The King Blues put in a festival stealing performance at Bearded Theory

Bearded Theory 2010 review

published: Wed 19th May 2010

The King Blues

Friday 14th to Sunday 16th May 2010
Bradley Nook Farm, Hulland Ward, Ashbourne, Derbyshire , England MAP
£65 for a weekend ticket / under 16s £15 / under 12s £10 / under 5s free
daily capacity: 1500
last updated: Fri 7th May 2010

Two years ago, when the main stage was still being constructed from pallets 8 hours before the punters arrived, when the acoustic stage was a slightly raised platform in Gail's Tea Tent and the dance stage was under a gazebo on the patio of a pub and when the ticket price was a miserly £12, few people would have guessed with any accuracy what this year's Bearded Theory would look like. One year ago when a tornado tore through the site leaving tents, stalls, toilets - oh, and the main stage, in ruin, few people would have guessed there would even be a Bearded Theory in 2010. However, buoyed by a series of benefit gigs all over the country throughout winter and sales of Bearded Theory benefit merchandise, the organisers put together an absolutely magical event.

around the festival site (1)
Held on the same site as last year but with the arena and car park swapping places, the whole organisation had stepped up to a much more professional level. Access to the site was well stewarded and straightforward and car parking equally easy. A short walk from the car park brought the site entrance which, again, was well stewarded and well organised. The campsite had dedicated areas for disabled and quiet camping (the organisers may want to consider the point of having quiet, family camping if there is going to be music blasting from the arena across the whole campsite until 6am) and had ample access to mains water and toilets - though the toilets at the far end of the site that were standing on a slope proved challenging when sober, challenging AND daunting when not quite so sober.

Throughout the whole site the toilets were spruced and emptied on a regular basis making them always clean and enough for there to rarely be a queue. Add in the sterling work of the litter picking crew and a crowd that generally though it more reasonable to use a bin rather than the floor and this was a very pleasant environment in which to enjoy a festival.

There are four main stages for music at Bearded Theory – the main stage, the Baaar stage (a stage in the main bar), the Bearded Top and the Magical Sounds dance tent. There were also regular acoustic sessions in Gail's Tea Tent and an odd performance on the busking stops. There was also The Ladybird stage showing what can only be described as obscure films. Many musical tastes are covered over the weekend and there wont be many festivals over the summer that have both the Cheeky Girls and New Model Army on the bill!

Friday afternoon on The Bearded Top stage was mainly folk music and the easy banter and assured performance of Nimming Ned is worth particular mention. On the outdoor main stage, Dodgy showed they'd lost none of their original; zeal a workmanlike show by The Wonder Stuff was well received before outdoor headliners The King Blues put in a festival stealing performance.

The King Blues
The King Blues are developing an excellent reputation on the festival circuit with their ska/folk/punk crossover sound. Their resistance politics message was understood and welcomed here at Bearded Theory and their exuberant performance had the whole bouncing around.

Old punks, hippies and ravers is the predominant demographic at Bearded Theory but there is an increasingly young audience and the festival justifiably describes itself as 'family friendly'. Facilities for families and children were hugely expanded this year and took up about an acre of the site.

There was a miniature fun fair and inflatable slide and the expanded Angel Gardens area offered a multitude of activities. These included workshops in circus skills, drumming, badge and jewellery making as well as the opportunity to make bath bombs, hair wraps and the always popular face painting. There was an It's A Knockout competition, a bedtime story every evening and a fireshow on Sunday. It is always pleasing to see a festival that fully includes children rather than shunts them to the sidelines.

around the festival site (2)
review by: Phil Adcroft

photos by: Phil Bull

Friday 14th to Sunday 16th May 2010
Bradley Nook Farm, Hulland Ward, Ashbourne, Derbyshire , England MAP
£65 for a weekend ticket / under 16s £15 / under 12s £10 / under 5s free
daily capacity: 1500
last updated: Fri 7th May 2010


latest on this festival

Bearded Theory 2018
festival details
last updated: Wed 9th May 2018
Bearded Theory 2018
line-ups & rumours
last updated: Mon 16th Apr 2018
Bearded Theory
festival home page
last updated: Wed 20th Sep 2017