By Cara Sulieman
THOUSANDS of excited music fans started to descend on the small town of Kinross today as T in the Park got underway for the 17th time.
The festival – which grew from a humble 17,000 capacity back in Strathclyde Country Park in 1994 – will see 85,000 people gather to listen to live sets from headliners Eminem, Muse and Kasabian.
And although most of the revellers will congregate from Friday an advance guard of some 30,000 were pitching their tents today for an evening of fun before the full festivities.
One such reveller was Alexandria Docherty who had come up from Glasgow with her friends.
Not only was she ready to party, but she was also set to celebrate her birthday at the festival.
She said: “I’m turning 20 this weekend and this is the best way I can think to celebrate.
“It’s going to be amazing. I can’t wait to see Eminem and Jay-Z.
“The weather is great at the moment and I really hope it will stay like this. But if it doesn’t we’ll still have fun.”
With the usual mixed bag of rain and sunshine predicted for Scotland’s biggest music festival, festival-goers were determined to enjoy themselves by kitting up for every eventuality.
They dragged crates of beer behind them as they arrived in their hundreds, bussed in from every corner of the UK.
Friends Becky Cutler, 19, Lauren Gibson and Zoe Kinnaird, both 20 were dropped off by Becky’s mum.
Becky said: “We bought our tickets as soon as they went on sale last year and have been so excited about it since.
“There’s a huge group of us meeting up in the campsite – it is going to be an amazing weekend.
“I’m not looking forward to Tuesday because I’ll be stinking but it’s worth it for the line up and the banter.”
Although Saturday – when legendary hip hop artist Eminem will make a rare festival appearance – is likely to leave the crowd soggy, it looks like it will brighten up for a sunny end to the festival.
John Hammond from the Met Office said: “The weather for T in the Park this weekend will be a bit of everything.
“On Friday there will be some rain to start off but it should scoot out of the way during the afternoon leaving it dry with some sunshine. Temperature could get up to 20 degrees Celsius.
“On Saturday people might need their welly boots. There will be rain on and off for much of the day. When it does clear up it will be cloudy with temperatures around 18 degrees at best.
“Sunday looks much better – mainly dry and bright with some sunshine. With temperatures around 20 degrees this will be the better of the two weekend days.
“Rainfall for the weekend could be several millimetres and it won’t take much to get the field muddy.”
And whatever the weather, police are warning festival-goers to take care of themselves and those around them.
Chief Superintendent Craig Suttie, in charge of the policing operation at T in the Park, said: “The very nature of camping at any music festival means you have to be very aware of where your things are, and you can’t put a lock on a tent.
“So taking care of your personal possessions takes on even greater importance.
“You should take as few personal possessions as possible.
“It should go without saying that you shouldn’t leave anything valuable in your tent when you’re not there.
“Most campers at T in the Park are very honest, but putting temptation in the way is just silly – someone won’t be able to resist.”
Chief Superintendent Suttie’s officers will be patrolling the festival throughout the weekend with both uniformed and plain clothes police helping out the security employed by the organisers.
With just 58 arrests at last year’s event – most for drugs offences – Tayside are determined to keep crime to a minimum.
Chief Superintendent Suttie reminded festival-goers that the usual laws still exist.
He said: “The effects of taking drugs are unpredictable for each and every person.
“Some people wrongly assume drugs are harmless, especially so-called ‘legal’ highs.
“I would urge people to think seriously about bringing any drugs to T in the Park.
“Your decision could have terrible consequences for your health, life and family.”
Festival director Geoff Ellis said: “This is the 17th year of T in the Park and we are looking forward to another brilliant festival.
“The site is looking fantastic and there’s already a great festival spirit up here at Balado as we count down to the official opening and to seeing thousands of music fans arriving for the best weekend of their year.
“We have without doubt got one of the strongest and most diverse line-ups on offer this year, and we know that excitement is building for some legendary performances across the festival stages.”