We used to have a disgusting roadie called Terry and he'd stand in front of the fans and fart. That was pretty disgusting." Bernard Sumner, one-time member of Joy Division, lately singer with Bad Lieutenant and once and current front man of the recently reconstituted New Order, is recalling his previous festival experiences. They've clearly not all been fragrant ones.
Even so New Order, the 2012 version, are currently preparing for the odorific delights of this summer's festival circuit. After the band split up in some acrimony back in 2008, they reformed last year and are now one of a number of old-school Manchester bands who are reliving their 1980s heydays in the sun (or showers; it's a British summer after all) – The Stone Roses (if they're still talking to each other) and Happy Mondays are also appearing at this year's T in the Park.
But New Order remain the first among equals in the northern dance-flavoured rock niche, even if original member Peter Hook is now persona non grata. In his place, Bad Lieutenant's Tom Chapman is joining original members Sumner, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, as well as Phil Cunningham, a long-term touring member of the band. As the five of them look out their Wellington boots once again, we ask them for their most memorable festival experiences. Thankfully, farting doesn't feature. Chuck Berry, Mormon pop stars, UFOs and a sense of belonging do ...
Stephen Morris, drummer:
"My most memorable festival? Buxton 1973 in the p***ing rain, watching Alex Harvey as the local branch of the Hell's Angels decided to re-enact Altamont. That was quite memorable. Some people had tents. I've never been a great one for preparation and I'd got a big bin-bag, so I pretended to be a corpse as the motor cycles whizzed past. It was a great bill that year. It was the one with Chuck Berry. Chuck Berry took it quite well at first. But when he was doing the duck walk, it turned into a conga line of Hell's Angels behind him doing the duck walk. He literally walked off the stage, got in the car and never came back to Buxton."
Phil Cunningham, guitar and keyboards:
"The last time New Order played T in the Park, that was a really good one. And Brandon from The Killers came on stage and sang Crystal with us. That was definitely a good experience. But I've never seen anyone more nervous in my life than he was before he hit the stage."
Gillian Gilbert, keyboards:
"In America we played in the middle of a forest in Oklahoma or somewhere once. We played in the middle of the night and the lights attracted these massive doodlebugs. And there was nothing you could do. They just landed on you while you were playing. That was horrible."
Tom Chapman, bassist:
"For me it was when we played with Bad Lieutenant supporting Ian Brown at a Manchester all-dayer. I felt like I had sort of arrived in this Manchester arena of musicians. I used to listen to their records in my basement in France learning to play the bass guitar. And now here I was on the Manchester music scene. It took a long time to get there but it paid off. It was an arrival moment. It was a good feeling."
Bernard Sumner, singer:
"I saw a UFO at Glastonbury. I did. We played on the Saturday night and I got s***-faced. I stayed with my girlfriend in a hotel and we decided to stay on the Sunday. I remember Elvis Costello was on. I had a really bad hangover so I wasn't drinking. I didn't drink anything at all. We stayed at the festival for the Sunday and watched the day and then, after it finished, about 11.30pm, we left. I was driving down a back road out of the festival and I noticed this thing in the sky. It moved like a kite, like someone pulling it on a piece of string – that kind of movement – and it was red, with cherry red inside. It moved like someone playing shove ha'penny. I thought 'that's a kite. Someone's got a round kite'.
"So we drove further on a few miles. We got away from the site so there's no people around and it came up in the windscreen again. I thought 'that's a long piece of string, that'. So the three of us in the car got out and watched it. And now my brain is working overtime trying to work out what it was. 'Right it can't be a kite. It's a hoax of some sort. It's a helicopter shining lasers through the rotor blades. It's got to be that. It's the only thing it can be.' But there was no noise.
"Then it moved over to the left and then all of a sudden it went bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang and then whoof, over the horizon. As it moved it was like a dot-to-dot painting. It was as if it was moving to specific co-ordinates. Stop, move to the next co-ordinate, stop, move to the next co-ordinate. And at each co-ordinate it changed colour. It went from dark red to yellow to white to blue. It looked like a jelly bean. And then it just shot over the horizon.
"I couldn't find any explanation for it. At the time I lived near a small airport, so I knew what airport lights looked like. Nothing moved like that and it was too far away from the festival site. There were no clouds. It was odd. It was definitely odd. I believe in UFOs now."
New Order play T in the Park on Friday