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It’s still Standon!

John Hassell, of John Hassell and the April Rainers, looks ahead to playing on the same festival bill as Grace Jones and Orbital

12 May, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

John Hassell and the April Rainers will perform at the Standon Calling festival in July

THE days are getting longer, meaning it’s time to start planning festival season.

Every year Hertfordshire-based Standon Calling wins new friends for its wide mix of established bands, up-and-coming acts and all-night parties in the gentle, rolling hills north of London.

John Hassell and the April Rainers will join the likes of Grace Jones, Orbital, the Dig It Sound System and Akala at the event at the end of July.

Best known as the bassist in the Libertines, John talks us through his thoughts on the festival scene.

Q: What was your first festival as a punter and your first as an artist?
A: It was one called Phoenix Festival back in the 90s. It was pretty okay line-up as I remember. I was 15 and was both excited and a little shocked by the lawlessness of the place after dark – like a medieval village or something. First festival as an artist was probably Reading and Leeds with the Libertines.

Q: What makes a festival a special experience?
A: Everyone is living together and more bonded together, so there’s more of a common vibe about them. If it’s somewhere in nice surroundings, you and the audience can enjoy that, too.

Q: Tour buses: dos and don’ts?
A: If you want to sleep, don’t get a bunk next to the Back Lounge as this will invariably be the venue for much revelry. Bring a small guitar with you and a pack of cards.

Q: What personal item do you never ever leave behind when on tour?
A: My travel Gohonzon – that’s a little buddhist mandala that I chant “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” to in the morning and evening. Indispensible for a joyful life on the road.

Q: If you were in charge of booking a festival, which act from the past would you most like to support (or simply see?)
A: I’d watch the Beatles as they were in 1967. They would be playing at Standon Calling on the Sunday.

Q: Are you a happy camper?
A: I think it’s cosy with the guitars out and campfires.

Q: Best ever festival experiences? Worst?
A: Best was Glastonbury 2015 with the Libertines. I don’t have any real bad ones, though I enjoy playing live more and more, so probably an early one.

Q: If you had to offer the first-time festival-goer one crucial piece of advice on how to make the most of their weekend, what would it be?
A: Keep an open mind and enjoy being a part of it all.

YOU can win a pair of tickets to Standon Calling. Just answer the following question:
Which one band would John love to see perform at a festival?
Answers to
Closing date is May 31.


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