Board games for bored bands,
How do festival acts relieve the tedium of touring? From Kanye’s and Beyoncé’s Connect 4 dogfights to Fight Like Apes’ shoplifting game and The Strokes’ card schools, a bit of competition passes the time nicely. Well, it’s better than taking drugs, writes
backstage rider that doesn’t have entertainment among its requirements, especially among certain demographics. Boy bands, rappers and younger male solo artists need their Xboxes and PS3s. For a while Amy Winehouse wouldn’t go anywhere that didn’t have a pool table nearby (which explains why she ended up in the Palace on Camden Street in Dublin one night pre-Blake.) Juliette Lewis watches box sets of Family Guy back to back on tour. Lil Wayne watches American sports on a satellite feed to his tour bus, or springs his pop-up studio into action. Justin Bieber spends hours playing the NBA 2K computer game series.
According to a previous rider, Oxegen headliners Foo Fighters like DVDs as long as they don’t contain Martin Lawrence, Jamie Kennedy or sport. Arctic Monkeys, who play before the Foos tomorrow, are fans of word games. In fact, when Alex Turner was on holidays with his then girlfriend Johanna Bennett (now married to Matthew Followill from Kings of Leon), the song Fluorescent Adolescent was developed from a word game, earning her a songwriting credit.
Keep the cards away from tonight’s performers The Strokes. Bassist Nikolai Fraiture is a poker fan – that’s how he met Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, who ended up working on his solo album.
As for festivals themselves, backstage areas tend to transform into teen playgrounds laden with amusements. The Benicassim festival on the Costa del Azahar in Spain remains high on bands’ wish lists of festivals to play thanks in no small part to its famous backstage swimming pool. At Oxegen this weekend, games will be laid on again for visiting bands, who will spend the weekend coming from or going to T in the Park in Scotland and elsewhere.
In the past, Oxegen has tried its hand at a variety of games backstage, including beach volleyball, which gale force winds and driving rain did their best to trash. The complex that houses the large network of dressing rooms and catering facilities at Oxegen comes