This post has been a long time coming, I wrote it up a couple of weeks back then ‘computer said no’ boom, crash, oops I forgot to save it, soooo here we go again….
Beatherder Festival is like visiting a warm, friendly entirely dysfunctional family; loads of people you meet go back year after year, because once you’ve dipped in your toes to test the waters and found it ‘just right’ why wouldn’t you want to bath in it’s charm again and again….and one more time just for luck?
I read somewhere that it’s child-friendly and there were a few broad minded parents with young kids trundling around. After the sights they see there I reckon those kids will turn out one of two ways (1) the next wave of music appreciating ‘addled’ fuck-ups (or 2) religious evangelists saving the world from depravity one sermon at a time.
Saturday is dress up day which adds another fun level to the crazy, though a lot of people stay dressed up for the entire weekend – that’s how I like to roll, way more fun!
Making the leap from a 200,000 people-monster of a festival like Glastonbury to 10,000 people at Beatherder (just 3 weeks later) was a bit of an adjustment. That said, the great thing about Beatherder is its size, everything is wonderfully close, you can flit between stages with ease, not to mention zip back to the tent if you want to grab another layer of clothing in the evening.
I arrived around 7.00pm after working a half day on Friday then jumping on a train, which was a seamlessly easy way to get there from London, especially as Jetman had driven up with all our gear and a couple of friends, so when I swanned in they were just sitting down to a well-deserved cider, before we glittered-up and headed in to the festival.
I now realise that arriving early to a festival, ideally the day before sits better with me, I need time to tune in to the vibe, it felt pretty jarring at first and after a 6.00am start for work and all the travel, despite my best efforts, by midnight I was cream crackered and skulked off back to the tent a little shame faced.
Personally, I think the only way to do Beatherder it to Glamp it. Last time I was there I did general camping and it was fine, apart from the tents of young cainers nearby that were up all night every night shout-talking utter bollocks….and the porter loos were a bit of a walk away.
Glamping on the other hand – you turn up, your tent is pitched, it comes complete with airbed, sheets, pillow and duvet, carpet, fairy lights inside and bunting on the outside; ours overlooked beautiful rolling hills and gave great sunsets. I never festival without my fluffy leopard print blanket and used it as a bottom sheet this time which is so cosy to come back to in the damp chill of the evenings. As well as that there were showers with individual changing rooms, a communal dressing yurt with mirrors and electric sockets for hairdryers and such and proper flushing toilets nearby that you rarely had to queue for, which had plenty of loo paper and sinks with running water and soap. It’s the little comforts in life that make all the difference at festivals!
If I’m completely honest, there seemed to be more young fuckwits there this time, usually they’re corralled into the hard-core trance dance tents but I noticed a bit more aggressive yehaa than before. Thankfully we saw plenty more lovely and beautifully-bonkers people to balance things out, so don’t let that put you off, just beware that there is a small element of that there.
Beatherder is not a festival for foodies – you can find enough sustenance but generally it’s pizza/ burger/ fried. My favourite place for breakfast was Smokey Tentacles in the more quiet shopping area – among other things they do a gorgeous breakfast wrap of quality bacon, caramelised onion chutney, omelette, spinach and mushrooms – even now just thinking about it makes me salivate.
Fret not though, for every yin there is a yang, the food may be considered a bit shit (depending on your level of expectation) but booze is real cheap, the bars plentiful and the queues minimal. hurrah!
Beatherder caters to most dance music tastes, yes it’s a fairly young crowd but there are loads of 30 – 45 year olds (and over) busting their moves; one of the big draw cards (musically) for me was Dutty Moonshine, who did both a dj set and a set with his big band. I’m such a fan – think deep badass ‘can help but shake what ya mama gave ya!’ bass with electro swing overtures, then his big band throws in a full brass section, two singer/ rappers, a cellist, piano, beats, drums and Dutty himself. Anyhoo, don’t just take my word for it, check em out – no matter what your musical preferences, I think this kind of quality shines for all to appreciate.
I also fangirled all over Madam Electrifie (quite literally – we met outside some portaloos, not my coolest moment) she’s kinda under the electro swing umbrella too, never entirely know what you’re gonna get but you can be assured that you’ll have no choice but to get-down to it. I love her mixing style, in this age of computers and digital mixing it’s the skill of layering tracks to tell different story’s that I really admire. I love seeing woman dj’s throw down, she brings tough, sassy, sexy and whole heaping of hell-yeah! to the party
We saw loads of great music throughout the weekend, though worth a special mention were the Faithless DJ set, Dub Pistols, Oh My God it’s the Church! and Kelis – her recent work is surprisingly danceable and when she broke in to the Milkshake song….well, just watch the video – priceless.
So that’s a brief overview of the Beatherder festival – if you’re in to dance music, happy people, glitter, fun, a fab atmosphere and not too much walking between stages then this is a great one to check out. My friends go on pilgrimage there every year. Mum, if you’re reading this – it’s because they’re totally religious and terribly upright citizens;-).
Laters navigators. x