The festival experience with... Birdy

Henry Lewis spoke to the singer-songwriter ahead of a busy festival season as she looks ahead to Rock Werchter, Glastonbury, Belladrum Festival and more.

Henry Lewis

Last updated: 27th Apr 2017.
Originally published: 24th Apr 2017

Image: Birdy

Jasmine Lucilla Elizabeth Jennifer van den Bogaerde, better known to you and I as Birdy, has had quite a remarkable musical journey. In 2008, aged just 12, the songstress was triumphant at national music competition Open Mic UK, and three years later released debut single 'Skinny Love'.

The Bon Iver cover version marked the start of great things to come, reaching number 17 on the charts, whilst also being made Fearne Cotton's record of the week on her BBC Radio 1 show. Her  continued progression as a songwriter means that as she matures, so does her music, with 2016 record Beautiful Lies marking Birdy's place alongside the likes of Lorde and Lana Del Rey as alternative pop purveyors of the highest order. 

As we look ahead to a summer of festivals, where Birdy will bring her ethereal sound to Belgium's Rock Werchter, Glastonbury Festival and Inverness' Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, we spoke to the singer to find more about her festival experiences. 

Hi Birdy how are you? What are you up to musically at the moment?

Really good thank you, I have taken a little time out to get inspired for my next album and enjoy some time with friends.

Although, right now I’m actually in Montreal to perform on The Voice and then I’ll start rehearsals for my summer shows. I’m playing Glastonbury, Somerset House Summer Series and Rock Werchter in Belgium - I can’t wait! 

You worked with Sigma last year - firstly, what was that like, and is that a musical direction you’ll be following more in future?

I really enjoyed working with the Sigma boys, I loved being a part of something that is different to my own music and performing. It's amazing because it's so euphoric and uplifting.

I don't know where my writing will take me on the next album, I’m constantly evolving and finding inspiration in so many different genres of music. 

You’re playing at Belgian festival Rock Werchter this summer, are you looking forward to it? Which countries are your favourites to visit?

I can’t wait to play Rock Werchter, I played it a few years ago and it was the most amazing crowd! I’m excited to be playing alongside so many wonderful artists like Arcade Fire, Rag'n'Bone Man, James Blake, Lorde , Alt J, Passenger and more.

 I got the chance to go to Japan last year and I loved it, it’s a very mysterious and beautiful country. A Japanese book inspired my last album, Beautiful Lies, so it was great to actually go there.

 I also love playing in the USA, one of the first big festivals I ever played was "Outside Lands" in San Francisco at the Golden Gate Park.

Are festival arenas a good place to try new out music?

The crowds are normally a mixture of fans and people curious to check out an artist they might not be familiar with -  so it can be good to see the reaction to new material. But it's also great to play the favourites and hear people singing along. 

 What are your earliest festival memories, did you go to a festival as an artist or a fan first? Where did you first go?

One of the first festivals I went to was Wakestock, it's in a beautiful part of Wales right by the sea. I went with a group of friends and we would go and lie on the beach in the sun and swim in between acts.

As much as I enjoy performing I also love being part of the crowd and getting to experience the festival from the other side. Festivals give you a real sense of freedom, being at a festival was actually the inspiration behind Wings. 

What advice would you give to someone who is going to a festival for the first time?

Just have fun! Immerse yourself in the whole experience, make friends, find new bands to fall in love with, always take enough wet wipes and glitter!

Who are the best acts you have witnessed at a festival?

Pumarosa are incredible live and Isabel Munoz-Newsome really captivating performer. Also after dark they transform into a Funkadelic cover band!

 Are you bringing anything different to your festival sets this season? Does your setlist change throughout the summer?

You’ll have to wait and see!

When it comes to your own sets, what makes for a successful festival show in your eyes?

I think a mix of old and new songs make a great festival set and also just having fun on stage and giving the performance lots of energy!

Birdy plays at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2017, find Bella tickets below.

Tickets are no longer available for this event

Festivals 2018

Upcoming Events At Belladrum Estate, Inverness

Here are the next 3 upcoming events At Belladrum Estate, Inverness

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2019
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Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2019

Belladrum Estate, Inverness

Thursday 1st Aug

8:00am til 2:00am

No age restrictions

For ticket prices, please click here (Additional fees may apply)

Homegrown in the Highlands - the award-winning family festival weekender returns to Belladrum Estate...

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2019 Featured event
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Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2019

Belladrum Estate, Inverness

Friday 2nd Aug

8:00am til 2:00am

No age restrictions

For ticket prices, please click here (Additional fees may apply)

Homegrown in the Highlands - the award-winning family festival weekender returns to Belladrum Estate...

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2019 Featured event
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Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2019

Belladrum Estate, Inverness

Saturday 3rd Aug

8:00am til 2:00am

No age restrictions

For ticket prices, please click here (Additional fees may apply)

Homegrown in the Highlands - the award-winning family festival weekender returns to Belladrum Estate...