Friday 8 July

First, some introductions. Our Lost Infantry are Thom Ashworth, Matt Phelps, Tom Astbury and Parkin. Myself, as manager, and Barney Jeavons, as guitar tech, were their crew for the weekend. We all crammed into the big yellow van ready for the long trip up to Scotland. When OLI were approached by the BBC about playing their Introducing stage at T In The Park, we started planning a promotional campaign immediately. With a rucksack full of over 700 handmade flyers and almost 100 CDs to give away, plus many free T-shirts, we were determined to make the most of this opportunity.

With a 900-mile round trip ahead of us, we decided to make the most of the weekend and head off early on the Friday. Little did we know the traffic problems that would lie ahead. Leaving Aldershot at 10am, we did not arrive on site until 1am. 15 hours in one vehicle: “The longest time I’ve spent in one place since I exited the womb”, according to Matt. We stopped on the M1 for a few hours in static traffic, and this gave us the chance to have a picnic, and for Parkin to learn some new slang terms while making friends with lorry drivers – Ted Rogers, anyone?

We eventually did get past the traffic and started moving again. I’m not sure if it applies to all bands, but OLI’s rhythm section have the enviable trait of falling asleep easily, on both long and short journeys. Parkin woke up the other side of Northampton and asked: “Are we in Scotland yet?” The disappointment on his face when we said there’s another 300 miles to go will live with me for a long time. We eventually arrived in Scotland and on to Kinross, and saw the bright lights of the fairground and famous big wheel ahead. Many of the band were astounded by how big the site was and we attempted to get to sleep, a couple of members having to make do in the van, as it was too dark to put up the huge tent. I say attempted to sleep, the Scottish crowd, on a high after the first day of their festival, were in no mood for that and you could hear the fun they were having.

Saturday 9 July

Waking up with aches all over, we moved our tents and put up the main one, which was more like a castle. Now, it was time to go and watch some bands. OLI weren’t playing until Sunday lunchtime, but we made ourselves known to all the BBC Introducing staff, who couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. There was a really nice atmosphere back there and some shelter too, which we did make use of for shelter from the occasional storms. We took a load of flyers and stickers with us into the arena and would hand them to anyone we thought would be interested in seeing OLI. I also handed a camera to a random stranger for Disposable 405 – I’m still awaiting their email back. Grouplove opened our day with an all-too-short 25-minute set of summer anthems that deserved a bigger crowd. We then saw Fight Like Apes play an anarchic set, complete with morph suits and neon dummies, before Everything Everything wowed us all. We then had the misfortune to catch a bit of N-Dubz while walking past the stage. It’s not something I want to do again in a hurry.

We headed back to the BBC Introducing stage and watched Kid Canaveral, who had an incredible upbeat mixture of Belle and Sebastien and Frightened Rabbit, before The Xcerts played another of their special shows. The last time I saw them was their infamous show at The Great Escape. Now, with a home crowd behind them, they managed to find another level. It was a shame their set was cut short but that added to the cut and thrust nature of it all. Murray MacLeod came into the crowd to finish the set, who were giving the band a heroes’ send off. Jimmy Eat World followed over on the NME stage, where we gave away a few CDs and flyers after the BBC put them as a “similar artist” on the OLI Introducing page. The crowd were really getting into them and of course ‘The Middle’ and ‘Sweetness’ ensured mass sing-alongs. By this time, the crowd were very intoxicated and when The Strokes followed, there was a real triumphant feel around the site that was hard not to fall for. The Strokes played the hits, but all bar Julian looked disinterested, a shame but those songs still stand up and ensure huge smiles (and an excessive amount of nudity?) all round. Although it has to be said Julian Casablancas seemed to be having fun, and Albert Hammond Jr couldn’t stop himself laughing when a larger gent decided to go crowdsurfing.

After this, it was time for headliners, OLI all went down the front for Coldplay and I decided that I would see Bright Eyes. I watched the beginning of Coldplay’s set, catching ‘Yellow’ and ‘In My Place’ and couldn’t help thinking the whole stage setup was very U2. I made my way to a surprisingly half-empty tent and tried to watch Bright Eyes, but the band were clearly struggling with the overwhelming noise being made from the dance tent next door. Conor Oberst kept mentioning about their songs being a “mash-up” with the dance beats, but they trooped through, playing ‘Bowl Of Oranges’, ‘Lover I Don’t Have To Love’ and ‘Road To Joy’ complete Conor screaming: “My sex is on fire” – a dig at Beyonce? He also wasn’t entirely complimentary about Chris Martin. At the end of their set, I went back to the main stage to catch the mass singalong to ‘Fix You’ and then the rave-up to ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall’ that followed. A busy day and OLI had a set to perform early the next day so we all headed back to the tents for sleep. Apart from Parkin, his drunken alter-ego Barry Smashface had taken over, not surprising considering he’d had 12 pints by 4pm!

Sunday 10 July

What we’d all been waiting for was finally here, arriving very promptly with instuments in tow, we were even there before the staff! We sat at the BBC Introducing Stage and then got some breakfast from the brilliant Healthy T section of the site. As soon as we saw people arriving through the gates, Barney and I went flyering. Barney was recognised from his starring role in the Reuben DVD, where he talks about his experiences managing them, and it can only be hoped they took notice of the flyer. We watched The Narrows, who had a dark electro-tinged set with a touch of Interpol that suited a morning festival appearance. OLI followed them and I went out into the crowd, handing out a few free T-shirts and chatting to punters. They opened their 25 minutes with a blast of energy, that seemed to draw more of a crowd and midway through the set, Tom decided to announce that I had plenty of free stuff on me. All of a sudden, I was surrounded by people and the only thing I could think to do was throw all the T-shirts skywards and just let people snatch CDs. Barney said I had a “rabbit caught in the headlights” moment, and Tom said on stage it looked like I’d been mobbed and all he could see was the red sleeve of my hoodie throw a load of T-shirts in the air. This went down well and then the rest of the set flew. After the set, we were overwhelmed by positive feedback, especially from the compere BBC Introducing Scorland’s Ally McCrae. It felt like a real step forwards for the band, and we hope our pro-active approach paid dividends.

We took our stuff back to the van and then headed back to the tent and listened to Blondie while the apocalypse seemed to set in outside. We left the tent to find the campsite in monsoon-like conditions and then headed to watch Weezer, Rivers Cuomo on real form, ending up in the crowd and wearing a poncho throughout the set, while the band played the hits and covers of ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ and ‘Paranoid Android’. Heading back to the Introducing stage, we saw Bronto Skylift’s energetic and brutal set before back over to Pulp, with Jarvis once again handing sweets out to the front row and wiping his bum on the final edition of the News Of The World. Mass singalongs to those classics from ‘Different Class’, and a breakout of dancing in the mud to ‘Disco 2000’ were stand-out moments of the festival for me. By The Rivers, a reggae band from Leicester, got the Introducing crowd skanking despite the rain and could be one to look out for, especially as they’ve just been confirmed to support The Specials later in the year.

I left the majority of OLI watching Foo Fighters to check out Noah and the Whale, who were very impressive. They’ve got it in them to do an Elbow and end up taking on the mantle of huge slots at these kinds of festivals. Eels followed, playing a garage-rock-blues set complete with a brass section, a brilliant and unexpected treat. I then caught up with the rest of OLI for the end of Foo Fighters, reliving my youth with ‘This Is A Call’ and ‘Everlong’ while fireworks were let off around the site. A lone bagpiper came on to close the festival while Dave Grohl looked on in appreciation. It was a fitting end to the weekend. The next day, we got home in less than half the time it took us to get to the site, and there was a real positive atmosphere in the van that this was not only a most enjoyable festival, but also an extremely productive weekend.