ROCKERS The Stranglers are set to headline at the 2016 Larmer Tree Festival this week.

The annual event kicks-off today (Wednesday) with The Stranglers taking centre stage on the Friday.

Guitarist Baz Warne said the band, which has been going since 1974, are “very much” looking forward to playing at the festival.

“I’m sure the Larmer Tree will be really good and we are really looking forward to it. We look forward to this time of year, there’s lots of lovely, little festivals out there.”

“It is a busy time for us as; the summer always is," explains Baz. 

“Festivals are an opportunity to play to a wider audience than you would ordinarily. This band knows a thing or two about hits. There is an amazing pedigree and back catalogue of top 30, top 20 and top 10 hits.

“We’ll mix it up a little bit - we’ll put a bit of obscure stuff and a bit of new stuff in there which is always very well received, so it’s going to be mixed bag.”

This is Baz’s 17th year in The Stranglers. In the mid 90s he was in Sunderland band Small Town Heroes who toured with The Stranglers in 1995 and 1997.

When they lost a guitarist in 1997, he says he was at a loose end after his own band had split the year before. He auditioned and was given the job on the spot.

There have a been a few changes to the The Stranglers line-up over the years. Starting as a four-piece, the band became a five-piece for six years before returning to four, which it has been for a decade.

“All in all it’s been a fantastic 10 years with this line-up. Although we’re kicking on there are no plans to retire just yet,” he said.

Baz says he still loves performing, adding: “When you are on stage it is the one place where you can truly be who you are. I just love the power of the music that we play; I love to see the enjoyment on people’s faces.

“You have got to remember this band has been going since 1974, so 42 years, there are still some original fans that come and still get a kick out of the music. Music is a powerful tool that brings people together.

“We just still love it - recording, creating.

“It is nice to get out there, strap on the guitar and remember why you first picked up the guitar.”

Baz first picked up a guitar when he was 10-years-old and says he just wanted “to play and get out in front of a crowd” and show people what he could do - feeling that has never gone away.

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