THE rain might have fallen more than normal but the spirits of the crowd didn’t drop at last weekend’s T in the Park.
As a seasoned Balado Park campaigner I wasn’t incredibly overwhelmed by the line-up, and I was a bit worried about the weather forecast as Mrs Quinn and I headed via shuttle bus to T in the Park last Saturday.
But once I got there, I remembered that it doesn’t matter about either - T in the Park is all about the fans.
In my late teens and early twenties, the festival was the annual highlight. Every year I and anywhere between a dozen to 40 of my friends would pitch our tents and settle in for a weekend of music and more importantly - laughs.
Each year, regardless of how many friends I went with, I would return with more.
That’s the great thing about T in the Park - the atmosphere never drops and everybody gets on.
The feel-good vibe is infectious and creates an amazing laid-back ambience, with nobody caring about making a fool of themselves. They just want to have a good time.
After missing out last year due to the birth of my son, I had almost forgotten that this ethos is still the most important thing.
The first band we saw was Shed Seven. Within a minute of finding a decent spot in front of the main stage ahead of their performance, we were deep in conversation with a group of Glaswegians, whose banter was so good ‘the Sheds’ 45 minute performance was over before I had even begun to enjoy it.
Now, you would think that would be annoying, but no, they just wanted to share cigarettes, drink and chat with complete strangers. ‘Big Paul’ in particular revelled in telling us about the recent birth of his first child, crazy when you consider he had never met us in his life!
But that kind of instant friendliness is key to the T In The Park atmosphere which so many of the acts refer to.
Even though the festival has grown incredibly since I first encountered Balado back in 1999, and the demographic of the crowd has moved from all-Scottish to a real mix of festival-goers from England and further afield, that friendly up-for-a-good-time feel has never diminished.
That ‘not caring about what people think’ approach to having a good time was everywhere I looked, whether that was fans covered head to toe in mud or the brave guy dressed in a Borat ‘mankini’, everybody left their inhibitions at home.
To see what I mean, check out some of the hilarious videos already doing the rounds on social networking sites. Top marks have to go the young man who dived from a picnic bench into a huge puddle to the delight of a watching crowd.
Also worth a mention are the campers who went sliding down the muddy campsite walkways on inflatable chairs and mattresses.
This abandon takes the atmosphere up a notch or two during performances.
While watching Kasabian on the main stage, my wife and I suddenly became surrounded by three separate man-made mosh pits that sprung up like typhoons.
While it might normally seem scary to be in the middle of about 100 people throwing themselves towards each other, the atmosphere remained positive with everyone quick to come to the assistance of anyone who lost their footing.
It was also during that final set that I witnessed in-crowd catering for the first time, when a couple from Wishaw handed out wine from a silver foil bag that they had smuggled in, with Jane just happy to see her fantasy man Serge Pizzorno bounce onto the stage.
So all in all, despite the energy-sapping mud leaving me with legs like tree trunks, this old veteran of 13 T tours of duty headed home buoyed by the fact that the true spirit of the festival remains.
Roll on T20 next year.