As the miserable British summer shows no signs of stopping, many were apprehensive about heading to T in the Park at the weekend. Especially as forecasters predicted it would be the worst festival weather-wise in its 19 year history.
However for those arriving at the campsite on Friday morning, the opposite appeared to be the case. Met with sunshine and relatively unscathed ground, happy campers got pitched and tanned of an afternoon.
Exploring the ground, it was clear T had had a bit of a change-up for 2012. There was no mile long (or what felt like a mile long) Campers Walkway from the arena to campsite. Instead this was replaced with a Sunset Strip, providing entertainment from the edge of the campsite. It was a bit squashed, but there was everything from Morgan’s Spiced Shack to the Lucozade YES Arena, rides, bars, Vodafone charging area and even a Cabaret Tent to keep both campers and non-campers happy.
Despite Friday being a short day in the way of music, there was plenty of Variety going on to keep everyone happy. The Darkness opened the festival’s main stage, warming the crowd with their falsetto pop-rock numbers. After that though, it was a fairly chart-tastic early evening with sets from Cher Lloyd, Labrinth, Olly Murs, Professor Green and Example.
For something a bit more varied (and generally better) the Transmissions Stage and T Break Stage (located at opposite ends of the arena) were the places to hang out. On T Break, fresh from their Forth Bridge gig, Edinburgh locals Bwani Junction laid out a cheery T Break set. While not as banterous as they could be, their boyish charm only enhances their jangly indie rock songs, which the crowd seemed to eat up and cheer enthusiastically for – especially when they closed with fan favourite Two Bridges.
However the act that really stole the show on Friday was a girl by the name of Florence, along with her Machine. Wearing a beautiful vintage black and gold ball gown in a typically, yet beautifully art-deco style stage set, she sang and danced her way through a collection of tracks from Lungs and Ceremonials. High points were the biggest hits such as Rabbit Heart and Shake It Out. Her voice was faultless and her fearlessness and willingness to succumb to the music during Dog Days Are Over was magical to watch. And in spectacularly witty Florence style, “Try not to get too wet,” she signed off, “but try and get very drunk.”
From then on, depending on your mood, your Friday night ended with Snow Patrol, Tinie Tempah or New Order. Bearing in mind both played the festival within the last couple of years, Snow Patrol are a bit predictable/boring for a Friday night and Tinie is at literally every festival from Miami to Ibiza via Balado this year – New Order was really the only way to go.
Peter Hook, however, was nowhere to be seen. Although since T was last graced with their presence, Gillian Gilbert had returned on keyboards and their sound benefitted massively. The synth-led set was perhaps different to previous guitar-heavy efforts, but playing King Tuts really suited the vibe and provided a good atmosphere for a 90 minute dance. Being the last act of day 1, the set was big on the hits, not to any complaint. However the encore of Love Will Tear Us Apart, whilst receiving cheers and prompting audience sing-alongs, was fairly unnecessary. A simple and predictable gesture for a festival, but ultimately New Order don’t need to thrive off – or even remain associated with – Joy Division. They have a league of their own.