Last summer, we were lucky enough to attend Beacons Festival, one of our favourite emerging festivals. You can read our preview for Beacons 2012 here. What initially attracted us to Beacons was the sheer diversity of the artists on show, plus some top notch booking collaborations which saw a selection of some of the most cutting edge new acts billed alongside some amazing household names. With early bird tickets starting at just £60 last year, it was also great value for money.
2013 sees Beacons up their game once again with a lineup of astonishing strength and depth, along with an arts program that builds on last year with more workshops, film screenings, talks and whiskey tasting. Commendably, they have managed to keep tickets cheap, with an increase of just £15 on all tickets, and given how much more is on offer this year, £74.50 for an early bird ticket, rising to £99 full price, really is a bargain. To put it in perspective, the site is over 50% bigger than last year.
You can still get full price weekend tickets here, as well as day tickets from just £35, which include one night camping. There is also more info and a full list of physical ticket vendors if you follow the aforementioned link.
Once again, we’re going to give you our recommendations for the weekend. You can choose to follow these, or pay no attention to them whatsoever, but here are the things that really caught our eye this year. Click here for a very handy Clashfinder, which includes all set times and will let you plan your weekend with ease, though whether you’ll stick to it is another question.
Here, see our picks of the first day of the festival, and over the next few days we’ll be previewing the rest of the weekend.
FRIDAY 16th AUGUST
After some light comedy and film in the revamped Into The Woods area on Thursday evening, “Fancy Dress Friday” opens the festival in style, with a ‘Frontiers Of The Future’ theme, which will be accompanied by the FutureDisco DanceOff Competition at 5pm in The Social, with the top mover winning a lifetime of free tickets to Beacons. Now, for the artists…
(22:45 – 00:30 Loud & Quiet Stage)
A truly essential booking, Bonobo (aka Simon Green) will be closing the main stage with a near 2-hour set accompanied by his live band. He is responsible for some of the most important records of the last two decades, and pioneered the rise of downtempo electronica in the early 00s, but only started to amass a huge global audience with his two most recent albums, 2010s “Black Sands”, and “The North Borders” which came out earlier this year. Both albums are innovative, soulful, and achingly beautiful, and with his live performances improvising on and extending the studio versions of his tracks, you can be assured of a magical couple of hours in the Yorkshire Dales.
(00:00 – 02:00 Resident Advisor Stage)
Immediately preceded on the RA Stage by German techno maestro Move D (21:00 – 00:00) who is definitely worth a mention, Barcelona-based DJ and producer John Talabot takes over the reigns to close the festival arena on Friday. His break-out track “Sunshine” is a timeless classic, full of hypnotic disco loops and uplifting African vocals, and his debut album “fin” arrived in 2012 to critical acclaim. His music spans genres and bpms, ranging from low-slung chugging disco to ethereal beats to jacking house, and we can’t wait to see him do his stuff.
(22:00 – 23:00 You Need To Hear This Stage)
The You Need To Hear This Stage, curated by Vice/Noisey, has some great things to see on Friday, such as Fucked Up, Eagulls and Leeds/Bradford based krautrock outfit Nope, but one act we’re hoping to catch is FatCat Records signings Traams, who play a driving blend of fuzzy garage and post punk that makes us want to pour beer over ourselves and bite eachother. Well worth checking out.
Egyptian Hip Hop
(16:30 – 17:30 Loud & Quiet Stage)
In our opinion one of the most inventive bands to come out of Manchester in recent years, Egyptian Hip Hop have managed to take influence from groups such as The Happy Mondays and New Order without sounding like a tribute band, as well as combining elements of math rock, electronica and dream pop to great effect.
(17.00 – 19.00 Red Bull Music Academy Stage)
After pleasing the ear of Thom Yorke with his debut track, the deep percussive “Dive”, Joseph Marinetti was subsequently offered a slot at the Atoms For Peace album launch show, which isn’t a bad debut gig, you might say. Perhaps inevitably, he soon signed to LuckyMe Records who released “SWM”, a lovely track that is more than your run-of-the-mill house, with real depth and soul. Given that the RBMA Stage is fully outdoor, we reckon this is going to be perfect stuff to jam to as the sun starts to set/grey sky turns to dark grey.
(18:50 – 19:50 Into The Woods Stage)
Playing music which they describe as “classical Indian Raag and folk song with Western-style grooves and improvisations”, Sandrani are a group made up of musicians of Indian, English, Mauritian and Italian heritages. Spellbinding and complex, their music is captivating, and they are a must-see for us. Manchester Jazz Festival said “this acoustic ensemble truly lifts the spirit and evokes a bright, positive mood and atmosphere with a fresh and innovative sound”
There is so much else to choose from, but acts worth honourable mentions are Eats Everything (00:00 – 02:00 The Social), Vondelpark (20:00 – 21:10 Loud & Quiet), Ghostpoet (21:10 – 22:45 Loud & Quiet), Anthony Naples (19:00 – 21:00 RA), Oneman (22:00 – 00:00 The Social), T Williams (21:00 – 23:00 RBMA), The Wonderful Sound of The Cinema Organ (00:30 – 01:10 Into The Woods) and Ofei (15:00 – 16:00 You Need To Hear This)