Monday, 31 October 2011

The Backwoods Bonfire Party.

On the 5th November we are holding a Backwoods Bonfire party. Buses leave from the Old Bridge Inn any time after 5 and cost a tenner, when you get here our old friends the John Langan band will be playing and we have been lucky enough to find ourselves with the same gigantic Red Kite yurt that John got married in earlier this year, in the same spot. Then we head for the woods for a barbeque and mulled cider to hear three time festival champions Woodenbox with a Fistful of fivers, then some fireworks, Gojar on the decks until midnight and all back on the bus in time for last orders. You can read more about it and see if you can share a lift to the pub by looking at the facebook page.

Whats not to like about that?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Backwoods Sporting Society.

The first outing for the Sporting / Educational wing of the Historical Society took place yesterday with trial by coracle. This coracle is an inside out cow stretched round a hazel frame. It even has a tail. There are plans for a coracle building weekend at Inshriach later this year, it then takes half a year for the coracle to cure thoroughly so by next summer (Insider time) the coracles and their builders will compete for aquatic glory in our abstract Historical Olympiad. Other categories will include wife carrying, small dog throwing and the Thistly Cross three legged relay race (start curing your wives now to ensure they are fully hardened). Drop us an email if you fancy coming on the coracle course.

The rules of the Sporting Society;

Inappropriate Historical dress must be worn at all times.
Slavish Historical accuracy is not required by the organisers.
Steam, sail, oars and alchemy are the only permissable means of propulsion.

There are no other rules (yet).

Friday, 1 July 2011

The Backwoods Historical Society.

We have long suspected that some mysterious movement lurked in these rolling hills.

Over the last three years we put it down to a sheer force of goodwill reflecting back off the sky around Insider time but during these few weeks a fuller truth has emerged. First there was a rustle of crinoline in the bushes, the faint waft of macassar on the breeze, the rare mornings of perfect symmetry in ones moustache or the swirl and undercurrent of the river pulling one round like a petticoat. It seemed the birch whispered the approval of our forefathers and the oaks the wise words of our ancestors. As this year's Insider wore on these ethereal bodies took shape and flesh and as they did the presence of this hitherto secretive movement became undeniable. From the ether they have been watching us, without our knowledge they have been helping us. They have put down their centuries old vow of secrecy and abstinence, risen from the sanctity of their slumber and chosen to emerge into the 21st century as our respectful and irreverent guide to the challenges of our past, our present and our future.

The Backwoods Historical Society has broken cover.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Zoetrope

Here is the lovely Tom Stearns and the Zoetrope Collective, featuring members of Open Swimmer, Kettle of Kites, Tall Tales and Jo Mango playing the Kettle of Kites song, Bow, on the lawn.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Nobody writes letters any more...

Dear All,

This time a week ago Saturday night was in the ascendance. Donna Maciocia, bolstered by the Horndog Brass band, The Banana Sessions, Stanley Odd and Admiral Fallow came together in a run of brilliance on the main stage, Woodenbox and Lord Rochester in the saloon and Mike Kearney and the Horndogs funking all over the Backwoods. Now only the bunting remains, defiant of pack up and breakdown, Monty is back in charge and calm once again rests over Inshriach.

That was just a small slice of the amazing that took place last weekend.

We owe many thank yous; Limelights Events once again handled the lights, staging and sound so smoothly and professionally you wouldn't have known they were there. The Heritage Arts guys, Tim and Martin who brought up the lawn tent (and killed a couple of spare cockerels) were absolute stars, we had No Fuss events with the Saddlespan, the fabulous and generous Highland Tipis, the ever beautiful Red Kite Yurts and Henry Fosbrooke for the catering tent. The National Park once again stepped up and helped us out and the Highland Council made it all possible. Big Glens boys for keeping the peace. Thistly Cross, Williams brothers and Cairngorm Breweries got us drunk and Highland Spring made us better. A big hand to Bob and Dave for catering the hell out of it, Elma, ladies moustache champion of 2011, for tea and cake and insisting she paid for all her ingredients, Woodburns pizza, Roger from Auldern antiques for the vintage clothes, Mike from G2 for the flying machines, Full on John for the rafts, Benedict for the gate, Chas and Sandy for the toys on the lawn, Forkbeard Fantasy, Bluster and Leverage and the British Film Institute for the movies, Owen Pilgrim for the stories, Freya and the gang for massage, Alice for trapeze, The Too Much fun club for art and Larkin about for theatrics, Sophie for conjuring up two thirds of a mile of bunting and of course the ever present crew of Harry, Kyle and the uber talented and quietly confident Tired, Tom and Captain Bob for getting up here and screwing it all together. That the build effectively took 5 days is testament to the genius we had on hand.

Where would we have been without Gregory the Absinthe bartender? Without Abraham Lincoln or the marauding Manda?

Massive praise is in order for Ross and Polly Cameron. They tirelessly whupped this festival into shape and order in the face of green wormwood temptation. If any of you need a holiday, in a cottage, in Nethy Bridge, you will find their perpetual hospitality. Gordon Reilly, I take my hat off, your line up comprised threads of Scotlands finest, woven on a musical loom into a blanket of joy, again, get down to the Old Bridge Inn in Aviemore to catch Gordy day to day. Aidan, Kris, Martin - Lau collectively - Sunday too was a triumph, beautiful and lyrical and instrumental and to have you jamming through till Monday afternoon (again) with our own Master of Ceremonies, Charlie McKerron, was a post festival delight. Thanks to all the members of all the 75 bands who played, collaborated, partied and collectively produced something so special.

A big hand for Lucy, the matriarch of Inshriach, for being just mad enough to let this all happen in her garden (again), for shutting up Bronto Skylift mid set and for keeping us on the straight and narrow path of temperance throughout. Thanks too to Rhiannon, Phyllis, Demelza, Aowyn, the Kiwi quad boys, Dave the Doo, Craig, wee Gordy, Lianne and all of the 60 odd amazing volunteers and the many thousands of frisky face follicles who made this all possible.

In an enormous oversight I have never linked any mention of Rufus White to any of his other work, so here is some... We didn't simply kidnap him from the 19th century. He lives in East London with Molly and a lot of animals and designs, draws and makes amazing things. Their house is as remarkable as they are. The website, artwork, signage, shop, newspapers, doilies, huge pants, moustache outfits, silversmithery, jam covers, flat caps, brollies, adverts, animations and objects inconceivable to any minds other than their own were all their work.

They ran it up the flagpole and you saluted it so the biggest thank you goes out to all of you for wholeheartedly embracing the idea. From all over the country you came and you were hat doffing, penny farthing riding, pioneering, bustle rustlingly fabulous ladies and gentlemen the lot of you.

Something awoke in these hills last weekend and as we speak our crank team of paleontologists, spiritualists and discoverers are investigating further what it may be. Watch this space, I daresay this wont be the last you hear of historical happenings in these parts.

Thank you very much once again.

Yours sincerely,


PS. The Insider facebook page is gathering some lovely pictures and tales from the weekend, please tag your pictures @The Insider Festival to share them with us.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

We take our hats off...

Thank you all, that was awesome. Just until I get my head round it here is another moving picture show from Rufus R White, the Insider silversmith and here is the first review of the festival which came out in the Scotsman yesterday, we hope you enjoyed it as much as they did.

Please tag photos with @Insider Festival to add them to the Facebook group. We love the photos that have come out so far and there are brilliant little videos of all sorts creeping out of the woodwork.

Lots of love from all of us, you were magnificent, resplendent and brilliant to have here all weekend.

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Countdown has begun...

It's now 4 days until the Insider Festival.

Its full steam ahead here, the Mk2 Ooh Arr Tractor bar is in the workshop, the first tent has arrived, we have made 200 feet of picket fencing and 1000 metres of bunting, the saddlespan goes up tomorrow for the main stage and 3 days of musical greatness, fine food and outstanding entertainment awaits.

The Manda continues to maraud us as we work.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The Dog.

Our lovely friends the Banana Sessions have been turning their hand to journalism in the final week before the good ship Insider sets sail.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

8 days and counting.

We have been a bit quiet on the blog for the last fortnight because Inshriach has been the base for a feature film '500 Miles North'. You can expect to see a lot of Insider paraphernalia cropping up once this hits the screens.

We have also been prop building for Rockness, have ordered an unfeasible quantity of Thistly Cross cider (this year featuring the rocket fuel 14% strength 'Thistly Bomb'), coaxed the last of our line up into its beautiful shape, performed strange rituals and human sacrifices to the fickle (but always Insider Friendly) weather gods, and hewn from oak and steel and the contents of skips the details that will make the Insider special.

The taxidermy store is now open for business, don't forget to bring any pets you want immortalised.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Sunday Features...

In no particular order other than mildly chronological;


Saturday Features...


And in various secret locations;


And that's just the tunes...

Monday, 30 May 2011

Friday features...


Full day by day line up coming tomorrow...

Get Steaming...

We have decided to run a charity auction on Saturday to benefit our favourite local Victorians, the Strathspey Steam railway. Anyone who decides to take the trip from Aviemore to Broomhill over the Insider weekend can do so for a childs price as long as they are in Victorian costume and we have 2 family passes valid until the end of the year as prizes for the moustache and flying machine awards.

Anyone who doesn't behave gets 2 years hard labour rebuilding their track out to Grantown.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Hidden Orchestra.

We are overjoyed to have Hidden Orchestra returning to the Insider.

Friday, 27 May 2011

A dress rehearsal.

Thanks to the many weddings we have had at Inshriach this month we can give you a taster of how the main stage field is going to look. It will have 2 less tipis and one more enormous saddlespan main stage, lots of furniture and revellers and a load more tents, food, a huge bar and ephemeral Victoriana but you start to get the picture.

Did someone say 3 weeks today?

Bring it Victori-on.

Thanks to Joe Maclay for the picture, click on it for a bit more detail.

Friday, 20 May 2011

The G2 Flying Machine awards.

Rally forth you inventors.

Thanks to Mike at G2 we are going to be honouring the pioneers of aviation with the Insider Festival Flying Machine awards. Great prizes and glory await the inventor of the cannyest machine.

There are some rules. We have already determined that a steam engine does not have the power to weight ratio required for flight so we recommend mechanical (ie human) power, or the power of witchcraft or alchemy. Airships, gliders and balloons are permitted. Your flying machine must be portable, excess weight is the enemy of flight in any case. You must be able carry the machine to the launching point at the top of a steep hill so do not make it the size of a horseless carriage and you must be able to to strap your machine firmly to your body. You will be inspected by a team of experts for mechanical integrity before flight and only be cleared for take off if we are satisfied these conditions have been met. Insider management cannot take responsibility for the loss of either aviators or their machines during flight but we are responsible for the safety of spectators underneath the flight path.

To win the award you will be required to make a flight of 100 feet, we allow a continuously downward trajectory at an altitude between 50 and 10 feet from the ground and you will be launched from a short but perilously steep runway approximately 60 feet from the ground. Flight stewards, supervisors and medical professionals will be on hand.

Chocks away.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Moustache Awards.

If you choose to enter the Moustache awards you will find the following hotly contested categories;

The Full Face Spanner. This gentleman is pushing the structural integrity of his moustache to its very limits. From the perfect bird-on-wing swoop to its stunning density, this moustache is an exceptional example of this rare and difficult style. Consider the wit, wealth and women this gentleman must have enjoyed!

The 'Reverse face shelf'.
As popularised by the Amish and sported by authoritarian patriarchs throughout history. It has been claimed that the very seeds of feminism were sown from this unnatural co-location of facial and chest hair. There have been unconfirmed sightings of Abraham Lincoln already in the Spey Valley.

The Insider will feature prizes in the categories of Nietzsche, Custer, Stalin, Dali, Full Pugwash and Massive Ginger, plus the freestyle event (including the Burn-Out) and the ladies competition. We have developed a revolutionary handicap system to take into account the presence of French giants.

May we issue a word of caution to the unexperienced competitor, we must advise against any rash moustache butchery after the Insider - unmoustached life may not be worth living for any proper gentleman.

We wish you the best of bushy luck and pay thanks to the esteemed blog 'Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century' and recommend you refer there where necessary.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Admiral Fallow.

We are big fans of Louis Abbott and Admiral Fallow at the Insider and think they are going great places - we are delighted to be having them back to see out Saturday night on our main stage (that's before we switch to two smaller stages for the late night sessions).

This is what they have been up to this year.

We're thrilled to be invited back to the Insider after a glorious evening last year. It was warm and welcoming and no sooner had I left down the windy road to the train station I was itching to do it all again.

The Band has had a pretty interesting year since last Insider. We were lucky enough to tour the UK with the very fine Frightened Rabbit last Winter finishing with two sold out nights at the historic Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom. After a brief hibernation we toured the UK ourselves in early March and flew straight out to Austin, TX to play a number of shows at the South By Southwest festival. It was not too dissimilar to the Insider in some ways, our last show taking place in a stranger's back garden who took a punt on inviting us to play just one day before. She plied us with beer and barbecue and with the Texan sun on our backs we played the hottest show the world has ever known. Temperature wise.

We were lucky enough to be invited to play in Durham, North Carolina, New York City and Boston, MA before heading home for a rest.

We also have a new guitarist for the next chapter in Mr Craig Grant of the fine glasgow band Song of Return. Craig joined us after the sad departure of Tom Stearn who left us to dedicate more time to his band Kettle of Kites (also performing at Insider).

As for our gig this year, people can expect a good time late on Saturday night filled with some brand new songs as well as tunes from our album. We're hoping to have some sexy collaborations for you all too though i can't say who as even they don't know yet!

Cannae wait. AF x

Friday, 13 May 2011

The websmith.

This really is Rufus White in the process of building our website. No joke. He and Molly and Mathew have pulled a stormer with it. All the animations and squirrels and everything has been hand drawn by him and there can be no doubt it is now Victori-on.

Rufus will wearing another hat at the Insider, that of the mobile silversmith and jeweller. You will find him and his wiry apprentice plying their trade, taking commissions and making beautiful things during the festival. In the meantime if you would like to get in touch with him for anything just Telegram us at the Insider.

The photo we half-inched from a recent series of portraits by Helen Abraham

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Insider recruits.

Stoke your boilers!
We need a strong and beautiful crew to oil the cogs of the great Insider engine room.
We need spit roasters and genteel pimms pourers, urchins, giants and ringmasters.
Involve yourself.. swap us 2 shifts for a full weekend ticket, crew camping and of course the finest food and drink.
To apply email

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

What Lau have to say about it...

Lau are totally delighted by the chance to curate a night at The Insider this year. The thought of being allowed to choose which of our fave musos get to come and join us at what is going to be a highlight of our summer festival season has made us like greedy folk kids in an alternative sweetie shop.

It is an absolute stotter of a line-up and a total joy for us to be involved in making this night happen. Alongside ourselves on the Sunday afternoon/evening will be:

The incredible Hidden Orchestra (formally the Joe Acheson Quartet) whose debut album Night Walks is surely one of this years soundtracks to the summer. Any band citing Aphex Twin, Debussy, Radiohead and Squarepusher as their influences is pretty cool in our musical colouring book. With two drummers, deep basslines and strong jazz and classical influences they make beautiful, cinematic music perfect for an Insider Sunday night.

We are honoured and delighted to announce the appearance of legendary singer songwriter Michael Marra at this years Insider. Michael is often spoken of in the same breath as Randy Newman and Tom Waits and delivers songs of comparable quality but with the added bonus of his unashamedly native delivery and Saharan wit. Who knew Dundonian was so beautiful!?

The music of Geese encompasses all that is great about fearless experimentation in music, mind-warping electronics and sublime strings. Great technique, and indie chic, Geese have it all. If you can find a more rockinger band that is two violinists and a drummer, Lau will give you a tenner.*

Super-duo Macmaster/Hay are a distillation of the forward-thinking soul at the heart of the Edinburgh folk upheaval of the last 15 years. Mary Macmaster and Donald Hay have been involved independently and collectively in a staggering number of the most successful and exciting projects in modern folk history. They have finally come together uninterrupted by the noises of others to produce music of jaw-dropping beauty with drums, harp and voice.

Jarlath Henderson from Dungannon, Co Tyrone is the leading light in a generation of gifted and riotous musicians. He is a vistuoso on uillean pipes and whistles with an anarchic style that only comes years of studying the tradition. Also is a fine singer he’ll be joined on vocal and ‘cello duties by his sister Alana. The prodigy Mathue Watson completes the triumvirate on guitar and fiddle. Expect wild tunes and beguiling songs from this inventive young band.
Hopwood and Black are a meeting of minds of powerful songwriters Phil Hopwood (The Marrs Effect) and Lindsey Black (The Bevvy Sisters). At the beginning of this year, Phil and Lindsey came across a peculiar looking duo playing lounge music in a lonely corner of a local Leith establishment and thought, although ragged round the edges, these two boys had potential. So they will be introducing them to the Insider for their first festival appearance as a quartet. Hopwood and Black would like to introduce their new and improved line–up with Donald Hay on drums and Al Wishart on bass.
*please note conditions apply**
**and we don’t really have a tenner

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Whats that I hear you say?... Free tickets?

Why that's splendid.

Our friends at Canopy and Stars, who run the rentals on the Inshriach yurt, the Beer Moth and lots of other lovely places across the country, are giving away 2 pairs of tickets to the Insider, just visit their website and register...

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Tipi has landed.

Being the season of matrimony at Inshriach has given us the opportunity to try a few things out. These 4 tipis are now up in the main stage field and 2 of them are coming back to be the Insider main bar. Last years bar and BBQ shack in the foreground is this years Golddiggers Saloon stage so we finally got the roof finished.

Next week the lovely fellas from Red Kite Yurts are here for a wedding with their monster 42ft yurt.

Musically you can expect the full line up from us next week and if you want a preview Lau will be playing at the Old Bridge Inn on Monday May 16th.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Those were the days...

In celebration of the fact that STV wrote this lovely preamble about the Insider, here is one from the archive.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Lau curate.

The idea came up over a few bevvies at Celtic Connections of Lau curating our Sunday line up (here they are playing the BBC review show). It turned out they were more than keen and with 7 weeks before the Insider their line up is now ready. Macmaster and Hay are making a reappearance, Hopwood and Black, Jarlath Henderson, Michael Marra, Geese, Hidden Orchestra and Lau themselves.

Charlie McKerron will then close the festival with his eponymous 'And Friends' session, once again featuring the finest folky tunesters Scotland has to offer. I reckon there is a racing chance that some of the afternoons very special line up might hang around for another crack.

A wee Dram

A special edition Whisky has recently been released which may be the hinge around which perilous adventures are hung.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Don't tell everyone.

We finally organised a mailing list and a press release, two months and counting.

I did manage to get the link to the website wrong though.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A splendid Moustache.

Alongside the return of the infamous musical welly wanging this year will see the first Insider moustache awards. Various categories (as yet undecided) to be judged by a panel of experts (as yet unappointed) and rewarded with rich, glorious and inappropriate gifts (as yet unallocated).

So if you are looking for an excuse for turning up unshaven to work for the next 2 months here it is. We have been off the shave for weeks to increase our chances.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Getting Laid.

It just took a round week and 17 tons of turf to get the main stage field nice and flat and to make it look like tellytubby land.

Roll up Roll up...

Through the Insider website.

Big thanks go out to Rufus White, Molly Micklethwait White, Mathew White (no relation as far as we know), Ben Addis and Henry Ryder for the extraordinary work that has gone into this year's website.


Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Line up now full.

Thanks to the many many folk who have submitted bands in the 48 hours since the website went up. If you don't hear from us it's not because we don't love you it's simply that there have been so many submissions that we don't even have time to listen to everyone and, while we may look a bit confused, actually our line up is pretty much finished.

Plus it's spring time, it's a lovely day and we have lots of stuff to go and invent.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Line Up and the website.

Which comes first - the line up or the website?

It seems they are coming together, in an explosive crescendo of organisational blissfulness.

The line up is in the expert hands of Gordon Reilly and features choice curation throughout the weekend. We have Sunday afternoon presented by Lau, record company showcases, a few of our old favourites and a rake of hot new talent, a full (and yet provisional and open to alteration) line up announcement is on the cards for next week.

And the website? The site is all texted up and schemed out and contains outstanding Victorian artwork by Rufus White - it just might be released tomorrow with tickets going on sale after the weekend.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Going down the pub.

Friday we are heading down the Old Bridge Inn to see Insider favourites Donna Maciocia and Paul Gilbody in their latest collaboration, MaGoodBody, then next Tuesday we are going back to see The Vaccines.

Why go anywhere else?

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Board of Backwoods reconvenes.

Three months exactly before Insider 2011 we took a wander round Inshriach on a beautiful day in the snow. It reminded us how amazing the Backwoods stage and bar is and got us totally stoked up about our plans for this year.

We then convened in the Backwoods board room (ahem - The Old Bridge Inn) and hammered some of the finer points of the line up into shape. With any luck its only days before the Insider website version 1 goes live and we make some sort of announcement.

If you see increasingly peculiar moustaches around Aviemore over the coming months it may have something to do with everyone getting it Victori-on.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Insider website and tickets.

People keep asking whether we are selling tickets yet, who is playing or even if we have sold out but the truth is we don't like to hurry these things. The Insider website is about to leap into shape, the cogs of design, production and planning are turning and once we are ready we will do a mail out, hit you with a line up to die for (which we will actually finish 2 days before the festival) and put tickets on sale.

See you in June.

Monday, 28 February 2011

The shape of things to come.

Thanks to the lovely folk at Highland Tipis our giant saddlespan main stage will be accompanied by these beautiful tipis which will function as a Wild West saloon bar / gold prospectors hang out.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Celtic Connections.

Big thanks to the organisers of Celtic Connections for giving us the opportunities and the inspiration to knock the Insider into shape.

So, what do we remember? Lots of friends from last year are back on board. Joe Acheson (aka Hidden Orchestra) are up for a reprise of last years mad bad Backwoods stage collaborations, only on the main stage with lots of visuals. Louis from Admiral Fallow had barely left Inshriach and already knew he had no choice. We firmed up a brief and a budget (then blew most of it on cocktails) with Lau, they are curating the main stage for Sunday (the brief was to keep it peculiar). The fine Mr Tom Pickles of Banana Sessions and Horndog Brass Band fame has his negotiating hat on (an 8 piece brass funk band gives him the upper hand). Sam Lee of the Magpies Nest, fresh from winning his Arts Foundation Folk Fellowship, will be all over the Balladlands. We still love Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers very much and Rachel Sermanni was either angelic or right in the thick of it throughout.

We spoke to press and DJs, promotors, agents and bookers. We are planning on collaborations with a couple of festivals (of which more later) and we have a whole heap of new talent for this year that just needs whittling into shape.

It just took 2 days lying in a dark room to get over it.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Insider 2011.

Its Victori-on!!

17th to the 20th June, Victoriana the theme, £75 weekend tickets.

Website to follow at