T in the Park 2013 review

'T's 20th birthday candles were blown out in style'

T in the Park 2013 review

Photographer:Paul Kerr

Gavin McInally - 15 July 2013

T chief Geoff Ellis didn't pick his big guests wisely enough when organising the 20th birthday bash of Scotland's premier music event, but the elements he had no control over made sure it was definitely a party to remember.

While headliners Mumford & Sons (7), Rihanna (8) and The Killers (8.5) failed to entirely capture the public's imagination, with numbers visibly down all weekend and tickets still on sale at the gates, Mother Nature gave the shindig her blessing with three days of glorious sunshine which set T 2013 apart from recent years.

Following the horrors of just 12 months ago, when drenched campers had to leave the swamps of Balado on the Saturday night or Sunday morning having lost most of their belongings in a mud bath, every golden ray which baked the green fields was cherished by a crowd who thoroughly deserved a break from miserable wet weekends.

The Proclaimers (7) were the first big name to take advantage of joyous atmosphere when they opened the Main Stage on Friday afternoon with a set list packed with national anthems the crowd  merrily chanted every verse and chorus to.

Haim (9) followed suit on the NME Stage, continuing their steady climb to guitar stardom, while Kendrick Lamar (6) and Emeli Sande (7) were entertaining, if not stunning, inclusions to T's Main Stage.

Chase & Status (9) not only raised the bar but set an example for all those who followed with a blinding showing. Mumford attempted to keep up the tempo with their banjos and violins but for all the folky chart topping hits, it still felt like a billing too lofty for the Londoners.

Saturday saw a Main Stage line up so Scottish, First Minister, Alex Salmond, could have bottled it for his Independence campaign with The Fratellis (8), Deacon Blue (7) and The View (8) all igniting patriotism before Americans The Lumineers (8) had the crowd 'heying and ho-ing' into the early evening.

Former Main Stage headliners, Travis (10) won the most ridiculous slot of the weekend gong when they tested the King Tut's tent capacity, although for the thousands of fans who could not get under the canvas it was a cruel blow.

Rihanna reportedly showed up with the equivalent of a haulage firm in tow to transport her production and crew but she was surprisingly understated by time she took the stage for a run through of hip-hop, dance, reggae and R&B favourites which have kept Radio 1 DJs busy for the the past five years or so. Her appearance no doubt split opinions but by the time closing hit 'Diamonds' had faded out a large sway of Balado had been won over.

With the final day came more wonderful weather and the most ecletic selection of music all weekend with Earth Wind & Fire (9), Rita Ora (8) and, headliners of the future, Bastille (9) mixing up old reggae, fresh R&B and upbeat indie between them.

Modestep (10) proved they can take to any festival stage – be it Download or T – and cause absolute mayhem with their rock and dance mash-ups while Chrvches (8) took the opportunity to prove why they are one of the hottest properties in UK music right now.

Elsewhere, Frank Ocean (7) was a welcome new face at T even though his smooth soul vibes were lost of many of the Main Stage crowd who had gathered for a rocking double bill of The Stereophoics (9) and The Killers.

The Welshmen, who were making an incredible eighth appearance at T, made the most of the special Celtic connection with a setlist which blended old gems with new songs, each lapped up by an audience who should not have had so much energy at the tail end of a three-day, sun-soaked bender.

All of which set the stage perfectly for The Killers who returned to T's top slot armed with everyone's favourite karaoke numbers. From the opening of 'Somebody Told Me' to anthemic closer Mr Brightside – with a short Travis cover, 'Side', thrown in for good measure – the Las Vegas rockers orchestrated a mass sing-along which at points was so loud it drowned out Brandon Flowers.

And with a spectacular fireworks show at two opposite ends of the arena, T's 20th candles were blown out in style as fans wandered back to their tents sun-burnt and exhausted, but completely convinced about picking up a £200 'invitation' to the big 21st birthday bash.

Click here for our T In The Park highlights.


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