How does T In The Park do it? After last year's line-up managed to squeeze about nine acts that could have headlined into its three days, it looks to have done it again.
How does T In The Park do it? After last year’s line-up managed to squeeze about nine acts that could have headlined into its three days (okay, two of them were Stereophonics and The Black Eyed Peas, but cheques and balances etc.), it looks to have done it again.
For a start, T has all the big comebacks of this year covered, with Foo Fighters, Coldplay and Arctic Monkeys headlining – and we’ll get back to them in a sec – but just look at who isn’t! Reading and Leeds 2010 headliners Blink 182 are there, with Pulp and My Chemical Romance both present and correct. Eyebrows were raised high enough last year when Jay-Z was there and not even headlining, but not only are these three big enough to headline, they actually are, albeit allegedly in MCR’s case, headlining other UK festivals. It’s testament to how big a deal T is now that these bands have signed up without even topping the bill.
The presence of these fellow arena-fillers should also serve to make the headliners work even harder, whether their rivals are playing just before them or headlining one of the other stages, they won’t want to be outshone.
Having been ahead of the game last year with many of their bookings – “were you there?” performances by the likes of Brit winners Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling plus the fast-rising Two Door Cinema Club on the smaller stages, they’ve wasted no time in getting the men of the moment in this year either, with Tinie Tempah and Plan B on hand for their victory laps, while big 2011 hopes Jessie J and The Vaccines will have huge crowds waiting for them come June. On the fast-rising front, while they’ll no doubt be new contenders on the bill nearer the time, Noah And The Whale‘s new album should see them more popular than ever, and we’ll know how well Last Shadow Puppet Miles Kane‘s attempt to go it alone is faring by then too.
Miles is one of the bookings that brings further intrigue with him – will BFF Alex Turner make an appearance during his set or will Kane pop up during the Arctics’ set? There’s more where that came from too – with Beady Eye and Brandon Flowers on the bill, we’ll see how two frontmen of big festival acts get on shorn of their sure-fire anthems. Then we’ll try and keep a stiff upper lip as we take in the beginning of the end for The Streets.
Even some of the more MOR acts could spring a sensation – will Tom Jones stick to knicker-throwing kitsch or try out his moody recent stuff? Will The Script singer Danny O’ Donoghue’s bizarre anti-Pulp rant see Jarvis dispense some Jacko-style onstage justice? Will anyone be able to stay awake during ‘The Man Who Can’t Be Moved’ to even find out?
On a bill that already appears to cater for just about all tastes, with Pendulum, Deadmau5, Chase and Status, Diplo and Slam the tip of the iceberg for the discerning dancehead, there’s also Bright Eyes ready to show You Me At Six how emo should really be done, Britpop revivalists can take in Ocean Colour Scene and Cast, and those of a more chart-friendly persuasion have N-Dubz, The Saturdays and the aforementioned Ms J to look forward to.
Amazingly we’ve got this far without mentioning festival staples Weezer, Jimmy Eat World, Eels or the Manics, we not even touched on “homecoming” sets from The View, we’ve barely given a thought to what the crowd will be like when a reformed House Of Pain do ‘Jump Around’…and that’s still not everyone!
What makes it all the more special is that all three of the bill-toppers will be back with new material either out or about to be. While the phrase “here’s a new song” is usually taken to be the death knell of any festival set, this shouldn’t prove the case here.
Foo Fighters will be roaring back. Alongside tried and tested stormers of many a festival, there’ll be some new favourites from ‘Wasting Light’ ready to go, and if ‘White Limo’ is anything to go by, they’re going to be heavy, so it might be worth starting to limber up now.
Chris Martin’s men will come to Kinross off the back of what will hopefully have been a triumphant Glastonbury, and whether they’re delving further into the experimental (for them) side that ‘Viva La Vida’ showed or returning to the stadium singalongs that preceded it, they’re pretty much the biggest band in the world, and the goodwill that greets them will be a sight to behold.
It’ll be interesting to see how Arctic Monkeys play this one. Their Reading And Leeds headline shows were met with a mixed response (I’d rinsed ‘Humbug’ that whole week, thinking they’d play most of it, so I thought it was great), which the band themselves were reportedly unhappy about. Will they cave in to demands for ‘Mardy Bum’ and play a greatest hits set? Or will they show off the new record, or somewhere in between? Certainly it’s them who you most wonder where they’re going to go next, so maybe T can help us find out.
So a real coup once again for T In The Park. Not just getting impressive headliners, but not skimping on the rest of the bill, it could well be the finest this country sees this summer. There’ll be mysteries solved, questions answered, Buckfast drunk, and most importantly a superb line-up, as T continues quietly becoming the best weekend to see the biggest bands. I’m still holding out for The Proclaimers, mind.