My Belladrum Experience

Nicola placing a tribute to her friend Anne O'Brien and her Grandmother onto the Birchwood Highland Heart at the festival. 

Nicola placing a tribute to her friend Anne O'Brien and her Grandmother onto the Birchwood Highland Heart at the festival. 

I had the pleasure of having a work experience placement at the Belladrum Tartan heart festival this year where I was an Entertainment Assistant.  To be honest, before I went to Belladrum I was frightened because I didn’t know what exactly would be asked of me. I was extremely nervous on the Wednesday, but I was okay once I was there.  On the Wednesday I was based in the box office giving traders their wristbands, being in a golf buggy and showing where they would be setting up in the main arena.  It was enjoyable, but busy.  On Thursday I helped out with one of the box offices again and gave performers wristbands and saw the Two Door Cinema Club tour bus arrive. Then I was put to my station where I would be all weekend.  I was situated at the entertainment office in the main arena.  Mainly, I was looking after the performers on the Burke and Hair Stage, The Venus Flytrap Stage and the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum Tent.  I also dealt with buskers performing on different stages and street circus performers.  I had a folder which let me know where each performer had to be.  I answered queries on site about directions and I had a radio and an earpiece to communicate with other staff members if I didn’t know the answer to the performers' queries.  I also looked after a key which looked after the performers' belongings needed for their act in a container. 

I had a number of highlights at Belladrum.  The first was using my hospitality skills and setting up the wrestlers dressing room who were performing in the Venus Flytrap Stage.  I then tidied up after them and set up the dressing room again for the comedians who came. They were in porta cabins but it was very much the same as setting up a hotel room.  The second highlight was making journeys backstage at the Garden Stage and just being in awe being there.  I went backstage of the Garden Stage because I needed to get items that the performers had requested for their dressing rooms.  I liaised with the press team a lot as the entertainment and press worked together. 

Finally, the last highlight, and the one that made me all emotional, was being given time off on the Saturday to see Lucy Spraggan in the Hothouse Tent.  I managed to make it and I was in the front row. Lucy played some new songs and some of her well known songs such as 'Tea and Toast', 'Jeremy Kyle' and her new song 'Dear You' which focuses on mental health.  The tent was Jam packed and Lucy performing was incredible.  After her gig I had the honour of being able to give her a short interview on behalf of North Highland College.  I asked her the following questions.

N:  What do you enjoy about performing at Festivals?

L:  I enjoy seeing fans that wouldn’t be able to see me at other shows and seeing a different crowd compared to normal shows.

N:  You were at Brighton Pride with Heather Peace what was it like working with her?

L:  I bump into Heather a lot as we are at the same location a lot of the time and we are used to working together.

N:  Would you come back to Belladrum if asked?

L:  Yes I love performing at Belladrum and would come back if I was asked.

N:  Where are you heading after Belladrum any more gigs planned?

L:  I am heading home tonight to family as my mum is making dinner for me tomorrow and relaxing.  I will be doing a Highland tour in September

N:  Do you get tired with all the travelling and performing?

L:  Yes it is tiring travelling around but it’s worth it for the fans when I’m on stage.

After my short and sweet interview with Lucy, I got a hug and a photo and she said she remembered me from previous gigs and my tweets to her which she reads.  It got me all emotional.  I didn’t have any lows at camp apart from my tent leaking and the wind being bad on Saturday but you can’t help the weather. I liked being given the responsibility of the entertainment office from my Supervisor and my manager and the team I worked with was lovely.  The press team were also lovely towards me and I am thankful for them letting me interview Lucy. Belladrum has taken my number and I have been asked back next year.  I also had memorable funny times with the street theatre performers who wore some funny costumes. My favourite were the gorillas!  I made friends that I will see again next year and going to keep in contact with and it was lovely having my tutors from college (Diana my programme leader and Kirsteen my class teacher) visiting me at the entertainment office.  However, since coming home I haven’t fully settled back to normality yet as I wake up panicking where my belladrum radio and key are. I had a fantastic time at belladrum and I thank North Highland college and the Belladrum team for giving me the opportunity.  I am extremely thankful and appreciate all both done for me.  Until next year…

Written by Nicola, a service user at Birchwood Highland in Invergordon.