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Teleman frontman Tom Sanders reflects on a time when festivals were all about the music – with beers and burgers for good measure – but says competition has improved everything. And he recommends his favourite fish curry. They play Standon Calling (29-31 July).

How would you describe your sound?
Really focused around simple strong melodies. Familiar ingredients, but lovingly put together.

Tell us what you’ve been up to since last summer?
We’ve been in the dormant phase of the “being in a band” cycle, where you disappear to make your record. So most of the time has been spent writing and developing the new songs, and obviously the recording and mixing of them, but that didn’t take very long.

What festivals are you playing this year?

The Great Escape Festival, Scarborough Fair Festival, Hidden Door Festival, Secret Garden Party, Kendal Calling, Standon Calling and the Great Wide Open Festival. It’s a lovely mix.

Who else are you excited to see at the festivals?
Haven’t a clue who’s playing. The joy of these events is being surprised, whether it’s bands you know or don’t. It’s great just to arrive and scour the programme, have a little walk around, get some recommendations and hopefully catch something amazing.

If you could curate your own festival what would the line-up look like, with artists dead or alive?
I’m sad I never got to see Michael Jackson perform, so I’d have him headlining. Nina Simone would also be there – I had tickets to see her play just before she died. And I think I’d like to see Queen too. I don’t particularly like them – I just think it would have been great to see Freddy Mercury performing. As a boy I always thought it was so unfair that I’d never get to see the Beatles playing live and I still think about how magical that would be. They can headline the Sunday. What a festival.

What’s your best festival memory?
Swimming in the river at Wilderness Festival in the sunshine was incredible. Also the Green Man beer tent is like a Mecca for me.

What’s in your festival survival kit?
Tinned goods, good boots, sleeping pills, walkie-talkies, spare everything, a good sleeping mat, 24 cans of cheap booze, thermal underwear.

Apart from music, what should the ideal festival have?
The older I get the more I tend to seek out the literary stuff: readings, Q&As, etc. The comedy, science, philosophy, workshops – they are all so worth checking out. Stuff which you wouldn’t normally get the chance to attend. Festival food is getting better each year, as is the beer selection. Basically, music is becoming a bit of a sideline! I remember Reading Festival was just Carling and burgers – it was all about the music. I think I prefer things now though. The competition just makes the quality of everything go up. Check out the Goan Fish Curry company at Green Man – insanely good.

Antonia Charlesworth

Interact: Responses to Festival Q&A: Teleman

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