Beat-Herder Festival 2019 review: Festival's heart is still in the right place

Beat-Herder 2019. Photo Andrew Whitton.
Beat-Herder 2019. Photo Andrew Whitton.
Share this article

Already renowned as one of the wildest weekends of the year, Beat-Herder once again showed that when it comes to beats and barminess it has no equal.


There were quite a few grumbles emanating from social media in the run-up to this year’s event.

Beat-Herder 2019. Photo Andrew Whitton.

Beat-Herder 2019. Photo Andrew Whitton.

Changes to the ticketing process and stricter alcohol regulations led to claims the festival was “forgetting its roots”…“selling out”…“losing its heart”.

I can’t speak for those who may have become disenchanted with a more (enforced) authoritarian approach in recent times but for me at least, Beat-Herder’s heart remains as big as ever.

From the second you set foot on Dockber Farm to the moment you heave your bedraggled body away on Monday morning, you know you’ve been part of something very special.

This year was no exception. Glorious weather of course helps especially when backed up by an incredible selection of acts, performing across those most random of stages.

Beat-Herder 2019. Photo Giles Smith.

Beat-Herder 2019. Photo Giles Smith.

Whether you’re worshipping in the Church, putting a shift in at The Factory, dancing the night away in Toil Trees or storming The Fortress, Beat-Herder continues to satisfy all needs and curiosities.

Basement Jaxx’s DJ set, Rudimental, Skream, Groove Armada, Krysko, The Sugarhill Gang, Gina Breeze, Craig Woolstencroft, Adored, Burnley’s very own DJ Matty Robbo, Retro legend Paul Taylor, Sister Sledge – whose Sunday night headline set was preceded by that now eagerly-anticipated fireworks display; these were just a few of the names who helped bring the 2019 party to life.

Beat-Herder was once one of the country’s best kept secrets. That secret has been out of the bag for a while now and as the festival has grown in stature and reputation, so has the need for more rigorous guidelines.

Organisers have made it clear that they are “made to do stuff by the Man” nowadays; gone are the days when tickets were £50 and people could bring in all the alcohol they wanted.

DJ Matty Robbo at Beat-Herder 2019.

DJ Matty Robbo at Beat-Herder 2019.

We live in a very different world to when this little independent offering first appeared on the scene way back in 2006 and the festival itself is a very different animal now.

There will always be the occasional grumble but if tighter regulations ensure Beat-Herder is still around in another 14 years then that’s surely a small price to pay.

Oh and it looks like the fun will be starting a tad earlier next year with plans to throw open the festival gates on Thursday.

Herd ’em up!

Beat-Herder 2019. Photo Andrew Whitton.

Beat-Herder 2019. Photo Andrew Whitton.

Beat-Herder 2019. Photo Andrew Whitton.

Beat-Herder 2019. Photo Andrew Whitton.

Beat-Herder 2019. Photo Giles Smith.

Beat-Herder 2019. Photo Giles Smith.