Party Saturday at T in the Park 2014 began with a fresh breeze and ended with a Fresh Prince, with walk-on appearances along the way from a football legend, a sporting trophy and a global Scottish icon. The middle day of this year’s festival would have to go some to top Friday. But in the words of Radio 1 stage star John Newman, it was going to give it 110 per cent.
Homegrown star Nina Nesbitt was a late afternoon star in the King Tut’s tent. The Edinburgh-born shooting-star was hitting T in the Park for the third year in a row, and also celebrating her birthday at Balado for the third year in a row (funny that). The perfect example of the young Scots artist who’s grown up with, and then grown at, T in the Park, Nesbitt filled the tent with a smiley-happy atmosphere – not least when she covered Madonna, then covered The Proclaimers, with I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) getting its second airing of the weekend (Imagine Dragons did the honours on Friday).
Glasgow four-piece Twin Atlantic had a busy day, first of all rocking the Main Stage and then cosying up backstage with the actual Ryder Cup. For golfing fanatics, it doesn’t come much sweeter. Although the presence in the backstage artists’ bar of Gordon Strachan and Susan Boyle might just have added to the dizziness…
Out on the Main Stage the excitement was mounting. US superstar Pharrell ushered in the evening festivities with six dancers, two backing singers, a funktastic band and a rather tall hat. Lose Yourself To Dance, Come Get It Bae and Frontin’ kicked off his set with a Prince-like disco-jam, before Happy – one of the defining songs of the year – showered Balado with feelgood vibes.
Over in King Tut’s, old-school T favourites Embrace were demonstrating why they remain a potent rock force, with hit single Ashes generating arms-aloft passion throughout the cavernous tent.
But out in the field, another Scots hero was coming home. Paolo Nutini, a regular at T since the dawn of his career, was celebrating the huge success of his smash-hit third album Caustic Love with a belting set of singalong soul. From the off the crowd were on his side, hollering the words to Coming Up Easy, Jenny Don’t Be Hasty and Scream. An old soul with brand-new appeal, Paolo’s Main Stage triumph was an exuberant reminder of why he’s one of the biggest stars in the world.
And yet… there was more, and there was bigger. Not content with being the Biggest DJ In The World, Dumfries’ own Calvin Harris also brought the cavalry: the Hollywood star formerly known as The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. “I’ve got Will Smith here,” announced the producer-star. “We need to show him how Scotland parties.”
And by Balado, did T in the Park oblige. Green and yellow flames blew into the air. The euphoria lifted the clouds. "Right now, T in the Park, I want you to get ready to jump!” the superstar DJ shouted as an impressive kaleidoscope of light beamed into the crowd and stretched far into the night sky.
Backing up his own peerless hits – Bounce, Rihanna collaboration We Found Love, Summer – Calvin artfully spun The Killers’ When You Were Young, Lana Del Rey’s Summertime Sadness and John Newman’s Love Me Again. It was a Top 40 Greatest Hits, woven together by the undisputed party king.
Las Vegas? You’ve just been schooled by Balado.
Main Stage headliner Calvin Harris said: “There’s always stand-out moments each year, and it tends to be here at T. For me personally it’s extra scary cause it’s in Scotland, and I’ve known this festival since I was a little boy. Since before I knew what a festival was, I’ve been hearing the name T in the Park. So for that reason it’s very real. You can go to any country in the world and, aye, you’re just playing another festival. And you go there and there’s not that extra added bit of nerves and anticipation that I have when I come back here. ’Cause I can associate this with reality. Whereas I can turn up in Croatia and play a festival that was very dear to a lot of people’s hearts in Croatia, but it would just be a festival to me. So that’s what T is like me: this is a real thing happening. And being the Main Stage headliner is great. It’s awesome.”
BACKSTAGE CHATS WITH TWIN ATLANTIC, ED SHEERAN, THE MAGIC NUMBERS, NINA NESBITT, KIEZSA, JOHN NEWMAN, THE CHARLATANS AND MORE….
Sam McTrusty (singer): “So this is our fifth time in a row at T – that’s got to be a record! I’ve just realised that I might be one of the only people here who might have experienced the whole thing. I’ve been here as a punter; I’ve camped here in the rain, I’ve camped in the sun. I’ve made timetables of all the bands I want to see, and it made me want to be in a band. Then I’ve played every stage – apart from the Slam Tent, and apart from the BBC Introducing stage, which opened up after we started coming here.
“I feel very… emotional, man. From my unique perspective it’s one of the best festivals in the world. And it’s absolutely improved us as a band. ’Cause every year it comes around we’re like, we need to take it to the next level. And obviously that pressure comes from us being Scottish, and us playing in front of Scottish people, and you can’t really hide or disguise or hide the cracks in your band. And it’s magnified here – and people are really like, prove it!’
“’Cause we’re swanning about, going all over America and playing with this or that or the other big band. And we come here and people are like, ‘go on then, show us what you’ve got.’ That’s why I’m so much more nervous about playing T in the Park every year than any other gig.
“And I think it will be different at Strathallan next year. But it’s something to build on. And it’s a good indication of the heart of the festival. The main thing about it is the music, and as long as the music is taken to the young people of Scotland, that’s serving its purpose. This festival could be anywhere in Scotland and I think it would still mean as much and be as poignant as anywhere it’s been held.”
“I love T. I went on as a guest for Snow Patrol a couple of years ago, but I’d never played it. And the Scottish crowds, I don’t know what it is in the water, but they’re the most mental crowds to ever play in front of. The energy you get – and the just the chants of ‘here we, here we, here we f– go,’ just halfway through a song!
“The three Barrowlands gigs that I did were probably the best audiences that I’ve had. So going on as a guest for a band who’ve already smashed it in Scotland, yeah, it was a very good reaction.”
“But ’cause it’s a Friday night, the first day people are at the festival, they’re going a little bit more mental today than they will tomorrow. And the headliner is a Scottish band like Biffy, so everyone’s kinda of up or it. So you’re going out to a crowd that are already hyped up. They were up for me, but I think circumstances made it even better. But Scottish crowds are usually really up for it from the get-go.
“I wasn’t apprehensive in the run-up; I was very excited about today. I was very nervous before Glastonbury, just because I was going on after Dolly Parton and there might be people sticking around who are older fans and who might not be aware of who you are. Whereas T is quite a young festival, so I knew that stepping on stage there would be a really energetic atmosphere.
“Unfortunately I’ve not had time to see much today – I only arrived 40 minutes before I was onstage. I got stuck in traffic so I missed the first flight from London, and the second flight was delayed. And then straight away tonight I’m flying to Norway – and it has to be a private plane. But I never fly private unless it’s someone else’s bill. And it’s for a festival that we couldn’t get to any other way.
“I just heard this is the last T on this site. But the new site sounds nice, and my experience today was great. I think the crowd are going to go quite hard this weekend. Especially with so many Scottish acts on the bill. Scotland owns this festival this year.”
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
Romeo Stodart (singer): “It was great, it’s been a while since I’ve been at T, but I always love it, love playing Scotland. And we were blown away by how many people were in the tent and really loved it. It felt really good, and they were into the new songs. And I’ve always loved this little backstage hangout here – all the bands are here, you always get to have a little chat with people you meet along the way at festivals.
“I do remember our first time here. We were on the Main Stage. Michelle, my sister, started a jam session in that little tent with the guitars and drum-kit in the artists’ area. It was an amazing way to end.
“When you get stuck into the crowd at T, it’s pretty insane. Everyone’s up for it. But I’ve never gone for the backstage haircut. Or the massage – when I see bands going for a massage I’m thinking, ‘what the f– are you doing?’ Rinse the bar! That’s what it’s all about! I can’t be dealing with any yogic experiences at any festival!
“But that first time at T, it was when things were just started happening for our band. So it was a bit daunting, but at the same time: it was a long time for coming so in my mind I had the confidence to think, yeah, too right, about time! But we needed the boost that we got from the Scottish crowd back then, and we got it again today – today’s show takes us home, we’ve got a UK tour coming up, and we’re thinking, right, let’s do this!
“And now I’m hopefully gonna persuade our tour manager to let us stick around so we can see Pixies, who are a band we’ve loved forever. And we’ll see you next year at the new site!”
“This is my first time here. But the response from artists and punters and everyone that comes back from press is that this is a big one. So that’s forced me to put T in my calendar as A Big One. So I’m sat here in my dressing room, pumped and ready go. And it’s the Scottish crowd as well. You go to Glasgow or Edinburgh on tour and it’s always gonna be a good gig. In London you get that, ‘ooh, I’m gonna blog you…’ But here, even the rain is probably just pumping up people even more.
“I’m gonna hang about tonight and hopefully catch up with some pals like Rudimental and Calvin Harris, and we’re not leaving till 3am. It’s really intense – I’ve done 17 festivals and I’m not even halfway there yet. But next year I’ll be further up the bill if I continue to have success, but it’s worth the hard work, because it gets your name out and about.
“In my shows I’m giving 110 per cent, whether it be to 200 people or 100,000 people. And that’s it: you’ve got to understand that them people are stood waiting to see you. They’re stood out there in the rain and they’ve taken the time to come see you, so you give them everything you possibly can. ’Cause they’ve been there for hours, and you’re only there for one hour, so give them the best show you possibly can.”
Tim Burgess (singer): “We played the first ever T in the Park, and we’ve done it quite a few times since. I’ve seen lots of good bands: Brian Jonestown Massacre, Amy Winehouse, Franz Ferdinand, Paul Weller, Wu Tang Clan… I got my picture taken with The RZA. The photo opportunities are always good!
“I’ve had a few good times at T! It’s just a major player, isn’t it? And it’s the people that make it better than the others. Whatever the weather, whatever time of day or night it is, they get down the front and support it.”
“This is my third T in the Park. The first one was amazing; it’s still one of my favourite ever gigs. I played the BBC Introducing stage, and I wasn’t even signed. I think I was just about to sign, and I headlined that stage. But when I was younger, writing songs in my room, it was always a dream to play it. It’s the festival that’s near my homes, and for years my friends’ sisters would be going – it’s a legendary festival for Edinburgh people. And in 2012 we were gonna go, just as a camper, with my friends. Then I got to play and I was like, see you on stage guys!
“And then last year was even better than playing the BBC Introducing stage. I’d just had my first Top 40 hit so I didn’t know if that would mean more people would come. But I was really surprised that the tent was full, and it was amazing.
“I’ve been here all weekend – of course, it’s my favourite weekend of the year! I feel very at home here. There is a difference playing in Scotland; the crowds are just very up for it supportive. A lot of buzz. Even other bands that I know that are from England have come here and had the best gig of their gigging career.
“I’m probably going to do my usual Scottish cover – The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), but then I heard Imagine Dragons do it yesterday, and I thought, ‘no…!’ then I started thinking, ‘oh God, is everyone gonna do it…?’
“I’m gonna miss coming to Balado – it’s only half an hour from house. Strathallan’s a little bit further. But I’m still gonna come!”
“I didn’t know a lot about T in the Park before I got here – I just knew it was a really big festival in Scotland. But I’d played in Glasgow, maybe about a month ago, and that was amazing. Great crowds! Really loud, really excited, really enthusiastic. I really like Scottish people in general. I like their sense of humour.
“There’s a lot of Scottish people in Canada. Tonnes. My grandpa was of Scottish heritage – he was of the black Douglases. Bad people, apparently! You know Robert The Bruce? Our lineage is from the guy who fought next to him. That’s our lineage!
“And this backstage is great – it’s got a massage area, and the catering is good. And I’ve met a few artists. There’s a lot of people walking around. But for any fans who are here for the last weekend, I’d just say: go see as many people as you can, and don’t worry about the rain, just have as much fun as you can and scream really loud. And enjoy it – this is the last ever T in this spot, so make the most of it!”
Keiran Shuddall (singer): “I think it’s absolutely amazing that the T stands for Tennent’s. The amount of times I’ve sat and drank and Tennent’s in the park. So I feel really at home.”
Sam Rourke (bass): “We were told it was quite a mad festival in terms of the crowds, and it didn’t disappoint. The crowds in Scotland are always amazing. You can feel the difference. There’s less inhibition; English crowds can be a bit stand-offish.”
Keiran: “I did manage to get a haircut backstage. But it was a shame cause I got it done, then went onstage and sweated like a maniac.”
Sam: “The catering’s amazing. I feel like I’ve walked into a Michelin-starred restaurant. There was Bourbons on top of cakes. What’s that about? You know the catering’s good when you see the bands taking photographs of it. ‘Cause they’re doing a festival every week in the summer. And when they’re taking photos of the food, that’s special.”
Jack Patterson (keyboards): “This is our first time here. I’ve never been here as a punter either but I knew it was a massive thing.
“We did festivals last summer, but not as intensively as this. It’s just nice to see people knowing more of the material and singing songs back to us. And in bigger tents. The songs do seem to go down well – it’s all quite upbeat and positive, so that works really well at festivals.
“We can’t hang about afterwards – we’ve got a video to finish, so we’re flying back straight away. But I have made time to get a beard trim before we go onstage. No way you get that at other festivals. And I’m gonna get a massage. You’ve got to take advantage of these things at festivals, otherwise what’s the point?
“And I’m hoping to meet some other artists backstage – especially for us as we don’t have a singer, so it’s nice to meet other people. So, yeah, it could be a bit of a recruitment drive! We’d love to meet George Ezra. Or, I tell you who I’d love to meet at T: Guy Garvey from Elbow. I’d love to do something with them. Maybe Guy wants to do a garage track with Clean Bandit?”
SOPHIE ELLIS BEXTOR
“It was great today. They were really up for it. I knew they would be; I had a good feeling.
“I was here in 1998 with my band theaudience. To be honest that summer we played a lot of festivals and I was 19, so everything came in at the same level. Then I was here again with my husband’s band The Feeling in 2007 or 2008.
“But T has a great reputation. It’s friendly, it’s beautiful – from the stage you can see the rolling hills in the background. And it’s just got a general vibe where people are genuinely excited about seeing live music. They’re not just here to be seen. It’s actually about seeing as many bands as you can.
“We’re staying till the evening – my brother is a drummer and he’s playing with John Newman so I want to see that. And we’ll be hanging in the artist area a bit. I love it when the artists are in a communal area. I don’t like it when it’s all segregated. I think everybody wants to see everybody and catch up. And I think at least two of my band have gone in for a massage.”
“This is my first T in the Park, and I feel lucky that I got to play it in the last time on this site. But I knew that Scottish crowds in general are quite mental, and that’s what I thrive off. I think I’m a little bit Scottish. I played King Tut’s earlier this year and it was fantastic. And I just feel so lucky to be part of it today. The response was great. I mean, you never really know what to expect. But I really enjoyed it. And everyone was singing along – that’s what I loved the most. My album hasn’t even been released yet, but they were singing the words back at me.
“And the backstage is so cosy. I love the fact that we’re in a communal space – Chloe Howl is here and she’s a good friend of mine so it’ll be lovely to hang out. And my single comes out at midnight tonight so I’ll be celebrating – definitely watching Calvin Harris, and hopefully from the side of the stage. And my mum’s made us a cake and we’ve brought it up from London. She’s a cake designer so it’s in the shape of one of my merchandise t-shirts, and it has ‘If I Go’ on it, and she’s made a little model of me and stuck me on it.”
“It was actually really good today. It was funny I didn’t think anyone was gonna turn up to be honest. Then it was really nice and there was loads of people who were really up for it, so it was great fun in the end.
“I’d never been here before. I didn’t know much about T, other than lots of big acts play it and they always get a really strong line-up. And I actually want to stay ’cause seeing Calvin would be a lot of fun – and this is actually the best backstage area of any festival I’ve been to. The catering is so good! I’ve eaten so much in the last week and said to myself that I wasn’t going to eat that much here. And I just stuffed my face! I had salmon and rice and greens, and this amazing fig cheesecake. I feel so full!”
“It was good today. It didn’t rain which was amazing. And the crowd were brilliant actually; they got really involved. I watched the footage afterwards ’cause I had to approve it, and I approved it all actually. It was really good fun and when they were singing with me on Crying For No Reason it was fantastic.
“Before I came here, literally everyone was saying how much they loved T in the Park. I nearly went for a massage but I didn’t have time – and I really want to see Pharrell before we have to leave to go back to London.
“But we played quite early so it was a lovely way to kick off the day. I remember my first gig in Scotland. I was touring with Magnetic Man – and I saw Skream here earlier today – and we played the Sub Club in Glasgow. And everyone was doing football chants and going ‘Katy f–in’ B!’ I was like, what the hell! And I was just supporting them! When people give you really good energy, you just want to give it back to them.
“I played here today with Sophie Ellis Bextor, but I played here solo in King Tut’s in 2003. My abiding memory of that visit is giving Ian McCulloch a big hug – we were in the same state! He was very friendly. But today I’ve been watching James, who are good friends of mine – we toured together in America. And I’ve had a massage. Actually I’ve had two massages. It helps me play better. Especially with those augmented fifths. But I’m gonna stay and see The Amazing Snakeheads, ’cause they’re… amazing.”
T in the Park 2014 tickets are available from www.tinthepark.com or www.ticketmaster.co.uk or 08444 999 990.
T IN THE PARK TICKETS
Ticket type Price (all subject to booking fee)
Saturday day ticket SOLD OUT
Sunday day ticket £82.50
Weekend (no camping) SOLD OUT
Weekend and Camping SOLD OUT
Thursday Weekend and Camping SOLD OUT
VIP Saturday day ticket SOLD OUT
VIP Sunday day ticket Sun SOLD OUT
VIP Weekend (no camping) SOLD OUT
VIP Thursday & Weekend Camping SOLD OUT
VIP Weekend Camping SOLD OUT (access to general campsite)
For regular T in the Park news, check out www.tinthepark.com, www.facebook.com/tinthepark and follow on Twitter @Tinthepark