T in the Park 2015, review: A line-up that made The Libertines look like youngsters

Noel Gallagher, The Prodigy and Kasabian also played the festival

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The Independent Culture

“I like what you’ve done with the place,” smiled Noel Gallagher as this year’s T in the Park drew to a close. Although it was the 22nd year of the major Scottish music festival, this was the first edition to be held at its new site in the grounds of Strathallan Castle in Perthshire. T’s former home at Balado airfield a few miles down the road was finally vetoed last year after long-running safety issues with the pipeline from BP’s Forties oilfield, which runs directly under it.

By the time Gallagher and his High Flying Birds arrived on Sunday, the wet weather which hit the previous two nights was gone and these packed fields were, if not tranquil, then certainly as at peace as T gets.

Attended by a famously lively Scottish audience, the festival had seen those travelling daily by bus and car hit by traffic delays each night, caused by a combination of hard to access country roads and Saturday night mud. Much of the frustration felt at this landed on social media, but within the site there was a sense that everything was running smoothly.

 

No doubt mindful of the perils of essentially starting from scratch when audiences stick with an event like this for the sense of comfort and familiarity, the most prominent musical choices this year played it safe. There was Gallagher, of course, a dependable but less fiery booking than in his Oasis period, his ambling, countryesque ‘Fade Away’ a weary shot of nostalgia from T’s earliest days.

On Friday the headliners were Kasabian, reliably noisy and bullish, singer Tom Meighan channelling Jason Statham with his freshly-shaved head. They covered Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust For Life’, presumably as a hat-tip to Trainspotting – back to the ‘90s once more.

This and Sunday’s repertoire of Oasis tracks wouldn’t be the only time machine to two decades ago, with the Stereophonics given a high billing which represented their popularity if not their current acclaim, and the Prodigy doling out a typically lairy sonic hammering to close the second stage. In this context the Libertines were virtually youngsters, playing a lively set on Saturday night which featured well-received new tracks ‘Gunga Din’ and ‘Barbarians’.

Set against these old-stagers, T embraces the rise of EDM like no other major festival, with David Guetta, Avicii and Oliver Heldens playing prominent sets which were so satisfyingly loud the bass vibrated up from the ground and set off car alarms over the fence. All these from a festival whose Slam Tent is one of the best dedicated dance arenas in the UK, this year welcoming DJs including Annie Mac and Maya Jane Coles.

A few hidden gems lurked further down the bill; the New Wave meets acid house rush of Hot Chip on Friday, for example, or the pleasing oddball indie one-two of Everything Everything and Modest Mouse under cover on Sunday afternoon. Yet as Gallagher hollered the urgent, prescient chorus line of ‘You Know We Can’t Go Back’ later that evening, the sense was that T had taken us back to its heyday to insulate us from the upheaval around us.

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