ANOTHER gem on the Scottish festival calendar kicks off this weekend, as Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival returns to the idyllic surroundings of Beauly in the Highlands for the first time since 2019. Known for its ecelctic line-ups and carnival atmosphere, the 2022 edition promises a jam-packed bill of big names, local heroes and emerging artists. So, as we prepare to head up to Inverness, here’s some of our top acts to check out.
Nile Rodgers & Chic
Creators of one of the most iconic disco catalogues in musical history, it’s impossible to pick out any singular career highlight for Nile Rodgers & Chic given that they’ve provided us with so many classic hits. Sure to put a smile on everyone’s faces, they are the ultimate party starters and the Glasgow crowds are certain to get into the groove. Expect big hitters like “Everybody Dance”, “I Want Your Love” and “Le Freak”.
Uninvited appear at Belladrum this year after winning the coveted Radio 1 Live Lounge Introducing competition which saw them beat off thousands of competitors and perform in the famous Radio 1 Live Lounge. Writing music that pushes the LGBTQ+ conversation to the forefront, their shimmering pop-rock tunes have gained them widespread acclaim. Along with a UK-wide tour later this year, they also play Reading & Leeds and our very own Tenement Trail.
As the winner of our coveted Belladrum and Tenement Trail competition, Tina Sandwich opens the Garden Stage this Thursday. Beating off hundreds of entries to come out on top, her recent single ‘Up All Night’ placed her firmly on our radar – her fizzing hooks and charismatic stage presence marking her out as one to watch.
Another band starting to make waves beyond the confines of their hometown, Gallus have played SXSW and The Great Escape this year, supported Biffy Clyro back in June – and have the small matter of a European tour lined up in the coming months. Recently signed to Marshall Records, their rapid ascent shows no sign of slowing down. And with a formidable frontman in Barry Dolan as well as a setlist jam-packed full of indie-rock bangers, you don’t want to miss them this weekend.
Our Tenement Trail 2022 headliners Vistas top off a busy summer with an appearance at the Hot House stage this Friday. Having just joined Gerry Cinnamon on tour, including a date at Hampden Park, they’re a tight live prospect – known to whip crowds into a frenzy with their endless indie-pop hooks.
Belladrum is a rare chance to catch Neon Waltz in the flesh this year. They’ve been quiet on the social media front this year, but there’s been plenty going on behind the scenes as they bring their second album to fruition. Always a compelling live prospect, they impress every time we catch them.
Lucia & The Best Boys
Another artist making headway on her debut album, Lucia & The Best Boys emerges from the studio to captivate the Inverness crowds this weekend. Highlights of the year have included a UK-wide tour with Wolf Alice and Dream Wife, as well as a support slot with Biffy Clyro. A magnetic performer with heaps of gothic charm, look out for massive tunes like ‘Perfectly Untrue’.
To say Walt Disco have had a massive year would almost be an understatement. The band have released their acclaimed debut album ‘Unlearning’, received an AIM Award nomination for said album, toured across the UK, made their Glastonbury debut and played huge shows alongside the likes of Primal Scream and Duran Duran. Their live show is fun, theatrical, eccentric and they’re no strangers to whipping festival crowds into a frenzy.
For those lucky enough to have seen Lizzie Reid’s recent three-night residency at the Glad Cafe, you will know that she is a special songwriter. Whether performing with her band or acoustically, she can hold an audience to standstill with her deeply personal songs about love, loss, identity and heartache. With an effortless ability to explore the most complex of emotions, her new EP ‘Mooching’ is on the way – and we’re already on tenterhooks.
Combining electronica with classic Indian guitar ornamentations and stunning vocals, Kapil Seshasayee is a singular talent. Having previously described himself as a protest musician, he has a a lot to say through his music – exploring important issues of identity, privilege and more – against a backdrop of avant pop experimentation. A compelling performer, he plays the Off Axis Seedlings Stage on Thursday.
Dadi Freyr, otherwise known as Daði Freyr Pétursson, may have been making music for over ten years, but he really shot to fame after the song ‘Think About Things’ became a viral hit in 2020. Known for performing at the Eurovision Song Contest, he now undoubtedly transcends one hit wonder status with a livewire show that brings plenty of pop with panto.
Edinburgh’s Hamish Hawk released his critically acclaimed debut album ‘Heavy Elevator’ at the tail end of last year. With a sound brimming with vigour and dexterity, he is also know for his rich baritone and articulate storytelling ability – both vivid in lyrics and melody. A compelling live performer, he will undoubtedly draw you in with his magnetic stage presence.
Luke La Volpe
Those not yet acquainted with Luke La Volpe, should absolutely check out his set at Belladrum. Following a stand-out show at TRNSMT earlier this month, he just released his stunning EP ‘Lifelines’ – a cathartic project framed around his own personal experiences of love and loss. With towering vocals set against stirring melodies, he’s a striking performer who deserves to be heard on the big stages.
Known for her open and intimate songwriting, Matilda Mann has crafted a georgeous sound that stirs with emotion and narrative flair. With each release, she takes another step forward and she has displayed an unbelievable consistency for penning songs as candid as they are moving.
Recently rising to fame after winning Glastonbury’s famous Emerging Talent competition, Lewis McLaughlin is an alt-folk singer from Edinburgh. Working with Frightened Rabbit’s Andy Monaghan, he shared his debut album ‘Feel The Ground You Walk Upon’ earlier this year, it’s a life-affirming debut influenced by traditional folk sounds, as much as it is inspired by innovative electro-indie.