From playing to 150 people on the Isle of Harris in May to performing to around 10,000 at 2023’s Connect festival, Fred again… was in transparent disbelief, which I believed reverberated how being at the festival felt like.
The festival was held on the grounds of the Royal Highland Centre, just outside Edinburgh, between 25-27 August.
This was only the festival’s fourth year of occurrence, with it originating in 2007 where it was previously held at Inveraray Castle in Argyll and Bute.
The festival took a hiatus between 2008 and 2022 but then was re-organised and re-located to Edinburgh.
How was it?
The Friday night of the festival witnessed a much smaller crowd than the days to follow. Still, it produced an electric set from Scottish Rock band Franz Ferdinand and a soulful performance of Primal Screams album ‘Screamdelica’.
Paralleling from the main stage acts, performances on the Guitars and other Machines stage ranged from the multi-instrumentalists Jockstrap to ultrapop group Confidence Man.
Saturday rolled around and, with an even bigger crowd than the preceding day, the festival still felt very idealistic and whimsical.
Amongst the Saturday performers I witnessed was Leith Ross, who played a secret acoustic set for the charity Tiny Changes. They hosted numerous acoustic performances throughout the weekend to raise money for young children’s mental health resources.
Saturday acts included pop group MUNA, Rachel Chinouriri, and BEMZ. The headliner of the night was multi-instrumentalist and DJ Fred Again.., who produced an engrossing set of perfectly crafted songs.
Sunday, the final day of the festival, was filled yet again with a wide range of performers.
Sets included Christian Lee Hudson, who surprised the audience by bringing Phoebe Bridgers, a member of the headlining act Boygenius and an incredible solo artist, on stage.
Arab Strap was the final secret set act on the acoustic stage. They later provided a perfectly punk ending to the festival.
But the pinnacle of the festival had to be headliners boygenius, consisting of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus.
They brought an unforgettable set of pop and indie folk music, truly providing a once-in-a-lifetime gig.
Boygenius was then followed by joint headliner Loyle Carner, tying off what was an incredible weekend.
Connect not only provided incredible bands and singers. It also had a whole host of wellness activities such as yoga and ice baths, supplying something for everyone.
It is safe to say Connect festival is truly a weekend you cannot miss. I sure hope next year is just as impeccable.
Feature image credit: Georgia Dalgarno