This is only my second time at the 'small but massive' festival at Eagle's Rock in the Sperrins, County Derry, and a complete honour to be headlining the G Session stage for my first Glasgowbury performance.
The weather is great (it isn’t raining, believe it or not), there a great Irish bands and plenty of beer. What more could you ask for?
I arrive last (my three bandmates are more punctual on this occasion) and run to the Spurs of Rock stage to catch the newest Derry offering, Droids. The powerful final ten minutes has me kicking myself that I didn’t get here in time to experience the whole set.
Droids are a band that capture the energy of hard rock and deliver it in a well structured and melodic package that will surely pull in punters from different genres. They release their debut EP in August. I heartily recommend them and it.
Another Derry band keep the classic rock vibe going. Triggerman perform to a crowd of old and new fans. A particular highlight is 'The Road to Damascus', a riff-heavy monster of a track. A recurrent band on the Glasgowbury stages, it's easy to see why Triggerman are invited back time and time again.
After a spot of tent erecting and some well deserved beer in the Draperstown sunshine, I hurry over to see More Than Conquerors rock a strong crowd in the G Session tent. They even indulge in a bit of up close and personal crowd surfing. MTC recently played at T in the Park, and they are in full festival mood tonight. A strong performance from a young band who know how to connect with their fans.
Following this blistering performance, I take the time to wander around catching up with friends, trying not to get caught up in the mass samba that is moving through the field. I hear Silhouette doing what they do best, catchy, intelligent indie pop music that is made for festivals like this.
A spot of rain does not deter the fans gathering at the main stage in anticipation of Derry's Fighting With Wire. Armed with a new album, FWW relentlessly unleash song after song, encouraging the crowd to sing along to those big choruses that stick in your head for days.
Then it's down to business. We load the gear to the tent and the nerves kick in. It's a pretty big venue, and it's rammed. I peek out as Mojo Fury wrap up their set and am confronted by a sea of people. LaFaro take the stage and the house lights come up. My palms are sweaty. Then the set starts, and by song four there is a mosh pit.
There are a few technical difficulties, and me and guitarist Dave Magee try out a few jokes to keep the crowd entertained. (We won’t be venturing into stand up comedy anytime soon.) As the set closes I can’t believe how lucky I am to be on this stage and to have a crowd so pumped and involved, even chanting the bass line of 'Mr Heskey'. Amazing.
Shows over. Time to relax and have a beer, but not for our drummer, Alan Lynn, who quickly changes into a shirt and tie and heads for the main stage. Tonight he’s also playing with headliners, Therapy?.
A throng of people young and old wait patiently for the Belfast hardcore legends to be introduced by Paddy Glasgow himself. I position myself in the thick of it. Not being a huge Therapy? fan, I suddenly find myself head banging, won over by the new material. Bags of energy, graceful and appreciative of their roots, Therapy? are one of the best headlining acts I have seen.
There is an atmosphere at Glasgowbury that not many festivals can boast. It has to be experienced to be understood fully. It's intimate and strangely Northern Irish. It might be small, but it has a swagger of sorts. I advise everyone to go next year. Bring the kids, be part of something special. More importantly, be part of something local.