate makers OmNomNom. The chocolatiers bring white chocolate and coffee bars and black roasted barley chocolate, all of which tastes like it was made just for these Bruichladdich expressions.

There’s a maximum of 14 spaces per tasting, which lasts one hour. Over 18s only. Call the Laddie Shop to book 01496 850190.

Thursday at The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links

Everything But Whisky – a first outing for Gin, Rum, and Beer as part of Fèis Ìle.  You may know already that we make The Botanist Gin at Bruichladdich Distillery. The Machrie hotel near the airport will be holding a pop-up day with tastings, cocktails, music, BBQ, and more.  Ashley MacGregor from the Laddie Shop will be demonstrating how to make a Botanist Martini. There are two sessions, 13:30 – 15:30 or 16:00 – 18:00, with a maximum of 70 people per session. Book in advance to avoid disappointment by calling 01496 302310.

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