Following tense negotiations in the winter of 2015 it was decided that Pin Ups Chap Young Niall would have his stag do at Primavera Sound 2016. It’s taken a while, but here’s just some of the action that unfolded at what will forever be known as STAGAVERA SOUND!

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Seasoned Primaveragoers know that “Civilised Wednesday” (the night before the festival actually starts) can be the most exciting night of all. I’ve never before referred to it as “Festival Eve”, but maybe I should start, as it rivals its Christmas counterpart for the amount of magic and wonder at forthcoming fun.

Twas on Festival Eve then, that an intrepid Stagavera advance party took Niall to the notorious Bar Marsella to fill him with absinthe and see if he could be broken. And break him they almost did. Those heading to airports on Thursday morning and checking into the “STAGAVERA (OFFICIAL)” Whatsapp group were greeted by sensational footage in which the Stag was flat out in a Barcelona side street, looking not so much “drunk” as plain old “dead”. Summoning incredible reserves of willpower the Stag was seen to twitch, stir, and helped by Scally haul himself off the floor – and straight into a nearby wall. After the camera were turned off it seems the Stag got a second wind and demanded more booze. Leading to the frankly terrifying incident described below.


Despite the early start (and the after effects of Bar Marsella) some of the group managed a late finish on Wednesday. Desperation to avoid going to the shop almost had nasty consequences for the stag when it turned out he had the longest arms of anyone left awake. After a brief size up he was dangled partly (and he assures me very safely) from the apartment window to retrieve an errant cigarette. This was despite two earlier attempts being ruled out on safety grounds.


The entire Stagavera crew assembled en masse on Thursday afternoon. In the past “Civilsed Wednesday” (AKA Festival Eve) has been followed up by “KB Thursday” which involves getting knocked back from swanky terrace bars because you all look too knackered and undesirable. But not so this time, because we had cunningly booked ahead.

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Your heroes up that terrace. According to our Brummie chum Simon Stanley: “all our bars in Birmingham are like this” 

There was a secret scheme to throw Niall in the pool, and with hindsight that might have been pretty funny. Maybe we should just have forged ahead with it. His pain would have been temporary and our pride would have been permanent. The idea of a man in the pool brings us neatly to the next development.


With morale in an abyss on Friday our band of warriors were saved by an event that would forever be known as MAN IN POOL. Our stag himself picks up the story:

“We were nursing scoops by the hotel pool when a man emerged from the lift. Fully clothed, sunglasses on, and telltale water bottle of nasty rum in his hand. He waved casually at his friends – and then proceeded to walk straight into the swimming pool. As soon as his friends began to howl with laughter we knew we could join in. As Macca later said it’s the little details that lend colour to the incident: his wave to his pals; his anguished Spanish-accented howl on impact; the three attempts to get out of the pool; handing his now broken phone to a bemused Funkle. Andy summed it up with a chuckle and the words ‘what a faux pas!’. Amazing scenes.”

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For the first time at Primavera there was a “beach club” bit with DJs. It had metal sinks that looked confusingly like urinals, especially if you were Scally. I got a picture with a really tall Spanish Gigantor.  Somebody had been cured by the music and had abandoned their wheelchair.  And there was a reveller dressed like Combat Rock-era Mick Jones – strongest look of the weekend.

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By Friday the stag had put any Festival Eve wobbles firmly behind him and was powering through refreshments. In fact he treated Primavera to what was described by fascinated onlookers as a “Terminator Spew” – despatching a quick vomit without even breaking his determined stride.


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Niall and Gilbo

Over the last few years Niall has been full of “Gilbo said this”, “Gilbo is brilliant at that”, “Gilbo has dreamy twinkly eyes, with more twinklingness than even Ewan McGregor’s” (this is maybe not word for word but I am confident that I have fairly represented the substance). It was getting so far out of hand that I needed to double check who Niall was actually about to be getting married to. I decided to take this up with Gilbo during LCD Soundystem’s All My Friends, where he assured me that their special relationship was strictly platonic.  He had been Niall’s friend since they were teenagers, they were like brothers, and Niall was a brilliant guy and there was nothing in the world he would change about him (except maybe his kissing technique).


Depending on who you speak to, Niall is known as Young Niall, Tattie, or Sh*thead. (Oh, sorry Niall, you maybe didn’t know about that last one until now.) They say the abused becomes the abuser and Niall has proposed a new name for his best pal Macca: “Consequences“. He’s the Ghost of Booze Ups Future. He’s what you’ll look like in a few hours if you don’t slow down your drinking. Etc.

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Macca anticpating tanning a bottle of wine before the watershed

It’s true to say that Macca set an impressive early pace that few in the company were able to keep up with. In completely unrelated chat there was a persistent rumour that one of the stag party was enjoying himself so much he kept having to go home early all “tired and emotional”, missing almost all the bands. In fact the story goes that the only band this mystery fun-lover actually watched was Radiohead!


Of course Radiohead were on such incredible form that maybe only seeing them was enough. Just look at these reviews:

There has perhaps never been a better time to see Thom Yorke and his merry band of rock experiminstrels, riding high from their strongest album in a decade, and no longer willing to ignore their vast back catalogue, with songs from all nine of their LPs…Frankly, they’re everything you’d want from a headliner (The Skinny).

A chorus of ‘For a minute there… I lost myself, I lost myself’ echoed across the bay, from the tall corporate buildings along Avenida Diagonal to the breakwater below. No music, just the slightly Spanish accented chorus of paranoia. A single cry of alienation, sung through the lungs of 100,000. The spontaneous moment morphed into a collective cheer that had even the members of Radiohead clapping along. From the screens behind the band, you could see a smile break across the face of Yorke (Rolling Stone).

Surely then, nobody in the stag party would respond to such a momentous show by describing them as “95% Crap”? Any such rumours will be strenuously denied, especially by Niall’s big brother.


With the Stag’s morale in a shaky place by Saturday afternoon there was hesitation about dressing him up. But we did anyway.

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Some parting thoughts from the Whatsapp:

  • “Ethe the etheh ethhe Chris Waddle”

  • “I feel el terrible, as the Spanish would say”

  • “I’m just glad to have avoided a mid-afternoon tea bagging”

  • “Why do Air look so old?”

  • “As your attorney I suggest you come and watch John Carpenter”

  • “I’m wearing a blue cardigan that may have sick on it. Baby Sick – not the Depravity Sick that Niall probably has down him this morning”

  • “EITS = magic”

  • “I kept shouting Gil Scott Heron at the wrong point”

  • “Cowbellisimo”

  • “Where’s the rum? I need the rum!”

  • “Scally has taken his shirt off and is convinced he can find you”

  • “Directly opposite the building that’s made out of Tetris”

  • “You are in no position to critique performance”

  • “I had a bottle of rum sticking out of my shorts and the bouncer went straight for it. Could have been a stauner. No respect.”

  • “Dropped some heat in your en suite”

  • “I’m waving my phone in the air like a pr*ck at a Coldplay concert”

  • “Slipknot meets Black Flag meets Death Grips”

  • “You also need an angry police captain with the DA up his ass”

  • “Where r u Funkle?”

  • “Gwyneth is lovely”

  • “Floating Points have a drummer that rivals Jimmy Chamberlain”

  • “Gwyneth can f*ck off the cheerless vegan fanny”

  • “Dave is ready to flash”

  • “#ItTakesCourage”

  • “Just had a pish up the top of a hill”

  • “On the same flight home as the Spurs manager. Wonder what his favourite band was.”

  • “I’m going to spend a great deal of today in bed. I’ve never been so nervous about just lying in bed!”

  • “At least a week of unshakeable fear coming up”

  • “I was sweatier than Action Bronson last night”

    (If you enjoyed this then you can read our review of Primavera Sound 2012 and/or our review of Primavera Sound 2013.)

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