In December I ventured into Soho to get speaking with the political, pop princess Girli. We spoke about her festival plans for this year…
Where do you shop for your festival clothes?
There’s a shop called Peace Street, they’re on Depop and they have really cool sequin tops and loads of colourful stuff. Dolls Kid is really wicked, a friend of mine lives off there. I also love just going into thrift stores and finding super random shit, because sometimes it’s like you go to shops at festivals and it’s either expensive or hit and miss, whereas you go to a charity shop and it’s £2 and you’re like, this is the best thing ever.
What are your top three, must-haves, at a Festival?
Hand sanitiser, portable charger, or don’t bring your iPhone, sometimes I’ll brick phone it all the way. And snacks – I always get hungry at festivals, so snacks. Festival food is so expensive, it’s like £4.50 for some chips. You can spend so much money so easily.
What advice would you give to youths who consider taking drugs at Festivals?
I think, you just have to look out for your friends, be in a group and if you are all gonna take drugs talk to each other about when you’re all dropping. I think situations where people have died at festivals is because they’re taking like a concoction of things and their friends didn’t or don’t even know they’re doing so and so they might see them popping a pill and be like, ‘oh yeah taking a pill’, but they don’t realise they’ve done like four already. I think you should stick with your friends and talk to each other, just monitor each other as well, asking a friend, ‘how you feeling, you alright?’ Don’t be afraid to go to the Medical Centre if you need to, you won’t get into trouble.
What they’ve started doing at Boomtown is have drug testing tents. I think it’s a sick idea. I think in countries like Scandinavia they do that on the door of clubs, which is also sick, it’s kind of stubborn as a government to be like, drugs are bad so we won’t do anything about the fact that people are still gonna take them even though we said they shouldn’t. I’d rather them be safe. I think there should be drug testing tents at every festival and I think with sexual assault there should be more done in terms of security actually being trained with dealing with it. They should know how to deal with it if a victim comes and reports it. Also, you see signs everywhere about drugs, its literally hammered into you that drugs are not tolerated but you don’t see anything about sexual assault and I think it’s more of an important issue to be honest.
What was the first ever festival you attended as Milly and not Girli?
I was 16, at Reading Festival, 2014. What a year, I just thought, ‘this is the best thing ever.’ I loved the idea of a weekend of music, living there, in a tent. I didn’t play festivals till I was like 17, 18 maybe. But yeah, Reading was just with a bunch of mates, it was so fun. I think the first festival I covered was,The Great Escape in Brighton. Obviously, it’s different to usual festivals because it’s the whole city, super fun.
Which do you prefer to play, festivals or gigs?
They’re all so different, like festivals are really fun because you get to be backstage and hang out with other bands and meet lots of people. It’s socially fun and like you also get to see loads of people play. But also, doing your own shows, touring, your audience is guaranteed to be crazy, whereas at festivals sometimes you might play to like 20 people. You don’t really know what your audience is going to be like. But they both have their perks.
What was it like playing at Latitude in 2017?
Latitude was insane, like do you know what’s funny? We didn’t expect that much from it. We had this weird slot at like Friday 1am and the festival had put us on as Thursday 1am and so there was a massive confusion because people were like ‘does that mean you’re technically on Saturday morning or Friday morning?’ So, we just thought, this is just so stressful, no one’s going to come, we literally expected like ten people to show up, but for some reason, 300 people turned up in this tiny tent. It was mad and Keith Allen, Lily Allen’s dad, was putting up the stage; we made proper buddies with him and he went on and was like, ‘let me introduce Girli,’ and we were like, ‘why is he hyping it up there are probably like ten people out there’ and then we heard this cheer of screams and we were like, ‘what the fuck?!’ It was literally the most insane gig we’ve ever done, people were literally falling over everywhere. It was so sick, so that was mad.
We did this amazing festival called Milkshake in Amsterdam which was this incredible, gay, drag festival, we walked in and there was this massive screen of cocks, like pictures of people’s cocks. They put their testicles in little jars, most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen and there was like a bucking bronco, but it was a dick. That was just really cool, but I think that’s the only one we’ve played internationally.
Have you ever been on the bill of the same festival more than once?
We have done TGE a lot of times and Live at Leeds, a few times. Once you’ve done them a certain amount of times, they will wait and book you in again. Like you kind of have to cover new ones. But, The Great Escape and Live at Leeds, we’ve done consecutively. It’s really fun.
Would you encourage people to go to festivals?
I think for music lover’s festivals are just so essential really. When I was 16 I remember going and I was like, ‘omg, this is my first proper taste of freedom,’ as you know, you’re away from your parents, experiencing looking after yourself, even if it’s living in a tent. I think you kind of grow up a lot in a good way, you kind of learn how to look after yourself, and it’s just really fun. Whenever someone says, ‘I’ve never been to a festival’ I’m like, ‘omg, let me take you to a festival.’
Girli goes on tour next month with her latest track, ‘Play it Cool.’ You can grab tickets here.