FEATURE T IN THE PARK
CONTO FROM PREVIOUS PAGE
By I987. things hadn't improved. The venue: Craigtoun Country Park. Fife. The event: Fife Aid. The outcome: what do you think? ‘I remember it as raining non-stop.‘ says [.is! Music Editor Alastair Mabbott. ‘But of course that was nobody's fault. Worse. though. was that I think the organisers completely misjudged how much incentive people needed to attend in sufficient numbers. Theoretically. you can’t go wrong if Runrig are topping the bill. but the supporting bill was so dismal that alarm bells really should have started ringing long before the date was finalised. They seemed to be rnusos. not businessmen. I mean. it's very prestigious to get people like Jack Bruce and Phil Manzanera along to play and all that. but you're not going to cover your costs. let alone end famine in Ethiopia. by going down that route.‘ Such was the financial shortfall that. far from sending monies to the starving in Africa. a Fife Aid-Aid had to be held in Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms to pay outstanding costs. Then. in 1992 and 1993. the London-based Fleadh held events in Glasgow: the first one was held in a car park. the second had a far-from-inspiring bill. The experiment was not repeated this year.
Festivals in Scotland. then: not much cop. Events such as Glasgow's l990 Year Of Culture highpoint. The Big Day. and Runrig's 50.000-pulling party at Loch Lomond in l9()l were unqualiﬁed successes. but are not. strictly speaking festivals (one was in a city. one was a headline act with supporting cast). T In The Park. though. is different. The bill is strong. The location is perfect. The organisation has been meticulous. And. perhaps most importantly. the mood is right. No matter how false the promise of the caring. sharing. eco-conscious 90s. the festival vibe is in.
Financially. paying £45 to see 44 bands — plus comedy. fairground attractions. and exotic cuisine — is excellent value-for-money. especially in these straitened times. for seasoned gig-goer and casual punter alike. Artistically. boundaries between musical genres are increasingly blurred — more music fans have more catholic tastes than ever before. and a festival neatly caters for all crossovers. Culturally. the ‘new age‘ ethos has melded with rave culture to create a new appetite for outward-bound. all-day. all- night entertainment. Scottishly. T In The Park could and should provide an annual focus for the Scottish music industry.
This year. in the face of stiffcornpetition. Glastonbury sold out quicker than ever. and was hailed as the best ever among seasoned lentilburger- chornpers. Expect next year‘s Zith anniversary bash to be an event of international stature. This month‘s second annual Phoenix Festival in Stratford. despite the pessimism of industry observers. is holding its own in the face of stiff competition from Glastonbury and a heavyweight Reading line—up. And. with a capacity of 30.000 per day. T In The Park‘s advance ticket sales are ahead of schedule — H.000 had been sold by the end of June; l().000 was the hoped-for figure.
All of which says that T In The Park will be a crushing success. Even rain. it is to be hoped. can‘t stop play this time. Flop'.’ Flop off.
MORE NEXT ISSUE The final line-up and the running order of the bands on both the Saturday and Sunday
will be featured in the next issue of The List, out on Thursday 28 July.
ORDER YOUR COPY NOW
0n the campaign “trail
The greatest opposition to l the Criminal Justice Bill,
which threatens to restrict ! public freedoms on a scale unprecedented outside a police state. is being mounted by The Levellers. Thom Dibdin hears the bad news.
l Just a year has passed since the dreaded music press were far from welcome in the camp of The Levellers. But now hardly a week goes by without some new rnissive from the camp to the
I world. The Levs have found a cause. you see. From being pop-litical Luddites they are urging us to agitate. demonstrate and even put pen to paper and write to MPs.
The cause is the Criminal Justice Bill. of course. and ‘The Warning‘. the first track oftheir last LP. could hardly be more apposite. The Levs have seen the future of the police state and they do not like it. No more festivals. No more ‘music based on repetitive and hypnotic
beats‘ (techno to you and me guv). No more travellers. No more demonstrations. No more anything. Just bland greyness in England‘s once green and pleasant garden.
‘lt's a bill they put together to encourage Home Counties types.‘ says the band‘s didgeridoo player Stephen Boakes. ‘People who find it irritating to have a party down the road or find it irritating to see people begging or find it irritating to see people camped upon
; the side of the road. I see it as a ' scapegoat bill: they are trying to attack everything that people are scared of and
gain media points frotn that.’
The Levs have a point. Even in the ultra-regulated state of Germany. the right to protest is enshrined in law. If the police object to a piece of public
j performance art or a techno festival like Berlin‘s Love Parade clogging up the
streets. the organisers claim they are putting on a political demonstration
which the police are then unable to
‘When you have a crumbling government. they thrash out extreme rules.‘ continues Boakes. ‘This is an extreme rule that will prohibit choice. I think democracy's a bit of a farce really. but it is definitely outrageous that you shouldn‘t be allowed to protest if something upsets you.‘
As the band mature politically. so their music is on the change. They are still affirming their folk roots and influences to be sure. but a definite tang of modern dance music is in the air. Witness the rather fine remixes oftheir last-but-one single ‘This Garden‘ by Banco De Gai and Marcus Dravs. slipping the hypnotic slap and
8 The List l5—28 July 1994