Most of the major UK music festivals so far have shown a leaning to classic and hard rock that would have even the most cynical rocker impressed but Scotland’s premier festival, T in The Park, appears to be letting the side down. Its common knowledge that the Scots like to have a drink and a party, with Angus Young from AC/DC one of the few Scottish adults who doesn’t take a drink but perhaps the schoolboy uniform has something to do with that, so this omission is puzzling. Yes, there is a recession on and the festival has no doubt tried to go for as mainstream and punter-pulling line-up as possible but the success of so many other festivals with classic guitarists and legendary front-men on their main stage indicates that rock can be a winner.
So whilst Neil Young rocked out on the Isle of Wight and Glastonbury and Sonisphere can look forward to Metallica, T in the Park can welcome Lady Gaga, Snow Patrol and
The Saturdays. Yes, as a manufactured girl group with a large fan base they have their place in society but is it really in front of a baying audience who wants to hear their music? We can only hope the girls make it out alive but perhaps a little bit of defiance may persuade the T in the Park promoters that there is room for a little rock n roll in Balado.
The Manic Street Preachers are a headliner in a tent on Saturday so it is not all shiny pop or thumping techno and with the band playing new material featuring lyrics from Richey Edwards, it may be a throwback to their early days when they rocked with a vengeance. Another blast from the past headlining over the weekend are Blur but as was so often the case, their set will be compared with the Oasis shows that are taking place at Wembley Stadium. These two are always going to be inter-linked although some find it funny that Daman Albarn is the brains behind the Gorillaz given that Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher and their army of fans are likened to shaved apes by a number of observers.
Of course, T in The Park has had many classic and vibrant rock stars before so perhaps the omission this year is a one off. Those who witnessed it will not forget the sight of Iggy Pop bouncing about the main stage inviting the kids up to party with him or Dave Grohl wowing a capacity crowd with the Foo Fighters but making most people secretly wish they were watching Nirvana.
The thing is though, the hard rocking acts may be missing from the stage but you can bet there will be lot of Ramones, Sex Pistols, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin t-shirts being worn but the crowd and riffs rolling around the camp site. DF Concerts and (bald) head honcho Geoff Ellis may have lost touch with what the people want from a music festival but you can bet your life that the people who turn up at T in The Park 2009 will be rocking out from start to finish.