Mabel: ‘I find camping difficult. Someone pooed in my tent once’

The pop star on harrowing tent experiences, phone battery panic and other festival related fun

What do you remember about your first festival experience?
I went to lots when I was a kid because of my parents [singer Neneh Cherry and producer Cameron McVey], so I don’t really remember my first one. I went to Glastonbury when I was 14 and that was really fun.

How do you feel about camping?
I’m such a control freak that camping for me is difficult. I can’t be this crazy, carefree person that wears the same outfit for four days. I much prefer performing for the people who like camping. Also, someone pooed in my tent once. I went back to my tent and there was a shit in it.

If you dropped your phone down a festival toilet, would you attempt to retrieve it?
Nope. I would be like: “Bye phone, bye contacts, bye life. That’s it.” I’d leave the phone and exit the festival immediately.

What is more vital at a festival: bottled water or wet wipes?
You can get water everywhere, so I’m going to go with wet wipes. They’re crucial.

Have you ever ventured outside the VIP area?
Yes! The second time I went to Glastonbury I was performing on the Friday and so all my band were staying the weekend. I wanted to leave and they were like: “You’re so boring,” so I decided to stay and went outside the VIP area and there was this guy in the mud, dragging himself across the floor and he grabbed on to my welly like a zombie. I was like: “You know what, it’s not for me, I’m going home.”

If you could curate your own festival lineup using only former boyband members, who would be the three headliners?
Oh my God. Obviously Harry Styles [Mabel recently finished a support slot on his arena tour]. Then Justin Timberlake. Then I’m struggling to think of more boybands …

What about Robbie Williams?
Oh yeah, Robbie! Definitely.

Do you think Chris Martin likes your music?
I don’t know. I would die if he did. Every night I cover Fix You, so I’m hoping he doesn’t hate me. If you’re reading this: Chris, I love you.

Do you have a song you can fall back on to rescue a set if it’s gone quiet?
Finders Keepers is guaranteed to create a vibe. If I’m having a difficult show then I know I’ve got that song at the end to turn it around and the phones will come out.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at a festival this summer?
Cardi B. She’s cancelled? SHIT!

Mabel plays festivals including Parklife, Lovebox and Bestival


Michael Cragg

The GuardianTramp

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