Hey You Get Off My Pavement!
Walk this way
Malcolm Jack chats to promoters and performers at Hey You Get Off My Pavement! who are all praying for a classic festival and clement weather
‘You know how you learn from bad experiences?’ muses Paul Ranter in relation to Hey You Get Off My Pavement!, café/bar/record store Mono’s sun-drenched inaugural festival of 2006. ‘Well everything went perfectly that year, so we didn’t learn anything. Then last year everything went wrong, and we learned a lot. So hopefully this is going to be the best one yet.’
By ‘everything’, Ranter – HYGOMP!’s promoter – refers specifically to that all too familiar scourge of outdoor events in Scotland: the weather. The heavens threw everything they had at the Mono courtyard last year, soaking punters and musicians alike, damaging speakers, upsetting running times and plunging the whole event into soggy disarray.
People still seemed to enjoy themselves, mind. ‘It was one of those days where the weather was so bad you just had to have a good time,’ comments Ranter. ‘It was the only way to get through it’. In a bid to avoid a similar battering from the elements in 2008, however, organisers have brought the event forward from its usual late August slot to late June, a (theoretically) dryer part of the summer.
Capacity will be upped this year from 1000 to 1200, while the addition of a second stage inside Mono itself will boost the number of artists able to play over the course of the day to 15. Among them will be the usual diverse mix of closely Mono-affiliated local up-and-comers (Gummy Stumps, Foxface and The European Union), specially invited out-of-towners (Pictish Trail, School of Language and Felix Kubin) and fresh-out-of-the-can newcomers (Plaaydoh, Sparkling Shadazz and Jacob Yates).
Belle & Sebastian guitarist Stevie Jackson will appear too, playing his biggest solo show to date. He was present as a spectator during last year’s downpour-fest, and felt that none of HYGOMP!’s unique, ego-free spirit was washed away by the bad weather. ‘Despite the fact that it was torrential rain, it was still kind of a nice, laid-back feel,’ he says. ‘It didn’t even feel like a festival where there’s the audience bit that’s muddy, and the artists’ bit where it’s quicker to get a drink; it’s quite nice that none of that exists here. It’s just a stage, a bar and everybody in together. I don’t think there’s any real gap between audience and performer.’
Headlining will be Glasgow indie pop stalwarts Camera Obscura, who return to the live circuit after a hard stint locked in a studio in Stockholm, recording their fourth album. ‘We’ve quite a few festival shows over the summer, and we’re quite keen to get out there,’ says guitarist Kenny McKeeve. ‘There will be a few more slightly exotic locations than Glasgow, but we’re still excited to kick things off with this one.’ As McKeeve points out, considering the city’s frequently dreich conditions, HYGOMP! having suffered only one wet year out of two so far isn’t bad. ‘50/50 is OK for Glasgow’, he says. ‘Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain this time, but I’m sure it’ll be a great laugh either way.’
Ranter too is cautiously optimistic: ‘I think that happening twice to us just wouldn’t be fair.’ And should the skies blacken and let rip once more? Then they’ll learn the most important lesson of all: ‘If it does happen again, god must hate us.’
Mono, Glasgow, Sun 29 Jun.