SUMMER’S here, music festivals are in full swing - it must be time for the Human League!

Responsible for some of the most memorable songs of the Eighties including the number one hit Don’t You Want Me?, Phil Oakey, Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sully are now one of the most popular bands on the festival circuit.

On Friday they will be part of the Lytham Festival, headlining an 80s v 90s night which also includes the likes of Midge Ure, Johnny Hates Jazz, Betty Boo and A1.

“The music industry is certainly a very different beast to what it was like when we started,” said Susan, who famously was spotted by Phil Oakey when she was dancing with her friend Joanne in a Sheffield nightclub when they were both teenagers and invited to join his band.

“There was nothing like Lytham Festival back then. There has always been Glastonbury but there was never so many festival.

“When I was young, I don’t remember all these festivals all over the country where you could go and see loads of different acts. This is a relatively new thing.

“Of course it’s a lucrative thing for the promoters and it’s lucrative for the artists and that’s one of the reasons why we do it.

“But also they are great for the fans.

“Sometime people don’t want to make the effort to go to a ‘proper’ concert, they just want to hear the hits which is what we play at festivals.

“Also you get to see a number of acts for one ticket price.”

The Human League’s blend of showmanship and instantly recognisable hits have seen them become an in-demand festival act.

“Festival audiences are very different,” said Susan. “It’s not very often that we get the hardcore Human League fans going to our festival shows. They tend to wait until we do one of our own tours. The people who come along to festivals like Lytham are interested in music of all types and are out to have a good time.

“As a result we do tailor our set very differently. There is no point giving people obscure tracks when you are doing a festival set. You have to give them what they have heard before. If you do obscure numbers they’ll walk away. They want to hear the hits and that’s exactly what we always give them.”

With so many dates available over the summer, does that mean holidays are out for the band during festival season?

“I always manage to fit both in trust me, as our manager knows only too well,” laughed Susan. “He gets very annoyed about me taking time off.

“But I always try and get a summer holiday. I know it’s great to be working and we do love it but you also need some other time as well.

“We are fortunate that we can choose what we want to do; we’re not dictated to by anyone and we’re not run by a record label. Our manager works for us so we can work when we want to and also do the things that we enjoy doing.”

As festival regulars does it give the band a chance to meet up with old friends on the bill?

“It’s funny but you don’t end up seeing people very often,” said Susan.

“Because we are often headlining we’re on last. We don’t get ready at the venue, we always get ready at a hotel and so arrive there after everyone else. Normally the only people we see are the act on before us.

“So for festivals like Lytham we’ll just go in and out and probably won’t see anyone else because they will have all left.”

Glamorous as the headline spot may be, Susan said it can have its downsides.

“Headlining can backfire on you a little bit as the fans may have been there all day and what have they been doing during that time?” she said. “People can get a little inebriated. I have seen carnage in places,looking down from the stage, believe me.”

Amazingly it is 36 years since the Human League first burst on to the scene.

“We all thought we'd do one album, at a push two, together and that would be it,” she said. “I can remember conversations between the three of us working out what jobs we were going to do because there was no money. We never thought it would carry on.”

But carry on it has. Later this year the group will be heading to Australia for a tour Down Under.

As for new material, Susan isn’t too sure.

“That’s Philip’s domain really,” she said.

“If he feels like he wants to do something he’ll start doing things at home where he has his own studio and then he’ll bring that to our band studio and then he’ll talk about it.

“So if it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. But we all love doing the live work anyway.”

The Human League are part of the 80s v 90s event, Lytham Festival, Friday, August 4. Details from