eFestivals interviewed T in the Park organiser Geoff Ellis and George Kyle ahead of this summer's Scottish event.
T in the Park has a new site this year, I suppose that's the main topic of conversation this year?
We're excited about it, because whilst we didn't want to move site, once you have to move site, you want to move somewhere you want to be in, and it's a beautiful site. It means we can re-invent the event before anyone may think it's become tired, and that's always a good position to be in.
It's surrounded by woodland and has more rolling topography than the old site has. The old site (at Balado) was an airfield, and this is great it's also naturally quite flat and we've got a castle, which is something we're quite excited about. I've not been invited to stay in it yet, but you never know.
The woman who owns the estate is lovely she wanted to diversify, and she's seen what's happened at Western Park where we went with all the partners and took the event there to a country estate which again needed some investment. A festival means you can keep an estate in grass, which is how they were originally designed and then have a festival, and some equestrian events, wedding fairs and everything else. It means she's not having to go down the route of putting in more windfarms, which is what everybody seems to be doing in Scotland at the moment, or caravan parks, or infenced agriculture which has a more damaging effect on the environment in the long term than a music festival does. So, I think it's a good result for the estate and it's forward thinking of them and it's great for us because it's a very beautiful site to move to and I'm sure the audience will appreciate that when they get there in July.
Will this year's T in the Park still be familiar to someone who has been to the previous ones?
It is different geography, we're not going from one square to another square so the layout will be different but the set up will be the same, and because there's little copses of trees it enables us to do a bit more with it, we can put in a bit more seating, and areas which are just lit up within the trees. The new site enables us to do a bit more of that, because the site has more trees. I think people will actually find the new site easier to navigate between stages because if people are watching where the main stage is you've got the castle to the left hand of the stage, and then you walk through the castle drive, which is a tree lined avenue, and then you're in the field with the Radio One Stage. Getting between the two is easier and shorter. Then you've got the King Tut's Tent and the Slam Tent down the sides of those two stages, and then different entrances in and out of the campsite too. I think people will find it quite easy to navigate, but it will be a bit of a voyage of discovery because it's not all flat. When you come in from the campsite, you're going up a gentle hill so you won't see the stages you'll just see what's in front of you. Then when you get to the brow of the hill you'll see the Radio One Stage. When you go around the corner and through the trees you'll see the Main Stage, so it has that voyage of discovery that will have wow factor.
It's still the same stages, the same capacity 85,000 the only difference is a different location. Apart from the castle and some woodland it will be very similar to the old site.
The main thing that is going to be the same is that great atmosphere, and the friendly nature of the crowd that will be retained that really makes T in The Park special.
When people arrive early will they be able to orientate themselves before the festival starts?
Just over half the campers will arrive on the Thursday the area we are still going to call Sunset Strip will be open. So people will be able to see a fair bit of the site, they won't be able to go in to some of the site which will be fenced off. The Slam Tent will be open from Thursday night, and probably T Break and all the entertainment of Sunset Strip will be open as well. They'll be able to see where the Radio One Stage is, and be able to see where the Main Arena is. If you're in the other side of the campsite where you're camping you will probably be able to see the back of the Main Stage, and see King Tut's Tent. I think people will get a bit of orientation from that. And, I think the castle will be a bit of a marker, as will the Big Wheel just as it always is. On the Thursday afternoon and evening people will get a bit of a feel for it, and then on Friday morning I don't think it will take people long to find their way about.
We'll obviously be producing maps that we'll give to people, and we will have it up on the website, people will find their way around fairly easily.
Moving on to the line-up, you've got some big hitters with The Libertines reforming, Kasabian and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, are you happy with the way it balances?
Yes, absolutely. I think having Avicii as co-headliners on Saturday closing the Main Stage, following on from the success of Calvin Harris last year, where that was the first time we had an electronic closing the stage. Noel and Kasabian will be great, and on the Radio One Stage we've got The Prodigy closing out on the Sunday. They could really be a festival headliner, if we didn't have all the main stage headliners sorted Prodigy would have been headlining the main stage. They are big enough to headline festivals and they've come back with some great new material with that energy and vitality that they had back in 1996.
Then we have people like the Stereophonics who are big festival favourites will have a big crowd, Fat Boy Slim will take the roof of the King Tut's Tent. The Script will have big singalong moments. Twin Atlantic headline Radio One Stage and will have a big crowd, they just got added to the line-up this morning, the band are currently in Australia, and we got confirmation in the early hours of this morning. Which is great because they are on their way to selling out the Hydro in Glasgow, so to have them on the Radio One Stage is a great thing for them and us. Then we've got The Proclaimers in the King Tut's Tent, and Courteeners in there, plus Above & Beyond and Clean Bandit, plus more leftfield acts like St Vincent and Jamie T on the Radio One Stage as well, and Alabama Shakes who have got a new album, that from what I've heard has a Motown feel to it. Catfish & The Bottlemen, Years And Years, and Idlewild who have a great new album.
There's not many American acts on the bill, is that because the American Festival market has expanded so much now, and so we are turning to our own homegrown talent more?
I think that was noticeable last year when there weren't many as well. There are not really many major American acts around for festivals. There are two clear periods when American acts come in for festivals. The Glastonbury, T in the Park, and Werchter period or it's the V or Reading period. Somebody like Foo Fighters is somebody who we always interested in at T, they're doing a big event in The States on the 4th July so that's taken them out of the picture for anything other than late June. So, they're doing their own shows instead in Edinburgh. Certainly of the artists that are coming through there's a lot of British acts.
The artists that we'll be announcing next week a hell of a lot of them, there might be one or two Americans, but a hell of a lot of them are British acts. I was always conscious in the past when we used to have acts like The Killers and Kings Of Leon and people like that early on in the day, that they would then goon to become very big acts. We're not seeing that so much from the Americans at the moment. There's not loads of acts coming through that are going to be really big. The acts that are coming through, your Sam Smith's, your Hoziers, your George Ezra's, your Royal Bloods, Catfish & The Bootlemen, and then people like your Duke Dumonts, and Gorgon City's it's definitely a bit of a British thing at the moment.
You may be right that now there's a few more festivals on in The States that for them coming into Europe isn't perhaps as essential as it once was four or five years ago.
Talking of changes in the festival market internationally, how do you think the industry is faring domestically? Do you think it's back on its feet now?
I think it is, it's always been fairly solid, we had the terrible weather of 2012 that effected a lot of festivals and I think that affected attendances in 2013 across the board. 2012 was pretty much a washout for most events. I think there's a good buzz about festivals at the moment. There's a good diversity, festivals will always come and go, that's the nature of them, that's the same with venues I guess, but, overridingly I think there's a real desire for festivals.
Because what festivals do is not just give you that opportunity, not just to see a wide range of artists in one weekend, but have that live experience. That thing of camping with a load of mates, creating and sharing memories, meeting new friends, sharing those moments. You can't do that kind of thing anywhere else but at a music festival, a sporting event or going to a gig doesn't do that. Music festivals are unique, yes some will fall by the wayside, and others will go from strength to strength, while others just continue as they are. As long as they keep evolving, and keeping relevant to the audience, but also attracting new people each year, because you need to do that, because as the audience gets older they get other commitments and maybe can't come to your festival every year. But you want to hang onto them as long as you can.
Kasabian, The Libertines, and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds top the bill for T in the Park, celebrating it's 22nd year in its new Perthshire home of Strathallan Castle from Friday 10th until Sunday 12th July 2015 with early entry available on Thursday 9th July.
The line-up of acts includes Avicii, who closes this year's late night Main Stage, plus The Prodigy, Stereophonics, Jamie T, David Guetta, Sam Smith, Rudimental, Fatboy Slim, Hozier, Duke Dumont, Hot Chip, Annie Mac, The Wombats, Gorgon City, Jessie Ware, Fuse ODG, The Script, Alt-J, George Ezra, Jessie J, Labrinth, Courteeners, The Vaccines, St Vincent, Enter Shikari, Seasick Steve, Jungle, Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, Idlewild, Jess Glynne, Charli XCX, Paloma Faith, Above & Beyond, Alabama Shakes, Kodaline, Clean Bandit, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Modest Mouse, Oliver Heldens, Ella Henderson, Peace, James Bay, and Years And Years.
There are still many more acts to be announced.
T in the Park 2015 tickets will be available in the following ticket types:
A full weekend with Thursday camping (Thurs - Sun) £205
A full weekend camping ticket (Fri-Sun arena access) £194
A weekend (Fri-Sun) with no camping £184
Prices do not include booking fee.
No under 5s. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult 21+ with a full priced ticket.
Bus packages will also be available to buy and offer the easiest, most efficient way to travel to Strathallan Castle this summer.
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