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Up at 5.30am, 2+ hour drive to Cheltenham, on site by 8.30, sound-checked by 10, onstage at 11.30….  So that’s how it started for Rollercoaster at Cheltenham.  the first half of the day was spent playing in the Best Mate enclosure (30 minute set, followed by a 50 minute set).  The tent was packed by midday, and the crowd were in full swing, knocking back the Guinness.  The second set lifted spirits even higher – highlights being Champagne Supernova, Lion Man… and of course, Irish Rover.  The great thing was, everyone was there to have a good time – it was a great atmosphere!

After the Best Mate enclosure, Rollercoaster moved over to the Centaur arena, in preparation for the show to take place immediately after the last race.  We had a walk and explore – with 58,000 punters, it was certainly busy.  The queues of the gents toilets were stupidly long… it’s best to wait until a race is on, then it’s straight in!  Organic burgers, hot-dogs, and refreshments later, we headed back to the stage area to prepare for the next gig.

The final set kicked off at 5.50pm in the Centaur.  It had been a very long day – one gig is usually enough.  We pushed on, and with 2,000 festival drinkers to perform to, we launched into Galway Girl.  The crowd were fantastic – we only had one hour to fill, so we had to pick and choose the songs.  We took the choice Irish songs (Fields Of Athenry, Black Velvet Band, Fleur De MAndragore, Toss The Feathers, Tell My Ma), and mixed in the choice ‘other’ songs (Mr Brightside, I’ve Got A Feeling, Sweet Home Alabama).  We had to end at 6.30, though we would have happily carried, as the crowd roared for more.

An hour later, we were back on the road, collectively driving home between 9 and 10pm.  It was a fantastic day.  The festival staff were friendly and helpful, which always makes the difference, and the crowd were warm and welcoming.  Hopefully we’ll be heading back next year.  It’s a winning combination – horse-racing and music – and one we can happily fulfil!  Next stop, Kempton Park Racecourse, Irish Day, July 11th.
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