On The Radar: Beacons Festival 2014

Art & Culture

This weekend sees The Yorkshire Dales play host to the annual Beacons Festival, yes, that’s right, it’s in Yorkshire, not London.
Beacons acts as an antidote to the biggest festival in Yorkshire, The Leeds Festival, a festival where the same bands clog up the programming (Kasabian, Arcade Fire, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys and if people still give a fuck, Kings Of Leon).
Beacons Festival operates in a similar way to Victoria Park’s Field Day in London. Left-field without being wanky and embracing many different genres, but still managing to have a consistent line-up of musical styles rather than being all over the place. This results in the indie bands, actually being indie bands, whereas the electronic offerings are off-piste, keeping away from the new wave of Super Star Dj wankers, you can go to V, or the SW1 Festival for that.
Alongside art installations, weird shit like puppet shows for the kids (and those who’ve peaked too early), boutiquey (ie more expensive than the cheapo ones) burger joints and fancy beers, Beacons has a plethora of acts to plunder, what they lack in the big money headliners, they make up for the sheer scope of musical offerings. You want a different shade of pop music ? Charlie XCX, Cate Le Bon and the legendary Neneh Cherry (who STOLE Field Day earlier this Summer) have that covered.
You want guitars? There’s multi-genred guitar acts here,  slighty straighter edged indie in the form of British Sea Power, Womans Hour and East India Youth and old fuckers The Fall. There’s neuvo shoegaze from Joanna Gruesome, September Girls and Pain of Being Pure At Heart, weirdos: Fat White Family and unfunny comedy act, the Sleaford Mods. What sticks out the most amongst the rock acts are the appearances from a bunch of acts that are kinda krautrocky, kinda gazey, kinda pyschy, TOY are the leaders of this scene and their set on Friday is a must, but coming close are the likes of Traams, The Wytches, Younghusband and Leeds psychedelic head shrinkers Hookworms, a band who demand a collective shit of their audience to be lost.
Electronic music also has a strong showing, through the Resident Advisor Stage but there’s also a healthy peppering of electronica through all stages which shows a refreshing refusal to ghettoise those who want to dance to just one or two areas, ones to check here are Optimo, arm jacking beats from Dusky, , Dan Avery, Erol Alkan and Jackmaster,  dancefloor legends Dave Haslam and Greg Wilson for more downtempo preferences, Nightmare on Wax and frosty electronica from Jon Hopkins and Nicholas Jaar’s side project, Darkside.
And if none of that floats your boat, a tantalising FIVE hour space disco set from Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston under their A Love from Outer Space should see you right.
Beacons Festival has been quietly going about its business the last couple of years, this is the year it blossoms into one of the essential festivals for the discerning music lover.