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Bucket hats and brollies: The 1990s glory days of T in the Park festival

An aerial view of tents at T in the Park in 1999 with revellers from 1997 and 1998 inset.
An aerial view of tents at T in the Park in 1999 with revellers from 1997 and 1998 inset.

Every July, tens of thousands of people from across the country joined the crusade to Kinross to enjoy a weekend of unbridled revelry at T in the Park.

One of the UK’s first music festivals, T in the Park quickly achieved legendary status after launching at the height of the Britpop phenomenon in 1994.

T in the Park burst onto the festival scene with headliners including Rage Against the Machine, Primal Scream, Blur, Pulp and the Manic Street Preachers topping the bill that year.

T in the Park was all about bucket hats, brollies, crowd surfing, camping and carnage – and was a rite of passage for any self-respecting young Scot.

If your recollection of the hedonistic 90s is a bit hazy, our archive photos of T in the Park might help jog your memories of festival fun and folly.

The year here was 1997. Labour had just won a landslide victory and there was an air of hope and optimism.

The success of Britpop had spurred a cultural youth revolution: Cool Britannia had landed and, with it, a festival uniform of tracksuits, Burberry shirts and parka jackets.

These lads were at the main stage awaiting the performance of headliners The Charlatans fresh from their chart success with ‘How High’.

1997 was also the first year that T in the Park moved to its much-loved spiritual home on a disused airfield at Balado in Kinross.

But a change of venue did not bring a change of weather – ankle-deep mud after rainfall was a regular fixture at the festival, particularly for these revellers on the Saturday.

As unpredictable as ever, the Scottish weather came good on the Sunday that weekend, the sun was out and it was taps aff for the Sunday acts.

Really getting into the vibe with some temporary ‘T’ tattoos, this festival-goer was enjoying Paul Weller and Ocean Colour Scene on the main stage.

You haven’t really been to T in the Park if you haven’t sported some face paint or Tennent’s merchandise like these happy festival fans in 1997.

For the first time, camping capacity had increased to 25,000 making it the busiest festival weekend yet.

Fans brought the sunshine to Balado as they poured through the gates for T in the Park in 1998.

It was a year that saw Prodigy headlining the main stage on Saturday, while Ash topped the bill on the NME stage.

Sunday was headlined by Pulp, with other acts including Portishead, Ian Brown and Beastie Boys.

These teens packed to the front of the stage on the Saturday, the day Scottish band Travis made their T in the Park main stage debut.

The band made the stop-off in Balado as part of a comprehensive tour following the release of their 1997 album ‘Good Feeling’.

It would be the following year before they saw stratospheric chart success with The Man Who.

In predictable T in the Park style, the sunshine didn’t last. By Sunday, T in the Park 1998 had turned into a mudfest.

Hungry crowds huddled under Tennant’s golf umbrellas while queuing for food in between acts.

With shorts, sandals, a raincoat and a bag on his head, this reveller was ready whatever the weather.

T in the Park 1998 ended on a very muddy note, but also coincided with the 1998 World Cup Final.

For the first time, large television screens were erected so football fans could watch France claim a historic 3-0 victory over Brazil.

This aerial view from July 1999 shows the scale of T in the Park at Balado.

It was a bumper year that saw 50,000 tickets sold for each day with only a handful left before the festival kicked off.

It was a true 90s line-up with Blur headlining the Saturday with the Stereophonics and Beautiful South also billed.

While Sunday saw the Manic Street Preachers, Massive Attack, James and Placebo entertain the masses.

T in the Park ran for 23 years before organisers called it a day in 2016 after being forced to move from their Balado site in 2015.

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