Busted Interview: "We’re going to give Highest Point a big, banger-filled set"

We caught up with Busted's Matt Willis, to talk all about their headline set at Highest Point, the bands incredible 20th anniversary year, and the power of nostalgia. Scroll down and check it out!

Thomas Hirst

Date published: 19th Apr 2024

Whether they’re travelling to the Year 3000, crashing weddings, or telling you why they go to school; Busted are true pop-punk icons, and last year celebrated their 20th anniversary as a band. This year Busted are coming to Lancaster’s Highest Point Festival for the first time, and are set for a massive headline show on the Saturday night.

Originating from Southend-on-Sea, the band dominated the British pop-punk of the noughties, producing instantly recognisable hits that were carefree and bursting with fun, securing two Brit Awards, and releasing four studio albums, selling over 5 million records worldwide.

In preparation, we caught up with Matt Willis, bassist and founding member of Busted, to talk all about their headline set at Highest Point, the importance of local festivals, Busted's incredible 20th anniversary year, and the power of nostalgia. Scroll down and check out what he had to say!



Hi Matt, it’s great to be chatting with you, how are you doing, how is Busted doing, what's the year been like for you guys so far?

"I’m doing great, It's been a pretty mental time for the band, last year's Greatest Hits tour was absolutely nuts, and we're going to be out on the road a lot this summer, which is wicked. 

"We're also making an album at the moment. So normally festival season is like a weekend job, where we have the week free, and then we go and pretend to be rock stars on the weekend.

"However this year, we’ll be fully involved in music, because we're gonna be writing and recording during the week, and then be out performing on the weekend, which will be really nice."



We’re here to chat about your headline set at Highest Point Festival, how excited are you for it and what can people in attendance expect?

"We were in two minds for these festival sets, because if you're promoting a record or have a new album out which you love, you really want to play new songs. 

"But nobody wants to hear a new song that they don't know. I quite enjoy it, but it's definitely a lull in the set. 

"So we won’t be doing any of that. We’re going to give Highest Point a real big, banger-filled set.

"A headline slot is about an hour, so that's a perfect amount of time because then we can just fill it with bangers, and make it an extension of the Greatest Hits tour in a way, with the 20th anniversary vibe. 

"It should be good because after all this we can go on to new record stuff, and go, right, let's never play the old songs ever again… I'm sure no one would mind that haha!"


Will this be the first ever time Busted have played Lancaster? If so, how much are you looking forward to that?

"Over 20 years, I feel like I've been everywhere, but I do think Lancaster is one of those places we've never played, so that’s really exciting and it should be brilliant. 

"To be honest, I look forward to every single show. I know that’s a bit cliche but I really do, I love it.

"I treat every show as if it's my last, and with our band, it could be, you know? 

"I love playing gigs and I love playing people. It's a real privilege to play shows and to still be playing shows. I was 16 when I started the band, and to still be doing it at 40, in fact, I'll be 41 when I play that show.

"It’s amazing."


Image: Busted on Facebook

Something I personally love about Highest Point is just how up for it, how excited the locals get and how much it means to them to have such big bands come and play in the city. There are no huge venues, and they would have to travel like an hour to see acts like Busted. I’d just love to get your opinion on that and what it’s like as a band to play these sorts of gigs.

"Well where I grew up, there was nowhere to go and watch bands. I think Brixton was the closest big venue, which was a mission away. 

"So I would have loved a little festival like Highest Point near me, it would have been wicked and meant a lot to us.

"Also, to go and see a band now is expensive. We try hard to make our tickets as cheap as possible, and we value our fan experience. 

"So if someone is paying the money to come to see us at a festival, which is a lot of money, we want to make sure that everyone gets the best show possible.

"I love that it’s a smaller place too, I actually prefer that because I feel like I can see everyone.

"These massive festivals, whether it's 10,000 or a hundred thousand, you lose that connection, and when it's a bit smaller, it just feels epic. 

"You can see everyone, and it feels like everyone's in it. You see the whites of people's eyes and you can talk to the people at the back. It's awesome."


The lineup is also full of great acts, whether it be Tom Odell, Cat Burns, Caity Baser, or Sam Ryder, is there anyone you’re sharing the bill with that you’re excited about seeing?

"Sam Ryder, mate, he shocked me. I missed Eurovision. I missed all that stuff and I didn't really know anything about him. 

"Then I saw him on TV and he came out and like, just killed this guitar lick, like, insane playing. I was like, wow, this guy can play guitar. And then he sang and I was blown away, his pipes are insane. Where had he been hiding? 

"I'm pleased that he's having success. These certain talents can get missed or not have an opening or just don't find their way, but then someone like him comes out and just goes bosh, I think that's really cool.

"My mate Gok Wan is playing as well.

"He's a great guy. He came to a Busted show, my wife brought him, and I don't think he was a Busted fan, but I remember on the tour we had a little pit down at the front, and one night just looking down and having Gok Wan looking back at me, he seemed to be having a good time, haha!

"I saw him playing in Ibiza, I went to Amnesia I think it was, and saw him playing and he was absolutely mega.

"He's so good at it, he's a really good DJ, I think because he's a celebrity, people just assume that he's not supposed to be good, but he’s great and I’m really excited for that.

"Tom Odell’s great, I’ve met him before and he’s a really nice guy and has some amazing songs.

"The Cuban Brothers too, they're awesome, love their stuff. It’s a great lineup and it should be loads of fun." 


Image: Busted on Facebook

Moving onto you guys as a band, last year was your 20th anniversary as a band and you celebrated it in style with a huge tour and the release of your Greatest Hits 2.0 album, having had a bit of time pass now, how do you reflect on that year and the madness of it?

"It was insane, it really was.

"With the tour, even when we were kind of announcing it and doing the press, we got invited onto loads of TV shows. Normally we’d get one, and we don't have a label, so we’d hustle to get more. 

"But people were like, yep, yep, yep, yep. It caught us, and we realised, wow, there's a lot of interest here. Then when we were on people were going; oh so how’s the reunion been? To which we thought, erm we’ve been playing since 2016, but let’s not let the truth get in the way of a story… Yeah, it's good to be back!

"So it was a really interesting time, and the tour was even more insane. 

"We put eleven dates on sale and we stopped it there. The last time we went on tour, we played six arenas and we couldn't sell them all out, so we thought we were done. We didn't want to be, but we didn’t want to ruin it, we didn't want to do stuff that's not great, we wanted it to be epic, you know?

"But then they sold out in like, five minutes. 

"So we put more on sale and more on sale, and we ended up doing 27, I think, which is just insane, you know, it was like 2004 all over again, and it was unreal."


I’d love to hear why you thought that was, and why it sold so well this time around. Because for me, having grown up with your music, I think it’s just got that lasting quality, with the right amount of nostalgia, plus all us kids who grew up with it have money to actually go and see you too!

"You know what, I have been trying to think about exactly what that was. I think there's something about a time in your life when music meant everything to you, you know? And I have that with certain bands.

"For instance, when we were touring, Blink-182 were also playing in the UK, and Tom was back. I was so excited to see him on stage with Mark and Travis, it meant so much to me to kind of, like, for them to be doing that, you know? So maybe it’s something like that.

"It is also what you’ve said there, I’ve had so many people show me pictures of them when they were, like, six or seven at a Busted concert in the same venue. I'm always like, wow, that's trippy because you are a mum now. Crazy, you know? It's so cool. I love it.

"But,  I don't know whether or not being in your house for two years and all that kind of stuff kind of plays into it too, where people just want to let their hair down and relive their youth a bit and remember when they had no cares in the world and everything was fun.

"We felt all of that on stage, and I felt a love for the band that was really tangible, you know? 

"And the first gig back, we had a few other songs in the set, newer songs, and they didn't hit as hard as the others, and straight after we were like, let's take them out. 

"We realised what it was. What that tour was. And we just made it a celebration of everything that people love about what they remember about Busted."


Image: Busted on Facebook

It must have also been cathartic and celebratory for you guys on stage too, especially after how Busted originally ended.

"It was definitely a real moment for us all to celebrate.

"It was messy at the end when Charlie left, it was weird, we didn't talk for eight years, and we didn't really get to say goodbye.

"So with this, it was like, do you know what? Let’s make this a real celebration of everything that Busted achieved and about us three as colleagues but weirdly best friends, being back doing what we love. It was a chance to really celebrate that.

"We went all out, we spent a lot of time coming up with stuff for the screens and tapping into that nostalgic feel, but also bringing the music up to date with what we want to do right now.

"It felt incredible, and I had the best time with the other two guys, you know, and we got a drummer called Eddy Thrower, and he is the best musician I've ever played with in my life. 

"We all messed about a lot on stage, and I think we got rid of a lot of baggage as a band and just relinquished a lot of old stuff. We're just like, let's just fucking be rad and have fun, you know? And that's where we're at."


I’ve seen you in other interviews say how you are not afraid to be a nostalgia-driven band, I think that's a really refreshing stance because giving back those memories to people can be a powerful thing. Could you expand on that for us?

"The word nostalgia gets a bad rap. 

"But, we were scared of it at first because we saw these nostalgia acts and we didn’t want to be that. 

"However, nostalgia is a really powerful emotion. It can bring you back to a time and a place and a moment in your life, be it good or bad, and it’s a really powerful tool, you know?

"So we wanted to bring that into the tour and not be afraid of it, and to not try and make Busted this new cool thing. 

"Because there are four members of Busted; Me, James, Charlie and Busted, and you have to look after that fourth guy because he's the gift that keeps on giving.

"He means something to people, you know. Bizarrely, this band that we made in our bedrooms means something to people in their lives, and it means something to us too, and we need to respect it. 

"So we wanted to capture and deliver some of that nostalgia back because we might be a bit older now, but we're still those same three idiots who wrote Year 3000."


It's been a pleasure talking to you Matt. Just finish off, do you have any last words for the fans coming to see you at Highest Point

"As I said before, we live for these gigs, we love them.

"Plus, I love nothing more than an outdoor gig, especially one where the sun's going down, everyone's had a bit of a day, and you're like, right, let's go for it. 

"At that point, I feel like it's my job to make everyone lose their mind.

"But that’s a two-way street too. It's you guys, the people out in the crowd that really make a difference, so when we come on we want us all to have the best time together.

"We haven't played in Lancaster before as well, so we get to go there and leave a memory with the city, and we want to make that experience the most fun you're going to have all year."




If you want to be a part of the lasting memory that will be Busted Headline set at Highest Point Festival, then scroll down to the bottom of this page and secure your ticket now!

Or, if you would like to find more information, FAQs, and ticket details for Highest Point Festival 2024, then visit the festival page on Skiddle by clicking or tapping - HERE



Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.








Header image credit: Busted on Facebook

Tickets are no longer available for this event

Festivals 2024