Bearded Theory organiser talks exclusively to eFestivals

Sally Booth interview

published: Tue 7th Feb 2012

3 Daft Monkeys

Friday 18th to Sunday 20th May 2012
Kedleston Hall Park, Derby, Derbyshire, DE22 5JH, England MAP
£74 - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Wed 9th May 2012

Sally Booth, one of the organisers of the family friendly Bearded Theory spoke to eFestivals about this year's festival.

3 Daft Monkeys
Are you pleased with how tickets sales are going at the moment?
Yes, very pleased. Sales are up 50% on last year.

Do you think Bearded Theory will sell out this year?
Definitely, we're not selling day tickets this year either. We're hoping that those that would have purchased day tickets will buy three day tickets instead. We don't know when we'll sell out, but it looks like it could be a month before. That would certainly be the ideal target.

Any plans to increase the capacity in future years?
No, we're going to keep it as it is. We have got more capacity on the license, but we like the way it feels as it is now. It's still family friendly, you can wander around and recognise people, we recognise people and they recognise us. It's been an organic growth to this point, rather than a forced growth and that means we can keep the costs down as well.

This year you have added Tornado Town and the riverside stage, anymore new additions planned for this year?
No, not really. The Water's Edge stage is the new one, and it will be where we will be showcasing either up and coming local talent in the Derbyshire area, or people who have supported us over the years, like Hobo Jones, 3 Daft Monkeys, and Bemis. It's a little stage for them to do what they want on. As you say we also have Tornado Town which will have its own bar in which will make it the place to be as well I think. The line-up they've got on there is also amazing for what is a second stage.

Some of our forum members have been complaining Bearded Theory has been a bit quiet late at night have you done anything to address that?
We can't do anything after 2am unfortunately because of licensing, and we had the Council there in person last year monitoring the sound levels, we have to keep them happy and we have to keep the National Trust happy as well at the end of the day because it's their land. There will still be stuff going on acoustically in the Gail's Something Else Tea Tent. There's always something going on there as it's a 24 hour area.

What sort of audience do you think Bearded Theory attracts?
I think it's the families, the people of our generation, who have kids, and are quite happy to let them go off and do something in the children's area knowing they are safe and looked after while mum and dad enjoy the music. The kids of course enjoy the music too, it's got something for everybody. It's mainly aimed at proper festival fans. People who like the Glastonbury kind of festival, rather than one which has advertising and products pushed in your face, and sponsorships everywhere. As we ourselves say, it's like a village fete gone wrong.

What about the teenage audience?
They can also have an amazing time there. There's so much music to discover away from the parents. The kids' field may not be so much for them, but there's arcade games and things like that. There's a chance to do water zorbing, and because the site is relatively small, they can do their own thing and be kept safe.

What was the best festival rumour you'd heard about who the special guest would be?
Nobody really actually. I don't think anyone dares guess anymore, because we always come up with someone really bizarre (not long after this interview the guests were revealed as Wheatus) that they wouldn't have thought of. It's fun when X Factor starts because through Facebook we get suggestions of who we should book, and people ask me who we have got. I reply I don't know I booked The Damned and Terrorvision, that's all I did.

Who is the band you are most looking forward to seeing?
Levellers, definitely, because they were also my first ever gig, and Beautiful Days was my first ever festival, and it's gone very strange for me ever since, look at what I do now! I'm also looking forward to seeing Terrorvision too, because I booked them, and (other) people have heard of them.

I'm personally a bit of a Pyramid Stage person at Glastonbury, when we first started I was thinking, "I don't know any of these people." Now we're getting people that I've heard of, and I think, "wow, they're playing our festival!" I'm so excited about this year, because after the year we had had, it was quite easy for us to have gone, "right we're not doing it anymore.” But with the bands we've got bookings that we've got, and the amazing infrastructure in place now, we're really looking forward to it now. I'm going to be able to enjoy it, as one of the organisers and not be running around as much as I have done. It's developed and changed a lot.

Do you think Bearded Theory has found a permanent home now?
Yes, definitely. Kedleston Hall is just a most amazing backdrop to the festival. The National Trust and the Lord and Lady Curzon are just so welcoming. They can't do enough for us considering what we're doing with their land, and all the people we bring onto it, they're so helpful. We've got a very good working relationship with them.

Had they ever been to festivals before?
Their son apparently came to the first Bearded Theory, and that's how the introduction was made, when we approached them their son was saying, "please, please, you've go to." Now in his back garden he has a festival, Last year Lord Kurzon was walking around in his tweeds looking at the festival in full swing, with men dressed as fairies, and a bemused smile on his face, he must have been wondering what was going on. This year he'll have a better idea of what to expect.

Bearded Theory will be taking place within 850 beautiful acres of parkland at Kedleston Hall from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th May 2012. Levellers, The Damned, and Dreadzone will be headlining Bearded Theory 2012. System 7, The Ashan Project, Astralasia, Banco De Gaia, Terrorvision, Mad Dog Mcrea, Tarantism, Martin Harley Band, Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs, Leatherat, The True Deceivers, Show of Hands, Chumbawamba, Radical Dance Faction (RDF), The Selecter, The Urban Voodoo Machine, Credit to The Nation, The Popes, Random Hand, Kissmet, Imperial Leisure, Ferocious Dog, WitchDoktors, Rasta4Eyes, The Travelling Band, RoughNeck Riot, Tracy Jane Sullivan, Cracked Actors, Boot Hill All Stars, Karl Phillips & The Midnight Ramblers, Pronghorn, Back to the Planet, Los Albertos, and King Pleasure and The Biscuit Boys, and more.

The festival will have bands, DJs, and comedians. For the line-up details as available please click here.

Every year Bearded Theory attempts to break the world record for the most amount of people wearing a fancy dress beards in one place and at one time.

Tickets are now on sale with a weekend ticket priced at £74, 13-16 weekend tickets are priced at £40, 6-12 weekend tickets are priced at £25, children aged 5 and under are free and Family Tickets are priced at £190 (2 x adult & 2 x children). All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. No day tickets will be released for sale for the 2012 festival.

There will a charge for car parking of £5. Please note you will be charged £10 at the gate if you do not have a ticket. A campervan ticket is priced at £25.

To buy tickets click here.

For the first time a joint ticket is available for both Bearded Theory, and the Spring Off The Tracks Festival held in Derbyshire on consecutive weekends in 2012 with discounted camping also available to stay during the week between them. A joint entrance ticket to both Derbyshire festivals is priced at £110, and also includes the offer of discounted camping facilities between festivals at the home of Off The Tracks, the Donington Park Farmhouse Hotel, at Castle Donington. The Spring Off The Tracks Festival takes place from Friday 25th until Sunday 27th May 2012 at Park Farmhouse, at Castle Donington - a week after Bearded Theory.

To buy the special combined 2 festival tickets click here.

Readers can also win a pair of tickets to Bearded Theory for more details click here
interview by: Scott Williams

Friday 18th to Sunday 20th May 2012
Kedleston Hall Park, Derby, Derbyshire, DE22 5JH, England MAP
£74 - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Wed 9th May 2012

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