Millport Country Music Festival 2018



That is festival opener Katee Kross with Ross and Tommy from the Amberjax

Day 1

This weekend saw my first visit to the beautiful island of Cumbrae on the Clyde coast for the 24th Millport Country Music Festival. The event kicked off on Friday 7th running until Sunday 9th of September with approximately 50 acts over the 4 stages. The whole venue is situated around Garrison House directly on the waterfront of the town. A lovely setting. This festival draws crowds over from the mainland accessing the island via the ferry from Largs.

I will explain that during the weekend I was allowed to tag along with the official photographers for the weekend taking photos myself so not seeing full sets from MOST acts my review will be quite brief for some acts.

The main stage {Cactus Jacks) saw the weekend start with Glasgow singing sensation Katee Kross and her band The Amberjax and they served up a rousing set including tracks from her upcoming new album “Body And Soul” which will be released at a launch gig on 13th of October. A wee bit of promo here for Katee saying you can get tickets online at www.ticketweb.uk Next on this stage was the one and only Gary Quinn who again gave us a great set as usual and kept us all on our toes with his wee stories. The third and final act on this stage was a young lady who spends a lot of her time on the UK Country circuit Jess And The Bandits. Again as usual Jess was fantastic and she displays such great energy on stage with some old and new music with tremendous support from her band.

The second stage on site and used on Friday was the acoustic venue supported by Maverick Magazine. The 1st act was Orfila and again was a great act to see. Following Orfila was The Remedy Club an Americana/Alternative Country act who sound fantastic giving a great account of themselves to all attending their set. The final act on the Maverick stage were Glasgow based family band Ashton Lane. These guys do not fail to give their all during their show and really entertain all watching.

The 3rd stage to be used on Friday was the Wounded Knee venue which is the Line Dancing venue with music from Rodeo Stomp and Stillwater. The venue is in a hall which has perfect flooring for the dancers to show and perfect their skills with a bit of dancing tuition thrown in for those who want to learn the steps.

Day 2

Day 2 started in Cactus Jacks with The Red Pine Timber Co. I believe these guys come from Perth and I had never heard them before. I thoroughly enjoyed their rousing music which comes under the Americana/country rock banner.

Following these guys were the East Lonesome Drifters from south of the border who list among their influences Haggard, Dylan and Willie Nelson among others and their set proved that. Next up were The Rising a Northern Irish Country Rock/pop/acoustic band who took the festival by storm with their set.

Following The Rising and fresh up the road from The Long Road festival was Glasgow singer Kevin McGuire showcasing his self-penned songs along with a couple of covers. Kevin always goes down a treat with the crowds he performs in front of. Up next on stage was Katy Hurt who again I’d never seen live but her stage presence and music really impressed me.

Everyone in the tent were soon to be shown the astounding act called Raintown the Glasgow based husband and wife team of Paul Bain and his wife Claire backed brilliantly by the 4 guys in the band and once again they did not fail to have everyone on their feet with their fantastic display of old, new and music covers. As you know I’m a massive fan of these guys and they never let us down.

The evening in this venue was completed by an Elvis tribute act and as it had been most of the day the venue was packed out to hear this great act.

The Maverick Acoustic stage opened up on day 2 with Katee Kross along with her band member Ross and Tommy who again don’t fail to entertain us. Katee was followed by Jim McLean, Two Ways Home, the lovely Liv Austen then it was local man Kid Millport who has returned to the island from America for the gig. Next up was Jarred Dickenson followed by Steve Young with the final act of the night Grammy listed American song writer Jerry Harmon. For those like myself not accustomed to his music I would recommend giving him a listen.

The line dancing stage action today were sets from Rodeo Stomp, Stateline and James N Wood spread throughout the day.

The 4th stage on site was an open air venue called Nashfield Concert Stage which on Saturday and Sunday is where the Main acts performed. With the brilliant weather we had on Saturday this venue seemed to be the place to be for sunbathing and laying back listening to the rousing sets from Robert Vincent, show stopping Ashley Campbell and Jesse Dayton. Only catching small parts of each set I was particularly impressed by Ashley’s talents gleamed from forever being on tour with her dad Glenn. Robert Vincent was great and after hearing him live for the 1st time Jesse Dayton was immense as he described himself his home-grown old style twangy country sound.

Day3

The 3rd and final day was billed as families’ day and opened with Jerry Harmon at the Maverick Stage with some good old Appalachian storytelling and music which was a fantastic listen. Jerry was followed by an Emerging Talent Showcase which gave the opportunity to 10 acts given approximately 15 minutes each to show what they can do and they all did that to a high standard. Each of these acts were vying for a spot on the Nashfield Stage before the final act of the day as prize winners along with a spot on next years festival and a recording session with Black Room Sessions. The next two given placed acts earned a slot on the Cactus Jack Stage before the last act on that stage performed. The 10 acts on show were Riley, Hollie Robinson, Joseph Miller, Emma Sargison, Scott Ashworth, Zoe Tait “The LadyBugg”, The Blue Highways, John Rush, Zoee and Robyn Taylor and all I can say is Live Music has a future if they carry on pushing. Their talent was amazing. Winner of the showcase was Zoee with the next two being 14 year old Hollie Robinson (wow she blew us away) and John Rush.

Cactus Jack stage opened on day 3 with an incredible Taylor Swift tribute act followed by another Glasgow band the 3 sisters called The Logans and again I’m a massive fan of these girls since I first saw them in September last year. Totally blew me away with their own music and covers, Chloe Chadwick was next up and was a big hit. Following Chloe were the 2 talent show runners up and boy did young Hollie Robinson entertain all in the marquee so much so that she got a standing ovation. Hollie was followed by John Rush with his great voice and banter. The final act on display, before the show finale DJ Hish was American Young. These guys were another 1st time live viewing for me and are amazing. Kristy from the band is expecting and during one of their songs young bump gave mum a kick to which she then had a good giggle about mentioning that baby must be a music critic. Although they had a set list this was soon forgotten as they performed some brilliant off the cuff mash ups of about 7 different songs as the went along. John picked a rhythm on his guitar Kristy then picked up on fiddle with the bass player and drummer joining in. Unscripted, unrehearsed and totally brilliant.

The final few acts on the Nashfield on day 3 were Jawbone, The Wandering Hearts and Shane Richie but due to the fact I was busy on being a Logans fan and watching the emerging talent and the heavy rain I didn’t make it to see The Wandering Hearts and Shane Richie.

Altogether a great weekend of music, fun, and friend’s old and new and looking forward to next year’s 25th Anniversary Festival.


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