Highlands & Islands

Arrr'll be back: Galleon Blast returns Radcliffe to Loopallu

Band Galleon Blast Image copyright Galleon Blast
Image caption "We're a party band," says Mark Radcliffe of sea shanty-thumping Galleon Blast

DJ Mark Radcliffe cannot stay away from Ullapool's Loopallu. As he prepares to make his fifth visit he explains why he is drawn to the little music festival in the north west Highlands.

"It is like a little stolen holiday," says Radcliffe. "It is a long way from home and we get treated so well."

The DJ and musician along with the other members of the pirate-themed band, Galleon Blast, will perform at Loopallu later this month.

It will be the group's debut appearance at the long-running event.

However, Radcliffe and several members of Galleon Blast have been up before with bands The Family Mahone and Mark Radcliffe & Foes.

"Ullapool is very special place and the festival is in an amazing location, and its organiser Robert Hicks always makes us very welcome," says Radcliffe.

"One of the things about Loopallu is that it brings musicians and acts to a part of Scotland that some people might not usually consider going to.

"It is an important reminder that Scotland doesn't stop at Glasgow or Edinburgh or Aberdeen."

Image caption Radcliffe says the band will be in "peak condition" for Loopallu

A previous appearance at Loopallu by Radcliffe and his musical friends also tied in with a grand tour of Scottish islands, including Easdale, Mull, Iona and Lewis.

A similar venture is not planned this time, though the DJ admits they might be a little more appropriately attired - such as pirate frock coats and tricorn hats - for the sea crossings between the isles.

But he says: "We will be bringing the Loopallu beer tent to a close on the Friday night and playing on the main stage on Saturday afternoon.

"We will be playing sea shanties. Not everyone might be familiar with the songs, but once they hear the rhythms they should quickly get into to it.

"We're a party band. It'll be good fun," he adds.

Galleon Blast have already played Moseley Folk Festival and Shrewsbury Festival this year.

Radcliffe says: "We've being warming up for Loopallu.

"Our Olympic training regime should mean we'll be in peak condition by the time of our trip to Ullapool."

Loopallu takes place on 30 September and 1 October.

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