#TBTINTHEPARK – ARTISTS REFLECT ON THEIR FIRST T IN THE PARK
There’s just one week to go until the T in the Park campsite gates open for the first time at Strathallan Castle, and excitement is building as fans and artists look forward to being the first to experience the festival’s brand new home. Those on this year’s bill will go down in T in the Park history when they become the first to play Strathallan Castle, and in anticipation of this landmark year, acts including The Prodigy, The Script, The Vaccines, The Proclaimers, The Wombats, The Cribs, The View, Idlewild, Prides, The LaFontaines and Slam have shared fond memories of Ts gone by in true ‘throwback Thursday’ style…
The Prodigy have appeared at the festival six times, and will become one of the first artists to have graced the stage in all three of the festival’s homes – Strathclyde Country Park, Balado and now Strathallan Castle when they headline the BBC Three/Radio 1 stage on Sunday night at this year’s festival. Liam Howlett of The Prodigy said: “We’re hoping that one day it will be dark when we go on – we will keep trying until it is!”
A band who count T in the Park as one of their favourites is The Script. Clocking in four previous performances – three of which have been on the Main Stage – the band can’t wait to meet the Scottish crowd once more at Strathallan Castle, saying: “T in the Park is one of our favourite festivals to play, and you can always count on the Scottish fans to create a great atmosphere. This will be our fifth time at T in the Park in seven years, and we’re looking forward to putting on a great performance at the festival’s new home.”
The Vaccines are firm favourites with T in the Parkers, and the feeling is mutual, with lead singer and guitarist Justin Young saying: “I’ll never forget standing backstage at the King Tut’s Tent in 2011 wondering if anyone was going to be there. And then hearing however many thousand people chanting our name. I got shivers down my spine. After months of hype, it was so nice to know that people loved us. And for that reason, we will always love T.”
The Proclaimers were responsible for one of the most dazzling performances on Stage 2 in 2001 and their special 20th Year performance in 2013 saw one of the first mass sing-alongs of the weekend during their anthem Letters From America. Remembering their first T, Craig Reid said: “The atmosphere was unlike anything before or since.”
Dan Haggis of The Wombats describes the band’s first time at Balado, the festival’s former home of 18 years: “I remember that summer in 2008 we did so many festivals, it was a bit of a whirlwind-esque blur but T in the Park stood out as being one of the wildest and most exciting shows for us. The energy from the crowd was insane.”
The Cribs take it back more than ten years, as they remember their first appearance at the festival in 2004: “The first time we ever played T in the Park was our first experience of playing on a massive outdoor stage. It was 2004 and we were on the NME Stage (second stage). Up until that point, most of our shows had been on the DIY scene, and we were so unprepared for the reality of what this kind of a show entailed. We showed up without really having any crew, with our little van and amps etc and just threw the gear up there and went for it. We were first on the bill, and it seemed very early when we went on. There was a lot of fooling around – jumping off amps and into drumkits, pulling handstands and getting in the crowd. I suppose that was just our way of dealing with it back then. The promoter, Dave McGeachan still maintains that it was either the best show at T in the Park ever, or the worst. He still isn’t sure which one. We can totally live with that!”
Local heroes The View have played the festival seven times, and frontman Kyle Falconer loves playing to a home crowd: “We’re looking forward to checking out the new site at Strathallan Castle this year…it will be our eighth year performing at TITP and it’s always amazing playing to our home crowd. We played the T Break Stage years ago and we’ve always had a blast at TITP.”
Another band who will make it lucky seven in 2015 is Idlewild, set to appear at the festival for the first time in six years. Guitarist Rod Jones said: “T in the Park is sort of a homecoming festival for us so it’s always been a special audience for us, but I will always remember being blown away by the size and enthusiasm of the crowd the first time we played. The tent was rammed all the way outside with crowdsurfers pouring over the top. We probably spent most of the time rolling about the stage too, screaming and banging instruments rather than concentrating on what we were doing. I suppose it was our first big festival crowd and we were all pretty stunned by the reaction. Slightly different from an Idlewild show these days which is slightly more considered but we are all really looking forward to playing to that home crowd again in our new way.”
Glasgow’s own Prides will make history when they become the first band to play the Main Stage at T in the Park at Strathallan Castle. Frontman Stewart Brock said: “The first time I played T in the Park I was but a young man. I’d applied through T Break to win a slot on the T Break Stage with the band I was in at the time. We spent the night before the show sleeping with our gear in our tents. It was my first time at the festival, and my first experience of the infamous T in the Park crowd, and it was nothing short of amazing. We played to a packed out tent, and had an incredible time.”
The LaFontaines will open the Main Stage on the Saturday, with frontman Kerr Okan reminiscing about their first time at the festival:”The first time we played T in the Park was one of those ‘moments’ you often have as a band. As far as playing the T Break Stage goes, I’m told we were the first band in the history to close the tent due to reaching capacity. That gig sort of set the ball rolling for us as a band. We came away from that festival with a real belief in what we were doing. To have made our way up over the past 4 years from the smallest stage to the biggest, is a massive achievement for us. We are a completely self-funded, self-promoted band, so to get to this stage on our own merit with the help of our fans, is something we don’t take lightly. We’ll be making sure we leave Strathallan with something to remember.”
Finally, throwing it right back to 1997, SLAM have played the festival a whopping 18 times, first appearing at the first ever T in the Park at Balado 18 years ago.
Orde Meikle of SLAM said: “Our first Slam Tent was the very first year at Balado in 1997. 18 years ago… We invited many of the DJs and live acts who had been causing a fuss at our club nights in Glasgow. The tent was packed from the off! We’d attracted a lot of the club crowd to the festival and as ever people were at T in the Park to party and the Slam Tent was a great place to do that!
“The first day included memorable sets from some of our heroes at the time, Andrew Weatherall, DJ Sneak and Laurent Garnier on the Saturday, a trio who have returned a few times since then…with the icing on the cake none other than a live performance by Soma favourites Daft Punk – just as they were about to blow up.
“Sunday was great too, starting with Mr. Worldwide himself Gilles Peterson with his infusions of jazzy eclecticism tempering later high octane sets from Green Velvet & Carl Cox. We played twice over the weekend with a live set on Saturday and some DJing on Sunday. It was an amazing buzz and a very special year.
“Moving to the new location at Strathallan Castle injects a lot of excitement into the event. This year will be the first time for everyone somewhere new and it’s got the makings of another very special year for T in the Park. We have assembled a strong lineup in the Slam Tent to celebrate.”
T in the Park 2015 tickets are on sale now at www.tinthepark.com or www.ticketmaster.co.uk or 08444 999 990.
Bus packages are available to buy – buses will drop fans off at the campsite door – it’s the easiest, most efficient way to travel to T in the Park 2015. To book, follow this link here.
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Fans can get their hands on the ultimate festival ticket of the summer now from www.tinthepark.com or www.ticketmaster.co.uk or call 08444 999 990, and pre-order their chilled cans of Tennent’s Lager or Magners Original Cider for the festival weekend now from www.tennents.com/bechilled.