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Soundchecks and checkpoints

Pauline McLean | 16:53 UK time, Friday, 11 July 2008

Things are far from good when the "help team" are looking for help themselves.

Dressed in red caps and red jackets, emblazoned with the word "help", the girls are looking baffled. "we were supposed to meet somewhere for a team briefing and we just can't remember where."

It's easy to get lost on T in the Park's Balado site - a massive former airfield near Kinross.

There are numerous gates and checkpoints, 11 stages and thanks to early opening, almost 10,000 fans on site a full day earlier than normal.

Organisers are trying to combat last year's traffic problems by staggering the arrival of fans - and so far, it seems to be working.

The Blimp - a camera attached to a hot air balloon high above the site - is monitoring roads to and from the site, warning of any delays and possible bottlenecks.

Good news for those who reckon they're too long in the tooth for four nights of mud and mayhem on the main campsite.

T now has an upmarket alternative. Podpads - small chalets containing a blow up double bed and plenty of room for two are proving a popular choice for the slightly more mature concert goer. You even get a lift to the front door of your cabin.

A bit pricey at £500 but no doubt worth the investment when you realise both bar and shower complex are a mere stone's throw from your front door.

And if you really want to splash out, you could spend £2,000 on a hotel yurt - complete with kingsized bed, chocolates on the pillow and chandelier.

Even the performers aren't offered such luxury. With 180 bands and performers over the weekend, their time in the plush backstage area is strictly limited.

Jo McGregor, who's in charge of their schedule, says excess riders are a thing of the past.

Most want simple pleasures like alcohol, fresh fruit and flowers. Juicers are apparently a common request as performers attempt to boost their energy levels before their onstage appearances.

Already here and backstage - The Verve, Stereophonics and KT Tunstall. KT - whose only demand for her and her band is hummus, pitta Bread and whisky - is back on the mainstage tonight, and says she regards this festival as the best in the world.

And while many of the festival goers were still in nappies when the first T in the Park happened, there are plenty of performers who remember it all perfectly well.

Step forward Prodigy, Primal Scream and Rage Against the Machine, all of whom featured on the first line up 15 years ago, and all of whom are back this year for more.

Just a couple of hours to go before the first performers come on stage - and the atmosphere is convivial - with many of the fans in fancy dress (cow costumes seem to be the thing - why?).

At four days, 11 stages and 180 bands and performers, it's all a far cry from the first one-day concert, but it's looking like being every bit as much fun.


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