Beatherder 2016: A Preview

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By Daniel J Broadley

If festivals such as Parklife and Reading & Leeds are now what we mean when we talk about a festival or a ‘rave’, then we’ve lost. We’ve lost and capitalism has won. Since when were good times supposed to be sponsored? To fleece you of every penny you have?

Credit: Beatherder Festival

Credit: Beatherder Festival

There are, however, up and down the country, still a few festivals that could be classed as saving graces. One of these is the Beatherder festival. Beatherder is one of the UK’s only remaining truly independent music festivals. Situated in the lush countryside of Sawley, Lancashire, its slogan reads, “Three more days of beats and barminess.”

So, what makes Beatherder barmy? What makes it stand out? To start, in 2014, Beatherder won The Extra Festival Activity Award. This award recognises that the lovely people running Beatherder pay a great amount of attention to the small details that create a magical festival experience.

Aside from the main Beatherder stage, some of the other stages at this festival are like no other; there’s a Chinese fortress, the iconic and psychedelic Toil Trees, The Perfumed Garden for a more relaxed vibe, and even a Parish Church for a quick Sunday morning prayer.


Credit: Beatherder Festival

There is, however, much more to this festival than the campsite and stages. You can dance  on top of scrap cars as a DJ plays from the back of a Hackney carriage taxi. There’s a red phone box with a secret tunnel which you can crawl through and into a rave. There’s a hidden swimming pool and a comedy stage. There’s even a barber shop and tattoo parlor in a pop up town in the middle of the forest.

Starting out as a free rave on the Lancashire moors in 2006, Beatherder has grown thanks to simple word-of-mouth and a devout army of fans who come back year after year. Despite its increasing popularity, the organisers intentionally cap the tickets at an intimate 12,000 to maintain it’s egalitarian feel. Oh, and you can even bring in you’re own booze.

Playing this year is Todd Terje whose Norwegian disco will fill the Sunday

Credit: Beatherder Festival

Credit: Beatherder Festival

headline slot. Acid house veteran A Guy Called Gerald will also be playing, along with Radio 1 DJ B. Traits in The Fortress, Ed Solo, jungle legend General Levy, German house maestros Booka Shade and many, many more acts across a wide range of stages. Visit the Beatherder website for more info.

So, if you’re sick and tired of being fleeced for every penny you have at festivals and of drinking one brand of beer for £6 a pint, then Beatherder may be the place for you to revitalize you’re faith in the British music festival.

Check out their offical 2015 video below:

About the author / 


aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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