Are you going to Nilk? This was a question I asked a number of people this summer and on the most part the response was resoundingly YES! With just a few queries of – what is Nilk? So for the uninitiated – Nilk is a micro music festival that combines music, film and art and is held at Dundee’s Botanic Gardens.
Organisers (Paul Gault and Craig Gallacher) teamed up with the Rusty Hip Collective (an exciting new collective championing Dundee’s live music scene) and Ickle Film Festival (an independent, artist led short film festival in Dundee) to ensure 2013’s festival bounced back with a bang!
This combination meant that they welcomed a few hundred people to a truly unique event to enjoy a carefully curated selection of electronic music, live bands and fascinating films – all with the added extra that it didn’t rain a drop!
I respect the way Nilk Festival manages to maintain a unique balance with the space it inhabits. This not to be sniffed at – even if the attendee numbers are much smaller than large festivals – the atmosphere at Nilk encouraged people to explore the beautiful surrounds of the stunning botanic gardens rather than trash them.
Perhaps it was the addition of this colourful (and indestructible) Pinnata by artist Camila Richardson that ensured any tension could be taken out on it! I also liked the addition of the other striking N’s that populated the site – this one below was illustrated N by Jen Collins and there was another floating structure crafted by Roy Shearer.
I am definitely no expert when it comes to discussing the musical content…
However, the highlights for me this year were definitely Golden Teacher, their energy was infectious and I loved their eclectic mix of acoustic and electronic sounds. They also did a brilliant job of working through a minor electrical black-out with rogue phone strobe lights, their bongos and their energy to keep the crowd entertained until the boys managed to re-wire a plug fuse in the dark! They have just released their second 12” on Glasgow’s Optimo Music label and they are definitely a group I would like to see live again.
I caught just a little of The Strangers Almanac in The Rusty Hip cabin, but I really like the sounds this duo create and I must admit that Ten Feet Tall has been featuring regularly on my playlist for over a month now… I love the part when the sound of the strings kick in.
There was also a ton of other good music being played during the day, but my memory wanes and I won’t go into detail about them all.
Other fun highlights included the awesome motion graphics by Duncan Barton.
Infusing balloons with LEDs and hanging them from the trees in the afternoon…
and subsequently watching their glow emerge from the darkness as the evening progressed!
What a lovely way to spend a Saturday in September. I hope they do it again next year!
Words & Images © Hazel Saunderson