With headliners Biffy Clyro, Kasabian and Radiohead putting on phenomenal sets, could it replace the festival heavyweight?
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The crowds were large but well-behaved, with no major incidents and only a handful of arrests; the lineup was generally pretty strong, and even the weather seemed to be on the festival’s side (for the most part, anyway). It should come as no surprise, then, that DF Concerts boss Geoff Ellis has already confirmed TRNSMT’s return in 2018, insisting that the event, “is not a replacement for T in the Park,” but rather, “an addition to the music calendar, and a completely different type of event. One doesn’t need to replace the other.”
That may yet be what happens, of course: question marks still remain over T in the Park’s long-term future and the relative smooth-sailing of this weekend will no doubt have given Ellis and his team food for thought. As a smaller-scale city festival with no camping facilities, TRNSMT was never going to be a like-for-like replacement, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing: by and large, people are here for the bands, not the three-day booze-fuelled bacchanal that the TITP campsite annually descends into, which makes for a far more pleasant experience. Nor does the atmosphere suffer for it – anyone who wants to keep the party going need only make the 10-minute walk to Glasgow city centre, where some enterprising soul has set up a makeshift mobile DJ booth on Argyll street for impromptu after-show raves.
Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. Glasgow Green has played host to many events of a similar size – from The Stone Roses to Radio 1’s Big Weekend to the short-lived Gig On The Green in the early 00’s – but the site isn’t exactly huge and on Saturday, in particular, it felt uncomfortably oversold. Elsewhere, while the main stage lineups were impressive (if oddly anglocentric; with the exception of The Strypes, every single act who played on it was British) and threw up dead-cert future headliners like Stormzy, Catfish & The Bottlemen and The 1975, the King Tut’s stage felt a little lightweight – and far too small – by comparison.
No festival gets everything right first time out, however, and after making a successful debut, you would expect TRNSMT to go from strength to strength in the future. For all the bad press and organisational snafus that plagued T in the Park following its 2015 move from Balado to Strathallan, it’s worth keeping in mind its importance to the Scottish music scene as a whole – these kind of events are not easily replaced, and in an ideal world, both festivals would coexist and complement each other. Whether that’s possible or not, only time will tell, but we’ve got our fingers crossed for 2018.