In 2001 Radio 1 brought their roadshow to irvine beach. In 1995 Oasis drew the crowds in. Many massive names have graced various festival stages at the beach park but for most of my lifetime, it’s just been ‘the beach.’ In 2022, Freckfest rebuilt a stage, gathered a crowd and got some big bands back to irvine beach.
The two day lineup, complete with Saturday night headliners, Del Amitri, brought fans from all across Scotland to Ayrshire.
As soon as you stepped onto the Harbour on Saturday morning, you could tell it wasn’t a normal irvine Saturday morning. Climbing walls and shows for kids had appeared, the place was buzzing and there were people everywhere.
Entrance to the actual festival site was easy and straightforward – no massive queues, clearly signposted, with the friendliest staff who were all clearly happy to be working at Irvine’s first big live music event in decades.
Opening the stage for Saturday was Glasgow’s own Anna Sweeny, followed by Nerina Pallot & Blue Rose Code. People made the mad dash between sets to the bar, via the merch stand for ponchos, and took shelter under golf brollies; refusing to be dettered by the bouncy rain. Toes were still tapping, heads were still bopping and spirits were high.
JJ Gilmour took to the stage to distract from the weather – and did so successfully. Meanwhile we snuck off to catch up with Ross from Fatherson ahead of their set…
Taking to the stage, Ross, Marc & Greg were given a hearty Ayrshire welcome – and being from Kilmarnock, just 10 minutes down the road, it’s something they’re well used to. Drawing in the biggest crowd of the day so far, they plowed through a set of tracks plucked from their older albums, as well as tracks from Normal Fears – their latest release. Much to the crowds’ delight.
Fatherson finished their punchy, tight set off in the most appropriate fashion, with their track ‘Making Waves.’
Next up were Twin Atlantic. One of my favourite bands – and it was clear a lot of the crowd had traveled to the festival to see them inparticular. As they took to the stage, the crowd bounced forwards and pretty much did not stop until Sam McTrusty & co had left finished their 11 song set. With tracks from albums old and new, the band had the crowd singing along word for word.
With the crowd playing into their hands, stellar front man, Sam had everyone bouncing in unison, and even had everyone on the floor at one point. For a while it looked like the music had chased away the rain clouds.
Twin Atlantic setlist:
– Hold On
– Make a Beast of Myself
– Bang on the Gong
– The Chaser
– Yes, I Was Drunk
– One Man Party
– No Sleep
– Brothers & Sisters
– Heart & Soul
The crowds continued to grow as Saturday night’s headliner, Del Amitri geared up back stage. Families, groups of friends old and young, and everyone in between gathered towards the stage, keen to hear the much loved hits from Justin Currie & co.
As it got darker, and the rain came and went again, not a soul in the beach park seemed to notice. Everyone was totally immersed in the gig happening in front of them, with cheers of delight after each track.
As the Saturday of the festival came to a close, everyone left in high spirits back along the harbour for the 10 minute walk (for us anyway), either towards the town, the train station or their homes. The ease of getting home from a festival, without having to walk for miles through a field or the outskirts of a city is definitely another selling point for Making Waves.
10/10 for Freckfest and Making Waves. Here’s hoping for round two next year…