The Darkness to light up Looe Festival
IT'S here, it's happening – after weeks of anticipation, Looe Festival bursts into life tonight with over 100 acts performing over three days, across four stages.
Headlining the main stage on Sunday night are British glam gods, The Darkness, who will be closing the event in their inimitable pomp rock style, all bad hair, spandex and big, big tunes.
Guitarist Dan Hawkins can't wait.
"We're going to make the most of playing at the seaside," he says.
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"After all we're from Lowestoft, a fishing village on the east coast, so we won't be put off by that weird fishy smell.
"Expect loudness and lots of sparkly stuff."
Although there could be up to 6,000 on the beach for the finale, it's a relatively small crowd in The Darkness terms.
Having shot to fame on the back of quadruple platinum debut, Permission To Land in 2003, the band went on to garner three Brit Awards in 2004 and spent four years playing stadiums around the world, pretty much non-stop.
"I worked out one year that I'd had a total of five weeks in my house," Dan continues.
"I challenge any four best friends, or family for that matter, to spend four year in a tour bus together and not feel the strain.
"Plus, of course we did everything to the max. We each had vices. We lived the lifestyle portrayed on stage. It had to stop."
Dan's brother, lead singer Justin, was the one who had the wake-up call and booked himself into rehab, quitting the band in the process.
The split happened in 2008 and the brothers barely spoke for five years, seeing each other only at family gatherings.
"We had been in bands together practically since we were born, playing pubs from the age of 12."
Both dropped out of school in their mid teens to play in bands.
Yet they didn't get properly signed until they were in their late 20s and Dan says he didn't make a penny out of music until he was 27.
"I guess things changed when I became a dad," he continues.
"I wanted Justin to be part of my family. I was in London for a meeting and had time to kill so I called round to his house.
"His front room is like this massive studio and we just picked up guitars and started playing stuff to each other, which is what we've always done."
Six months later the band was back.
"It's been brilliant. The fanbase at shows is a lot younger than it ever used to be.
"When we started as a loud rock band the audience was full of Zeppelin fans with mullets and leather jackets.
"Now we have this real crossover crowd including screaming 11 year olds!"
The band have shared stages with everyone from the Rolling Stones – "Mick Jagger was incredible, his energy levels really made us up our game" – to Lady Gaga – "She was quite inspiring to be around. The stuff she wears makes our clothes pale in comparison. And she really doesn't care what anyone thinks, she's so super confident."
As well as the seaside element of Looe, the band are looking forward to testing the local ales.
"Budweiser tastes so bad that when we toured the States we used to have to find other local brews to drink instead."
However nowadays it's more about the crew doing the research than band members because the band are all pretty much teetotal.
Joining them across the weekend will be Reef, Seth Lakeman, The Damned, Dizraeli and The Small Gods, Chas & Dave, Sham 69, Simon Townsend, Ruarri Joseph, Sean Lakeman and Kathryn Roberts plus Crowns, James Robinson, Freshly Squeezed, PJP Band, Land of the Giants and loads more.