AND the Mad Hatter replied: "If you knew time as well as I do… You wouldn't talk about wasting it."

The past few years have been a constant mire for live music in Scotland. Disruption, postponements, restrictions, uncertainty – the words tend to send shivers through the heart of gig promoters and festival organisers.

To make matters worse, confidence among festival-goers also appears to be at an all-time low.

The three-year gap will be insurmountable for some events, no matter the level of planning and dedication that has gone into it. But those that survive will have done so by refusing to waste a moment.

A few years ago, Doune the Rabbit Hole took major steps forward and is now considered one of the biggest festivals in Scotland. When opportunity presented itself, no time was wasted. Like other events, it had to quietly accept that 2020 was a write-off and relied upon loyal customers to roll over their tickets to the following summer. Then, in 2021, Doune the Rabbit Hole was dealt another blow. Festivals were given the green light much too close to the date – then, in that case, there was not enough time.

Still, organisers did not miss a step. As soon as it was clear that Doune the Rabbit Hole would have to wait until 2022, planning began. And with a greater degree of certainty at their back, it would be an event unlike any they had put on before.

"It will be our biggest festival yet," organiser Jamie Murray tells The Weekender. "We'll be making up for those two lost years in 2022.

"In 2018, we turned a corner with the festival and had Levellers as headliners and pulled a great crowd. Then, in 2019 we had The Damned, Sister Sledge and The Wailers – and, again that stepped it up again. People were just so excited by the artists and they had such a great time. We had Hawkwind playing that year as well and it was just so much fun.

"We felt that the audience had enjoyed the festival immeasurably when compared to previous events. We really felt it growing. And, so, by March 2020, we were almost sold out for the festival due to go ahead that summer and we were really excited.

"Of course, what happened, happened… So, we've been riding that same wave of excitement for almost three years now. A number of acts have had to drop off the line-up, but a lot have rolled over from 2020 and 2021. Effectively, we have a bumper year in 2022."

Cardross Estate, just a few miles outside of Stirling, will host another massive four-day line-up with Amy MacDonald, Belle & Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub and Patti Smith headlining. There are also the likes of Yard Act, Camera Obscura, Tide Lines, Boney M, Honeyblood, Stanley Odd, The Vegan Leather, and Baccara on the bill, across the Jabberwocky, Baino and Whistleblower stages.

Dozens more will perform in the Warren Dance Arena across the four days.

This year, there will also be new stages as organisers accommodate acts booked from 2020, 2021 and new performers that have caught the eye over the last two years. It will be the culmination of three years of planning, with no time wasted in getting the festival back on track for 2022.

Jamie adds: "We are all waiting to have festivals again – to be in a field and be with other people dancing, having a good time and enjoying live music and Scottish culture.

"We've been growing every year, but for 2022 we have two new stages and the other stages have been beefed up. This year, in particular, we are really excited about the talent that's on the line-up for Doune the Rabbit Hole."

Recently, Doune the Rabbit Hole announced the line-up for the Tum Tum Stage, with Becci Wallace, Megan Black, Linzi Clark, Josephine Sillars and many more all confirmed.

They perform alongside the likes of Flew the Arrow, John Rush, Scarlett Randle, Rachel Sermanni and Awkward Family Portraits on the Bandersnatch stage.

A dedicated children's stage will also be introduced this year, with plans for yet another area in the works.

Jamie continues: "We think of Doune the Rabbit Hole as being seven little festivals all at once. And we try to design the site so that it feels really intimate and small. When you are standing in front of Belle & Sebastian, you won't think it's a small gig, but when you go to one of the other stages, you'll be pleasantly surprised to feel it's really quite intimate.

"Each stage is in its own little pocket, or a little bubble for people to explore. More of a festival village."

He adds: "We'll have a new stage this year specifically for kids as well. In the past, we've had family stuff around the festival, generally, with a number of spaces for acts to perform in, but this year we've invested in a dedicated stage for family entertainment, called the Caterpillar Stage.

"That'll include things like The Singing Kettle and this band called Slay Duggee – they are a heavy metal band for kids. It'll be a bit hit and miss, but they'll dress up in big dog costumes and will be so much fun."

Doune the Rabbit Hole is known for its non-music attractions, which will include yoga and wellness, the 'Douniversity' talks, countless workshops and other special events. Add to that an array of food and drink options and it's fair to say all tastes are well-catered for.

"There's no question that you could come to Doune the Rabbit Hole without even liking music and have a great time," Jamie says. "There's a comedy stage, a cinema; we have workshops on everything from spoon-carving to metalwork. We have pottery on site where people can make their own ceramics; they can learn to spin their own pots and cups.

"There will also be someone coming along to do blacksmith tutorials, with fire and an anvil – the whole thing. We also have talks at our Douniversity, which this year will focus on green issues. It's been curated by Robin McAlpine.

"We have so many different things to our programme – there so much to do, so many different things to get involved in."

Jamie and his team will be aiming to see their festival become one of the biggest in the UK if they can continue to grow it over the next few years. Whether they will be successful... well, time will tell.

Doune the Rabbit Hole takes place from July 14-17 at Cardross Estate, Stirling. Some tickets are still available at