There were roving reports and musical interludes from far and wide. Raymond took us to a breezy Octomore field and while Farmer James Brown is a stalwart of the Feis courtyard, it’s not often the entire festival is taken into his field to see the barley shoots of a future Octomore.
The tunes were brought to us from some of our fantastic bands who kindly gave us some ‘sofa sessions’. From the rambunctious Rhythm and Booze Project; Maverick Angels brought us a few sets including a tune of Fraser Shaw’s; to the melodies (and technical mayhem) of Robin Laing. All ending with an emotional closing session by Robert Robertson of Tide Lines. What stellar folks give up their time for us.
Emotions continued to swell with a beautiful poem ‘Welcome’, written and read by Mary McGregor of Laddieshop fame. Reading it by the shores of Loch Indaal, she managed to somehow squeeze near everyone from the distillery into her delightful festival poem alongside a few festival old-timers, not to be forgotten too.
Of course, the festival would not be complete without cocktails galore. Regular bartenders and long time ambassadors Abi and Ewald dialled in from London and sunny Munich. Usually these two head up The Botanist tent where last year, over 4000 cocktails were prepped alongside B&Ts. So, with only themselves to make drinks for it was a more chilled affair. Abi shook up a Botanist Betty RnR and Ewald stirred up a Blood, Sugar, Peat, Magic. Between them, nearly 22,000 have now seen them making these original drinks. Recipes and pre-prep steps you’d need to recreate the cocktails at home are here, see Abi and Ewald in dialogue.
There was also a guest bartender this year with Katie and The Botanist forager, James Donaldson in conversation. James had whipped up a twist on a red-snapper cocktail using ingredients in the store cupboard and from his garden; from celery-like lovage to fiery water pepper.
Still one last thing missing. Sunshine. After a predictably dreich and stormy weekend, once again, as the afternoon wore on, the sun made its appearance. Are we surprised?
A monumental thank you to everyone in the team and beyond who helped to pull off the day. And to those of you who woke up, turned up online and celebrated with us. Here’s to the next festival, where upon we will celebrate the past two decades the absolute best we possibly can. Here’s a taster of the highlights.
Until next time, we leave you with these parting words from Mary’s poem:
We are apart just now but will be together soon we all agree
To share a dram with the Dream Team and have a huge party!
And when next you arrive at the Laddie shop door
We’ll be waiting for you with a welcome come in, and Slainte Mhor!
>>> Set the scene at home with our Spotify playlists from the day
>>> Recreate some of the cocktail recipes or enjoy the desktop wallpapers: festival pack download
>>> Relive previous masterclass broadcasts and festival fun via our YouTube channel
>> Here is a minute of audio madness created from the archive of the live broadcasts from the unrepeatable Festival 2020, by Kate. If it whets your appetite you can always relive the whole audio-visual extravaganza on our instagram TV tab.