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Doune the Rabbit Hole

Doune the Rabbit Hole

Cardross Estate

Nicola Meighan

Since it launched in 2010, Doune the Rabbit Hole has become one of Scotland's most picturesque and welcoming grassroots festivals, with a consistently inspired, diverse and off-kilter music programme.

The festival's current site, near the Port of Menteith, is idyllic (it used to be based at Doune Castle, hence the name), and this year's laid-back set-up was particularly child-friendly - from the cavernous trees bedecked with rope swings and disco balls, to circus workshops, face-painting and various outsized puppets who kept the young team entertained as us bigger kids lounged or danced in the sunshine to Glasgow exoticists SambaYaBamba, and the kaleidoscopic, tribal dissonance of Flamingods - a combo from Bahrain via London, whose excellent set prompted barefoot pogoing, banshee hollering and general delight.

Those early main-stage stints set the precedent for a day of sonic thrills, including the experimental, hooded alt-rock of Faith No More/ Mr Bungle offshoot Secret Chiefs 3, psych-folk diviner Josephine Foster, and machine-pop conquerors Errors, whose gorgeous electro-prog lit up the night sky.

But much of the festival's charm lies in its smaller tents and huts, the loveliest of which was a technicolour grotto that staged an afternoon recital of Bacharach favourites and Moondog surprises from the Glad Community Choir, and a terrific night-time set from vintage-electro bards Grumbling Fur. Elsewhere, Richard Dawson unleashed his visceral, physical primal-folk upon a rapt crowd.

There were several rock wig-outs, too - notably Glasgow grunge-pop trio PAWS' characteristically fierce performance, and a truly wondrous, surprisingly raucous, set from Glasgow folk-rock (time) travellers Trembling Bells, whose psychedelic prog, avant-pop and organ-swirling madrigals sounded bigger, better, and louder than ever. Their best has yet to come.

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