FOR many music lovers, a relatively late addition to the line-up at Lytham Festival added a new dimension to the event.

Diana Ross, rock and roll hall of famers Duran Duran and legendary US rockers The Strokes are certainly among the main attractions, but Damon Gough, better known as Badly Drawn Boy, brings something different to the 10-days of live music.

He plays Lytham next Thursday alongside headliners Elbow and Richard Hawley.

Always an interesting person to speak to, Damon, who grew up in Bolton, admits that he sees next week as a bit of a challenge.

“I’m a bit nervous,” he concedes. “I’ve not done it for a while and because of that I start to question whether I can do it.

“Even Bruce Springsteen who has played so many shows once said that when he’s on stage he loves it but when he’s not on stage he doesn’t like the idea of being on stage and I know 100 per cent what he means.

“When I’m not doing it, I feel like its not something I’d want to do. So I have to just trust that it’s going to work and that I’ll be OK.”

Such a self-deprecating attitude is what makes Damon such as fascinating artist.

It’s hard to believe that it is over 20 years since his debut album, The Hour of Bewilderbeast, won the coveted Mercury Music Prize propelling him into the spotlight, somewhere he admits he’s not always been comfortable with.

Eight subsequent albums have followed, the most recent being Banana Skin Shoes released in 2020.

“It feels like my relationship with music not the same as some other musicians,” he said. “I feel like I really want to get on with new material but playing live is something I’m able to do and I get asked to do and I’m more than happy to oblige.

“I think I’ve got better playing live over the years,” he says modestly. “In the early years I had a reputation for being shambolic - that was a word which was used a lot and quite rightly so - but that was because I dared to do the gigs in the first place. I wasn’t really ready. I didn’t have the songs.

“The first few gigs I did, I had two or three songs and still managed to play for an hour. I was growing up on stage.

“I thought I was rubbish but at the end of each show I’d have five people asking me to do another another and that’s basically how my career evolved. People kept asking me to do more gigs.

“I initially set up my own record label and then other labels started asking me if they could sign me. I didn’t really start out with a plan, I didn’t really even want to play live. I wanted to be recording artist but the shows kept being offered.”

Over the years Damon has played to larger and larger audiences on both sides of the Atlantic - he has even played the main stage at Glastonbury.

“That was terrifying,” he recalls. “You don’t appreciate the distance between you and the front of the stage to the audience which is this great mass of people.

“The best thing about festivals is that you are rubbing shoulders with other artists and in the case of Lytham people I know pretty well in Elbow and Richard Hawley. You are mingling with your peers. People might happen upon you who didn’t know your stuff that well and find they enjoy it. You might even get some new fans out of it.

“There’s a different adrenalin when you’re doing a festival, it’s not just your show, unless you’re a headliner of course. But I tend to be asked to do a slot as the sun’s going down which is pretty cool to be honest as people just want to hear some good songs then you can chill out.”

Chilling out isn’t easy for Damon - he’s got two young boys aged five and one - and he admits that having a second family, he also has two daughters aged 20 and 21 - can be time consuming.

But they have also given him fresh perspective.

His last album was a very personal one, recalling some of his inner demons, the ending of his first marriage, his excessive drinking.

But now he’s gone seven years without a drink and has a young family.

“I’ve still got plenty of song ideas,” he said, “but those ideas never really develop until I go into the studio.

“One of reasons I want to keep making music is that it is a positive thing in a negative world. People need the arts to give you hope, it keeps people connected.

“I want to do shows like Lytham as they are like life used to be before last few years which have got so serious.

“It did feel a bit touch and go through lockdown then you had the Government suggesting that the creative industries should do something else. It’s like they were trying to close us down.

“But part of the human spirit is to reach for something bigger than you are; to try and create things. That’s why I want to be one of the people who remains defiant and keeps on doing it – for everyone’s sake.”

Badly Drawn Boy with Elbow and Richard Hawley, Lytham Festival, Thursday, July 7. For details visit