I’d go as far as to say that if you haven’t ever thought about your dream festival line-up then you’re not a real music fan. Not to come across as arbiters of the imagination or anything, but it just seems like such an obvious musical flight of fancy that we’ve all pondered it at one time or another, most likely while huddled around tents at an actual music festival, dreaming up an idealised version.
Noel Gallagher himself has headlined and played some of the biggest festivals the world over, whether that be Glastonbury’s iconic 25th Anniversary in 1994 or Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds delivering barnstorming sets at Fuji Rock, and countless more over the last few decades in all corners of the globe. He is a seasoned festival veteran, and even more than that, he is a man who knows what he likes. This made him an ideal guest for BBC Radio Ulster’s Fantasy Festival feature.
First of all, the venue of choice would be his own back garden, which is no doubt the size of a small island so there should be no issues there, and what’s more, he wouldn’t have to camp. “My ideal headliners would be [Paul] Weller,” he says, before rattling off a list of music’s biggest names, “[Paul] McCartney, Johnny Marr, U2, Bob Dylan, how’s that.”
Aside from that gilded list of rock ‘n’ roll greats, he also said that the festival “would last a month” and be made up with an “extensive bill”. He then proceeded to rattle off a couple of lesser-known names. First of all, he dropped his hat to Jungle, the London duo who have paired electronic sounds of dance with the stylings of indie rock to great acclaim. Next on his list were Young Fathers, who he also described in a recent interview with Jools Holland as one of the greatest live acts he’s ever seen. Elsewhere he included old favourites The Coral, and even comically added: “I guess we get an Oasis tribute act on there.”
As far as the High Flying Birds set goes, he says: “We’d kick off with lock all the doors… and we would close with ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ by the legendary pop combo Oasis.”
So that’s the mainstage sewn up, but he also confirms that he would have a dance tent to mix it up a bit and on that bill, he’d have, “Fatboy Slim, he’s pretty good. Chemical Brothers are great. Underworld are a-mazing. Get Mike Pickering and Graeme Park DJing, they would be headlining in a total Hacienda takeover.”
Naturally, with all fantasy set aside, he gave his preference on the real-world festivals that joyously surpass our expectations year on year anyway. “Having played all the festivals that there is, I can tell you that there really is only one festival and that’s Glastonbury,” he continued. “The others are just big gigs in a field. Glastonbury has stayed true to its ideals pretty much since 1970. I go regularly to spend a weekend there with my wife and friends and we have a great time, so if I was going to nick any vibe from any festival it would be Glastonbury.”
As far as logistics are concerned, he’d just have rock ‘n’ roll and dance music in a field with a small area dedicated to getting your head sorted should you have over-indulged which would consist of Stephen Fry reading “humorous poetry solidly for a month.” Aside from that, all you need to bring is the toilet roll, a warm jacket and good vibes.
Noel Gallagher’s dream Main Stage:
- Paul Weller
- Bob Dylan
- Johnny Marr
- Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
- The Coral
- Young Fathers
- Paul McCartney
Noel Gallagher’s dream Dance Tent:
- Fatboy Slim
- The Chemical Brothers
- Mike Pickering & Graeme Park