Over recent times, God’s own country – Yorkshire – has been receiving a hell of a lot of good press. Whether it’s be being named the third best place to live in the world by Lonely Planet or receiving endless praise for hosting what was named the best Grand Départ in the history of the Tour De France, Yorkshire has had a good time of it of late, and last weekend was no different as the third edition of Beacons Festival brought Yorkshire to the forefront of the UK festival scene.
For us, things kicked off early Friday morning as we arrived at the typically picturesque site. Even setting up camp early doors, we were treated to a diverse and eclectic group of great live bands at the bottom end of the campsite, before making our way to catch Berlin based jazz come house aficionado Max Graef in the Resident Advisor tent. The Box aux Holz boss took to the decks with a typically sample heavy selection, think of somewhere just between Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan and a classy 4x4 beat and you’re just about there. Come the end of his set the tent was close to full as Daniel victor Snaith, under his Daphni alias took over the controls. A whirlwind two hours followed with everything from techno to garage to soul, and of course featuring one of the tune of the summer, Carbiou’s Can’t Do without You. It was his closing tune selection that really pricked my ears up however, as Danny Hunt’s What’s Happening To This Love Affair (a 7” I have been trying to get my hands on for some time…) rang out of the speakers.
After taking in some food from one of the many enticing food vendors on offer and a couple of local real ales from the Whitelock tent it was time for what turned out to be one of the major highlights of the weekend, Submotion Orchestra. The Leeds natives were met with an unsurprisingly rapturous welcome to the stage as they tore into a hefty set list of both old and new material, before drawing things to a close with the sublime, All Yours.
Queens rapper, Action Bronson’s headline set however, in the Noisey arena, pulled in what was most likely one of the biggest crowds of the weekend with the crowds biggest response saved for a particularly boisterous rendition of Blue Chips 2.
Friday ended with none other than Roman Flugel, as the German electronic wizard treated the eager crowd in the Resident Advisor tent to a winding journey that ebbed and flowed effortlessy between everything from house, techno, ambient and beyond.
Day 2 saw another selection of impressive performances, with even more great Yorkshire artists to shout about as Nightmares On Wax, Special Request (Paul Woolford) and Adult Jazz (embedded in the beautiful woodland of the DIY/Argyll stage) all impressed.
As feared, hurricane Bertha did decide to raise it’s head as we moved into the final day of the festival resulting in the Argyll and East Leeds FM stages being forced to close down. Thankfully however, on the whole the festival were more than prepared for what was to come and all major stages remained open for the duration as Neneh Cherry and Nicolaas Jaar and Dave Harrington’s Darkside project braved the conditions to bring the festival to a close in perfect style.
2014 saw Beacons Festival take several large strides forward with great billing, a beautiful setting, good organisation, local values and great attention to detail. No doubt festival goers up and down the country will have their eyes keenly on what will be on offer for the 2015 edition of the festival. We certainly will.
Words by Alex Ogilvie
Images courtesy of Tom Joy, Ben Bentley and Giles Smith.