Beacons Festival returned to the scenic Yorkshire Dales at Skipton's Heslaker Farm once again for the August 16 - 18 weekend bringing music, food, arts and a host of other treats to an audience that have travelled from much further afield than the outskirts of Yorkshire. After a triumphant, sun-soaked return following difficulties in previous years, the return of Beacons Festival was one met with eager anticipation and with such an impressive line-up announced, the pressure was on for the festival to succeed and deliver once again.
As campers battled to put up their tents during the sporadic showers on Thursday night, the warm return of the sun on Friday morning was a much needed boost for the festival, one that stuck around for most of the duration, bar a soggy Saturday. Futuresound competition winners Battle Lines opened up the Noisey 'You've Got To Hear This' stage and ultimately brought the festival itself to life with a raw and invigorating performance. Expect big things from this young Leeds band. As the day went on, the scope and size of the festival really became apparent, and a walk across the campsite to the 'other' part of the festival arena to see Mickey P Kerr's hilarious set at the ELFM stage really put into perspective what the festival organisers were trying to achieve. The camping area and the arena itself almost melded into one designated area that brought an expansive festival atmosphere to a relatively small area. At no point did anything seem squashed together or unsoundly designed, as the overlapping elements of the festival only ever made it seem cosier, and never uncomfortably snug. It was encouraging to know that from the get go you were at a festival that was determined to not oversell itself to ensure that the festivities didn't suffer as a result. Money might not be everything after all.
Before finally leaving the ELFM stage on the other side of the arena following King No-One's fantastic semi-acoustic set, it was back to the main arena to check out the stalls and stands that offered something a little different for the festival connoisseur; from art exhibits and craft courses, whiskey tasting workshops and a smorgasbord of food (oh, the food!) options for any palate. As the night drew closer, festival returnee Ghostpoet was on hand to bring his leisurely flow to the main stage with a rapturous set, but there was little time to hang around afterwards as Oneman was about to begin what would turn out to be one of the defining performances of the weekend. The DJ rarely disappoints with his sets and his Friday night set (the first hour of it at least) was packed with banger after banger. Whilst the prospect of seeing Bonobo may have been too much to ignore for some, Canadian punk rockers F****d Up were far too tempting and choosing them over Bonobo and the rest of Oneman's set may have been the best decision made all weekend. Opening with the first two tracks from 2011's seminal album David Comes To Life, mixing in a few oldies for good measure and even playing a brand new song, the set had people moshing at the front and boogying at the back. The pressure was on from there on to beat F****d Up as the best performers of the weekend, and it was a task that many nearly achieved, but few succeeded in coming close.
Continue reading: Beacons Festival - 2013 Live Review