Pitlochry music festival organisers play down ‘dirty camping’ fears

todayMay 20, 2024

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Organisers of a new Pitlochry music festival have played down concerns that the area will be swamped by ‘dirty campers’.

The Heartland Festival team say their goal is to boost the economy and the profile of the Perthshire town.

And they say 99% of locals are rooting for the gathering to be a success.

The event, on June 29-30, will feature top Scottish live acts such as Idlewild, The View and Skerryvore.

Around 8,000 people are expected to attend over the course of the weekend.

Skerryvore will play at the first Heartland music festival in Pitlochry. Image: Supplied.

But there will be no camping at the Pitlochry Recreation Ground site.

And Heartland Festival organiser Graham Howie was quizzed on the sleeping arrangements – including the potential for so-called dirty camping – this week.

He told Perth and Kinross Council’s licensing committee his team have been giving festival-goers guidance on places to stay, including camping, when they book tickets.

And he insisted the Heartland Festival crowd would not be intent on rowdiness.

The band Idlewild in a publicity shot photographed inside an empty high rise flat with peeling wallpaper
Idlewild will headline on the Saturday night. Image: Supplied.

“The market that we have here for the festival is not a T In The Park-type audience,” he said.

“Most of the tickets are being purchased by women over 35 years-old.

“We have also sold a lot of children’s tickets,” he added.

“I don’t think these are the type of demographic that will be doing a lot of dirty camping.”

Music festival will raise funds for Pitlochry community

Councillors unanimously approved the Heartland Festival’s public entertainment licence when they met on Monday.

It will run from noon-11pm both days.

Pitlochry recreation ground - a flat expanse of grass on edge of town
Pitlochry Recreation Ground will host the music festival. Image: Google Maps.

Idlewild will top the bill on Saturday. Other acts will include Tide Lines, Cammy Barnes, Saint Phnx, Spyres and Jennifer Stewart.

Sunday will feature The View, Nina Nesbitt, Skerryvore, Blue Violet, Samuel Nicholson and Zoe Graham, among others.

The licence application attracted just one objection.

Mr Howie, a former Heartland FM breakfast show presenter who stays in Pitlochry, also gave assurances that his team will do everything in their power to minimise parking issues and noise disturbance.

Cammy Barnes at outdoor event with guitar in hand giving thumbs-up gesture
Fife’s ‘Singing barber’ Cammy Barnes will entertain music fans at the Pitlochry festival. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson

He is working with the Liz Hobbs Group, which has put on a number of major events in Dundee in recent years

And the Heartland Festival will raise funds for the Pitlochry Community Action Trust.

Can Heartland festival replace Blair trials?

Mr Howie says he hopes the festival will become as big a draw for Highland Perthshire as the Blair Castle international horse trials, which are happening for the last time in August.

“This is very much a family event,” he said.

“And we are trying to help and drive the local economy, which has taken a battering after Covid.”

Pitlochry high street on a quiet day
Organisers say they hope the music festival will be a money-spinner for Pitlochry. Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media

He added: “I think it’s a great celebration for Pitlochry which can help to put us back on the map.

“We are losing the Blair Horse Trials this year, and I very much hope in future years this is something that could replace it.”

Dirty camping became an issue for Pitlochry and other parts of Highland Perthshire during the Covid pandemic when large numbers of holidaymakers flocked to the area.

Irresponsible visitors pitched camp at unauthorised sites, set fires and left trails of rubbish and human waste in their wake.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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