This weekend I’ll be attending my 11th Beat-Herder Festival and it’s a bit of a special one!
I first got wind of this three day, independent, largely electronic and underground music event back in 2005, volunteering for the now defunct Ribble Valley Radio.
I had the “drive time” show and Beat-Herder co-organiser Nick Chambers, from Keighley, popped in to talk about the new venture in the fields at Sawley Brow off the A59 in Lancashire, following several free parties in the area.
It all sounded extremely exciting. A few hundred people attended the first one which centred around a copse of trees at the top of the hill and the main stage at the bottom, with the majestic Pendle Hill aloof in the background. It was about £40 for the three days. The reggae tent (Bushrocker Family Hi-Fi) was there, and the Smokey Tentacles Shisha Lounge and the Trailer Trash stage too.
They had line up programmes made out of cloth which you could stitch to your clothing and flowerboxes with hand painted artist logos on them. The ethic was, and still is, DIY, chic, bespoke, hedonistic and spiritual.
Fast forward to 2016, and over time, it’s like Glastonbury has been re-born in the north minus the to-do.
Jimmy Cliff, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Happy Mondays, Leftfield, Chic, Groove Armada, Basement Jaxx, Reverend and the Makers, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Clean Bandit and The Levellers have all graced the stages.
It has grown year-on-year and now has more than 16 stages, including a huge fire emitting fortress, an earthen ring based on local “folklore”, a Manor, Working Men’s Club, a church and a hotel, welcoming 10,000 people. For many it’s like coming home.
There’s even a hidden indoor swimming pool to cool off in. This year James, Miike Snow, Todd Terje, Chronixx and Zincfence Redemption and Donovan perform alongside around 300 other acts.
Oh, and I’ve managed to bag an interview with James!
More next week!