To the surprise of most Londoners, BEACONS Festival is incredibly quick and direct to get to. Set in the Yorkshire Dales, BEACONS is approximately a 3 hour train journey from Kings Cross and, unlike other festival commutes, you actually get a seat on the train. Arriving in Skipton was a breath of fresh air, with beautiful scenery and welcoming locals aplenty. So welcoming, in fact, that two kind hearted villagers offered us a lift from the station to the festival site. A quick press pass collection and we managed to catch the end of the romantic-nostalgic set put on by British Sea Power (remember them?). As people lay around in the tent ,the live band, with their back to the audience, serenaded the black and white visuals, closing with a dramatic classical finish.
We took a long tour of the festival site and were instantly taken aback by how friendly everyone was. Numerous times we were approached for nothing more than a casual chat. Amazingly, the guest demographics were an equal mix of young locals, dedicated music geeks, families and mature adult couples mutually enjoying the festival. BEACONS seemed to be a proud supporter of local produce, dedicating an entire bar to independent bitters and lagers, whilst the food ranged from American BBQ Ribs to Caribbean Jerk Chicken.
As the day grew older the atmosphere became electrifying- everyone wanted to party. The first act of the weekend that completely blew the crowd away was Daphni (aka Dan Snaith aka Caribou) when he played Caribou’s new single ‘Can’t Do Without You’. The powerful performance set up the stage nicely for Daniel Avery’s arrival and he delivered an upbeat, fast-paced, techno driven performance, engaging the guests most with his track ‘Drone Logic’. The night went all too quickly, with an early finish of around 1:30am, but the party seemed to go on regardless – whether it was in the form of the silent disco or hidden burlesque shows.
The next day was a beautiful one; the hot weather and bright skies making it perfect conditions for lounging around nursing hangovers. We lay near the Argyle Stage for most of the day where we could pick up quality coffees and cold pressed juices whilst listening to bands such as Years&Years. Before they even came on stage they attracted young gatherings of teenage girls screaming to the lead singer “We love you, Oli, we want your babies!”. What’s rock and roll without groupies, right? Classic…
As the day went on we scouted the area for da time activities and local organic beers. To get us in the mood for the night ahead we dropped in to Moko playing the main stage. New on the scene but claiming her rightful place as the new bringer of Soul music, Moko originates from New Cross in South East London. We were blown away by her show and, from her reaction to the crowd, she was too! Although the crowd didn’t fill the tent, they certainly made up for it in cheers and dancing.
After seeing Jon Hopkins a few months ago at SONAR Festival, I was really excited to see him closing the main stage on the Saturday night. The tent was jam-packed and it seemed the whole festival was in attendance. As I was stood in the press pit I saw that it was filled with huge white beach balls and after a few tracks in, security threw them into the crowd which erupted in a sea of colour! The balls were touch sensitive so that every time they encountered movement their colour changed. This, along with the soul wrenching beats, made for one of the most incredible festival performances I have ever seen.
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