Friday, 6 September 2013

Beacons Festival '13

Imagine a festival with a stellar line-up of bands and DJs, a festival that's also passionate about cinema, art and good food...a festival where not one idiotic cry of “ALAN!” “STEVE?!” is heard all weekend. That festival is Beacons and Beacons is perfect. 

We spend Thursday night dancing to The Cribs and Sweet Female Attitude in The Social tent and watching the harrowing film The Arbor in the cosy Into The Woods tent. The Into The Woods tent was part of The Space Between – the art space at Beacons and was definitely one of my favourite attractions at Beacons. You have to take your shoes off to get in and can lay back and relax on huge beanbags. Perfect for winding down or killing time before bands in the morning! The Space Between also offered Q&As with director Shane Meadows, screen printing, lectures about the brain, flag making, aura reading, giant scrabble and a Beacons Boutique that offered up delicious cake and face painting.

Friday's festivities begin with Big Deal, a denim clad dreamy duo who treat the crowd to laid back, summery shoegazy pop songs that ease everybody into the next 3 days of partying. To counteract the lovely Big Deal we head on over to the excellent You Need to Hear This stage to witness an excellently gloomy set by Esben and the Witch. Rachel Davies leaves everyone captivated with her haunting vocals and impeccable bass playing. They play an intense set that ends with a 10 minute wall of sound that could rival My Bloody Valentine's. We head on over to The Social for a fancy dress dance off  where the prize for the most amazing, mind blowing disco dancing is free Beacons tickets for life!
Friday is also fancy dress day at Beacons and with the theme being “Frontiers of the Future” there are some amazing outfits including a robotic looking lady with three heads and a man covered in silver paint. The atmosphere is excellent and the dance off provides a lot of sassy dancing to Got to be Real by Cheryl Lynn and a lot of laughs.

We're faced with a Bonobo and Fucked Up clash on the Friday night but after sidestepping to half of Bonobo's brilliant set we head on over to Fucked Up as we're more in the mood to mosh about. Frontman Damien Abraham has crushed a tinnie into his head. And he's styling it out and rocking it as if he's attending a wedding and the can is his jaunty little hat. Damien creates an amazing atmosphere and spends the whole set on the barrier hugging the crowd and shouting in their faces. We leave the tent chanting “dying on the inside! dying on the inside” and spend the rest of the festival wishing we could see them headline the You Need to Hear This stage every night.

Saturday brings such delights as Melody's Echo Chamber. Melody's Echo Chamber play a perfectly psychedelic set with amazing visuals. Singer Melody Proche is incredibly sincere and thanks the crowd about 20 times in-between crooning over dreamy pop that's been crafted with a little help from Tame Impala's Kevin Parker to create something beautiful. We end Saturday evening with Gold Panda. The Loud and Quiet stage is packed out and the crowd erupts into madness as soon as “You” begins playing. Dancing our feet off to Gold Panda's amazing set, complete with funky dancing from the man himself, is a brilliant way to end the night.

Sunday afternoon brings Sky Larkin! We expect catchy indie pop from the Leeds natives and catchy indie pop is delivered with old songs still sounding fresh and new songs sounding very promising. Beacons does a brilliant job at showcasing Yorkshire's excellent music scene as the next band we witness are Hookworms. Hookworms play their epic songs, that almost all clock in at over 6 minutes, very, very loudly. Singer MJ's vocals are barely heard above all the scuzzy guitars but he yelps and jumps all over the stage. Hookworms are loud, enthusiastic and put on a damn good show. We're also very excited, giddy even, because Danny Brown is the next act to grace us with his presence and he's the one we've been waiting for all weekend. 

Danny Brown is one of the most exciting and interesting names in hip hop and, accompanied by DJ and producer SKYWLKR, they put on a rowdy show that does not disappoint. When Danny decides to join the crowd for “Monopoly” he gets mobbed by sweaty bodies shouting along to every single word. Danny Brown was the absolute highlight of Beacons. We end Sunday night with Savages and do not regret it at all. Having never heard them before their raucous live show was a surprise and a highlight of the festival. Frontwoman/intimidating force of nature Jehnny Beth prowls around the stage looking like Bowie in his Thin White Duke phase. The intense vocals teamed with the lightning fast drumming creates a mind blowing sound. Savages are scary and sexy and everything I could want from a post-punk band. 

The festival overall had an amazing atmosphere, everyone was friendly, every band that I made an effort to see and every band that I stumbled upon was brilliant in their own way and when it was all over on the Monday morning we definitely all wanted to stay another night in that field in Skipton rather than return home to hot water and a comfy bed. Beacons 2013 did not disappoint and I cant wait to see what it brings next year.

Words by Eden Young and Photos by Sandy Rushton

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