Artist Spotlight: British Sea Power

June 5, 2008

Artist Spotlight: British Sea Power

British Sea Power thumbFor the second of our interviews with acts playing at this year’s Festival, we spoke to Noble from nature-loving art-popsters (and Glasto veterans) British Sea Power.

Hello Noble. Where are British Sea Power playing at this year’s Festival?

We’re playing on the John Peel Stage on the Saturday and then in the Left Field tent on Sunday night. We’ve got an acoustic show too, in the Guardian tent.

How many times have the band played Glastonbury before?

Three times, I think. The first time we played the New Bands stage, then it was the Other Stage and then the Left Field. We didn’t get paid for the Left Field one – nobody does – but we said yeah just so that we could get to go to Glastonbury.

Are you staying for the whole weekend this year?

Yep. We’ll probably be camping behind the John Peel stage. You do like a good toilet in your old age.

Have you been to the Festival as a punter?

Yeah, I went for two or three years running when I was about 16, in the early to mid 90s. I remember Rolf Harris and Bob Dylan were both on the Pyramid one year. And another time it was the reformed Velvet Underground, which was really good, apart from Lou Reed being a bit difficult and trying to ad-lib his way through songs.

British Sea
PowerWhat kind of things would you recommend for a weekend at Glastonbury?

Well, getting absolutely off your face is always one option. But the main thing is to just walk around. If there’s a little pathway and you don’t know where it’s going, follow it and see where you end up. But don’t try walking across hot coals when you’re on acid.

Did you do that?


So, are you a camping aficionado?

Yeah, absolutely.

What are your top Glastonbury camping tips?

Camp on high ground, otherwise if it rains you get mud and piss in your tent.

Is there anywhere in particular you’d recommend to camp?

Just away from the toilets. We always used to go up near the first aid bit, by the big cinema screen. That’s as good as anywhere. We ended up there by chance the first year and then camped there every year afterwards.

Where do you stand on the whole idea of people putting tape around their group of tents?

Well, I suppose they want to feel like they’ve got their own campsite, but they’re in no position to moan if people fall through it, as they inevitably will.

Have you looked at the line-up for this year?

Not really. Although I have heard that Shakin’ Stevens is playing.

He is indeed.

Brilliant. The Welsh Elvis. I’m a fan. Is he on the Pyramid Stage?

Yes, on the Saturday morning.

Oh, that’ll be good. That could be one of the Festival highlights. I hope he plays his Christmas song. I often slip that into DJ sets and it goes down surprisingly well.

Do you tend to spend a lot of time at the Pyramid Stage?

Not really, I usually wander around. But a few years ago when Oasis played, I went to see them. I’ve never been a big fan, but it was almost like being in a football crowd, with everyone singing. I actually really enjoyed it. But I’d say people should try and get a little bit of everything, not just stay in one place.

British Sea Power with flagsHave you dabbled in the Theatre and Cabaret areas?

Yeah. I never know what I’m going to, but you just kind of walk around and see what you find. Occasionally you’ll come across something really good.

Do any highlights spring to mind?

Well, I had a friend who stumbled upon a tent with a woman doing fanny farts. She was just sat in the middle of a massive tent with a microphone between her legs. Amazing.

How did you get to the Festival when you went as a punter?

Normally I’d just get the coach.

How did you find that?

Yeah, it was fine, although the walk to the site is a bit of a pain if you’ve got loads of beers. So I’d suggest that you buy your beers on site, but bring loads of spirits – decanted into plastic bottles, of course.

Have you ever seen in the sunrise at the Stone Circle?

I have, yeah. It’s brilliant up there, even now with all the mobile phones about. It’s a really good laugh. You walk around all night and that’s usually the last place where things are happening. There’ll just be loads of people sitting around singing and playing bongos.

So, are the band looking forward to the Festival this year?

Yeah. We’d do Glastonbury even if we weren’t getting paid, just because we enjoy it. I’m particularly looking forward to The Left Field show on the Sunday night. That should be really good. I wonder who we’re up against in that slot.

Bands playing at that point include The Verve, Groove Armada, The National, Manu Chao, Joan Baez and My Morning Jacket.

Ooh, I’d like to have seen My Morning Jacket. Maybe next time.

Do you folks approach a festival set differently as a band?

Well it’s about half as long s a normal show, so you do have to think it through. It makes sense to do your most popular singles cos people will sing along and jump about, but you want to do something a bit more artistic too. You have to get the balance.

Do you still encourage people to bring foliage to your shows?

Definitely. And we’re going to be announcing a flag-making competition soon too. Keep an eye on our website for that. So, essentially, it’s either make your own flag or just bring a branch.

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