T in the Park: Sun shines as festival begins

Fans in front of the festival's main stage. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Fans in front of the festival's main stage. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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SCOTLAND’s largest music festival began its 20th anniversary celebrations in style yesterday with 85,000 revellers partying under glorious blue skies.

Organisers said music lovers, who have come from across the UK and overseas, had already created a “phenomenal atmosphere” at this year’s T in the Park.

And they say the event, held at Balado airfield in Kinross, would draw record-breaking crowds – and record-breaking weather.

Geoff Ellis, the festival’s director, said the hot weather – which saw the temperature rise to a sweltering 27C – added to the party atmosphere.

He also described the thousdands of fans who attend the now world-famous event as “the greatest in the world”.

Mr Ellis said: “It was fantastic to open the arena on our 20th year and great to see that the sun has come out to help us celebrate. This will be a weekend not to be missed.

“There was a phenomenal atmosphere, and a great sense of excitement. We can’t wait to celebrate the 20th year of T in the Park with the fans, who truly are the greatest audience in the world.”

Scottish stalwarts The Proclaimers took to the main stage to open this year’s event.

They thrilled an adoring crowd with a 45-minute set which saw them play some of their best-known hits, including Letter to America and Sunshine on Leith.

Folk-rockers Mumford & Sons headlined last night with Rihanna and The Killers topping the bill tonight and tomorrow respectively.

Internationally acclaimed Scottish DJ Calvin Harris and German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk, who made their T in the Park debut, also performed last night.

This year’s festival bill has a variety of music including R&B, folk, techno, rock and punk. Other acts taking to the various stages over the long weekend include The Script, the Stereo-phonics, Snoop Dogg, David Guetta, Paloma Faith, Beady Eye and Emeli Sande.

George Kyle, head of sponsorship at Tennent’s Lager, said:

“T in the Park is the best weekend of the year for us, and we’re incredibly proud to have been the ‘T’ in T in the Park since the very beginning. Here’s to 20 great years.”

Police said they were “delighted” by the behaviour of fans attending the festival.

Justice secretary Kenny

MacAskill had earlier urged revellers to heed a police drug warning following deaths linked to fake ecstasy pills.

Pictures of the pills, coloured green with a Rolex stamp, have been posted around the festival site and drugs amnesty bins have been placed at the gates for people to dispose of any substances without fear of prosecution or exclusion.

Once inside, people face a police zero-tolerance policy on drugs.

Mr MacAskill said: “This year police and the NHS have issued warnings about a tablets being sold as ecstasy which contain dangerous chemicals. I would encourage everyone to heed these warnings and enjoy a safe festival.”

Organisers announced that the festival has sold more than 2.5 million tickets over the past two decades.

Fans enjoying the gig with the sunshine on their backs were boosted by news that the good weather is set to continue through the weekend.

Among the revellers were Collete and Scott Wallace, 38, from Stirling, who were celebrating their 15th wedding

anniversary.

Collete said: “This is the first time we’ve been, this was a treat to ourselves for our anniversary.”

Pockets of festival-goers were seen dressed in superhero costumes, in accordance with the festival’s Fancy Dress Friday theme.

Andrew McCowan, 37, from Dumfries, flanked by Mr Incredible and a friend in a Duff Beer costume, compared the festival’s 20th anniversary with previous visits. “I think it’s a wee bit quieter, there’s a wee bit more spare. I think it’s a wee bit more secure as well,” he said.