Le Blow reviews Beacons Festival 2013 // Beacons be crazy

It takes a lot to get me to a festival that’s a) not on a sun-soaked beach and b) involves sleeping on the floor. Spending several days surrounded by thousands of other humans, under a steady onslaught of rain, without access to a bed, clean toilet or even a roof, is surely only a sociopath’s idea of ‘a good time’. That said, when Urban Outfitters invited us to attend this year’s Beacons Festival – and dangled the sparkly carrot of food and drink coupons – I was all like, ‘HELL YEAH. Bring on the portaloos!’

So I grabbed my shit, convinced my borderline OCD flatmate to pop her festival camping cherry and fled to the Yorkshire dales for a short-but-sweet trip where we would enter into ‘the festival spirit’.



We’d just taken a five hour trip to Yorkshire. Booze was the only thing on our minds. Worth dis? Yes you were, you refreshing temptresses, you.


Lubricated, we marched towards Urban Outfitters’ mega tipi. On arrival a guy in a tie-dye T-shirt invited us to screen print illustrations onto tote bags (s/o to the @HnRcrew), while a DJ segued baggy era anthems into Julio Bashmore and fresh-faced teens huddled together, their sole purpose to make anyone over 21 feel like a weird old creep.


Just outside, this groovy hombre nodded along to Happy Mondays. We weren’t just experiencing an homage to the 90s anymore, we were IN the 90s. This made me question time and space for a second, but I got over it and skipped to the dance tent to ‘get my rave on’ for Bondax, even though it was 6pm and I’d been sipping on the same pint of (now lukewarm) cider for an hour.

Here’s where there should be a picture of Bondax going HAM in a DJ booth but I was approx. 1000 perspiring people deep and operating on an iPhone camera. I’m just saving your eyes the trouble of scanning past it tbh. An overpriced cone of Fish and Chips later, it was time to recharge on more cider.


The Kopparberg hut soon revealed itself to be a spiritual home. Not only a shrine to alcohol but a haven where everyone was free to dance to an ODB remix of Mariah Carey‘s Fantasy without judgement or condemnation. We were having a life-affirming time. Then I realised we were missing the headline act, so cut to the main stage where Local Natives were providing a more mellow vibe. It’s like we’d switched from KISS FM to Radio 2.


Post-Natives, and with the alcohol’s uplifting effects starting to wear off, there was only one way to keep the party alive. Not tanked enough to appreciate MachineDrum (soz guy), we found The Impossible Lecture tent. This unsettling image was part of a short film depicting a lamb regenerating into more lambs set to a mash-up of Enya’s Sail Away and The Prodigy’s Smack My Bitch Up.

As if that weren’t enough to entice our minds to dribble from our ears, the MC, sporting a Pat Sharp wig taped to his head, yelled ‘THIS IS FUCKING ART,’ ‘DAVID CAMERON’S COMING’ and the bleaker, ‘I HATE YOU. I HATE ME. LET’S ALL KILL OURSELVES.’


Sure, it sounds terrifying and Lynchian but it was actually a uniquely joyous experience that put euphoric, sweaty smiles on everyone’s faces. Soon, people around us had shed their clothes (per aggressive request of the MC) and were necking on like a cult whose charismatic leader preached only a disregard for personal hygiene and light-hearted suggestions of mass suicide. But that’s what festivals are all about, right?


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