Playground Festival, Rouken Glen Park, Glasgow ***
In the shiny new world of digital ticketing, it helps to have good – or, indeed, any – wifi coverage in your locale. But once the entry delays were negotiated, the Playground festival site in leafy East Renfrewshire proved to be a lovely place to queue some more, whether for the bar or the fancy pants means to pay for your drinks via wristband QR code. Technology, eh?
At least there were plenty and varied seating areas for the mostly older gig-going crowd to rest their pins afterwards.
Thank goodness for good old-fashioned live music – although even that was fraught with late announcements of key cancellations, creating a black hole in the Saturday evening schedule between Sister Sledge’s classic disco set, helmed by Kathy Sledge in fabulous voice and ready for action in her trainers and sequins, and a somewhat perfunctory, if slick, headline set from Culture Club.
With the main arena effectively a dead zone for a couple of hours, festival-goers made their fun in the atmospheric al fresco clubbing space of the Forest Stage, with ace DJs Optimo turning in a relatively commercial party set to galvanise the generations.
Meanwhile, the Playpark Stage hosted the harder pumping sounds of French electro producer Vitalic and the eccentric performance art attack of the inimitable Roisin Murphy.
Rewind 24 hours and the ever-reliable James dispensed their durable festival anthems in fairly freewheeling style. Although it took a while for their set to catch fire, they have a general crowd-pleasing palatability which headliners The Libertines lack. Their appeal is more tribal, though cult leader Pete Doherty looked prematurely middle-aged in flat cap compared to his match fit rock star bandmates.
However, sonic heroes of the weekend were Orbital, who delivered a witty Friday night techno celebration, with complementary warm-up DJ set from writer Irvine Welsh.
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