Having spent much of 1978 touring the UK and Europe promoting A Tonic For The Troops, the start1979 saw the band touring the US and, I assume, recording The Fine Art of Surfacing. So their first UK gig of the year was to be at the inaugural Loch Lomond Festival, described then as the largest ever festival in Scotland.
The Rats were headlining the Sunday night, with The Stranglers headlining the Saturday. Reports suggest that from the outset The Stranglers seem intent on antagonising the Rats at every opportunity. This included delaying the bands soundcheck by refusing to leave the stage and then not allowing the band to the backstage area during The Stranglers set.
Saturday featured The Stranglers, Dr Feelgood, Third World, The Skids and UK Subs. Sunday had the Rats as headline, supported by The Average White Band, Fairport Convention, The Buzzcocks and Rockpile. The festival was compared by Mr Superbad, complete with white suit and medallion!
Mr Superbad was singer and actor Freddie Mack, who had a varied career until settling in Glasgow in the late 1970’s, becoming a popular DJ on Radio Clyde. He died in 2009, aged 72.
Reading a review of the logistical makes interesting reading when you compare to how festivals are run today. Once in the festival area there were no pass system that allowed you to leave and re-enter, no disabled toilets within that area and only one in the camping area outside, only 2 payphones within the arena (for our younger COBs, payphones are………..!) and limited access to medical support. Alcohol was allowed to be taken in if in cans, but no bottles. The folly of these decisions materialised with cans used as missiles and festival go-ers drinking the contents of the bottles and being hammered when they went in!
There were many reports of aggressive security staff, which seemed to have marred Saturday more than the Sunday. Add to that the fact that in rained for most of Saturday………well you get the idea by now!
But for the Rats, the gig was seen as a success. It was the first time they played ‘Mondays’ in front of a British audience, as they entered a period of their career that probably saw then at the top of their game. Melody Maker journalist Allan Jones described them as ‘colourful, exuberant and swaggeringly confident to open with a completely new song, ‘I don’t like Mondays’. They did all the hits and were very good indeed’. And that from Melody Maker.
Garry’s sent me the following this week. ‘The only thing I remember from that Loch Lomond festival is that the pipe band who came on at the beginning seemed to go into some sort of mass panic and wouldn’t leave the stage. Geldof was screaming, “GET OFF!!!!!!” at them but they were just stuck there like a load of bagpipe-blowing rabbits caught in headlights. Lack of clear instructions, I put it down to’. Brilliant!
Bagpipe Blowing Rabbits! ( the 3-1 reference is to England beating Scotland at Wembley the day before – why the journo thought this band from Ireland would take the side of the English is unknown to me!)