'Minimal sleep and raw excitement take anticipation to boiling point'
Duncan Whittaker

17:21 24th July 2015

Getting home from Glastonbury is never a pretty exercise. Locating your car or a Somerset train station is a mission in itself, and the majority of folk simply have to accept the arduous day that lies ahead of them when the final tent peg is pulled back from the earth.

Very few of Beatherder’s 12,000 strong faithful will have experienced this problem; almost everyone present would have been home within an hour of leaving the car park before enjoying a nice warm bath and maybe a glass of Vimto. And this is the way that it has always been; a northern secret and a magical wonderland for the adult population of Lancashire and Yorkshire. The feeling you get the night before a Beatherder is akin to that of an eight year old child on December 24th; minimal sleep and raw excitement take anticipation to boiling point.

So what is inside this Ribble Valley farmland that makes Beatherder a catalyst for hedonism? Gigwise join the team on their 10th birthday celebrations for a game of musical bumps, musical statues, and musical mayhem. Here’s 10 beautiful moments of a very special weekend.

The Fortress

In its third year, the Fortress is one of Beatherder’s many trump cards. A huge monument to the pursuit of pleasure; you can dance amongst the turrets and watch the DJs work endlessly upon their throne. This year, we were graced with breakbeat maestro A.Skillz, old skool “Bombscare” legends 2 Bad Mice, Hacienda favourite Graeme Park, and local hero Paul “Retro” Taylor. Add to that a couple of fire canons blasting out sporadic flames and the smiles on their faces said it all.


Toil Trees

The world’s greatest meeting point. A place to buy drinks, watch international DJs, hide in tree houses, and admire timber in all its glory. The birth place of Beatherder exhibited the likes of Mr Scruff, Erol Alkan, Andrew Weatherall, Ralph Lawson, and Ibiza Godfather Tim Sheridan. If you were ever to become a pine tree then you would certainly want your roots to be grounded firmly around here.

Plump DJs

The set of the weekend came on the Saturday night in a full capacity Fortress and was delivered by electro superstars Plump DJs. Playing their anthem System Addict and finishing on the almost biblical Born Slippy, their 10.30 until midnight slot is unfortunately something that may never be created again. Please come back next year lads; you really are the best.

Table tennis at Trash Manor watched by the dancing robots

Robots dance suggestively like ladies from the Moulin Rouge, Greg Wilson spins the A-Z of music, fire bursts from canons to the amusement of those who have lost their lighter, and the bit that everybody gathers around? An antique table tennis table! It was the talk of the town. Men and women competed like gladiators in ancient Rome to be Beat-Herder’s ping pong No. 1. Was it you?

Basement Jaxx and Leftfield on the main stage

10 years ago, would you really have expected two of the biggest names in live dance music to be playing the main stage at this little northern gem? The punters loved 'Where’s Your Head At' on the Friday and 'Open Up' on the Sunday and these were certainly the main presents on a weekend of generous birthday offerings.

Live graffiti

On the Friday night, the monstrous black canvas below was completely blank. By Sunday afternoon, 2 gentlemen with a passion for spray cans had transformed it into a work of modern art. If this fails to raise a smile upon your pretty face then please go and watch Exit Through The Gift Shop.

The swimming pool

You could almost be in Ibiza! There are bikinis, designer shorts, and Calvin Klein underwear in the "sheep bath" but more importantly an inflatable dinghy and several beach balls doing the rounds. Is it easy to find? Almost impossible; and this is what makes the Beatherder aqua Olympics so special.

The church

Religion is not an integral part of the Beat-Herder weekend, but the Sunday service is something not to be missed. The vicar plays the hymns/tunes and the congregation worships/dances on the pews. Rejoice my lord, for we have seen the (disco) light.

The Levellers

Veterans of the festival industry, The Levellers were a welcome reminder that Beatherder was in fact on Planet Earth. Party people of all ages stood and drank beer and sang along to What A Beautiful Day in agreement that life didn’t really get that much better.

Scrap cars

The icing on the cake. 5 scrap cars provide the dance floor with a DJ spinning records from a modified taxi; the steering wheel ripped out and replaced with wheels of steel of the Technics variety. You can jump on the car roofs, jolt on the bonnets, and jive like never before.

So there we have it. Beatherder. Something special. See you next year. Same time same place.

Photo: James Abbott-Donnelly and Tom Joy