Beacons Festival 2014 Review

It’s now two o’clock on Monday morning. My feet are numb, my ears are ringing and my tent is full of water and STILL this has been the best weekend I’ve had BY FAR since I sat in almost exactly the same spot this time last year.

Beacons festival is now in it’s third year and long may it continue. Aswell as being tucked away between some of the most perfect countryside I have seen and boasting lineups which have consistently excited me like a child on Christmas morning, the festival has another certain magic about it that is difficult to put into words until you experience it for yourself. It boasts an eclectic mixture of hipsters, underground music fans, families and artsy types, bringing in people from all walks of life and yet keeping focus on enjoying beautiful music and art. The Yorkshire Dales allow a wonderful setting to nurse a hangover and an excellent excuse to chomp on a succulent locally sourced hog roast.


Thursday was all about getting reaquainted with Beacons festival. Our first stop was for food, which took us on three laps of the arena before finally deciding on a fantastic little street food stall called Fish& for some delicious sweet chilli battered fish and chips. After this, we wandered into the ‘Impossible Lecture’ tent and caught the end of the previous performance. We were greeted by a naked, purple-haired lady, crowd surfing her way out of the tent. Welcome back!

Our Friday began to the washing ambient sounds of backwards facing ‘British Sea Power’ inside the main stage, which was hosted by ‘Loud & Quiet’ and ‘’. This was certainly not a case for starting as we mean to go on though, as the next artist we saw was the person I was most looking forward to from the whole weekend. The much anticipated Dan Snaith (aka- Daphni) entered the Resident Advisor stage at 6.00pm to an eager crowd. Luckily for us, the tent was designed with blacked out windows, making it feel almost like the middle of the night. The green strobe lighting was mesmerizing and the atmosphere was certainly not negatively affected by Daphni’s early set time. A wave of excitement passed through the crowd as Snaith dropped his latest Caribou release, ‘Can't do without you’ from under the guise of his alter-ego. It was a noticeable turning point for the resident advisor tent, which went on to host blistering sets from first Daniel Avery, straight off the back of Drone Logic and finally the techno/house inspired Roman Flugel. Friday’s headliners over on the main stage were Daughter, who seemed a little uninspiring after the electric atmosphere within the Resident advisor tent. Although they sounded beautiful, with their haunting minimalist sound and the raw emotion portrayed through Elena Tonra’s vocals, it was a slight downer on the fun I had experienced in the Resident Advisor tent earlier. I am sure on another day, perhaps at a different festival, Daughter would have blown me away with exactly the same set.


Saturday catered for the house lovers over at the Red Bull Tent. The party started with Pariah, an R&S labelman from London, who would get any electronic underground fan nodding their head with his approach in the current wave of British dance music. The DJ entered the part-open stage at 6:00pm – allowing festival goers to ease themselves into Saturday evening whilst the glorious sunshine brought warm party moods well into the sunset hours. The critically acclaimed ‘Huxley’ kept the beats going into the night, leaving the crowd screaming in excitement with the much unexpected addition of ‘Space Cowboy’ by ‘Jamiroqui’ emerging through his heavy house beats. Joy Orbison continued where Huxley left off and finished the night in style.


Saturday’s headliner was Jon Hopkins and once again, he did not disappoint. Blowing the crowd away with his explosive and bass heavy, kaoss pad inspired soundscapes. His set was an unsettling, yet completely soothing experience. A master of his art, Hopkins is known for his intriguing aesthetic performances. Halfway through this particular set, an unexpected sea of colourful giant bouncy balls sailed through the crowd as excited fans punched them into the air creating a colourful explosion of orbs floating over the stage. After the initial excitement of feeling like you are a big kid in a ball pit (and of course the fantastic visuals) the excitement wore off and we realized that being banged in the head by those things actually quite hurt…

Sunday came and the heavens opened. The rain was torrential and so our day was planned around keeping dry, as well as who we would like to see. Tall Ships were the first band on our list and they played one of my favourite performances of the entire festival. T=0 being a highlight and it’s guitar hook has been stuck in my head ever since. After this we took position inside the Resident Advisor for Mano le Tough and then Dixon. Both of whom played quite similar sounding sets. Tough bordered more on house and modern disco, with Innervision’s founder Dixon edging towards progressive house and techno at times. The weather had put a downer on the day for me and although some people I had spoken rated Dixon as their highlight of the festival, I was not in the same mindset. The DJ seemed a little too similar to the artist previous which wasn’t his fault, but I found myself glad to move on from this tent by the time we needed to leave.

Once we had walked over to the final headline act, we were freezing and soaked to the bone. The rain was pouring and spirits were low. Darkside were make or break.

The guitar/electronica duo of Nicolas Jaar & Dave Harrington have some amazing tracks and there was a lot of hype around this performance, with Nicolas Jaar’s live set being one of the best around at the moment. The stage plunged into darkness for their entrance, before Jaar & Harrington took to the stage, which was a cloud of smoke. Spotlights set behind the stage made the two visible only as silhouettes, as they treated the rain-soaked crowd to a show that they will not forget in any hurry. Harrington’s live guitar added complimentary ambient textures to Jaar’s driving analogue synth sounds. A clued-up individual standing near me noted his use of max/msp for drum programming, which went completely over my head but sounded very impressive indeed.

I was completely blown away by Darkside. They were well worth persevering through the cold and rain; their expert shifts in tempo throughout their set shadowing the rollercoaster of a weekend we had experienced. ‘Paper Trails’ was magnificent and Jaar’s live vocals were such a refreshing thing to see and hear.

The fact that Beacons festival still kept it’s magic, even after one of the worst downpours I have experienced at a festival, speaks volumes for the place. Looking back now, as I sit in my little tent with my freezing toes, the past four days have been completely mind-blowing.

Thanks again Beacons festival…. see you next year.

Beacons Festival 2014 Preview

This weekend will see the return of Beacons Festival which takes place in the Yorkshire Dales.

Having started out in 2011 this music festival has gone from strengh to strengh pulling together a top lineup of artists from all around the world and this years lineup is no different.

Topping the bill for 2014 are electronic musican collaborators Darkside, UK indie folk band Daughter, american rapper Action Bronson and English producer Jon Hopkins.

Other acts joining in on the action include the likes of Erol Alkan, Jackmaster, Carli XCX, Joy Orbison, Nightmares on Wax, Neneh Cherry, Dusky and a whole bunch more.

Our picks and must sees for this weekend are:

Action Bronson: This upcoming hip hop artist has been billed as the "next" Ghostface Killa and his legendary stage antics include recently eating someone's burger in front of the audience he was performing for and rapping from a porta-loo mid performance.  This larger than life rapper is bound to put on a show that the Beacons Festival crowd will not want to miss.

Submotion Orchestra: Formed back in 2009 in Leeds, UK, this seven piece band plau a fusion of jazz, soul and dub and have been the favourites of the likes of Trevor Nelson, Jo Whiley and others.  Their live stage shows are full of energy and they are bound to get you bouncing around as they take to the Beacons stage on Friday nite.

Dusky: Saturday at Beacons will see London electronic music duo Dusky hit the crowd with a set of producions so diverse its hard to classify them.  Influnced by many genres, expect a fusion of house and techno and everything in between.

Darkside: Hailing from New York, Darkside are electronic music duo Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington.  Having recently released a remix of Daft Punk's 2013 entire album Random Access Memories to high praise this duo has blown up playing festivals and events all around the world.  Their latest album Psychic delivers a wide range of genre music and their live set is something not to be missed.  Be sure to catch them at Beacons Festival closing out Sunday night.

Outkast lead lineup announcements for Flow Festival

One of the most successful hip hop groups of all time, OutKast, returns to celebrate its 20th anniversary, and is one of the over 30 artists included as the first additions to Flow Festival 2014. The 3­-day tickets are available through Lippupalvelu and Ticketmaster from March 6th at 10am.

Flow Festival is organised again in Suvilahti, Helsinki on August 8–10 with a broad selection of the moment’s most interesting music. Besides the comeback gig of OutKast, the festival features dark indie rock from The National, hip hop from South Africa's controversial Die Antwoord and R&B soul artist Janelle MonĂ¡e.

Others coming to Suvilahti will be Darkside – the joint project of Nicolas Jaar and multi­ instrumentalist Dave Harrington – U.S.­based Blood Orange that rose to prominence with last year’s Cupid Deluxe, and Charlie XCX who is rolling out one hit after another. This year's festival crowd will also witness the return of the shoegazers Slowdive, promising guitar-­driven indie rock from Mac DeMarco, as well as Nina Persson, the former The Cardigans singer, who released her solo debut early this year, and singer-­songwriter Bill Callahan with his warm baritone recently featured on his fourth album Dream River, picked as Mojo Magazine’s album of the year 2013.

Electronic music will be prominently featured with hugely popular German Paul Kalkbrenner and French act Kavinsky, as well as a frontline of Brits including Bonobo, Mercury Award nominee Jon Hopkins, James Holden and Jamie xx – of The xx fame – all joining Flow. There’ll be soulful electro from British duo Jungle, and Little Dragon from Sweden who will release its fourth studio album in May. Meanwhile, Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson andPusha T bring a quality dose of U.S. hip hop to Flow. African rhythms will be served up by Malian Sahara­blues outfit Tinariwen, Senegalese Mark Ernestus presents Jeri­Jeri and Les Ambassadeurs, a Malian super group including Salif Keita, Amadou & Mariam’s Amadou Bagayoko, andCheick Tidiane Seck.

Local acts at Flow include Iisa, Death Hawks, Risto, Noah Kin, Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Eurocrack and Sound & FuryTuomo will perform his only Helsinki gig of the summer at Flow, while Magenta Skycode plays its only gig in Finland all year.

Darkside, Four Tet and more added to Melt Festival lineup

Having performed to sold out crowds all over Europe, Melt! goers will have yet another chance to see Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington a.k.a. Darkside live. Four Tet will make a welcome return to the City of Iron to bring us the latest tunes from his 2013 release, ‘Beautiful Rewind’ and the UK band, Bombay Bicycle Club, will celebrate their Melt! debut raising the indie quota with their guitar-laden sound. In 2013, SBTRKT got behind the decks in Ferropolis. This year, festivalgoers can see him live on stage with brand-new material. Clean Bandit, who have been topping charts all over since the release of their hit single, ‘Rather Be’, will also be on hand get party revellers in the mood with their charismatic electro pop tunes.

Performances and sets by DVS1, George Fitzgerald, John Grant, Ja, Panik, John Talabot (DJ-Set), Jungle, Markus Kavka, Kid Simius (live), Of Montreal, Pantha du Prince (live), Planningtorock, Pretty Lights, S O H N, Son Lux, Tale of Us, Tourist, WhoMadeWho and Wolf Alice have also been confirmed.


Open’er Festival add Darkside, Haim, Interpol and more

Addtions from the american continent for this years Open'er Festival include Interpol, Haim & Darkside.

Fortunately, 2014 sees the return of this New York postpunk trio, creators of possibly the albums of the early 2000’s  – the highly acclaimed Turn On The Bright Lights and Antics. Powerful and affecting, their masterful command of pace, atmosphere, and reverb-drenched guitar mark them out as very special indeed. No-one does fragile aggression and melancholy quite as dramatically and their upcoming fifth album will cement Interpol’s status as one of the millennium’s best bands.

Hailing from the San Fernando Valley, HAIM consists of three sisters, like Tchekov's play. Music is truly a family affair for the band: the sisters, Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim, grew up playing classic rock songs with their parents in a family band, aptly called "Rockinhaim." Then the girls decided to strike out on their own and began writing their own material. In their music, critics often hear echoes of Fleetwood Mac and 90s all-female bands like En Vogue and TLC. Their debut full-length Days Are Gone charted at #1 in the UK, earning the record gold status. In 2013, the band performed at Glastonbury Festival and many more, also earning the title of BBC Sound of 2013.
DARKSIDE is the collaborative duo of guitarist Dave Harrington and electronic producer Nicolas Jaar.  They summon a hybrid of electronic music and psychedelic rock with the kind of artistic depth and breadth for which the term “progressive” was coined. In the autumn of 2013 they unveiled their debut full length, Psychic, via Jaar’s own Other People label. DARKSIDE aren't dancefloor producers taking a stab at rock music; nor are they a rock band paying homage to their new favorite techno 12­inches. They're deep listeners and creators of both who see little need for distinction between their favorite sounds.

Beacons Festival announce headliners Daughter, Darkside and more!

Beacons Festival is pleased to reveal the first acts for 2014. New York opulent disco / astral funk duo Darkside, ethereal and intimate yet mountain-range massive sounding London trio Daughter and the elegantly crafted electronica tunes ofJon Hopkins will headline the festival.  

The Fall, who will make a rare festival appearance are joined by Hookworms off the back of a huge 2013, Dixon who was Resident Advisor DJ of the year, Jools Holland favourite Melt Yourself Down, TOY, Daniel Avery, King CreosoteSweet BabooEagulls (after that Letterman performance) Max GraefMoneyGirl BandPinsGalaxians make up some of the first wave of bands.

The Thursday night welcome party will feature entertainment, expanded from last year to include a late night silent disco with special guest DJs. Art and Culture will again be an integral part of the festival. A new field named Hunters Field will accompany an expanded arts area, The Space Between, a larger Dawsons Art Hashhouse and the new outdoor stage, The Argyle. Entertainment will range from spoken word, yoga, film and documentary Q&As and meet The Brewers, with 5 Point Brewery being confirmed so far.

Beacons Festival has grown a reputation for providing festivalgoers of all ages with an extensive selection of award winning street food. This year the area is larger with confirmed vendors by REDS true BBQ, Laynes Coffee, Patty Smith burgers, Dough Boys pizza, Mothercluckers chicken and Bundobust (Indian street food/ craft beer combo).

Other festival highlights include The Diddy Rascals family area, which is also getting a revamp and will double in size. The Whitelocks Ale tent will feature the anticipated and expanded Ale festival. A new beer tent from Leeds’ hottest new venue, Belgrave Music Hall are amongst the new additions to Beacons Festival.

Keeping Beacons going after the flood in 2011 has been really hard, but when Wild Beasts headlined in 2012 the stars realigned and it was totally worth it. Now I don’t think about booking acts just to sell tickets. With Dixon, Jon Hopkins and Daniel Avery on site over the weekend we genuinely feel we have the 3 best producers in the world at the moment so we are well chuffed”  Ash Kollakowski, Beacons Festival