It was no surprise to see The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican on the bill for Beautiful Days festival this year, I think they've played every year that I've been attending! Rather than taking over the Bandstand like they normally do, they've been given the opportunity to perform in the Big Top on Sunday. We caught up with Scott Doonican over a pint of Otter Ale ahead of the festival, see how we got on....
We last saw you live at Beautiful Days in 2017, what have you been up to since then?
So, let me think... Beautiful Days 2017 was show #828. Beautiful Days 2018 is show #901... so we've at least done another 73 shows. We also sold out a Mississippi Riverboat on the Norfolk Broads in less than 20 seconds, celebrated turning 12 years old in June, crowdfunded and recorded a Big Pink 7 Inch single, a 21-track CD studio album of our bestest bits all re-recorded by the band's current line-up (both the vinyl and cassette versions of the album have been successfully crowdfunded too and are due within the next month or two), we play (at the time of writing) Europe's biggest punk rock festival, Rebellion, in Blackpool tomorrow, and then our 900th show at Fairport's Cropredy Convention in the week between Rebellion and BDs. With approximately 20,000 punters and one stage, it'll be the biggest show we have ever done! Oh, and we've already started work on writing album number 10. No rest for the stupid, eh?
Standing in a field watching bands has become a popular pastime for us Brits, what do you think it is about music festivals that appeals to so many people?
First and foremost, music brings people together. I wouldn't trust anybody who said they weren't really fussed about music. Festivals are the perfect social gathering.
It can often be a battle getting through three days at a music festival, please share your top three survival tips
1. Keep hydrated. I love a drink as much as the next person, but keeping hydrated reduces the hangover (hydrated with water that is!)
2. Wellies are essential at Escot Park... it has its own microclimate. I've not been to a BDs yet where it didn't rain at least once!
3. Don't see it as a battle, see it for the experience it is and enjoy every second. A year is a long time to wait til the next one.
What is your preferred tipple at a festival?
At Beautiful Days, a pint of Otter Ale if you're buying.
And best hangover cure?
The Baguette van near to the Big Top make the best bacon sarnies on the planet... their crew know us all now from being at other festivals that we have played, and a friendlier bunch would be hard to find. Check them out and told them I sent you.
You’re playing at Beautiful Days this year, which of the other acts are you hoping to catch whilst you’re there?
The Levellers (both times), our friends Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs are there this year too, The Wildhearts (I have been a fan since 1994), Gogol Bordello, fellow Barnsley lass Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman (she's from Dodworth, you know?), 3 Daft Monkeys, and hopefully my next new favourite act... there is so much choice that it's good to check out new or unfamilar stuff.
Can we expect you to go 'crowd-sailing' in your dinghy again this year?
You'll have to come to the Big Top at noon on Sunday to find out. Bring a friend who hasn't seen us and be sure to bring your brightest knitwear. The Sunday theme is 'A Riot of Colour'... we want exactly that!
We’ve had some stunningly good weather in the UK over the past 6 weeks, please predict the forecast for Beautiful Days
Rain, rain and more rain... until we play this year - undercover for the first time, then it'll be sunnier than if you holidayed on Mercury. Typical.
Where can people keep up to date with you?
www.thebarstewardsons.com or www.facebook.com/thedoonicans or best of the bunch join www.facebook.com/groups/thebarstewardsons for all the very latest. We are on Twitter too but we don't like it, so do it badly.
Lastly, please tell me WHY people should come and see you when you perform at Beautiful Days?
Er... I think people should make their own choices, as we aren't going to be everybody's cup of tea, but what I would say is, if you want to see three blokes who are old enough to know better, in day-glo knitwear and stylish barnets, playing outrageous Northern versions of your favourite songs on folk instruments, employing elements of stadium rock as if they were playing down their local boozer, then maybe we might be up your street... as tall an order as that sounds. We refuse to be boring.
We'd like to thank Scott for taking the time out of his rather hectic schedule to chat to us and we look forward to seeing what they have in store for the people who congregate in the Big Top on Sunday lunchtime....It will probably get messy!