Beacons Festival - The Yorkshire Dales
Live Review

Beacons Festival – The Yorkshire Dales

Beacons Festival 2013 – on paper, a creative feast for the mind, body and soul featuring the best of music, arts, crafts and cuisine in a beautiful setting. In reality, a drug induced Shoreditch nightmare. Maybe it’s an age thing, but we’re not feeling the vibes at this year’s outing and it’s mostly down to the crowd and the diabolical technical issues experienced on every stage throughout the weekend.

Thursday saw the misleadingly-named, babyfaced Mancunians of Egyptian Hip Hop plying their post-grunge 90’s wares to a largely bored crowd, whilst Battlelines fared better. Their new single ‘Colonies’ is packed full of melody and the combination of Yeah Yeah Yeahs meets The XX left us beaming. Elsewhere Ghostpoet turned out a perfectly enjoyable set but didn’t quite ever reach the highs of obvious influence Massive Attack. Stand out tracks ‘Survivor’ and ‘Lines’ resonate beautifully, but if they lacked any profile the set wouldn’t have stood out amongst some of the lesser known artists performing over the weekend. Brilliant as always, Bonobo have a healthy selection of crowd pleasers and lesser known material, but the set suffers due to the aforementioned technical problems and diabolical sound which completely detracts from what could have been an overwhelmingly immersive experience. The final act of Thursday saw experimental punks Fucked Up, always a force to be reckoned with live, manage to explode in a riot of moshpits and crowd surfing, proving just why they are one of the best touring acts currently doing the rounds on the underground scene.

Thursday’s sound problems left us feeling so shortchanged that we only ventured out for two acts, spending the rest of the evening drowning our sorrows with vodka and singing Journey in a tent. Merseyside’s Stealing Sheep were joined by the Harlequin Marching Dynamite Band and are consistently brilliant live, even though again they were left battling the terrible sound on the main stage. Galaxians showed clear mastery over their brand of repetitive, harmless fun and had the crowd enthralled, though we were left thinking it wouldn’t sound out of place in a Scouse cocktail bar.

After a shaky start to proceedings, Saturday offered some of the best and worst that Beacons had to offer. The Wytches cooked up a cauldron full of grungy psych with elements of Silverchair and youthful front man Kristian Bell’s vocals shone with an amazingly emotive range. Channel One Sound System kept the vibes level with a sackful of tunes and enough Rastafarian pep to pick us up, before Sbtrkt brought us crashing down again, though the crowds loved every second. A special confused shout out to David Rodigan (MBE) who is a faultless DJ with a selection box better than Cadbury’s, it’s just a shame he feels the need to interrupt every 30 seconds with a middle-aged Trustafarian rant of “GIMME SOME SIGNAL!” – there’s no denying the man’s contribution to music, but put a lid on it Dave? The icing on the underwhelming cake this weekend has to go to Django Django, a band we were so excited to see, who were completely ruined yet again by the dreadful audio problems. The sound crew on the main stage at the festival have a lot to answer for this year.

In essence, Beacons was a perfect place for young, daft hair-cutted, Hoxton dwellers to take an obscene amount of drugs and listen to average music through below-average sound systems. If you’re going along hoping to listen to good quality music, you might feel short changed by the experience.

– Beth Warr

Venue: The Yorkshire Dales
Support Band: Bonobo, Local Natives, Ghost Poet & More

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