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Crowds flock to Loopallu festival

The Wonderstuff on stage at  Loopallu festival in Ullapool
The Wonderstuff on stage at Loopallu festival in Ullapool

The popular Loopallu music festival proved a huge success at the weekend despite organisers almost pulling the plug on the event due to bad weather.

The festival can only accommodate 2,500 revellers, but many more turned up to soak up the festival atmosphere in the Wester Ross fishing village of Ullapool.

At the end of last week, high winds and torrential rain prevented preparations for Loopallu – Ullapool spelt backwards – and organisers were beginning to think they would have to call it off.

But the weather improved dramatically and once again the festival, which was held on Friday and Saturday for the 12th consecutive year, proved a total sell-out.

This year’s line-up included The Stranglers, Feeder, The Wonder Stuff, Fatherson, Galleon Blast, Little Mammoths and Ullapool Pipe Band.

There were also performances by Eliza and the Bear, Hunter and the Bear, Manran and Lional.

Event organiser Robert Hicks said: “On Wednesday and Thursday morning we didn’t even know if we had a show because we were being battered by 70mph winds and we lost 48 hours of work on setting things up.

“But the weather improved and somehow we managed to cram 72 hours work into 24 hours.

“Everyone pitched in to help and we were actually ready early.

“And instead of shielding our eyes from the wind and rain, we ended up shielding our eyes from the sun.”

He added that the way everyone had got involved to help with the preparations, coupled with great weather for the event, made it a “vintage year”.

“I’m always reluctant to say it was our best yet, but there was something particularly special about this year,” said the organiser.

Mr Hicks said the village was also packed with people over the weekend.

He said: “It seems they just came to Ullapool because it was the place to be this weekend.

“I don’t think I have ever seen so many people sitting on the beach.

“There were stunning performances from all the acts and, coupled with the weather, it proved a perfect recipe.”

He added that the literary tent, run in conjunction with Ullapool Book Festival, had also been a big draw, with crowds packing in to hear from musicians and authors, including Edwyn Collins and his wife Grace Maxwell, Miles Hunt and James Yorkston.

“All in all it was a huge success. Roll on 2017,” said Mr Hicks.

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