An open letter to Geoff Ellis, boss-man of DF Concerts, promoters of T in the Park.
Thanks for the terribly predictable T in the Park line-up announced last month with only the merest smattering of quality and originality among the commercial dross you’ve picked out.
It’s never bothered me before, as you’ve always managed to book plenty of bands that I, one of your more discerning regulars, appreciate.
Putting Broken Social Scene, Dirty Projectors and Four Tet in there left me optimistic that there would be more where that came from and I would have enough ‘fringe’ music to amuse me, along some of the better populist choices like Muse and Biffy.
So I was tingling with a little excitement when I heard there would be more bands announced last week.
And what do we get? Madness. Jamie T. Paloma Faith.
Also in there were Delphic (a decent album, but hardly compulsive viewing) and Frank Turner (don’t mind him, but a few friends appreciate his music a lot more than I do). But overall it was still a massive let down.
So that’s 55 acts announced and I’ve counted 14 that I give a toss about with a meagre seven in the ‘must see’ category.
So what does Moany Music Snob of Musselburgh do now?
Simple. I’m voting with my feet.
Or more to the point, my wheels. It’s a nine or ten hour drive to Sussex, but after I finish this post I’ll be booking tickets to Latitude.
Latitude already has a great looking line-up. Aside from the homely, relaxed atmosphere that the festival is said to have, having the National, the xx and Grizzly Bear headline its second stage is an instant stamp of quality.
The Horrors are in there too and Charlotte Gainsbourg will lend the occasion a bit of Gallic class.
It’s the weekend after T so going to both is clearly not an option, both financially and for childcare – so our T tickets are now up for grabs.
This post was meant to be a general moan about the quality of the Balado line-up, under the premise that I would still be going. I’d scribbled down a few thoughts on who I’d like to see you book. The xx and Grizzly Bear were both on that list.
So were LCD Soundsystem and the Hold Steady, but I can’t see that they’ll be added now. With so many big acts now on the bill, it’ll be up and coming acts that’ll pad it out.
Not necessarily a bad thing, but a hell of a chance to take. A lot of folk go to festivals for the craic and the booze, and that’s undoubtedly a massive part of it, but for me it’s mostly about the music.
In the same way that I can barely tolerate being in a pub or club (Clubs! Ha! I remember them…) that’s playing terrible music, I don’t wish to find myself watching Kasabian in a field, hands stuffed in pockets sulking, because there’s nothing better on. And paying £180 for the ‘pleasure’.
James Murphy, Craig Finn and their respective bands almost certainly won’t be playing Latitude either, but the five acts named above give me the sense that it’ll be well worth the cash. There’ll be lots else happening too.
Latitude takes comedy seriously – Marcus Brigstocke and Kevin Bridges have already been announced. There’ll be talks on films and books, a bit of poetry and some theatre.
Now I’m not going to badge myself as a middle class twat at this point and say “I’m going to a festival for the poetry” as that would be a total lie and not what I’m about.
But, as an alternative to watching the latest sadsack Oasis wannabes playing to a bunch of pissed up neds spoiling for a fight, then Bret Easton Ellis doing a reading from one of his books will do nicely thanks.
And even if I did stick to the music, of only 10 bands announced, four fall into the aforementioned ‘must see’ category with Florence the only one that I’d go out of my way to avoid.
Of course, I’m taking a massive risk. It would just be typical that the second I get my confirmation email from Latitude, you’ll send out another press release announcing that Frightened Rabbit (who are surely a no-brainer), Fever Ray and Sigur Rós are to play T.
But fuck it. As much as I’ve enjoyed T since 1999, having been to Connect in ’08, I’ve found the idea of a smaller, more focused festival hugely appealing.
Am I getting old? Probably? Is T’s loss of appeal coinciding with my own music taste spiralling up my backside? Almost certainly. Am I categorically finished with T? Well, Geoff, I’ll never say never on that front. Who knows?
But at least Latitude will have more beards than Buckie and I’ll be more likely to trip over a buggy than a bam.
And as this is effectively ‘our holiday’ for the year, the road trip and scenic setting will make it more fun than tailgating a coach crawling up the M90 with some wee bellend in a football top baring his arse shouting “T in the fuckin’ Park big man!!!!” at us for the whole journey.
Now…. does anyone want to buy a T in the Park ticket?