For thousands of music fans there’s only one place to be this weekend - Balado!
T in the Park celebrates its 20th anniversary with a final farewell to its Kinross-shire home.
Scotland’s biggest music festival is controversially moving some 20 miles away next year to Strathallan Estate in Perthshire as a result of pressure from the Health and Safety Executive amid fears about the safety of the North Sea oil pipeline that runs underneath the current site.
But despite the move, organisers are keen to ensure that everyone has a ball this year and that the festival goes out on a high.
Speaking to the Press last week ahead of the festival, director Geoff Ellis said he was looking forward to welcoming the crowds to this year’s event.
He said: “It’s getting very close now and it’s getting very exciting. Structures are going up and it’s all coming together as planned.
“The good weather coming in made it a bit easier and we can’t wait to open the gates.
“All the preparations that should happen are happening.
“It’s 12 months of preparation all coming together.”
This will be the 18th year ‘T’ has been held in Kinross-shire.
Festival-goers will begin arriving on Thursday evening to see a stellar weekend line-up of more than 200 acts.
To whet their appetite, the first evening will include performances by Drums of Death and Mia Dora.
They will be followed on Friday night by headliners Ed Sheeran, Biffy Clyro and Ellie Goulding on the main stage and the Manic Street Preachers in King Tut’s Tent.
Then on Saturday the main stage acts include Paolo Nutini, Calvin Harris and Pharrell Williams, with Elbow, John Newman, Ben Howard and the Human League providing the entertainment elsewhere.
Sunday is certain to be an emotional occasion as Balado Airfield rocks for the final time.
The Arctic Monkeys have the honour of playing the festival out, headlining a day of performances by Jake Bugg, Paul Weller, Bastille, Kaiser Chiefs, Example, Franz Ferdinand , Passenger and many more.
Geoff continued: “Personally I’m looking forward to Example, Biffy Clyro, Pharell Williams, Paul Weller.
“There’s some of the new acts I’d like to see too, such as Royal B and Catfish and the Bottlemen.
“There’s a very exciting line up and going through it I keep saying I want to see that act, but that’s while this other act is on, so I’m not sure how I’m going to manage it.”
Once again the festival is being sponsored by Tennants Lager and the beer producers are again hosting the T Break stage.
George Kyle, head of sponsorship at the company, said he too was looking forward to this year’s festival.
He’s been involved with Tennants for as long as the festival has been held at Balado.
He said: “Paul Weller back in 2004 was the highlight of my time with T.
“But there will be highlights to every year and with the move it will be a time for new memories.
“Everyone at Tennants is proud to be part of the festival and is looking forward to the T Break stage.
“It’s our 19th year of supporting unsigned acts.
“This year we have found 16 new acts from thousands of entries.
“Over the years it’s been a great depth of talent for us.
“We’ve had those who have gone on to do well and hopefully some of the acts will be successful and will appear further up on the bill of other stages in future years.”
George said that supporting the upcoming, unsigned new talent is important to the company.
“We make no claim that these bands will be signed but if they are hard working and put in the effort breaks may come,” he continued.
“We get to offer bands the chance to play on a stage in front of large crowds, which is an incredible experience.
“ The T-Break stage is a highlight for so many people and if we’re able to offer that as a stepping stone for success and to develop careers it can only be a good thing.”
This year for the first time there will be the Palm Stage, a Miami themed outdoor party area located next to the Slam Tent.
And among those entertaining the crowd with tunes will be local DJ Martin Valentine.
Opening the stage tonight (Thursday) will be Lil Loui from Chicago with special guests to be announced.
Martin, who is from Burntisland, will be taking to the stage and getting behind the decks on Saturday night from 8.00-9.00 p.m.
And he’s looking forward to the experience of playing T in the Park.
He said: “It’s the first year of this stage and my first year playing at the festival.
“I’ve been so many times previously as a festival goer I can’t wait.”
Speaking about T’s move to Strathallan, boss Geoff said: “It will be bye bye Balado this year.
“We are very sad to leave what’s been our home for 18 years.
“It’s the end of an era.
“But we’ve got a fantastic new site and it’s the start of a new chapter.
“We’ll definitely try to give Balado a great send off.”