T in the Park: A sizzling anniversary to remember

Scotland’s biggest music festival came to an end under blue skies yesterday – with organisers describing the event’s 20th anniversary celebration as “incredible”.

Azealia Banks. Picture: Greg Macvean
Azealia Banks. Picture: Greg Macvean

US rockers The Killers put on a show-stopping set for 85,000 adoring fans at Balado in Fife as T in the Park was brought to a memorable close.

But while festival-goers and organisers said the warm weather added to the carnival atmosphere, medics revealed they were left dealing with one of the highest number of casualties ever seen at the festival.

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Neil Gilles, head of the event’s medical services, said: “We’ve had 1,035 people present to the medical tent, mostly due to people not keeping themselves hydrated and not using sunscreen.”

British singer-songwriter Rita Ora. Picture: Greg Macvean

A number of revellers were seen putting more clothes on – including a range of fancy dress costumes including animals, superheroes and cowboys – in a bid to cover up from searing sunshine.

The sun blazed down on Balado all day yesterday as a diverse range of acts took the various stages.

The day stared with a retro blast of funk from 70s group Earth, Wind and Fire, who had the site up and dancing, setting the mood for the rest of the sun-soaked day.

A number of fans took a more relaxed approach, however, stretching out on the grass rather than huddling into crowds to enjoy veteran rockers Ocean Colour Scene, former X Factor winners Little Mix, David Guetta, Rita Ora and Welsh rockers The Stereophonics.

As day turned to night Balado was lit up with thousands of people wearing the now trademark day-glo body paint. And many fans described this year’s event as the best yet. Amy Shields, 18, from Glasgow, said: “You can come here have a good time without actually seeing any bands. It’s been great to sit out here just enjoying the sun, and just taking in the atmosphere.”

And Luca Epple, 27, and Luca Arnett, 26, both of Switzerland, told how they had come over to Scotland to the festival for the 6th year in a row. Mr Epple said: “It’s because of the people, the ambience, the music. We don’t have so many festivals in Switzerland, so something like this is very special. To see this many bands back home would cost a million pounds and take a whole year.”

Mr Arnett added: “One of the great things is the spirit of the festival. You get whole families here, young and old. In Switzerland, the average age of people at festivals is 16. Also, here, people will just come up to you and ask how you are and if you’re having a good time, which just doesn’t happen back home.

“I would love to take some of that spirit home.”

Festival director Geoff Ellis said he had been delighted with the festival’s 20th anniversary and, as always, took time to praise the fans for creating such a party atmosphere.

He said: “It’s been an incredible year, what a way to celebrate our 20th.

“The line-up again reflects the diversity of acts we’ve enjoyed all weekend. From Rita Ora, to Earth Wind and Fire, Azealia Banks to Labrinth, the programme’s been jam-packed and fans are loving it.”

Police Scotland also praised fans’ behaviour, with a spokesman saying: “Our arrest figures, mainly for petty crimes, are very low considering the scale of the event and we are generally delighted with the conduct of fans.”

He also said officers had not come across any of the potentially toxic fake ecstasy tablets which the police had warned festival goers about. The drugs have been linked to seven deaths in the west of Scotland.

Superintendent Rick Dunkerley, said: “The general conduct throughout the weekend has been very positive.

“There have been 57 arrests in total since the campsite opened on Thursday.”

Among one of the most striking additions to the site’s landmarks was a 20ft skull fashioned from wire mesh and empty plastic bottles and containers found at T in the Park. The sculpture, which lit up at night, was designed as a reminder of the amount of waste created during the weekend, and the need to look after the site

Mr Ellis said: “T in the Park has a great reputation as an environmentally-aware festival – we’ve won a ‘Greener Festival’ award for the last few years and we want to continue to look after this beautiful site.

“We’re asking fans to help us to do that by making sure that they reuse their tent next year.”