A young Shetland musician will be joining the likes of music heavyweights Bruce Sprinsgteen and Neil Young this summer in taking to the stage at one of the world’s biggest music festivals.
JP Parsons, 19, from Bressay, is playing at Glastonbury with percussion band Rhythm Wave, who are playing six gigs at the festival which this year falls on the last weekend in June.
Currently studying music at Perth college, JP began playing the drums in 2002 and studied drumming with local teacher Russell Gair, who he said was “really encouraging”.
JP said: “Shetland’s always been good at encouraging music and teachers like Russell were really encouraging, so it spurred me on to do more.”
He then got accepted to do the popular music course at Perth College, which was where he heard about and joined Rhythm Wave.
The band, who describe themselves as “an electrifying percussion band”, play a mixture of Samba music with rap and other Latin inspired beats. They are currently made up of 22 music students and graduates from Perth College.
Founded in 1997 by esteemed drumming tutor, musician and composer Ronnie Goodman, who among other things has played with Gaelic band Capercaillie, Rhythm Wave have performed all over the UK and Europe. This will be the band’s ninth appearance at Glastonbury.
Set to play six gigs in total – two a day at the Cabaret tent, which holds 2,000 people, and at the Blazing Saddles stage – JP said he was delighted to be taking part in what is an iconic festival.
JP said: “Just the whole experience – it’s the festival, everyone always goes on about it and to have the honour to play at it is amazing. It’s going to be really surreal having a backstage pass as well.”
JP has been playing in bands since the age of 14 with Shetland bands Victims of Authority, Train to Wales and El Pedro.
While he will be playing the Samba drum the repenique with the band, JP also plays bass in the band Eat Dr Ape, an alternative rock band currently making waves in the Glasgow music scene, having sold out a gig at Cosmopol in the city recently.
Ex-tutor Russell said: “JP was always someone who was very vocal about wanting to succeed in music; he was always a big help with Drummjam, the youth workshop we run. Getting the opportunity to play at Glastonbury is just amazing.”
Shetland fiddler Vicky Gray also played at Glastonbury with Rhythm Wave in 2004.