Bastille's maddest festival: 'Every sixth tent was on fire'

Bastille's Dan Smith on Jay-Z, pessimism and zebras

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The Independent Culture

Reading and Leeds, Bestival, T In The Park, Isle of Wight, Glastonbury: you're playing virtually every major festival this summer…

It's exciting, because we got booked way in advance, before things went a bit mad, so these places have taken a punt on us. I'm pessimistic, and I've never had a bucket list, but the one thing I've always secretly aimed to do is play on the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury. So I've ticked off the one bullet point on my list. I can quit

Which others most excite you?

All of them! I'm obsessed with festivals. But it'll be special to go back to some of the places where we've previously played tiny stages. Last year we hung out at Bestival dressed as zebras - our keyboardist Kyle is obsessed with Bestival, it's the most important weekend of his year, so we'll love that. Blissfields is special, too.

Will you get some leisure time?

The one negative of being so busy is that you can't stick about much afterwards. But our one bit of holiday for the year is Glastonbury weekend. We're going to really enjoy that. Your top festival moment to date? Playing on the Festival Republic stage at Reading last year. Being very pessimistic, I thought nobody would come, or we'd have stuff thrown at us. But everyone was really up for it.

What other acts do you want to see?

We're playing with Major Lazer at Reading, so we'll watch them like embarrassing fanboys. Then there's The Stones and James Blake at Glastonbury, Frank Ocean at T In The Park. I'll see as much as possible.

What's the best festival performance you've ever seen as a fan?

Jay-Z at Glastonbury. It was so cool when he came out singing Wonderwall badly – it was a massive two fingers to the critics and the press. He owned it, and he did it without bringing in his superstar friends, as people thought he would. Maddest sight seen at a festival? Reading can be post-apocalyptic. Last time I was there, every sixth tent was on fire, it was chaos. There's also the rumour of the woman getting into the toilets at Glastonbury to find a ring… but I never saw that!

Who's at your dream festival?

Simon & Garfunkel, Antony and the Johnsons, then Daft Punk. I've got an Antony and the Johnsons live album, and the set begins with a four-minute talk about transgender physicality. So maybe I'm not the best person to be booking festivals.

Finally, will you be smoothing down your hair to go incognito among the punters this year?

No! I still can't imagine myself getting recognised or anyone caring. It'll be weird if that happens.