‘We drove from our parents’ homes’

Mollie King of The Saturday's on stage at Ebrington Square. (2805PG01)
Mollie King of The Saturday's on stage at Ebrington Square. (2805PG01)

It’s hard to imagine a music festival with as picturesque a setting as the banks of the River Foyle, St. Columb’s Park and Ebrington Square.

The lovely setting is a give but the weather most certainly is not but despite dull skies the temperature remained warm and for the best part of the day, there was not one of drop of rain in sight.

Radio One’s Big Weekend visited Derry before back in 2004 but speaking to musicians and music fans you’d be forgiven for thinking that this year’s showpiece is better.

Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday and Kevin Baird are from Bangor in Co. Down. The three young men also make up well known Indie rock band ‘Two Door Cinema Club’.

The trio took to the main stage in Ebrington Square yesterday afternoon and despite having played to a Derry audience before they said yesterday’s sojourn was one to remember.

“I know we are from Bangor but sure that’s virtually down the road from here so in that respect it’s a great honour for us to be playing Radio One’s Big Weekend in Derry,” said Alex.

“We were a little worried at the fact we were playing so early on but the crowd was amazing - they really got in on the act.”

The location of the Radio One Big Weekend stage is embedded in Derry’s history; it’s where an old British army barracks once stood.

When asked for their thoughts on the symbolism of Radio One’s Big Weekend being held in the Waterside and so close to the Peace Bridge, Alex, Sam and Kevin all agreed it was a sign of how far the healing process had come in the North of Ireland.

“When you think about it something like this just would not have been able to happen here 15 or 20 years ago.

“But the fact you have people from not just Protestant and Catholic backgrounds, but from all over the UK and Ireland here, is just brilliant,” said Kevin.

“It’s amazing that the BBC have been able to put on such an amazing event here in Derry.

“We have played a few gigs in Sandino’s in Derry before but this one has been great.

“First and foremost this kind of festival is all about the music but when you think about it in a Northern Ireland context you can do nothing but smile,” Sam.

Also playing the main stage at yesterday’s BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend was London Indie rock band ‘The Vaccines’.

The four piece band, who flew in from Barcelona’s ‘Primavera Sound’ festival told the Sunday Journal they were impressed with what they saw of Derry and were looking forward to coming face to face with their local fans.

“I have hardly slept at all but that’s the life of musician,” said Justin.

“We have only been here a few hours but I took a little walk in the city centre - it was lovely - I even managed to get myself a pair of earphones,” smiled Freddie.

It’s the fourth time ‘The Vaccines’ have played BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend but they said this year’s concert is the one they have been looking forward to the most.

“We have been getting better slots every year and this year’s slot is our best so far.

“I am really looking forward to connecting with the crowd - the atmosphere is amazing here and Derry looks and sounds great.

“It’s a great weekend, here’s hoping the rain stays away.”