Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Air we go

Fans have devil of a time at one hell of a party

By Tina Calder

The music festival of the summer — Oxegen — has left more than 80,000 fans gasping for more. Thousands of Northern Ireland revellers are at the Punchestown Racecourse music extravanganza this weekend to enjoy music heavyweights such as Kings Of Leon, Blur, Snow Patrol and Lily Allen.

Friday was definitely the day for the Northern Ireland acts as Duke Special, The Answer, David Holmes, Therapy?, Cashier No 9, Iain Archer and the amazing Snow Patrol sent Ulster fans wild. Snow Patrol lead singer Gary Lightbody told Sunday Life backstage: “We have been waiting for this gig for a very long time. Whenever I am asked what crowds are best all over the world, I always say the home ones.”

Gary also used Oxegen to tip Belfast singer Duke Special for the top.

He added: “Duke Special is a fantastic performer and he will definitely make it big and we hope he cracks America too.”

Duke and Therapy? spent time in the Hot Press tent and the Therapy? boys admitted they were left

dumbfounded at the number of fans who turned up for them.

Brit Pop legends Blur headlined the main stage on Friday night, with Kings of Leon top of the bill last night and fellow American rockers The Killers doing the honours tonight.

Earlier this year Blur’s first live gig since 2003 sold out in an amazing two minutes, which led Oxegen promoters to go to extraordinary lengths to secure Damon Albarn and the band for their only Irish performance this year.

And the hard work paid off as they sucked the crowds away from the other evening acts and didn’t disappoint the fans with a brilliant set. Damon said: “We first came to Ireland in 1990 for a wedding reception for a friend Leo Finlay. Its been a fantastic couple of weeks after not doing much for 10 years.”

Last night The Kings Of Leon stole the show proving the Irish crowds can’t get enough of them. Other big names on top form were Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Bloc Party, Elbow, James Morrison, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Pet Shop Boys and junkie rocker Pete Doherty.

Pop princesses The Saturdays were spotted in the Heineken Green Spheres Tent and local actor Colin Morgan, famed for his leading role in the hit BBC show Merlin, treated his co-star Katie McGrath to a few drinks in the VIP area.

Feisty singer Lily Allen, who flew in from Belgrade, failed to impress the crowds with her live set, including a cover of Britney Spears’ Womanizer, with some fans claiming she wasn’t as good as they expected.

But Snow Patrol showed their support by dedicating their song Shut Your Eyes to her.

Lily then spent the rest of the day accompanied by her two burly bodyguards as she chatted and mingled with fans.

Dublin band The Script used Oxegen to exclusively announce their new Irish tour on Friday night.

Lead singer Danny O'Donoghue said: “We've been around the world and done so many shows, but perhaps one thing we've perhaps not done is really give something back to our Irish fans.

“A lot of bands come and do Ireland as a warm-up gig for the rest of Europe, whereas we use our European gigs as a warm up for our Irish set — the atmosphere at Oxegen was amazing.” Larne band Therapy? revealed they’ve cracked Europe once more after being off the music scene for some time.

Singer Andy Cairns said: “In just six weeks we managed to shift 30,000 copies of our single Crooked Timber in Europe. We’re really made up about it.

“It’s a great start to our new album and tour but we’d like to say a really big thank you to all our fans because without you guys out there buying the thing and supporting the band this wouldn’t have happened.”

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