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In 2010 Thrill Collins played over 100 shows in 11 countries in a bid to promote the genre the world seemingly forgot: skiffle. Anyone can play an instrument and the boys are confident that the band is proof positive they can do just that. Thrill Collins are a ska/skiffle/lounge/jazz trio that specialise in 80s & 90s songs. They have played for friends and strangers all around the UK, Europe and the US and are available for gigs/festivals/weddings/barbecues/parties/ hootenannys/shindigs and just love to play. ‘Collins can count several locals and Andrew’s Mum amongst their fans and everyone from Frank Turner to members of the England football and cricket squads (and even members of the royal family) have dared to remain in the same room when they’ve played…
Which Thrill Collins track(s) always goes down well at festivals?
It changes every time. There are some that we think people might recognise if they’ve seen us before – like Backstreet or the MJ tune – that go down well, but it really depends on the audience. You can normally tell about three or four songs in what people are going for so we usually just go with what’s working there and then – we rarely write a set list.
What’s been your most fun festival to date?
A difficult question indeed. Our set at 2000 Trees really stood out as a highlight last year, as did Eden Festival up in Scotland. They have the “Furry Chillum” stage which has massive old sound system and that was such a cool place to play. Wychwood is always a great laugh and the Cheltenham Jazz Festival was a big moment as that was quite early on for us as a band and was quite a daunting experience at the time for the slot we were given.
How many festivals are Thrill Collins playing in 2011?
We’re playing about a dozen music festivals in total, although we’re doing quite a few more if you start including one day festivals or festivals “that also have music” We’re also playing the Rabbit Hole at uber-awesome electro festival “Glade” in June, which we reckon is pretty good going for an acoustic skiffle trio.
2010 saw you do a European tour, 2011 you are doing another one. How do they compare to gigs in the UK?
We were quite apprehensive when we first went out because the humour and care behind what we do comes across quite easily in the UK – we weren’t sure the same would be true of a foreign audience. The first few dates were at more cosmopolitan/western type venues with an international audience (like Belushi’s in Paris or Le Jackyll in Chamonix) so it wasn’t until we got out to eastern Europe that we really felt the language barrier. That said, a highlight of the tour for us was watching a packed club of Hungarian metallers singing along to “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. That kind of image never leaves you…
How does playing a festival differ from your normal gig?
We’re not sure there is a ‘normal’ gig for Thrill. We’ve done all kinds from festivals and promo to straight-out gigs and weddings. There isn’t an archetypal person that we think would watch us but we find we get used as a kind of “house-band” at festivals so we might end up playing a number of slots over a weekend. People are perhaps a bit more surprised as they aren’t at festival just to see us, generally haven’t heard of us before and don’t know what we do – they just end up staying out of curiosity more than anything at a skiffle group playing Chris De Burgh and the Backstreet Boys.
What 3 things are essential to take to a festival?
For a band? Clean socks & T-shirt for after show, instruments & spare instruments. For a punter? Tent, booze and friends (tent optional)
What was the first festival you went to?
As a band it was either the Cheltenham Jazz Festival or Wychwood, depending on how you class ‘festival’.
Any tips for first time festival goers?
Only pack a tent and some booze – maybe not even the tent. You’ll probably care the second time around about hygiene and hangovers but if it’s your first festival – focus on the party and see as much music with your friends as possible.
What 3 bands would you chose to headline a 3 day festival?
Ben Folds, Skrillex & Madness
Over the last few years, music festivals have become more and more popular with there being many up and down the country of varying size and genres, where do you see music festivals in the future of music?
We think it’s a good thing as the country is seeing a diversity of festivals. Years ago you could pretty much choose from 10 or so, like Glasto, Reading, Phoenix etc Now it seems like promoters are taking the festival format back and putting on much more niche style events. We’ve seen the rise of the “Boutique” festival for the middle-classes that have grown up on festivals and now want to take the family back as well as the propagation of new music/tastemaker festivals where it’s all about finding a new band or listening to something you’ve never heard before. It’s good to see this happening and the grass roots effort that goes into these (or at least the ones we know) is about love of music, not profit – the more this happens the more it will put pressure on the larger promotion companies to try and diversify their line ups and stop rotating the same old tired US acts year in year out…
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