Scroobius Pip: My Festival Life

'I kind of grabbed my wallet and give him a little bit of a push with my fists'

Scroobius Pip: My Festival Life

Photographer: Anna HyamsChris Swindells on 06 June 2020

The first festival I went to was V Festival '97, as a punter, and I don't count it as my first festival - it was all too clean and corporate, and lovely and pleasant. It was all very Essex and rowdy as well. I think Ash were playing and Radish, I was excited about them, a really young band, all about fifteen and Ben Kweller, who was the singer went on to be.. Ben Kweller. I don't know why that was a stand out memory but they were very good. This is a terrible thing to say on a festival website but I don't like it (V Festival) - I guess it's an Essexness thing, I live in Essex, I love Essex but it's got that feel of a load of Essex lads in a field rather than the feel of a festival, if you know what I mean.

The best festival set I've ever seen might have been at Bestival 2007, the first thing on the mains stage was Bat For Lashes and the sun had just come out and it was beautifully hot - it was just an amazing set. I've never seen a set that felt so perfect in that moment, everything was right about it.

My favourite festival would be Bestival, it's one I stay at all weekend, I just love it and the vibe's amazing. It's got the same atmosphere, excitement and buzz of Glastonbury but it's more compact. I guess it kind of benefits from the fact you're stuck on a island, there's no 'it's raining I'm going home early' - No, your ferries not til Monday, you're staying and we're all in this together. Playing it, because me and Dan played it four or five years in a row, it's always a great way to end the festival season. We did the main stage in 2009 and it was the biggest crowd we'd had at a festival, there was 8-10 thousand I think, turning out for our 4-5pm afternoon set and it was just great to see people as far as the eye could see, going over the hills.

The strangest thing that ever happened to me at a festival would have been at Bestival last year. We made this video, one of the only videos we had made in another country that we weren't there for, we were emailing back and forth, the guy who directed it made paper bag head versions of us and he was over for Bestival and we said it would be great to catch up. During the gig I looked out and saw the paper bag head me and that was just weird for starters because I was like 'wow that's amazing' and I met up with him that night and it turned out he had nothing to do with it, he had no idea. I showed him a photo of it and he was absolutely blown away that he made these paper bags in his house in Brooklyn like a month before and suddenly there's someone walking around a field in that exact outfit.

At Coachella we had these beard fans, so it's a fan but it's the shape of my beard, from just below the nose, so if you hold it up to your face yo've then got the bottom of my face. I'd been handing them out all weekend at Coachella so when it came to our set just seeing loads of them just having my beard was just incredibly surreal and was a real Being John Malcovich moment. It was insane because you saw Rosanne Arquette and people like that knocking about doing interviews and fanning themselves with my beard.

My worst festival experience would have been in France, at Eurockéennes and they gave me a wireless mic, which just means I run around a bit more, get a bit more rowdy. This weird man kept getting up on stage, he was quite old, maybe in his forties or fifties, just kept getting up on stage and dancing. I kept pretending it was my dad, saying we bring my dad out to all our shows. The gigs going on and at one point I was going to stage dive so I took my wallet out my pocket and put it on the table at the back and stage dived and kept doing the songs from on top the crowd.

Got back on to the stage and again the guy kept getting up and dancing, then at one point he gets up dancing then vanishes really quickly. At the end of the gig I realise my wallets gone, so I'm like 'shit this guy got up on stage during our gig and stole my wallet' so I was fuming and stressed out. After the gig I was like I'm going to have a look round the festival and see if I could find this guy. I was walking around for a bit and then I found him dancing under a tree, completely off his face, with my wallet in his hand. I kind of grabbed my wallet and give him a little bit of a push with my fists, rather than a punch. The NME reported it the next week as I jumped into the crowd during a gig and beat someone up which was wonderful NME journalism.

My advice for a festival first timer would be just submit to the fact you're going to be dirty and smelly. All these festivals are bringing in the posher showers and things like that now - don't bother, be grubby. Some baby wipes maybe but be comfortable with the fact you're meant to look grubby at a festival, you're not meant to look nice and pretty. Succumb to that early and you'll have a good.

If you could curate my own festival line-up it would be headlined by Prince, because everyone knows Prince is the greatest living performer in the world today. I'd probably force Kate Bush to do a set, Prince, Kate Bush and Cyndi Lauper all performing together on the same line-up, then Cyndi would come on and do 'When you were Mine' with Prince, because he wrote it, but then I'd had people like Death Grips and Sage Francis, Aesop Rock, P.O.S. and a lot of your underground US Hip hop. it would be horrible for any punters because anyone feeling Sage won't be feeling Cyndi Lauper, and Cyndi Lauper fans won't be getting down to Death Grips, but I'll be having the time of my life.

Scroobius Pip on Beach Break Live 2012…

I'm looking forward to doing it solo for the first time - I don't know how it will go down because of the live band, it's that much harder and more aggressive. The crowds at Beach Break Live have always been so rowdy and excitable. It's a load of drunks students - let's not sugar coat it - and what more could you want from a festival? They get into it, they don't stand around thinking about it, they sweat it out. Love it.

Dizzee Rascal, Chase & Status and Friendly Fires will headline this year’s event, with the likes of Nero, Labrinth, The Maccabees, Ben Howard, Wretch 32, DJ Fresh, Maverick Sabre, Dry The River, Ghostpoet and Scroobius Pip all set to play as well.

Check out the full Beach Break Live line-up.

Beach Break Live tickets are available now, four day student tickets are priced at £109 plus £6 booking fee. Four day non-student tickets are £129 plus £6 booking fee.

Click here to buy Beach Break Live tickets.


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