There is a carnival atmosphere on the island as the Islay Festival of Music and Malt gets underway. The sun is splitting the skies as people from all corners of the world have travelled over the seas to Islay’s shores to join in the festivities. The Happy Farmer therefore feels obliged, duty bound in fact, to join in. He feels it would be rude not to ‘partake’ and I must admit I am highly entertained by his efforts each year to join the party.
So, on Sunday we made our way to Bruichladdich Open Day. The Happy Farmer has not quite managed to make it to all the distillery events, due to work commitments, but rest assured, he does have his very own little festival going on at Persabus. The ‘Persabus Festival of Music and Malt’ seems to start earlier each year and is lengthening too.
Bruichladdich Open Day then, did not disappoint. A huge beaming sunshine and a courtyard filled with so many beaming people. The finest, freshest seafood available could be bought at Boo’s Seafood Shack. All caught locally, by the fisherman himself along with his crew, and then cooked and served from the Shack. That was my first port of call. Fresh prawn Marie Rose and cracked crab claws with garlic mayonnaise was my choice, unable to decide between the two dishes, I, of course had both. The clams also looked delicious but there was already a queue waiting patiently, clams sizzling away on the hot plate. The Happy Farmer opted for a burger cooked on the open barbeque, but not until he had visited his favourite haunt, the Botanist gin tent. Live music from the Islay Pipe Band, dancing from the Ella Edgar dancers, Music from Trail West, a blues band and then Tidelines. There were local arts and crafts, food stalls and of course whisky, masterclasses, tastings and festival bottlings, all bubbling out of Bruichladdich with its idyllic seafront location.
It is the people that really make the day though, so many happy people, dancing, chatting, singing, from all over the globe intermingled with many of the island’s local characters, even the young Mr T made it down from Inverness to make sure there was a strong contingent of such ‘characters’, and even the farmers are happy and smiling on festival days! The distillery team had pulled out all the stops and this highly organised event was an amazing day as usual.
The festival spills on after hours, over to the Lochindaal and Port Charlotte Hotels, for evening celebrations. The Happy Farmer was keen to ‘appear’ there too, but at this point, I must apologise for his absence or equally you can thank me for his absence. I thought it would be a good idea to head home to Persabus, with campers due, new guests arriving and breakfasts calling in the morning.
Today the Happy is full of smiles and glad he called it a day when he did. It was of course entirely his decision and he has no regrets at having to miss the evening festivities. He thoroughly enjoyed his evening siesta last night, snoring merrily from a deck chair in the garden, where he had duly collapsed on his arrival back to Persabus.
The pottery will be open today, and all week, with painting workshops, ceramics for sale, afternoon teas and guest appearances from the Happy Farmer, as we celebrate the festival of music and malt in our own unique ‘Persabus’ way. Do call by….
Until next time….