Festival Q&A: Lau

Folk trio Lau are set to play Beverley Folk Festival followed by Scotland’s Northern Roots Festival in June.  Fiddler Aidan O’Rourke tells Big Issue North about his best festival memories

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Who are you excited to see this year at Beverley?
There’s a load of things there that I haven’t yet heard live. We’re playing on 24 June, which is the last night of our June tour so I’m looking forward to unwinding with a wander around and checking out some new bands. Also looking forward to catching up with our old buddy Justin Curry, who I haven’t seen in a while. Festivals are great for that. Normal gig touring can be quite a solitary existence for a band. Then you get to a festival and you get to hang out with other bands. Also having played in Blazin’ Fiddles for 10 years and that band being based in Inverness I know a lot of people from that area so hopefully will see a bunch of people at the festival.

What’s your best festival memory?
Playing Glastonbury is always a great experience. It’s kinda the holy grail for musicians and it always feels great to be part of. At the other end of the scale I loved Insider Festival in Aviemore. Only around 1,000 people at that one but beautifully curated, along with the best food and drink available. And a sobering morning dip in the Spey always clears the cobwebs. You don’t get that at Glastonbury.

What are your festival essentials?
Hipflask, head torch, wellies.

How does playing a festival differ from playing your own gig?
As we’ve matured as a band we’ve realised that a festival set doesn’t have to differ too much from our normal gig set. It’s having the confidence to take the audience on a journey with us. It doesn’t have to all be banging. The feeling of silencing an outdoor festival audience with a slow tune can be as moving as seeing a sea of people jumping up and down in front of you. One of the main differences is that set-up and soundcheck times are radically reduced and you have to be really prepared for that. There’s no comfort of a two-hour soundcheck. But that adds to the excitement.

What’s your favourite part of playing a festival?
There’s much more chance of converting people to your music at a festival. It’s a great feeling when someone approaches you afterwards or tweets about you saying they’d never heard us before, and might never have, but stumbled across our twisted folk music by chance and they’re now converts.

Northern Roots Festival is on 23-25 June at Bobbin Farm, Inverness. Photo by Genevieve Stevenson

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