bright blue skies welcome revellers to T in the Park

T in the Park 2011 review

published: Thu 14th Jul 2011

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Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July 2011
Balado, nr Kinross. Scotland, KY13 0NJ, Scotland MAP
£195 full weekend with Thursday camping - sold out
daily capacity: 80000
last updated: Thu 30th Jun 2011

There's always something a bit special about heading up to T in the Park on a Friday. Maybe it's because it's that extra half day thrown in good for measure, to ease into the full-on weekend; maybe it's the fancy dress element. Whatever it is, it was in full force this year as the 18th birthday celebrations of T in the Park kicked off.

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This year's Fancy Dress Friday had an 80s theme – a throwback to giant perms, tetris and the classic Rubik's cube. All of which were aplenty on the opening night of the festival. The first thing to note this year was an all-new layout. Healthy T was given new pride of place next to the main stage, rather than tucked away in a hidden corner with the Radio 1/NME stage facing the main stage at the other end of the site. Disorientating at first? Definitely. But the new layout seemed to combat a lot of the people traffic issues of yesteryear. Queues to get into the site were minimal, although once in there - good luck finding anything without your handy lanyard.

The main stage will always be the one thing it's impossible to miss, and walking into the site for the first time it was Dundee favourites The View who were making their mark on the fresh faced crowd, having taken over from festival opener's Big Country. They played the expected favourite 'Same Jeans', as well as newer ditties 'Underneath The Lights' and 'Tragic Magic'.

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There was a look of disbelief around the main stage, as revellers came to realise that the forecasted rain of this year was holding off in favour of bright blue skies – perfect weather to welcome classic silver-tongued (and dashingly silver-haired) crooner Tom Jones to woo the audience with his soulful sounds. Languishing in the evening sun as he opened with tunes from his most recent album including 'Green, Green Grass of Home' before pulling out the crowd-pleasers with 'Mama Told Me Not to Come' and a rousing rendition of 'Delilah' – backing singing from the audience included. Even at that early stage of the festival, it was clear that this was the year everyone would talk about Tom Jones showing us exactly how it's done.

Eliza Doolittle
Bright indie-pop was the call of the evening for the King Tut's Wah Wah Tent however, with Eliza Doolittle brightening the crowd with her playful hits including 'Pack Up' and 'Skinny Genes' to the excitable tent, as she bounced along in her now trademark little shorts backed up by her colourful band and singers. Newer to the T in the Park tents (her debut was only last year), her popularity proves that it is unlikely to be her last as the busy tent laps up her quirky style.

Walking back over to the main stage it was hard initially to see how Plan B was ever going to follow the mighty Sir Tom. That was, until he unleashed a band mate onto the awaiting throng – beat-boxing through a medley of beats such as 'I Like to Move It' rousing the crowd into an excited frenzy before Ben Drew hit out with his now trademark mix of soulful rap and falsetto. It came as no surprise when 'She Said' proved an instant hit but a reworking of 'Kiss From a Rose' proved unexpected, although no less popular.

Arctic Monkeys
And with the success of Plan B lingering on everyone's minds, it was time for the real highlight of the night with the Arctic Monkeys as they ambled unassuming onstage, hitting out with a storming set including all the expected hits of 'Mardy Bum' and 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor' with the new 'The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala'; showing through their set how the Sheffield band have grown since 2002. They even found time to give guitarist Jamie Cook a Happy Birthday song; T in the Park crowd willingly adding oomph to the celebrations.

Taking an amble towards the King Tut's Wah Wah Tent where other headliners 2manydjs were based, it was clear to hear that they had upped their festival game – mashing classics with as much aplomb as before. 'Love Is In The Air' fused into 'Show Me Love' anyone? The crowd went crazy for it as the booming bass projected itself through the rest of the night, bringing day one to a close.

With the campers all heading to their tents to party on in preparation for some very sore heads in the morning, and the non campers filing into their transport of choice taking them to a comfy bed instead, it heralded the end of the opening night with great expectations to come for the weekend.

around the festival site
review by: Clare Sinclair

photos by: Clare Sinclair

Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July 2011
Balado, nr Kinross. Scotland, KY13 0NJ, Scotland MAP
£195 full weekend with Thursday camping - sold out
daily capacity: 80000
last updated: Thu 30th Jun 2011


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