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Festival Fashion with Smoove & Turrell

Our Live Music Editor Ben Smith questions John Turrell on his festival fashion fixtures to talk Stone Island, C.P Company, BSFC and going on the lash with Georgie Best.

Ben Smith

Date published: 29th May 2015

Image: Smoove & Turrell

Geordie funk and soul collective Smoove & Turrell might not have much to shout about in terms of Newcastle United, but their astute and admirable fashion sense is a completely different matter, lending itself accordingly to our inaugural festival fashion interrogation. 

You're likely to find the band, a regular Saturday night fixture on Craig Charles Funk and Soul show, packing out jazz bars up and down the country with their electrifying live shows that journey the entire spectrum of funky. They've even got their own Smoove & Turrell Pale Ale that was brewed up in Newcastle for the Gateshead Beer Festival. 

More to the point, we were first alerted to their discerning fashion sense by the music video to 'Will You Be Mine' (below) shot in Durham City Centre, with the lads brandishing various fine garments. And of course, the song title doesn't refer to the pursuit of a woman, because that'd be daft, we're talking about an elusive Stone Island jacket which lead singer John Turrell gladly includes in his festival essentials.  

What three items of clothing do you take to every festival?

Firstly you can't go wrong with a pair of Oliver Peoples shades, there's probably a 50% chance I'll ever get to wear them in the glorious British summer time, but they look topper. I always take one of my Stone Island jackets as they normally come apart, so it's two jackets for the price of ten if it gets a bit chilly.

Finally, as many pairs of socks as I can fit in my bag, I have a bit of a thing about socks and I am actually a proud member of the BSFC (British Sock Fetish Council). If you can't get a shower, a fresh pair of socks is the next best thing.

How much are you influenced by the conditions there; or do you just run with the same style regardless?

It's totally pointless trying to accommodate for the British weather, you'd end up trooping on site looking like Scott of the Antarctic. Being a Geordie we are used to being cold and wet, so it's a nice surprise when the sun beats down on a festival and you're actually wearing the appropriate clothing. 

Your ultimate fashion icon.. 

No one looks cooler than Michael Caine in the movie Get Carter. With it being shot in Gateshead, it makes him somehow shine a bit brighter with the drab northern background.

Unfortunately I could never carry that style off, I would probably say I'm more of an Ian Brown type of dresser. I love my casual wear and have built up quite a collection over the years.

Ultimate wardrobe staple?

I'm a total sucker for C.P Company and Stone Island. There is nothing better than getting a new piece and showing it off to the lads, that's what it's all about.


Most expensive item you have bought? 

I've paid a lot over the years for jackets and as I'm now married with kids it's a bit more difficult to sneak things in the house, probably my last C.P fishtail parka was my last big purchase at about a grand. 

What's the item of clothing you're most embarrassed about? (That you'll admit)

I've made some cracking fashion faux-pas in my time, I'm not the skinniest of lads and have still tried to squeeze my over erect nipples into a John Smedley roll neck more than once. Band wise I think that has to go down to Mike Porter our keyboard player, he was renowned for wearing PVC destroy jackets back in the rave days.

Finally you can go on the lash and clothes shopping with any three historical figures with an unlimited budget. Who are you taking and what will you all end up wearing at the end? 

I would definitely hang out with Picasso, he's as mad as a box of frogs and could totally rock a cool Breton. Oliver Reed has to be in there, class beard, good drinker and he could probably get away with wearing a dish cloth and still look a million dollars.

And finally George Best, not only was he the first ever football superstar, but he had the style to match it. As you can see I don't think we would be getting much clothes shopping done, but I'm sure we could blow most of the budget on a canny day out. 

Cheers John.

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