Live Review: Beacons Festival 2013


There aren’t a lot of line-ups that would drag me a gruelling six and a half hours up the dreary motorways of England, from sunny Sussex into the deep north that is Yorkshire, but the line-up for Beacons Festival just outside of Skipton was one not to miss. With headliners such as Bonobo, Local Natives and Django Django it was a safe bet it was going to be a long journey well spent.

For an intimate festival of 10,000 in its second year I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but the effort put in by the organisers really paid off, with family areas and interesting sideshows intertwining nicely with the music and feel of the festival. After finding my feet in the day I ventured down to Vondelpark, where the genre-spanning trio played a beautifully ambient and uplifting set. We skipped over to catch a bit of Move D who played a spacey techno sound that was rather fun and then onto the eagerly anticipated Bonobo. Fighting the packed out crowd took most of my concentration for the first half of the set, but as the crowd thinned out slightly I was blown away by the experience. Every element of their set was on point and exquisitely tight; so good in fact my friends got thrown up on and we’d completely forgotten about it by the end.

The setting for the festival is fantastic, placed right in the middle of rolling lush hills it’s hard not to feel slightly fresher in the morning. After admiring the view I sauntered down to watch Temples on the main stage. They’re one of my favourite bands at the moment, bringing the psychedelic rock perfectly into the modern age. Their set did not disappoint, perhaps a slightly reserved stage presence, but the music speaks much louder, demonstrated by the ever-growing crowd throughout their set. Another highlight of the second day was Gold Panda, his mix of glitch and minimal techno has had me hooked since.

After seeing some cracking sets from John Talabot, Local Natives, James Holden and the unbelievably fun Danny Brown, it came down to Django Django to close the festival. This being there last UK festival slot they pulled out all the stops. They’d clearly adapted their set to suit a festival, running more like a dj set: their songs slipped seamlessly into each other, and were connected by longer drawn out instrumental sections. You could see they were putting everything into the show and the crowd responded accordingly. With that Beacons 2013 was done, only thing left to do was the six and half hour drive back, but hey, the highs were worth the lows.

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