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PICTURES: First socially distanced Capers in Cannich festival strikes the right chord with music fans near Inverness – the Highland event was specially created with coronavirus safety measures at its heart and organisers are planning a series of other gatherings throughout the summer

By Ian Duncan

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Organisers have hailed the first socially distanced Highland festival a roaring success and are looking forward to staging more events this summer.

Capers in Cannich saw hundreds of music fans celebrate the return of live music at Scotland’s first festival since lockdown began.

It was created in response to Covid-19, in a nine-acre green site near Beauly, which played host to 250 lucky festival-goers keen to soak up the glorious sunshine.

The family-friendly festival saw a fantastic line-up of Scottish acts perform throughout the weekend, including Inverness outfit Hò-rò, festival favourites Colonel Mustard and The Dijon 5, the energetic five-piece band Heron Valley and Moray musician Calum Jones.

David Blair, of Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5, who headlined the Friday night, said: “We were all eagerly waiting to play our first festival in 20 months, and it was such a joyous feeling playing for real-life people again in such a stunning location. It was magic getting that live reaction from The Dijon Family and experiencing the irreplaceable feeling of human connection through playing live music.

“We were honoured to play this history-making festival and delighted the team took this important step to get live music going again in Scotland. A massive well done to everyone involved and I will definitely be back for more Capers in Cannich throughout the summer.”

Festival director Karl Falconer said: “Capers in Cannich was designed especially for the world we now live in and we’re over the moon that the opening weekend has been such a roaring success.

"It’s an incredible feeling to be able to bring live entertainment back to Scotland in a safe environment – it’s a moment to remember. The friendly, community atmosphere of the festival – not to mention the sunshine – made it a brilliant place to be and we want to thank everyone who joined us for this milestone opening weekend.

“We’ve got a string of other dates taking place throughout the summer and can’t wait to welcome more people of all ages to experience this special wee event we’ve created.”

Visitors were equally delighted about the return of live entertainment and Tanya Anderson from Culloden said: “It’s been an absolutely brilliant weekend and the festival has felt really safe. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The whole set up is really nice – you feel like you’re on holiday and that you’ve been pampered a bit, getting your food and drinks served to you.

"We’ve missed festivals so much and had a few that got cancelled or moved so it’s just great to get that taste for them and listen to live music again – the bands have been absolutely brilliant.”

Capers in Cannich will run throughout the summer, from June to September, with more acts set to be announced this week.

The next weekend will take place between June 11 and June 14 – it will see music from much-loved Lewis band Face the West, Mark Sharp & the Bicycle Thieves, who recently supported Lewis Capaldi, ska juggernaut Bombskare, Edinburgh indie band Wrest, and local rock band RANT.

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