The Beautiful South discuss festivals and celebrity crushes ahead of show at Cool Britannia this summer...

Knebworth Park has been an iconic location for rock music. What are your thoughts on playing at such an iconic location?

We are really excited to play at Knebworth. It is, like you said, it’s iconic. It’s been around for 40 years and hosted the most amazing acts from Led Zeppelin to Oasis. Myself personally, I am so excited and I know the rest of the boys are looking forward to going on stage and having a laugh. What a great opportunity to celebrate the music of this decade. So, we are very much looking forward to taking part.

What or which other band are you most looking forward to at the Cool Britannia Festival?

Well, I am sad to say that we won’t be there for the Saturday. So, I really would like to see the Happy Mondays, it’s been ages since I saw them live. It will be nice to see Embrace, I am great fan, and Razorlight and obviously we will hang around until the end to see Ocean Colour Scene. It’s all looking like an amazing line-up and I am sure it will be a great weekend.

What is your favourite Britpop song from another artist and why?

Of the top of my head, I would say Song 2 by Blur. It’s such a stand-alone track – short, to the point, powerful, amazing and a real kind of summary where music was in the 90s. A great song.

Tell us your favourite festival story...

Many years ago, when The Beautiful South was still together, we played T in The Park and Oxegen, which was shared with Ireland and Scotland. We were fortunate enough to play with The Killers. We’d all be discussing as a band how the lead singer Brandon was exceptional attractive and even though the rest of the guys are completely straight, they all agreed that they’d all sleep with him because he is so sexy.

Anyway, turns out he is a massive fan of The Beautiful South and watched the entire set from the side of the stage and he came up to me afterwards and shook my hand and said that I had a wonderful voice. I lost it, I couldn’t speak – lost for words like a shy child all over again. That’s probably my favourite festival story.

What are your festival dos and don’ts?

Festival dos, especially if you are going as a punter, go hard and then go hard all the time, don’t go hard and then flake out after the day one. Do as much as you can, see as much as you can, get the face paint on you, go and have a laugh, dance like nobody’s watching.

Don’ts – don’t forget your spare tissues in a packet, don’t forget your sun lotion and don’t stop, just have a good time.

Best festival advice ever?

Just get out there and have a good time. Have a wish list, go and see as much as you can. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get to see much but enjoy the whole experience.

What is your favourite song to play live?

I can’t put it down to one song. I get asked this question all the time. We are only as good as our fans. If the fans are having a good time, it makes for a great atmosphere. We have been blessed over the years. So, purely on the response you get when you sing them my favourite songs are Perfect 10, because I can really appreciate what I do as a job and enjoy singing with Gaz or whoever the male’s part was in the past, and the audience tend to go mad.

The other one you can’t not sing Don’t Marry Her. At an amount of festivals we have done over the years we were told to do the clean version and if I sang the clean version you can guarantee the audience won’t. It is a great song, it is about celebrating the music of The Beautiful South and you can really see it in everybody’s faces when we sing it.

What is your song writing process?

When Paul and Dave split from The Beautiful South we reformed as The South, the whole process changed and it became more of a democratic process. It was more, there were nine of us in the band, so anybody could bring anything to the table and anybody had the chance to be listened to. That’s how our first album Sweet Refrains came about. So, it’s a very democratic process, it can be a long process when there are nine cooks and you’ve all got to come to an agreement, which is why it takes a while to get an album together.

What inspires you to write songs?

Tapping to everything within, keeping your eyes on the stories in the news that might inspire you.

You have very loyal fans – how much does their continuous support mean to you?

We are only as good as our fans. We really are fortunate to have amazing fans that have stuck with us throughout the changes and it’s a testimony to Dave and Paul’s writing that these songs stood the test of time. People who do come along, really do come along to enjoy and party. Every gig that we do, it’s a celebration and amazing fun. I hope that everybody at Knebworth comes away from our gig with an equal feeling of elation and happiness and I hope you enjoy the gig.

The Beautiful South will perform at Cool Britannia Festival at Knebworth House on September 2. Details at