Festival guide 2008: Q&A with Dizzee Rascal

With a knack for transforming any field into a sweaty mosh pit, it's no wonder Dizzee can't wait for the festivals. He just hopes Morrissey's not there...

Are you a fan of festivals?

Yeah, I love festivals, man. I like the vibe, open-minded people out to get drunk, get high, dance all day and all night.

You play everything from traditional rock festivals to dance festivals like Sonar. Do you change your set to suit an audience?

I pretty much play all material off all my three albums cos there's enough material to cater for anyone. Ravey, rock, uptempo, down - I've got a pretty broad scope, purposefully.

What song goes down best?

Sirens. That's gotta be one of my favourites. All over the world, it's fucking mosh pits ... it's exactly how I pictured it.

What's your favourite festival?

Reading and Leeds - Leeds especially. I'm a big fan of up north. The people are special, they go mad for it. They go mad in London, too, but they're not shy up north.

One of Leeds' more dangerous festival traditions is setting fire to toilets. Ever experienced that?

Ah, you're talking to me about danger - I come from the fucking grime scene, man! People used to shoot their guns while I was MCing. That don't faze me.

How about camping - does that faze you?

[At] Glastonbury I saw people doing that shit. That ain't for me. I just want a nice area that's warm [with] good music and good food.

No campfires?


Cooking off a stove?


Do you like European festivals?

There's this really good festival in Serbia, Exit. It's out in this old castle. The only downpoint was Morrissey was playing and he banned any kind of meat backstage. Bastard.

Playing all these white rock festivals, do you feel like an emissary for black music?

Yeah, man - I don't mind it. When I was young I used to watch MTV, Nirvana, or Guns N' Roses. It weren't just B-Boys and MCs for me - it was that raw energy from the crowd.

Why do you think some black artists have a bad time at festivals, like 50 Cent getting bottled at Reading?

I did that same festival. Maybe their approach is the opposite of how it should be. That whole major hip-hop set-up is kind of arrogant - to make out you're bigger than the crowd - that won't work.

So where do you stand on Jay-Z as Glastonbury headliner?

I'm a major fan. I never thought that would happen. It's progress. He's one of the best rappers ever.

Any other festivals you're looking forward to?

The Underage festival in Victoria Park - that's my area, E3. It might kick off! Under-18s, they're the ones you need to worry about!

· Dizzee plays Reading and Leeds, Kendal Calling and Underage


Louis Pattison

The GuardianTramp

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