IT IS A FESTIVAL that has long been tipped to expand and become one of the biggest events on the music calendar. In the pre-pandemic era, Party at the Palace was poised to add a third day and to spawn its own sister festival.

But as the legacy of Covid disruption continues to hamper recovery in the live music sector, those ambitious forward steps have been brought to shuffle.

Party at the Palace is, however, set to return to Linlithgow this August, having endured two successive cancellations. The line-up remains as strong as it had been, with a mix of big acts and emerging talent from across the country. West Lothian, after all, is quite the breeding ground for new acts.

A sister festival – Party at the Park – had been planned for Perth in June, but was cancelled for a second time earlier this month. The news had been a huge blow for organisers, with the focus now squarely on Linlithgow for 2022. Festival co-organiser John Richardson remains assured that August will safely see the return of the event.

“It’s a bit of a third time lucky for us,” he tells The Weekender. “We had to cancel in 2020 and had been quite hopeful of getting the 2021 event on, but that did not materialise. So, we’re now, at last, able to say, with a fair degree of confidence, that Party at the Palace is going to go ahead.

“We had to change the line-up a wee bit. With all the cancelled shows and scheduling, we weren’t able to get Manic Street Preachers again, but while we have lost them, we have been able to get Ocean Colour Scene. We’ve also got Del Amitri on with them – with loads of other great bands.

“The Sunday is a bit of a pop-y line-up with Sophie Ellis Bextor and the Human League – they're a band we have been after for a few years; they fit our audience and it’ll just be hit, after hit, after hit.

“It’s been a long-time coming and we’re just excited and relieved to get the event on this year.”

The two-day offering features a formidable cast of performers, including Luke La Volpe, Mark Sharp & The Bicycle Thieves, Connor Fyfe, False Friends, Primes, Callum Beattie, Be Charlotte, Echo Machine, Cody Feechan and Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5.

Richardson adds: “West Lothian has a great scene at the moment, with so many great bands breaking through behind Lewis Capaldi and The Snuts. It’s thriving.

"Acts like Luke la Volpe and Mark Sharp and The Bicycle Thieves have been doing really well and we’ve got them both playing. Every year we mix these developing artists in with the well-established bands we have.

“We have the comedy stage as well this year, so at any given time we might have three different musical acts on and a comedian too. All told, it’s about 60-70 acts over the course of the two days. So, that’s about £1 per band or performer, with folks like Ocean Colour Scene and so on.”

“Right from the start, we didn’t want to be competing with T in the Park, or TRNSMT as it is now, and we didn’t quite want to get as retro as Rewind. We pitched ourselves somewhere in between and it’s worked really well.

“Over the years, we have gained a reputation for being a family-friendly event and that’s something we want to develop. We listen to feedback every time and so this year we’ll do meal deals – family meal deals – at the festival. It sounds quite small, but given the current climate, every little helps.”

Mark Sharp & The Bicycle Thieves, double winners at The Weekender Awards 2021, will be one of the opening acts on the Saturday.

The West Lothian five-piece are gearing up for what will be their third appearance at the festival – and counting.

Frontman Sharp adds: “There’s always a buzz about Party at the Palace. All the local businesses and pubs will be booming. It’s great to be a part of it.

“We’ve played twice, both on the second stage, once behind The Snuts who headlined. We are buzzing to be on the main stage this time, especially alongside Ocean Colour Scene – it’s going to be class to grace the stage with them.”

The singer continues: “West Lothian has been great getting for getting behind bands, and with a festival on their doorstep, they won’t need to travel across the country to do it.

“It’s a beautiful setting, it’s a cracking line-up – hopefully the sun is shining for it.”

Tickets for Party at the Palace are available online now at