by Abbie Morrice
via @TRNSMTfest on Twitter
Another year, another festival line-up announcement, another sea of moaning. Since TRNSMT’s incredible lineup in its debut year – including Radiohead and Belle and Sebastian – music fans have done nothing but complain about the bands on offer.
Basically, if you look at Facebook and Twitter, it’s increasingly clear that these fans expect bands as epic as Radiohead to be announced every single year. And TRNSMT seems to take more heat for this than any other festival, despite only being in its third year. Download had a lacklustre line-up in 2016 where you could feel the metal-heads screaming that All Time Low got a headline spot. But because they got to weep joyfully at the chance to see Black Sabbath for the 800th time, it didn’t really matter that almost every band had played the festival at least once before. TRNSMT’s 2019 lineup is exactly what you’d expect for a festival that filled the Scottish market after T in the Park’s disappearance.
Entitled hipsters are rolling their eyes as if half of Scotland isn’t dying to see Gerry Cinnamon and Richard Ashcroft in the same weekend. Those sitting with the idea that the bands they love are better than what’s popular right now have yet to grow out of their teenage elitism in believing that 1, the less following a band has, the better they are and 2, festival lineups exist to please them and only them. But let’s remove the two formerly mentioned most impressive acts that took to the stage at TRNSMT 2017 and accept that the rest of the line-up was almost identical to what’s been announced this year (and last). Catfish and the Bottlemen, Stormzy, The Kooks, Sam Fender, George Ezra, Gerry Cinnamon and Circa Waves are all acts announced this year that have played the festival at least once before. This can’t help but lead me to wonder…did you like the festival, or did you like three impressive headliners? Elitists are complaining that the festival is too mainstream but, really, it always has been. If radio-friendly indie isn’t your thing, then why were you even considering TRNSMT in the first place? Fans who go to TRNSMT among those they deem “spice boys” to see Radiohead and moan about the following year’s announcements should perhaps learn that that’s what gigs are for; not festivals. Music fans will not get far in life if all they can do is sit around and feel entitled to a line-up they think is good enough for their own personal taste. As one of the only remaining large-scale festivals Scotland has to offer, you can hardly be annoyed that TRNSMT have continued to run with what they feel is wanted in the Scottish music scene. And did you really want Arctic Monkeys to be announced again for you to moan that they only played hits because it was a, wait for it, festival setlist?
The critique getting most under my skin is that TRNSMT has only gotten worse since its first year – a critique surely only made by people who don’t want to go and see Queen and Adam Lambert (like, actual Queen) who headlined in 2018. For every 100 tweets saying that the TRNSMT lineup is a shambles, there is one angel poking through to remind us all that women rarely get the festival offers that men do. And despite the fact that Jess Glynne’s music is nothing more than cookie-cutter pop, seeing the internet decide they absolutely despise her for literally no apparent reason is only further proof that we love to choose to hate a woman just for the fun of hating her (re: Taylor Swift syndrome). Maybe the Scottish music scene would be a much more enjoyable place if fans campaigned for gender diversity as much as they tweet for genre diversity. I’m not suggesting we all buy tickets for TRNSMT this year, but if you want to go see your favourite band, go see them at their own show.