Festivals: the good, the bad and the just plain criminal
- Kirstyn Smith
- 27 June 2017
The Van T's
Acts from TRNSMT's King Tut's stage give us the low-down on their festival experiences
With less than two weeks to go until the first ever TRNSMT festival, it's not just punters who're getting excited for the gig(s) in Glasgow Green. We got together with some of the bands and artists playing the King Tut's stage and grilled them about their festival experiences. Expect mud, sunburn and warm bevvy.
What are you looking forward to most about TRNSMT?
Prentice Robertson (Vistas): It's our first major festival, so that's really exciting. It's always exciting to play on a stage where you can actually walk two feet in either direction without bumping into your guitar player. Even though we're right at the bottom of the bill, it's class that we're part of something so great. It's also good to play to a Scottish festival crowd, because they are probably the best crowd in the world.
Jamie Keenan (The LaFontaines): I just love playing music. We're on on the Saturday night and we'll be playing a couple of new songs.
Hannah Van Thompson (The Van T's): Since it's in Glasgow Green, just being able to walk to the actual festival is good. We're also playing on the Saturday, so it'll be good to hang about with these guys (LaFontaines), and other bands we know.
Gianluca Bernacchi (The Vegan Leather): Radiohead. We're on quite early evening, so the only band I'm worried about clashing with is Everything Everything. I've always thought that Scotland could benefit from a city festival, so I'm super excited to see what the vibe around that'll be like.
Be Charlotte: I'm looking forward to the fact that it's in Glasgow. It's a nice feeling to think we don't need to travel anywhere. There's a lot of people I want to see playing: London Grammar, Everything Everything, the 1975. I think the lineup is so good, especially on the King Tut's stage.
Best festival memory?
Dylan Rush (Vistas): Probably the first time we went to T in the Park. It was such an amazing thing. Seeing all the bands you've listened to day in and day out one after another is such a great experience. Life-changing.
Prentice: T in the Park 2014 when the Arctic Monkeys headlined. We all grew up listening to them as teenagers, and then seeing them close out the festival with fireworks and everything was very special.
Jamie: The first time we did T in the Park was the best, cos we didn't have any expectations about what it was going to be like. We didn't think anybody would be there, but then it was dead busy. Apart from that, when we played at Download this year. It was a similar sort of thing - we thought nobody was going to like us, but they did. We didn't think we were mosher enough. It's all metal bands and that, so we thought the audience would go: 'who are these dicks?' But it went amazing.
Hannah: We were the same with T in the Park the first time we played it. We were playing on the Sunday, but camped from the Thursday. Probably not the best idea, but we recruited a lot of friends and told them to be at the T Break stage on the Sunday morning. We didn't expect anything, but it was great. Joanne (Forbes, the band's bassist) had only been in the band for three weeks, so her second gig with us was T in the Park.
Matt McGoldrick (The Vegan Leather): I really enjoyed Belladrum last year. We'd never been before and we didn't know what to expect. When we got there, our stage was like a plinth in the middle of the food area and there was this big pyramid in front of it. When we started playing, this pyramid just started amassing people. The cool thing was that all our friends were there, so we just chilled with them. You hang with your pals, play a gig, and go see your friends play a gig.
Gianluca: I think the vibe around Belladrum is the most chilled-out one, too. It's just nice.
Duncan Carswell (The Vegan Leather): I went to one in Germany called Melt. It was pretty cool standing with my feet in the water, while the sun was setting, watching Jamie xx.
Jacob Green (JR Green): When we played T in the Park it was quite good.
Rory Green (JR Green): That came after we had a run of gigs that didn't go that smoothly, just cos we kind of fucked them up. We'd always just played the two of us, but that was the first gig we played with drums. It just went well.
Be Charlotte: I was just at Midem in Cannes. We were playing on a stage that was on the beach, right next to the water. It was so surreal to be in that place. I don't think I'll ever play anywhere like that ever again.
Worst festival experience?
Dylan: My worst experience was when I went to Wickerman festival a few years ago with my family. It was a nice, chilled out thing, we were sitting around having a few drinks. I ended up getting too drunk, fell asleep in my tent and missed Dizzee Rascal. I was gutted.
Prentice: I think a lot of people say some of their worst festival memories are when you've not showered in four days or when you're sunburned, but I don't think it would be the same if that didn't happen. If you've not done that, you've not done it to the max.
Jamie: One of the years we played T in the Park, we were playing on the Sunday night and I'd gone up on the Thursday with my pals. The band were saying: 'definitely don't do that, just come up with us and chill out.' On the Friday morning, I got caught with some contraband in my pocket and got evicted, so I wasn't allowed to play. We were told we wouldn't get to play again, but the next year we were on the main stage, so …
Hannah: We were at Great Escape and the two gigs we played were great, but we missed our sound check for the first one, because we didn't know we had one. So it didn't really go to plan and, also, it was torrential rain.
Matt: I broke my glasses at Brew at the Bog last year. I was watching Bombskare. It was brilliant. Everyone was just going mental, and I was like: 'alright, I'm going to go mental too.' Within about two seconds in the mosh, some guy just shouldered me in the chin and my glasses fell off. Duncan managed to salvage them, but they were in two different pieces. I wore one bit like a monocle for the rest of the festival. Two days of blindness.
Rory: Probably when we played Belladrum. We had so much fun, but I'd just left school and I had my results that week, so we treated it more as a party.
Jacob: We arrived on the Thursday night and we were playing on the Saturday afternoon, so we hadn't actually slept since the Wednesday night.
Rory: We were quite young, so it was good to get that kind of thing out of the way. We had an amazing time and even on stage we were kind of having fun, but we couldn't even play the songs.
Be Charlotte: I'm not really a fan of when festivals get so muddy that you can't really walk in it. For me, that's not really a fave.
What makes a good festival?
Dylan: The first thing you check out in a festival is the lineup. If the lineup's bad, it's going to be a bad weekend.
Prentice: Belladrum's a good example: a lot of people think there's not going to be any good festivals up in the Highlands, but the lineup for Belladrum is always great. Regardless of where it is, a good lineup, pals, drinks and sun helps a lot. Good people, good music and good weather.
Hannah: The weather is something you can never control, so your outlook is the most important thing.
Jamie: As long as it's sunny in here (hand on heart).
Hannah: Good company can make all the difference, too.
Jamie: If you're playing in a tent, I think you want it to be a bit rainy, so folk come into the tent.
Hannah: That worked in our favour last year, actually. I think we were on at the same time as the Kaiser Chiefs and everybody was like: 'nope.'
Jamie: It's all in your outlook. It you're not bothered about rain, then you're not bothered about rain. I don't care, personally.
Gianluca: It's good weather. Dryness. Your pals being there. Whether it's a big or small festival, there's nothing better than - when you've got time to kill - going to see your pals play.
Matt: Even if it's pissing down, just go to a tent with your pals. We've had to do that a few times before.
Gianluca: Friends are the most important thing at festivals.
Rory: When you're there as a band, everything is so regulated and strict on times. So, if you've got enough time to have a nice, organised sound check, that's all you really need.
Be Charlotte: A good lineup, obviously. I think it's so important at festivals when it's a good lay-out as well. I like the festivals that do alternate stages. I think it's fair, especially for festivals that you travel quite far to get to.
What are your festival bevvy tips?
Dylan: Is it too cliche to say Strongbow Dark Fruits? It's the taste of festival season: it reminds me of sitting in the sun.
Prentice: Even the smell reminds me of festivals.
Dylan: I couldn't drink it any other time of the year.
Jamie: Warm cans. Warm cans of anything.
Hannah: I'm always good with gin, you can drink gin with anything. You can just squeeze some lime in there. I don't bring limes to festivals, but, generally speaking, gin's good anywhere.
Gianluca: Always safe with a bag of red wine. You can drink it at any temperature and, once it's finished, take it out the box, blow it up and you've got a pillow. It's one of the comfiest pillows I've ever had at a festival.
Matt: If you're going for price, Aldi do Taurus cider. £1.69 for four cans. If it's the dark fruit version, it's £2.05 for four cans. It's some good tasting cider for the price. If you ever need endorsing from us, give us a shout, Taurus.
Duncan: You can't go wrong with a crate of Tennent's to be honest.
Gianluca: Vitamin T.
Rory: Something nice and cheap that goes down easily. You want one pound cider. A warm can of one pound cider that's made out of onions
Jacob: Hooch. I think it's coming back.
What TRNSMT headliner song did you choose to cover?
Prentice: We did 'You're in Love with a Psycho', the Kasabian track. We chose it cos it's a great song. That's always a good start for a cover. It's a wee bit outside of our comfort zone, but not so far out that we would absolutely screw it up, so we thought we'd give it a wee bash.
Hannah: Radiohead are one of my favourite bands and we did a cover of 'Climbing up the Walls' off of OK Computer. It turned 20 last week, so I thought it'd be appropriate to do that.
Matt: We did 'Somebody Else' by the 1975. We love the 1975.
Gianluca: I think it's probably my favourite song on that album. It's got a really cool vibe.
Matt: The groove is tight.
Duncan: It gave us an excuse to bring out a melodica, as well.
Be Charlotte: I covered 'Machines' by Biffy Clyro. I chose it because, firstly, I think they're so inspirational. Both because I've grown up with them as a band, but also for how successful they are and that they sing in their own accents. You just can't deny how inspirational that is. It gives me the encouragement to know that it can happen, and that you can go and headline festivals anywhere, with your own accent. I also think, with 'Machines' in particular, it sums up a lot of how I'm feeling with what's going on right now. It can mean a lot to different people, that song, but, just now, what they're saying is so important and relevant.
TRNSMT takes place from 7-9 Jul, Glasgow Green. Be Charlotte & The Vegan Leather Fri 7 Jul; The LaFontaines, The Van T's & Vistas Sat 8 Jul; JR Green Sun 9 Jul; all on King Tut's Stage.
After taking over where T in the Park left off, TRNSMT returns in 2018. The inaugural event featured 110 artists including Radiohead, Kasabian, Biffy Clyro, Belle and Sebastian and Stormzy.