Beautiful Days is the Levellers festival which takes place at Escot Park in the heart of Devon. 2010 was the eighth festival.
The festival boasts live music across five stages plus a huge children’s area in the centre of the festival, walkabout theatre, amazing site art, comedy, food & craft stalls, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Canteen, a village shop and pub-price bars run by Otter Brewery. The festival has no corporate sponsorship or branding, they don't advertise or send masses of PR out yet sell out every year.
- Festival profile
At Spiral Earth we make no bones about the fact that we regard this as the best festival of the year. With it's beautiful natural setting and consistently great line ups alone it would be a great experience, but it is the attention to detail that sets it apart from the rest. From the art installations, the layout, the variety of stages that all have their own vibe to the sheer amount of entertainment available it all adds up to a magical experience. Beautiful Days is somewhere special out of the normal time and space for a weekend.
In fact, it was the first Beautiful Days that inspired us to start this site up, hopefully we reflect the range yet inclusiveness of the music and manage to do it on our terms!
Dave Farrow Q&A
What is your role?
Beautiful Days organiser, programmer and licensee
When did you get involved with beautiful days?
From the beginning – this is the eighth year we’ve run the festival.
How hard was it to get a festival like that off the ground?
We were refused a license the first year but through more planning and a change of location we were up and running the following year. It was a risk to do something like this but we knew we had the fan-base and the right people to make this happen.
The venue, line up, activities and vibe seem near perfect, that does not happen by chance; how much time goes into the planning of each years event, and how many people are involved.
I start working on the following year during the festival itself - I usually walk or drive around with my site manager looking at how things have worked around site and making plans for improvements there and then - any changes to the festival are normally decided during the event or very quickly afterwards.
I start thinking about line-up in October and start approaching bands in Nov and Dec but I book most bands in January and February. Only Laura (my partner), Steve (accounts) and myself work on the festival year round, then comes Ben who is Site Manager who starts work on the event in January. As the year goes on more and more people come on board - Health & Safety, Box Office, Concessions Managers, Traffic Managers, Solicitors, Security, Stewards, Production Admin, etc, etc. By the time we get to the Festival I would say that we have at least 1,000 people working on the event.
There is a lot of sculpture and art installations around the site, is that a regular bunch of artists that you work with?
Our site art coordinators Becky & Juan organise this for us. I give them a budget and we discuss ideas and then they bring in the artists and companies to make it happen - some people come in year after year but we also like to bring in fresh ideas and concepts each year.
Do you get to enjoy the festival or is 24 hr a day hard work?
A few brief moments……..I spend most of the festival in my porta cabin.
If you didn't do this job, what would you be doing?
I have a love for history so probably something to do with that.
Penultimate act Dreadzone put on one of the best performances of the whole festival
The Bimble Inn is in its own little valley set away from the main part of the festival, along with a set of smaller dance tents its a mini festival within a festival.