Those enjoying the balmy late afternoon sunshine on the Sunday of last year’s Farmer Phil’s Festival will almost certainly remember the rude awakening we all received when this bouncy sextet lit up the stage with their ska-fuelled energy. SkaBurst were one of the star turns of last year’s event and won so many of you over that day that it was the easiest decision in the world to bring them back for more pogoing lunacy this time around, and by the reaction on Facebook when we announced their return, it was a very welcome decision indeed!
We managed to grab five minutes with bass player extraordinaire Ryan Mortier to get his reflections on Farmer Phil’s Festival 2016 and to look ahead to this year’s festival and beyond.
FPF: It’s fair to say that you guys nearly blew the roof off the main stage on the Sunday afternoon last year – how was the experience for you guys?
RM: Last year was immense, we all really loved it. To see the whole field come alive to the opening bars of the set right the way through was special. We really felt like we’d arrived as a band on stage last year.
FPF: What have you guys been up to since?
RM: We’ve been really busy actually. Since last year’s Farmer Phil’s Festival we’ve been right up and down the country gigging nearly every weekend. Just last week we supported The Beat Goes Bang, which is a band featuring original members of The Beat and Dexy’s Midnight Runners. We’re right in the thick of a busy festival season.
FPF: We noticed you played a headline set at HMP Shrewsbury? How did you find playing a prison, and please tell us you played some Johnny Cash?
RM: It was really surreal – the turnout was huge! Nearly 700 people showed up to enjoy the bands and have a look round. It felt like a club night and people really buzzed off it… even though there was no Johnny Cash! It really is a fantastic venue and long may it continue.
FPF: For those who aren’t familiar with the band, or who maybe missed your set last year, talk us through what SkaBurst are all about.
RM: SkaBurst is at its core about making people dance. We play all the old ska classics you’d expect to hear from a ska band, but we do them with a twist. We’ve also made a name for ourselves by ‘ska-ing’ up songs, the most popular of which is probably Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’.
FPF: What’s your favourite SkaBurst cover to play live and why?
RM: We all love to play ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ by Van Morrison. It’s so fun to play and the audience reaction is always massive. A close second would probably be ‘Come On Eileen’. Again, people go mental for it so it’s a great feeling!
FPF: Besides playing live, what did you enjoy most about Farmer Phil’s Festival last year?
RM: As we had other shows that weekend we didn’t get to spend as much time at Farmer Phil’s Festival as we’d have liked, but we did manage to drink cocktails, eat some great food and enjoy the rest of the bands that were playing on the same day. One thing we really enjoyed was having Han from The Leylines join us on stage for ‘Come on Eileen’ – that was great fun!
FPF: Are there any bands you’re particularly looking forward to seeing at Farmer Phil’s Festival this year?
RM: We just look forward to seeing all the live acts – this year we are the filling of a sandwich made with a top reggae band & very entertaining classic rock outfit… you guys are in for a real treat.
FPF: Your performance last year definitely kicked the field into action last year. Do you have any surprises up your sleeve for your performance this time?
RM: We’ve been working on expanding the set with more massive songs in our trademark ska’d up style, and we may have one or two visual surprises too. The only way to find out is to buy a ticket, as they say! We’re also going to play you our first original song, called ‘PayDay’.
FPF: What does the rest of 2017 have in store for Skaburst?
RM: We are now hard at work writing original music. We have studio time booked and some amazing videos planned! And when we’re not working on original material, we’re always looking to evolve our live set with more ska’d up covers – there’s no rest for the wicked.
FPF: Where can people find out more information about you?
RM: Our website (www.skaburst.com), Facebook page (facebook.com/skaburstband), Instagram (@Skaburstband) or YouTube (Skaburst band) channels are the best places to find us… or in your local music venue!