The Insider's Guide to Festivals

Bombay Bicycle Club

Jamie MacColl, guitarist of the North London indie band, recommends Factor 30, Italian liqueur and staying out of the swimming pool. 

Our festival rider is no different to our normal one. Just lots of alcohol. I’ve been pushing to put sun cream on it for a while. I’m a redhead and I got really burnt during the hour we were on stage at Glastonbury last year.

Our first experience backstage was at V when we were 15. I remember us being overwhelmed by the free beer on tap and the fact there were people who’d give you a massage if you wanted. We were walking around asking bands for photos. We were pretty shameless.

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The European festivals are usually a lot more impressive. We’re doing Benicassim [in Spain] this year, which is famous for having a swimming pool backstage. I don’t think I’ll go in. Apparently, what’s in there’s not very nice, especially if you arrive on the Sunday and there have been people in it for four days.

The secret of a good festival set is to play the hits.

We’re most looking forward to playing at Reading and Leeds. It’s probably not the festival I’d choose to go to as a fan because I’m not 16 and don’t want to drown myself in cider, but they’re generally very passionate there. Probably because of all the cider.

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I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad festival experience. Though the first time we played Reading, we stayed on afterwards and our drummer got thrown out — he threw up on a security guard. Twice. He hates me telling this story. So publish away.

My essential festival item is a hip flask. I always bring a little one with me to avoid security. What’s in it? Um. Amaretto. I’m not joking. It’s a sugar kick.

Bombay Bicycle Club will play Reading and Leeds (24, 25 August)

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