Ahead of their headline set at Community Festival
Shannon COTTON
16:14 25th June 2019

Chances are you can name a festival and The Kooks have played it. With a career that has seen them release five studio albums, one greatest hits record and tick off hundreds of music venues around the world the band are showing no signs of slowing down just yet. 

Ahead of their headline performance at this weekend’s Community Festival in Finsbury Park, we sat down with the band in a North London boozer just around the corner from event and took a trip down memory lane, reliving some of their most unforgettable festival experiences to date. The Kooks: this is your festival life. 

Isle of Wight Festival

Luke Pritchard: Isle of Wight Festival, for the band, was probably the first massive festival we did. But for myself, me and my family are from there, so I’ve been there probably every summer since I was a kid, my family have a farm called the Garlic Farm. And so I know the Island really well. Its an eccentric place I find. I think there are kind of two sides to the Island. It’s pretty odd but I love it for that, it’s proper English vibes and the festival has so much history, so for it to be one of our first proper festivals it was incredible, it was a massive deal for me. My whole family came.

LP: It’s pretty effortless as a festival because where Glastonbury has to create its own township through wall making, the Isle of Wight already kind of has that. The journey you have to take to get there and the atmosphere and separation when you’re there is just perfect really. It’s like a little bubble. But yeah the history is huge. Hendrix and Dylan. My uncle sold sweetcorn to Bob Dylan at the first Isle of Wight Festival, he might have made that up, but I’m going to sell it as a true story.


LP: It was 2007, it was one of our biggest shows ever, we played second from top on the Pyramid Stage on the Saturday night before The Killers, and we were really nervous because it was one of our first. It was such just such a massive crowd, and we’d only done one album. I think we played some stuff from second album to fill out the set because we didn’t even have an hour long set. It was an amazing experience but quite nerve wracking.

Hugh Harris: It was a massive blow-out, I mean that time in our careers, there were a lot of nerves and frantic energy, so this whole thing was just kind of like a beautiful thing to be asked to do, but I don’t know if we were ready for it. 

LP: The crowd was insane though!

HH: Yeah the crowd was insane. The crowd did carry us. I’ve seen a few clips of it since, but yeah it just all went in flaps didn’t it. It was so full, couldn’t see anything but people. 

LP: We went beforehand as a band too, we slept in a two men tent between the four of us.

Alexis Nunez: When I was quite young I went with my mum, she was doing some stuff out there actually, some kind of art installation or something, I just remember bumbling around really. I was far too young to get involved with music and the crowd and stuff, I just remember enjoying it all really.

LP: It’s like the Beatles of festivals isn’t it? There will never be another Glastonbury. Except Community.

Overseas Festivals

LP: Germany is pretty rock. The ones that we do are like full on rock. Whereas Scandinavia is more sort of trippy, probably like alt-pop. It just depends where you go.

AN: But people generally go to music festivals to connect with each other and the music, that stays the same, and that’s the point.

LP: I love Sziget, it’s like an island by Budapest, and it’s just crazy with performers and installations.

AN: Radiohead for me is one of the best bands I’ve seen at a festival. In Lisbon, it was their In Rainbows tour. I’ve seen Radiohead like ten times but that particular time they played all the songs that I love and it was amazing.

HH: It was so cool, as well we were on a tower like above the sound guy.

Community Festival

LP: It’s such a great line-up, a lot of energy, hopefully a lot of nostalgia, we’re going to play a lot of old songs, there might be a straw hat at some point chucked in for the old days. But you know it’s going to be a real moment for us and our fans, we’ve had an interesting journey towards Community, to do a headline festival and probably the best festival in London, potentially the biggest vibe, biggest show we’ve ever done, to get to that point is going to be quite emotional. I think we’re going to have a bit of a moment.

AN: We have the old school fans and new as well, and the kids, it’s really sweet. I think throughout the years we’ve collected a really good fan base.

LP: Coming back to Community, after talking about Glastonbury, I think at this point it’s not the same size crowd but it is the same kind of energy, but it just definitely feels more comfortable this time.

The Kooks headline Community Festival in Finsbury Park this weekend (30 June). Tickets are available here. 

Photo: Patrick Gunning