Beacons Festival is an unique celebration of art and music set in the rolling surrounds of Skipton’s lush Heslaker Farm. Bringing a dazzling and carefully curated mix of new and established artists and DJs to the Yorkshire dales, Beacons Festival has burst past it’s competitors to become the most exciting and inventive new festival in the UK. Recognising only the finest talent, it’s eclectic line-up is not constrained by genre or fashion. Beacons Festival boasts a diverse programme to appeal to every discerning music fan, encompassing indie, punk, folk, hip-hop, techno and dance. With Daughter, Darkside, Jon Hopkins, Action Bronson and The Fall leading this year’s line-up, Beacons Festival 2014, which takes place between 7th-10th August, features a host of must-see emerging bands, returning icons, leading electronic artists and the best local talent. Alongside an incredible programme of artists and DJs that will keep you dancing solidly throughout the three days and nights, Beacons Festival offers a mouthwatering selection of street food, locally-sourced goodies, family and cultural activities and spaces to relax.
Beacons Festival developed it’s reputation as a tastemaker among independent festivals after replacing the Moor Music Festival, which occupied the same Skipton site on the Funkirke Estate. The similarly non-corporate and environmentally conscious event showcased artists from Yorkshire’s vibrant music scene and beyond. After hosting popular Leeds bands including Black Wire and Forward Russia! the festival added a dubstep and electronic tent hosted by Leeds’ own High Pressure soundsystem. Beacons Festival followed that lead and booked a forward-thinking bill that included Jamie xx, Tom Vek and Jamie Woon for its 2011 launch, but bad weather meant the event was cancelled. In 2012 the inaugural Beacons Festival was a widely recognised success, with headline sets from King Krule, before he released his critically acclaimed debut album on XL Recordings, Roots Manuva, and DFA-signees Factory Floor. Last year, with a line-up that featured Jessie Ware, Julio Bashmore, Mount Kimbie Savages and Django Django, Beacons Festival continued to book innovative, talented artists as they were breaking into the mainstream. The Guardian described it as “a simply stunning bill”.
Beacons Festival 2014 is set to be even better. London-based 4AD trio Daughter will bring their spectral folk to Skipton, while fellow headliners Darkside, led by electronic pioneer Nicolas Jaar, will shake the hills with their bass-heavy elegant techno. New York rapper Action Bronson will provide controversy and electric stage presence and Domino’s Jon Hopkins will celebrate the huge success of last year’s techno masterpiece ‘Immunity’. William Doyle, a younger British electronic artist who could emulate Hopkins’ success this year, will take his euphoric and nosiy East India Youth project to the Beacons stage for the first time. A jazz and dub-tinged set from Leeds seven-piece Submotion Orchestra will surely delight the Beacons crowd, before two British cult favourites from different eras offer a different kind of thrill. Adventurous indie troupe British Sea Power will play tracks from their windswept recent album based on a documentary about Britain’s coastline. With Mark E Smith the only constant in their revolving line-up, legendary Manchester post-punks The Fall should provide unpredicatable trouble on Sunday night.
In keeping with its strong ties to Skipton, Leeds and the surrounding area, Beacons Festival 2014 will see performances from an impressive selection of much-hyped local talent. Leeds punk band Eagulls, local DIY rockers Menace Beach, the city’s premier psych group Hookworms and its most intriguing new act Adult Jazz, who have drawn salivating comparisons to Mercury Prize winners Alt-J, will all play. Manchester is well represented too, with literate, unpredictable indie boys MONEY, all-girl group PINS and mysterious newcomers Kult Country set to perform.
Wander further afield from the main stages at Beacons Festival and you’ll find a vast array of entertainment. Based around the Into The Woods stage is a world of cabaret, performance, theatre, cinema, spoken word and literature. In this corner of the event, Beacons Festival offers emerging artistic talent the platform to be seen and heard. Blissful relaxation is also an option, coming in the form of carpeted areas, family fun, craft beer, local food and drink and fantastic street food from around the UK. And should you want to keep the party going, there’s always the silent disco or fancy dress dance-off. Beacons Festival is a celebration of arts and music that doesn’t know when to stop.
Words by Ben Homewood
Images courtesy of Beacons Festival