Hozier’s music festival survival guide

Ireland’s indie-rock troubadour tells us how to survive life on the road during festival season.
Irish troubadour Hozier
Meet Ireland's Hozier © Alex Lake
By Phil Harrison

Irish troubadour Andrew Hozier – better known as just Hozier – is causing a stir with his new anti-homophobia, religion-questioning single Take Me To Church, out September 15. Hozier have become festival veterans this summer so here's Andrew's five-point guide to surviving life on the road.

Keep an open mind

Sometimes there's a danger that you just arrive, get off your bus, do your set and get back on your bus again. And you don't listen to any other music. I think it's very important that you do. You only start to get tired and jaded if you just play and then leave straight away. I've been trying to see Tinariwen for a long time, and I finally caught them recently because we were at the same festival. That was amazing. It's a chance to see artists you like. At Lollapalooza, there's an artist from New Orleans called Benjamin Booker who I'm looking forward to seeing.

Enjoy the differences

The weather is a big difference and it all goes from there. Over here in America, it's usually a constant. You know the weather's going to be good so people are in good spirits. People don't seem to start drinking as early at American festivals as they do in the UK either! But I'm looking forward to doing more because I’m sure they’re all very different. I played at Newport Folk Festival recently and there's more of a family vibe. You can't even bring beers to the stage, you drink in beer gardens. It can even be a little jarring at first, when you're expecting mayhem, and then everyone's civilised and polite.

Take each day as it comes

It's never easy, and it can be a challenge to keep calm. If I look at my schedule too much, I can see I don't have time off until some time next year. So it's important to just take each day at a time, and find moments to enjoy in them. I miss my friends and I miss having the time and space to write music. I don't do this so I can be on tour for months – I do it so I can make music, and all the other stuff comes with it.

Have a USP

Maybe it does help to be Irish sometimes. There's a lot of us here in New York and obviously in Boston, too. And not even just Irish-American but lots have emigrated more recently. In every city I go to, there seems to be a large Irish contingent at the shows, throwing up tricolours at you. Everyone really clings to their heritage here. But it's cool, American audiences don't seem as self-conscious.

© Alex Lake

Don't overdo it

We haven’t really had time to hit the bars on this tour. But after a show, you just want to relax with a beer. But I am learning that you can't do it every night. I'm a ball of nerves half the time anyway, so waking up with a bad case of 'The Fear' isn’t good. One day on, one day off is the trick!

Hozier's self-titled debut album is released on September 22. Pre-order it here.

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