Beacons Festival is a great festival that keeps families in mind too

Beacons Festival 2012 review

By Danielle Millea | Published: Tue 21st Aug 2012

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Friday 17th to Sunday 19th August 2012
Funkirk Estate, Carleton, Near Skipton, North Yorkshire, LS29 9JU, England MAP
£84.50 for the weekend - SOLD OUT
Daily capacity: 5,000
Last updated: Wed 15th Aug 2012

Based on the same land as what used to be Moor Music Festival, this small but perfectly formed event was sadly cancelled last year due to flooding, but this site, which has seen some rain recently, can handle it a lot better. There's plenty of music here, all the tents are undercover (good job, especially this year). An outside stage would have been immense though, as for the main bands like Toots and the Maytals it is a very tight squeeze.

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With the campsite just off to the side of the arena, this is a well planned out site. Chill out areas are on route to camping, there's the children's area arranged by the fantastic people at Ladybird, with activities all day like performance workshops, craft workshops, and afterwards it's the Ladybird's Fantastic Family Friendly Cabaret. Each day has a theme, Mad Science Day, Circus Day and Myths and Legends Day.

Music comes from several stages; the main stage called The Stool Pigeon, The Greendales Stage, Noisey / Vice Stage, Beacons Social, East Leeds FM Caravan of Love (which broadcasts radio interviews with bands straight off the stage in a graffitied caravan next to the stage). Into the Woods is like the cinema stage, and finally the Kopparberg Cube.

Willy Mason
Main acts here are Roots Manuva, Wild Beasts, Willy Mason, and Toots and the Maytals, huge draws to say a lot of the line up are (excellent) local bands. These are in the Stool Pigeon stage, quite small for a main stage but with beautiful lighting. ELFM host many acoustic acts like Louise Distras, and Ben Pike plus stripped back versions of larger bands like Japanese Fighting Fish, and Lunchtime Disco Club.

The Greendale Stage always had a lot of steam coming from it, being the most like a dance tent, along with the Kopperberg Cube. Beacons Social was hosted by Freakin and Irie Vibes Soundsystem. My favourite tent however was the Noisey / Vice stage. I spent a lot of time in here; stand out acts were Hawkeyes (formally Chickenhawk) and That Fucking Tank.

Into the Woods hosts films like Biggy and Tupac, comedy from acts like Able Philbin Bowman, spoken word like that from Matthew Bellwood, theatre from Kill Lord Whitney, music from Thomas Truax, crafts like Zine It Yourself and exercise like the absolutely awesome aerobics to rock music, Aerockbics!

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There are guerrilla theatres troops too, like the Rave Rug (a mobile rug and glow stick team), and 24 Hour Postal People (to wake you up with bells and bicycles on a morning). Art installations adorn the site; with the most noticeable one (apart from the Hollywood style 'Beacons' lettering) are the Neon Love signs. We have one in my home town. This is neon lettering by Victoria Lucas and Richard William Wheater, that began on St Valentines day 2011. They take lyrics of well known songs and light them up in red neon, which is very affective. There is also a cloth maze called Flagrinth and many places that are graffitied.

Friday is fancy dress day, and there is a huge tent containing stalls where you can buy a costume (or other clothes), plus the Pop Up Dress Up tent by remade in Leeds. The Print Plant can help you get your costume personalised too.

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There are a few food stalls around the place, not repeats of burger vans on loop like at commercial festivals. You have burgers, wood fired pizza, pick and mix, pies, fish and chips… all for decent enough prices too. Because there are many there are queues for these stalls and some can run out of food but all in all there is a good selection. The bars host a lot of choice too, from real ale to cider and everything in between.

This is a great festival for families too, with Sunday particular being a family day. They have diddy golf, large scrabble, breakfast and bedtime story clubs and separate family camping. All in all this festival is worth a visit, for the day or ideally the full weekend. It sold out in advance this year and will continue to do so with a price under £100.

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review by: Danielle Millea

photos by: Danielle Millea

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