The weekend of 29th May saw renowned tribute festival Glastonbudget return for its 12th year.
2016’s line-up included tributes to legends such as Mercury, Michael Jackson and Tina Turner, as well as a whole variety of young, original bands.
The first artist I spoke to was Ben as Michael Jackson, who has played Glastonbudget for the last five years – along with his band, he headlined the festival the first time they played, and have opened every time since.
“We just love it here, it’s always nice and lively, which is why we keep coming back,”he said.
Ben also revealed that they’ve been working really hard on a new theatre show called Michael.
“For this new show, we’re bringing in the whole catalogue of Michael’s music. We’re making it into a huge musical celebration, as well as a concert experience,” he said. “It was really wonderful to give half of the set a run out tonight and see how people liked it. The reaction was amazing.”
One thing I always wonder is how tribute artists start out – what does it take to actually impersonate such an established performer?
Ben explained, “I was just leaving school and I didn’t really know what else to do. My friends told me that I sounded like Michael, and I’d always danced like him, so I thought, let’s give this a go.
“I started with clubs, weddings and corporate events, and eventually I started working with James Baker productions. We put on a live band and dancers, and it’s really sailed onwards from there.”
Finally, he said the best thing about being a tribute to the King of Pop is the legacy he left behind.
“It’s great to see all the people that love his music still, from young to old, knowing everything from The Jackson 5 upwards. I think that his music will always live on.”
You can catch Michael in theatres this year – for more information, click here.
Having debuted Glastonbudget last year, Bruno Mars Tribute Band were back at the Big Top.
Singer Bran Maz said, “I think it went a lot better this year. We came back with new songs and new arrangements, and it was a lot stronger. There was a bigger crowd as well.”
When I’d last spoken to the band, they’d just missed out on meeting Bruno Mars – but since then, a year on, had they finally managed to meet the man himself?
They told me: “We’ve not met him yet, but Bruno’s bass player tweeted us, so we’re basically best friends now!”
With so many hit songs, picking a favourite to play live must be a challenge. However, Bran answered confidently that his was Uptown Funk, as everyone knows it and it’s his most recent song.
They hope to be back next year, headlining the main stage.
Having played for the last nine years, Arctic Monkeys tribute band, Antarctic Monkeys, are no strangers to Glastonbudget.
This year they played the Big Top to a very, erm, enthusiastic crowd – so much so, that various pieces of underwear and some headbands were thrown at them during their set.
“It seemed pretty awesome, the crowd were loving it, and it’s the busiest I’ve seen the Big Top since we’ve been playing. Getting stuff chucked at us is not a usual occurrence at our gigs!” They commented.
Since I last spoke to them a year ago, the band have been keeping busy, with festival season and their very own O2 Academy tour.
“We enjoy playing and making people dance. We always look forward to performances, and having people come and see you to appreciate the songs is brilliant. We played Glasgow for the first time last year, and we definitely want to play more new places,” they said.
Take a listen to all my tribute artist interviews, including Fell Out Boy and Vicky Jackson as P!nk, here.
For local Loughborough band Kynch, Glastonbudget was their first proper music festival. They played the Icon Stage, and felt that their performance went well.
Lead singer Jack said: “It’s a strange feeling for us because we’ve never done a proper festival with just our own songs. It’s gone really well, we really enjoyed it.”
There was a notably big crowd supporting Kynch too, which is testament to how far they’ve come since they first formed.
“We’re quite lucky because Glastonbudget is quite local to us. I’ve been going for the last ten year since I was little, so I know loads of people and they’ve come down and supported us from the beginning, so I really appreciate it,” explained Jack.
Although the three-piece have been busy with exams, they’ve still found the time to write songs and record their debut EP, Call It What You Like, which features four original tracks.
Finally, I spoke to Welsh four piece Whiskey Lies, who travelled all the way from Bridgend to make their Glastonbudget debut.
The band said: “It was really, really good, there was a lot of people out there. There was a lot of energy, nice weather and we saw a few people dancing, too. We want to keep coming back every year, maybe even get a little fanbase up in Leicester.”
The rock band formed in 2012, after they met at college and began making songs together.
“We’d describe our music as hard-rock, and our biggest influences are Guns and Roses, ACDC and Whitesnake,” said lead vocalist Chris Morris.
Whisky Lies also played the O2 Academy in Bristol, supporting tribute band Guns to Roses, who were also playing Glastonbudget.
“We went on tour with them, and it was great for us because we’ve been to the O2 Academy so many times before to see our favourite bands, and all of a sudden we’re in the dressing rooms, we’re on the stage…It was surreal.”
To listen to all my original band interviews, click here.
Overall, it was a great three days of great music, madness and entertainment, which has definitely grown from the previous year. I look forward to seeing how it progresses, and to see which talents will be gracing next year’s stages.
To find out more about Glastonbugdet 2017, take a look here.