The beard was five years old this year, in that short time it has established itself as one of the best festivals of the year with a loyal following and incredible mix of music. What they get so right every year is the quality of music across the three days, a site in a beautiful country setting and a vibe that includes all ages and lifestyles.
You get a choice of entertainment between the main stage, the big top that is Tornado Town (with a good bar), The Magical Sounds dance tent, the Something Else Tea Tent that dishes up tea and cake with live music in their tent full of love, and then there is the new small stage caled Waters Edge.
It's the Waters Edge stage that we caught 1 Bloke 1 Mandolin and Jemma Johnson who were both great, meanwhile in the Tea Tent First & Fireplaces were brilliant with their mix of hip hop and folk.
The main stage had stand out acts Imperial Leisure and the Travelling Band, both bands to watch as they will be going places. Bearded favourites Dr & The Medics put on their trademark nutty show and pleased young and old alike with their range of covers.
Amazingly the site isn't too muddy and the overnight drizzle stopped early in the morning. We spoke to Mark Chadwick (oh yes, he was the special guest! Doing a solo set) about festivals in general and his view was 'You have good weather, you have a good festival, if it's crap weather...' - so true, judging by the smiling faces today it's a good festival.
We asked Sally, one of the organisers, about the site layout this year and she confirmed that they had carefully changed it to make the whole site feel more intimate. The Tornado Town tent was packed out all day, also the Waters Edge stage opposite it was probably more popular than expected and could easily have taken up three times the space it was allocated.
Fest regulars Ferocious Dog hold the torch of Celtic Folk Punk high
Credit to the Nation were one of the most distinctive and intelligent UK rap acts of the 1990's. With appearances at Glastonbury, Reading and Phoenix Festivals, touring with Chumbawamba they were on the crest of a wave, but then split in '98. Seeing them back on stage, at the same festival as Chumbawamba was brilliant - It was also an inspired bit of programming in a day that had rock, punk, rap, folk and dance oriented bands sharing a stage in a bill that was eclectic and exciting.
A Bearded Theory festival without an appearance by 3 Daft Monkeys just wouldn't be right. Here they are waiting to perform a couple of songs in the back stage bar.
The 'surprise guest' was Mark Chadwick of the Levellers, who nipped in on the Saturday to perform a brilliant set of Lev's favourites solo on the Tornado Town stage. Which was not surprisingly rammed as virtually every other person at the festival seems to be a Levellers fan.
Cara Dillon simply has a sensational voice, she also had a heater in her dressing room. We tried to make our interview with her as long as possible to thaw out but were eventually dragged out by the festival press liaison manager.
Show of Hands have the knack of pitching not only their set list just right but also the way they play their songs for the audience in front of them.
we kept dippin into the ever popular Magical Sounds dance tent, you could easily lose a whole day in here...
The Popes went down a storm, and this guy should get the prize for coolest mandolin player on earth.
More pics and interviews with Mark Chadwick, Cara Dillon and Show of Hands coming up soon!!
These guys were great, they did beards, put in a great performance and then lead singer Brendan judged the best beard competition from the main stage.
As nutty themes go, beards are a pretty good one, you could simply draw one on with a biro or go completely mad as many did. From the assembled hirsute throng some stand out beardies were picked to come up on stage. Amongst them there was a man with a beard made of bra's and a lady with one made from her own cut off dreads.
But the clear winner was a mere babe called Milo with a natty knitted number, his dad's matching one must have swayed the judge to award them free tickets for next years festival.
With the new Waters Edge stage added this year there was so much on that we found ourselves constantly wandering around the site listening to new music...
An interesting diversion would be to count up how many different genres of music are represented at the festival
If you want a hit of rockabilly you can't get better than Jack Rabbit Slim
Over on the main stage the distinctive harmonies of Chumbawamba were perfect for a Sunday afternoon
As afternoon eased into evening The Selecter upped the tempo...
...And Dreadzone brought the festival to a glorious climax with a set that touched on the big melting pot of roots that makes them such a compelling live act. During their set MC Spee announced that a baby had been born at the festival that day, wonder if it was the couple that met there two years ago and got married there last year?
We left with a tinge of regret, it was a shame that it was over. It really is the first proper festival of the Summer, Bearded Theory can survive anything the elements can throw at it and flourish, roll on 2013!
|DR & THE MEDICS||CARA DILLON||SELECTER|
|IMPERIAL LEISURE||THE POPES||CHUMBAWAMBA|
|TRAVELLING BAND||SHOW OF HANDS||RADICAL DANCE FACTION|
|RANDOM HAND||CREDIT TO THE NATION||URBAN VOODOO MACHINE|
|FEROCIOUS DOG||PLEASE Y SELF|
|THE ASHAN PROJECT||SYSTEM 7||ASTRALASIA|
|THE PRODUCER [Universe]||LIQUID ROSS||BEZ23|
|SPACEHOPPER||ZUBZUB||BANCO DE GAIA|
|GLOWBONES [RiffRaff]||ANDY FAZE||DR TRIPPY|
|SPECIAL GUEST||ZETAN SPORE||ARCOMNIA|
|DJ CLUMSY [Madhatters]||ED TANGENT||TOBY MARKS DJ|
|BAREFOOT MO||NANOOK||MONSTER CEILIDH BAND|
|OLY NRG [RiffRaff]||MAGIC LAMP||RED TIN DAVE|
|CHEEKY BEATS [ENCHANTED]||TWOMANTING|
|LOS ALBERTOS||BACK TO THE PLANET||KING PLEASURE & THE BISCUIT BOYS|
|ROUGHNECK RIOT||PRONGHORN||JACK RABBIT SLIM|
|KARL PHILIPS & THE MIDNIGHT RAMBLERS||THE BOOT HILL ALL STARS||THE GREAT MALARKEY|
|360||THE CRACKED ACTORS||GRAVEYARD JOHNNYS|
|ZORA & THE TATSMITHS||FLAT STANLEY||TEN POUND SUIT BAND|
|10 O`CLOCK HORSES||GO GO CULT||TRACEY JANE SULLIVAN|
|GAZ BROOKFIELD||THE DEVILS PREFECTS|
|TARANTISM||3 DAFT MONKEYS||MARTIN HARLEY BAND|
|JEMMA JOHNSON||HOBO JONES & THE JUNKYARD DOGS||MAD DOG MCREA|
|ONE BLOKE ONE MANDOLIN||TRUE DECEIVERS||LEATHERAT|
|LONG SHANKS||ASH VICTIM|