I’m starting this blog by saying that I know TRNSMT was like a month ago now, but it’s been a very very busy festival season, and I had actually written all of this out and the WordPress gods hate me and wiped the whole thing… so, round two, ding ding, here we go…
I know I’m always on about how excited I am by things, but when I was asked if I’d like to go along to TRNSMT, hang out backstage and interview some of the acts for BBC Radio Scotland’s Afternoon Show I was excited. In fact, I was excited with a capital EXCITED. I worked with Amy and Paul all weekend and all of the interviews we did are in the various links throughout this post… and also here -> https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07h22ld
I shouldn’t really have bothered panicking about what to wear, because apparently this year the dress code was eh, “see through, or nothing,” but my festival staple black dress and boots made their appearance and all was grand.
Saturday and Sunday’s line ups were more my cup of tea this year so that’s the days I opted to go for: Catfish and the Bottlemen, the Hunna and Circa Waves being my favourite options of headliners across two of the three stages this year.
Team TRNSMT added a third, smaller stage this year – the “Queen Tuts” stage: to showcase up and coming female artists in the industry. It followed on from the Queen Tuts event and gig at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut earlier in the year, and although it sparked some backlash (after being added in slightly later than the original line up was announced), I do think the industry needs more stages and events like this at festivals, and outwith festival season. A couple of my favourite Scottish female artists around just now played the stage – Stephanie Cheape and Zoe Graham. I got the chance to speak to both of them and ask what they thought of it – both of which you can hear by clicking the links at the bottom of this page.
Saturday’s first mission was getting through the TRNSMT gates on time to see Sam Fender opening the main stage – which I’d never have forgiven myself if we hadn’t succeeded in. His set woke everyone up, and he always has such a good stage presence. Its absolutely no secret that I love Sam Fender, and I was so excited to be with a group of people who appreciated his set and enjoyed his music just as much as I did!
Off to do some **actual work** (I still can’t believe I get to call heading to a press area to chat to bands “work”), to have a chat to Johnny from DMA’s. Having only had seen them live in a festival setting before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, or what kind of chat I was going to have with Johnny, but he was the most chilled person, and talked about his love of Scottish crowds (a running theme across the weekend, we discovered), and how the MTV live album came about.
Sam had come off stage by the time Johnny left us, and both Paul and I got to chat with him about everything from his recently released tracks and where they came from, to how he thinks Glasgow and Newcastle aren’t that far apart (culturally; we know it’s a three hour drive.)
I popped back out to the main stage to catch some of Sundara Karma’s set, before Paul got to chat to half of Bastille, and I grabbed a chat with Glasgow based punk band, the Dunts.
A wee switch over in the press tent and I was sat with the Hunna (literally a year after the last time I spoke to them; and a lot can happen in a year!) We chatted about their record label drama, new music, and their DJ set later that night in the Cathouse (BEST way to end Saturday of TRNSMT!) They left promising that I’d hear new music sooner rather than later; and once we’d popped out to see some of Richard Ashcroft’s set (Bittersweet Symphony will always catch me off guard when I hear it live), I made my way to the front and centre of the King Tuts stage for the Hunna’s set.
Holy moly. I’ve been to my fair share of Hunna shows but I genuinely think they get wilder every time – the crowd were totally into it and the new songs are completely insane – in the best way – I can’t wait for the studio versions to be released!
I love and hate the mad dash from stage to stage between festival headliners in equal measures. I hate that you never get quite as close as you’d like to the second band, but I love that it, probably, means you’ve been close enough to the first one. I hate that you can’t power walk like crazy because there’s so many people doing the same thing as you, but I love being in the exact same panicked, rushing moment as everyone else – doing the same thing as you.
We made it close enough to the stage to be able to see Van McCann take to the stage in all his glory for Catfish and the Bottlemen’s Saturday night headline set. I know flares are more than a wee bit frowned upon (and I know this is ridiculous coming from the girl who got her head burnt/hair singed by one mid-Arctic Monkeys fangirling last year), but it honestly would not be an outdoor Catfish gig without the one roaster with a flare during Cocoon – e v e r y time! “Glasgow” has become a staple in their set when they play Glasgow, and I love how excited everyone gets! Their set improves each time I get to see them live and I’m SO happy they’re playing again in November! If you didn’t catch them at TRNSMT, try and get your hands on a ticket for the Hydro – one of the best live bands around right now.
We only made it a quarter of the way back into town from Glasgow Green before we all needed a wee break from the snails pace crowd, a wee sit down, and more importantly – another drink. Luckily good old Maggie Mays was bouncing; so we made a pit stop, sang along to the cheesy Saturday night playlist they had on, and headed for the The Hunna’s after party at the Cathouse once our feet had (slightly) recovered from all the jumping about.
Not entirely sure how or why, but we managed to get ourselves in the door around 5am, and back on the train for round two at 11am. It’s definitely a festival state of mind that you pick yourself up and keep on going, no matter how little sleep you’ve had.
Day two. Here we, here we, here we fxckn go.
Sunday was kicked off with WhenYoung on the King Tuts stage – a band that I’ve grown to love more and more over the last couple of months. After seeing them at Barn on the Farm the week before, I was totally sold (I also got to tell them this when I ran into them backstage later on! (LISTEN to me, how did I get to be able to be saying these sentences – how did this happen!?))
I’d say my Saturday highlight interview was definitely the Hunna; my Sunday highlight was 100% getting to ask Matt from the Wombats about the writing process behind one of my favourite songs, “Turn.” I spent the whole interview concentrating so hard on not freaking out that I was getting to chat to someone whose music I’ve been listening to as long as I remember – I think I managed to hold it together until he left; I still have no idea how.
Tom Grennan and his orange glasses were next up on the main stage – I knew I liked him, and I’d also only ever seen him play live in a festival setting before, but I honestly wasn’t expecting how loveable he was on stage. He spent most of the time prancing around in a Scotland flag he’d pinched from someone in the front row. You can’t say Glasgow isn’t one of the most hospitable cities in the world – at a festival we take care of everyone around us, even the acts on stage – proved by the bottle of sun cream that was lobbed at the stage when it looked like poor Tom was getting a bit of sunburn!
I flew over to the King Tuts stage to see Sea Girls after Tom Grennan’s set had finished. They really are fast becoming one of my favourite bands – SUCH a fun band to watch, and such good, catchy lyrics to scream along to! If you missed them, they’re headlining Tenement Trail at the end of the year, I highly recommend grabbing yourself a ticket!
We headed back into the press area for interviews with the Mystery Jets, Tom Grennan (just as lovely off stage, as he was on it!), and Emeli Sande (who’d been jetted in on a private jet to Prestwick Airport so she’d make it on time!!) before we joined, what can only be described as a media scrum in a wee tent to wait for the man of the moment – Lewis Capaldi. Obviously everyone and their granny wanted a chat with him, and the poor boy would still be there to this day if he’d done all of those individual interviews – and we all know he’s too busy promoting sunglasses and slagging off a certain Gallagher brother for that… It was such a good experience though; there was no competitiveness, we made a song and dance about it, and everyone was in fits of laughter at the ridiculousness of the situation we’d found ourselves in! When Lewis appeared, he was, of course, his usual funny, charming self and didn’t seem phased at all by the 140 million cameras and mics in his face (slight exaggeration, but you get the gist).
We took a wander out to the main stage to catch some of Emeli Sande’s set (and stretch our legs after being huddled up in the media scrum!), before I headed back to have a chat with the lovely Stephanie Cheape…
I managed to catch a bit of the Mystery Jets set, and the last couple of songs of the Eves’ set on the Queen Tuts stage, before it was “CAPALDI TIME!”
I’m so glad the organisers hadn’t scheduled anyone else on stage at the same time as Lewis Capaldi. There was not a single person in Glasgow Green anywhere other than the main stage (or as close to it as they could get.) I’ve never experienced a crowd like it. We were MILES away from the stage, and not through lack of trying. We watched from afar, as Lewis stormed the stage in his – now famous – Chewbacca mask, in reference to the Noel Gallagher feud, and halfway through his set, covered “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” whilst changing the lyrics to “don’t chewback in anger.” The boy’s a comedic genius.
Headlining the King Tuts stage on the Sunday night was Circa Waves. This was the third time I’ve seen them in the space of a year – I can’t get enough of their live set!! Highlights included my favourite track “Movies,” them playing “The Way We Said Goodbye” – which, the last time I saw them play, I literally tweeted that Id love to hear that live in a festival setting (dreams do come true, kids! Ha!), and lead singer, Kieran Shudall changing the lyrics of “T-Shirt Weather” to “Taps aff Weather” – I’ve never seen a crowd reaction like it!!
George Ezra was the main festival headliner this year; although not my cup of tea – I can appreciate a good set, and how much everyone enjoyed it! His catchy chart topping tracks had everyone around us dancing (including some ballroom dancing from the couple in front of us at one point!) And he closed the festival with massive hit “Shotgun” – followed by a mass of fireworks. Perfect!
I honestly had the best weekend, and I’m still pinching myself that I get to call this all work! What I really love about Glasgow festivals though, is how easy it is to run into people you know. As much as the “no signal” “message not sent” situation is a nightmare, I was never on my own for longer than a song – constantly running into people and heading off to see bands where I knew I’d find a pal or two in the crowd already! Some times the people you’re with make the festival even more special!
Paul and I were up bright and breezy on the Monday morning to head into the BBC Radio Scotland studios to chat to Grant Stott on the Afternoon Show about our weekend’s adventures, and I still hadn’t quite got my head around it all – I still haven’t to be honest!
You can hear our chats with all the artists in the wee link below, if you missed them at the time!