we found acts in a hopeless place;
Next year is the 20th anniversary of Scotland’s biggest music festival, T in the Park, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that the organisers might try to pull something spectacular and celebratory out of the bag. What fans got instead, as part of the announcement of the first tranche of acts, was the prospect of Mumford and Sons as a headliner.
Strangely, it’s been the inclusion of a global pop superstar on the bill that – according to Gigwise, at least, as well as a certain amount of backchat on my Twitter – has attracted the most opprobrium, as if T in the Park had been some sacred bastion of indie rock at any point since the late 1990s. Call me old-fashioned, but while I don’t necessarily need or expect to be a fan of a festival headliner I do anticipate that whoever fills that hallowed late-night slot to bring some sort of clout to the role. Foo Fighters. U2. Coldplay. Dare I say it, Bruce Fucking Springsteen. I don’t like all of those bands but their longevity, track record and critical profile has afforded them a certain level of clout. Rihanna will rock the shit out of a Balado sunset as the fireworks explode around her – she’s built a career on show-stopping performances. Some West London four-piece with five years and two albums to their names though? Sorry, but – and I say this passing no judgement on their talent, material or politics – no.
A couple of weeks ago, I read an article which made the startling claim that Mumford and Sons were the biggest band in the world right now, and that’s a claim I’m sure can be backed up by the cold, hard facts of sellout shows, album sales and award nominations. They’re the sort of band who seem carefully constructed for the festival circuit if you think about it – the latest in a long line of inoffensively tuneful acts who when presented with the right combination of sunshine + pals + alcohol + inspiring chord change + heartfelt but ultimately meaningless chorus line that can be sung along to at the same time as punching the air with one arm and hugging the weekend’s tent fumble with the other can create one of those musically transformative moments that make a youthful summer. I have had those moments at festivals – there is, in fact, photographic evidence of me having one of those moments fuelled on a homemade cocktail with the fantastically descriptive name of ‘Cherry Boak’ in front of The Killers. However I am no longer a) particularly young; b) liable to participate in tent fumbles; c) able to mix alcohol, sunshine and my medication.
Then why do you care, Lis? you cry. This isn’t aimed at you. You’re not going anyway, and the headliners on the indie prick stages are intended to be more to your taste even if you were – let the kids have their fun! Well, quite. Who goes to festivals for the music, anyway? Who still remembers that, less than a decade ago, David Bowie would have headlined had it not been for a shoulder injury?
Like, totally. Whatever. Tickets for T in the Park are on sale at 9am on Friday, 7th December. You should totally get on that, not least because it means there’s less of you I need to digitally trample over to get my Springsteen tickets.