Reading & Leeds 2013: Frightened Rabbit, Duologue and more talk first festival experiences

Heading to your first festival this weekend? Feeling a slight sense of trepidation at the prospect of camping next to thousands of strangers? Or just itching to get yourself down the front for your favourite band? Either way, we all start somewhere.

To celebrate everyone who’s breaking their festival duck this weekend, we’ve asked several of the bands playing at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival to tell us about their first time. Kicking off proceedings is Frightened Rabbit’s front-man Scott Hutchison…

Frightened Rabbit

My first festival was T in the Park 1996. A friend and I went for the day and the first band we saw were Feeder, when they still wore orange boiler suits on stage. Other “highlights” of the day were Kula Shaker (why did they get a game?), Dodgy (waiting for the summer tune for an hour) and (this was genuinely great actually) The Charlatans headline set. Then my mum came and picked us up. What a day!


Reading 2005 was the first time. Pixies back catalogue on the main stage. Getting loose with Roots Manuva. Dancing like elephants to Death From Above 1979. Arcade Fire played most of their astonishing debut album Funeral.

Arctic Monkeys were playing the Carling stage and MIA smashed the Sunday evening, which was rounded off with the traditional screaming of “bollocks” in the campsite. Great times!


Ruen Brothers

The first festival we went to was Glastonbury 2013. We were late comers to the UK festival scene. Previous gigging commitments at pubs and clubs over the past few years meant we were never able to get our hands on tickets. What a way to start with Glastonbury… The first festival experience and amazingly we got to perform there.

Kindly invited by the BBC Introducing team to play the Introducing Stage on Saturday late afternoon, we were slotted in-between Gabrielle Aplin and Billy Bragg – not a bad position, eh? We had a packed tent singing, dancing and clapping along, could life get any better!?

Wait it could… Stoked that some of our favourite acts of all time The Rolling Stones and Bobby Womack were performing, meant we had landed in heaven. EPIC was the word of the weekend. The food, friends and amazing music, made it an experience we won’t forget.

With it being Glasto, we were expecting rain, sludge and wellies. Instead; sunshine, blue skies and good times!

Sancisco 2
San Cisco

I think Southbound 2007 was my first festival experience. Its one of the bigger festivals in Western Australia and a sort of rite of passage for most teenagers. I remember looking forward to see lots of bands but honestly I have no recollection of who played I was just stoked to be let loose with all my friends in such a fun environment.

Overrun with terrible expensive food and horribly drunk, poorly tattooed bodybuilders in nipple exposing singlets, I had one of those euphoric moments in which I realised the demographic of people and accepted behaviour was unlike any other public venue or event I’d ever attended.

Still unsure as to how I felt about this situation I’d placed myself in, I eventually embraced it and forced some cheap liquor down that someone smuggled in.

As the evening progressed our group stuck close together out of fear of being separated, being alone amongst the sweaty, stumbling, semi-naked individuals was daunting to say the least. The humidity of the tent was stifling and I was too broke to buy water.

I remember being a little disappointed by the sound of the bands, I suppose it was outdoors and a windy day, also I was suffering from chronic fatigue from trudging through knee high rubbish everywhere which made it hard to enjoy anything.

By 10pm it was all over and a mass exodus ensued, we were herded like cattle through tall fences and released into the bright street like animals in headlights. Then did the same things the next two days. However I’ve been back a number of times to southbound, performing and puntering, and always left exhausted but stoked.