Gavin McInally looks ahead to Scotland's biggest festival, T In The Park.
What, when and where?
The jewel in Scotland’s festival crown, T In The Park is a God among men north of the border and seemingly the only event that teenage neds, middle-aged office workers and hip-hop legend Eminem will all be found at next weekend.
From its humble beginnings on Strathclyde Country Park in 1994, T In The Park is now a world-renowned musical showcase with a line-up so over-the-top the organisers booked four main stage headliners to play over three nights last year.
It takes place again this year from Friday 9 July to Sunday 13 July at Balado Airfield, Kinross.
Five to watch
The only event on the planet the American rap sensation has pencilled in following the release of his latest album ‘Recovery’ and there’s little doubt the certified superstar could sell the 80,000 tickets for Balado off his own back.
The Prodigy had better pray their NME Stage headlining set on the Saturday doesn’t clash or it’ll be the smallest audience they played to in the UK for quite some time.
The second impressive headline booking by the organisers as the English trio return to T to play the billing which was meant for them. Following their triumphant outing at Glastonbury, the climax of the opening night in Kinross should be a sight to behold.
The one negative aspect about past line-ups of T In The Park is that they are far from innovative; a series of The Killers, Snow Patrol and King of Leon appearances to endure year after year and this year is no different with The Proclaimers, Paolo Nutini, Biffy Clyro, Calvin Harris, The Prodigy and many, many, many more all making the trip to Perthshire again, so when a one-off treat like hip-hop legend Jay-Z crops up it should be cherished like the first cuddle on a new born baby…and then it’s back to Kasabian.
With an awful lot of tambourine bashing and pop sing-a-longs being hosted over the weekend, Rise Against’s melody friendly hardcore/punk rock will feel like a train’s crashed into the NME Stage on Sunday afternoon. A nice wee pick-me-up for those feeling a tad, erm, hammered.
Ok, he’s hardly a rare festival treat but the line-up actually isn’t that all that exciting on closer examination so a Sunday night set from the London scamp is sure to send everyone… bonkers!
One to miss
The poor pair in the specs always take the stick, but seriously, how many times do we have to put up with the Edinburgh duo because singing you’d walk a ridiculous distance for love is fun when you’re a few Tennent’s too many? That slot could’ve been Modest Mouse, Queens of the Stone Age or a bold bid for Thom Yorke.
Playing a rare UK festival date
You have to be AC/DC or Bruce Springsteen to boast more festival knock backs than Slim Shady which makes his appearance on Saturday night all the more enticing.
Having already made quite a name for themselves in Glasgow (despite hailing from the Scottish Borders) the emotion drenched folk tunes of Frightened Rabbit aren’t widely recognised outside the Central Belt and anyone who fancies a good toe-tapping and some fairly crude lyrics should get along to the King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent on Saturday afternoon.
Be at T In The Park if you like…
Being the woman or guy on Tuesday morning at work who can say: ‘I was there…’ It really is Scotland's premier live outing and everyone knows someone who's lucky enough to be going. If it's sunny, T In The Park is the best place in the world to be; warm, friendly, great organisation, great music… If it's wet, the tents at T In The Park are the best place in the world to be.
Avoid if you hate…
Orange Wednesdays, cuddles from your mum, summer holidays, 5pm on a work day, no strings attached sex, finding money, passing exams and the all clear from your doctor – it’s a festival, if you want room service and fresh towels, find a Hilton and take your iPod.
Access to all the main stages is good, however, do not leave it until the last minute to head towards the tents to see the likes of Calvin Harris, Mumford & Sons or The Coral or the closest you'll get to a performance is a muffled bass line through the thick canvas. The distance to the camping area is also like a warm up for a 10k race, so pack well each morning and avoid any return trips. The Healthy T eating area is an absolute must too – ditch that £6 prison food serving the van’s sign is claiming is chicken curry and enjoy a freshly made venison burger, some sushi or homemade soup instead.
Fashionista or folky?
T In The Park falls somewhere in between Rock Ness and The Wickerman with its provision for the young dance fans and those who like nothing better than a bash at the Dashing White Sergeant and Military Two Step.
Alcohol of choice
Don’t get yourself hung up on the hope of choice. There’s Tennents, and more Tennents, with the odd cider and wine miniature if you’re lucky!
Take your mum score – 5/10
All mums love a bit of Paolo Nutini and the ceilidh tent is always a proper hoot but the campsite is a riot no mum should ever have to experience.
Can I still get tickets?
Eminem = Sold Out = No Chance.