Beatherder Festival is an enchanting gathering nestled in the picturesque Ribble Valley of Lancashire, UK, and has earned the moniker "Glasto of the North" not for its sheer size, but for the captivating atmosphere, friendly spirits, and the magic of its music.
As a festival enthusiast, I ventured to Beatherder with a myriad of expectations, fuelled by the raving reviews from fellow music enthusiasts at Acid Rain. The excitement heightened as our journey from Manchester was swift, and upon arrival, we were greeted with sunshine and the camaraderie of fellow festival-goers, quick to offer a helping hand in setting up camp. Little did I know, this was just the tip of the iceberg.
Exploring the festival grounds, we encountered a wonderland of stages, each a world of its own. From the Main Stage to the mystical Toil Trees, The Fortress, The Church, and the whimsical Smokey Tentacles, the diversity of stages hinted at the immersive experience that awaited us. A fairground with classic rides added an extra touch of nostalgia and fun to the already exhilarating atmosphere. The creativity and scale of Beatherder were simply awe-inspiring.
The music beckoned, and we eagerly embraced the lineup at the Toil Trees stage. We had the pleasure of interviewing the UK artist, K-Klass [Stay tuned for this !] - beloved musical pioneers - who then graced the stage with their timeless hits, invoking a sense of nostalgia and dance-induced euphoria among the crowd. Hannah Laing set the evening alight, as the hypnotic bass guided us through a euphoric journey. Beaming smiles and infectious energy filled the air as people revelled in the blissful melodies.
As the day gracefully transitioned into civil twilight, Eats Everything took the stage at Toil Trees, delivering a magnetic performance that fused soulful beats with the raw power of bass. The crowd surrendered to the enchanting rhythm, dancing under the starlit sky.
With the first day unfolding into a realm of festivities and the promise of more to come, Beatherder Festival 2023 had us under its spell already.
First night, and apart from the impromptu Oasis tribute band next to us playing wonderwall at 4am, it was a good night sleep – although it should be illegal to wake up to that. It turned out our neighbours, not only the next John Lennon was in our midst were also free-loving – literally. I don’t mind what you do, but if you do it out in public for me to see and nowhere to escape – does that make me an accidental dogger? I wish I wasn’t. Maybe I’ll get a membership card in the post soon🤞
First proper day at the festival was the Friday, the full arena was open and now we could really see what was available. More hidden stages were unlocked like some fun video game - The Ring, StumbleFunk, Working Men's Club and the ominous Beyond all called our names as we navigated through the fields - 25,000 steps I did on this day!
Musically, the Stanton Warriors took command of Trash Manor, igniting the stage with an explosive showcase of their signature sound. Their distinct fusion of breaks and bass shook the venue to its core, transforming it into a kinetic dance floor where bodies moved in perfect sync with the rhythm. The Stanton Warriors' mastery of their craft was undeniable, leaving an indelible impression on all fortunate enough to witness their electrifying performance.
In a different corner of the festival grounds, the brilliant Lancashire duo Infrared delivered an exhilarating set in The Fortress. Their unapologetically gritty and relentless beats pulsated through the venue, immersing the crowd in a heady whirlwind of sound. Infrared's daring exploration in their music kept the energy levels soaring, and the crowd roared.
Each stage had its theme and acted true to their cause. As you meandered through each, you were instantly transported to another dimension. The creativity was awe-inspiring and the people were loving it. The first impression I had of the festival were the people. Friendliness comes in many forms, and over the next couple of days I would truly realise Beatherder ain't for the solo player – it’s a community of like-minded people who love music and freedom in the creative form. That night on the Friday would solidify allies like no other - preparing us for the big day - Saturday.
Famous fancy dress day came around - letter was C for this year. what were we to see. unfortunately for myself, I didn't know how hard people went, but oh boy - they do go hard! everything from Chickens, to cowboys to the cat in the hat to Condoms and cherry lube of course. the innovation, the design the creativity! Perfection. Even in the mud and rain, people still let colour thrive amidst the sodden floors of the Ribble Valley.
After a plethora of interviews from Obskur, Shermanology and My Nu Leng [Watch this space for them] I was finally ready to get down and dirty. Perry cider in hand and a will like no other we waded through the mud we made it into the main arena. Flash backs to history class - is this what the trenches were like? The rain was biblical, the music was euphoric and people did not let that stop them day 3 into this festival. I was proud, this is the British way right?
Saturday unfurled its majestic musical tapestry, weaving a symphony of emotions that resonated deep within our souls. The anticipation in the air was palpable as we embarked on a journey that promised to be nothing short of extraordinary. Amidst the pulsating beats and soaring melodies, we found ourselves immersed in a world of grandeur, where renowned names and colossal soundsystems beckoned us to embrace the euphoria that awaited.
Toils Trees saw the enigmatic British fashionista turned house DJ, Gok Wan. With his magnetic presence, he effortlessly wove sonic spells that left us entranced, lost in a reverie of dance and rhythm. The air was charged with excitement as we surrendered ourselves to the sonic currents, carried away by the music's enchanting embrace.
Interviews with the Aforementioned artists graced the pages of our collective memories, forever etched in the annals of music history. From the ethereal creations of Wilkinson to the transcendent energy of Rock DnB Artists Pendulum, each performance carved its unique niche in our hearts. Their music became a shared language, binding us together in an ecstatic communion of sound.
From the fortress, sound emanated from sets with Benny Page, Deekline, and Kara, who unleashed a barrage of dirty beats that ignited our primal instincts. Their magnetic presence infused the air with raw intensity, leaving us spellbound and yearning for more.
In the hidden nooks of the venue, secret bars and the majestic church, the dance floor became a realm of endless possibilities. Here, we embarked on a serendipitous exploration, guided only by the rhythm's call. Each turn gifted us new and thrilling experiences, leaving us exhilarated and entranced. Time became fluid, lost in the moment, as we surrendered ourselves to the infinite dance of ecstasy.
With hearts brimming with joy and souls intoxicated by the music's allure, we realised that boredom was an alien concept in this utopia of melodies. Every passing moment brought with it a revelation, a revelation that we were part of something greater than ourselves—a cosmic symphony of human connection through the universal language of music.
There were a lot of emotions felt at this festival, a lot of core moments made, friendships to cherish and music to love. This is what it’s all about, this is a true festival – not some hyped up Instagram party where people don’t care who’s playing.
Shout out to the Working Mens Club - it was always a great stop. Not only did it have a roof but also had a fantastic selection of tunes pumping out all day long - Disco, Funk, Motown, Soul all played here into the deep night, people screaming bangers after bangers in the midst of a flashback to the 90s. where else could you find a rocking horse in the middle of a dance floor at 4am?
As the mystical Pendle Hill stood guard over us, the wee hours of the morning embraced us with a sense of tranquility. The enchanting Sunday morning greeted us with a hauntingly beautiful melody drifting from the main stage, its dulcet tones gently hypnotising our senses. The symphony of orchestral sounds, infused with elements of dub and soul, washed away the remnants of a heavy night, leaving us in a dreamlike state.
We soon found solace at the Smoky Tentacles, where new friendships blossomed over soulful tunes and the rhythmic beat of a bongo. The hangover remedy, a warm cup of Earl Grey, accompanied by joyous laughter, rejuvenated our spirits. The afternoon reached its crescendo with the soul-stirring performance of Dub Pistols, unleashing a forgotten energy that had us skanking away.
Our wanderings led us to various stages, each offering a unique musical journey. The Fortress pulsed with wicked beats courtesy of electronic music producer Seb Fontane. In Trash Manor, French DJ Lena C took us on a musical voyage around the world. Stumblefunk echoed with the powerful rhythms of Licence to Jungle, while Peter Hook & The Light paid a perfect ode to Joy Division. Finally, we set out for some heavy DnB with Friction & Linguistics, only to be spellbound by the mind-blowing performance of Matrix & Futurebound.
The festival's bravado was not confined to the stages alone. Hidden corners housed afterparties, with tents blazing alive with a vibrant party atmosphere. Amidst it all, we encountered an extraordinary community of like-minded souls, eager to forge memories and create lasting connections. Beatherder, with its welcoming spirit and accommodating nature, felt akin to a northern Glastonbury.
Beatherder festival proved to be a mesmerising and unforgettable experience. The concoction of diverse musical genres, the camaraderie of the attendees, and the indomitable spirit that braved even the rain, all contributed to the festival's Machiavellian charm. As the music resonated through the muddy grounds, it painted a vivid tapestry of joy, laughter, and shared passion. Beatherder has undoubtedly etched itself as a pinnacle in the realm of music festivals, a place where music and magic coalesce into a harmonious symphony.
We hope to see you all there next year - hopefully the weather is better - as always, see you at the front! 💃🏼
Did you know that tickets for 2024 are already on sale 😱 YES! honestly, you have to go to experience the wonders that it holda - Herd 'em up - Get tickets here - 18th-21st July 2024