Beacons festival 2012 - preview

Beacons festival 2012 – preview

Beacons Festival lives! After a hugely disappointing cancellation last year due to apocalyptic flooding, Beacons is back with, if anything, an even more exciting offer than before. With arguably one of the finest musical lineups around, a beautiful setting in the Yorkshire Dales, and plenty of peripheral activities for drinkers (real ale! cider! craft beers!), thrill-seekers (vintage fairground rides!) and families (bedtime stories!) alike, there’s something for just about everyone.

Musically, the headliners are very different, but all superb. Friday is headlined by Roots Manuva, the ever-present bard of urban culture. Now onto his fifth LP, 4everevolution, if there is a modern counterpoint to Toots’ Jamaican vibes, then it’s Rodney Smith’s uncomfortable flow of consciousness, documenting the trials of modern life one rhyme at a time.

Saturday’s Wild Beasts should need no introduction to readers of this blog. With superb material drawn from their companion albums Two Dancers and Smother, the band are at the top of their live game right now. Having just given a breathtaking performance at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, there is every expectation that their visit to Beacons will be just as exemplary.

A great opportunity to see the best British live act of the moment at the height of their powers.

Quite different, but just as wonderful, is the prospect of Jamaican Reggae legends Toots and the Maytals wrapping up the festival in tropical style on Sunday evening. Part of the musical firmament since the glory days of reggae in the 1960s, they remain just as relevant today. With a long and influential history, not to mention an astonishing 31 Jamaican number one hits, they helped change popular music forever (The Clash’s cover of Toots track ‘Pressure Drop’ predated the seminal reggae influences revealed in London Calling), have a list of famous collaborators as long as a rasta’s dreads (Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, er… Shaggy) and contributed the brilliant cover of ‘Let Down’ to the Radiodread album.

In this jubilee year, Toots and the Maytals are reggae royalty.

The undercard is no less impressive. Let’s pick a few highlights… representing the North-East are ornithological experinstrumentalists B>E>A>K, flamboyant indie-popsters Frankie and the Heartstrings, and the beautiful, yearning sounds of Lantern On The Lake. And to pick a number of personal favourites, The Wave Pictures, Peaking Lights, Clock Opera, Admiral Fallow, Outfit, Japandroids… a veritable feast of fabness.

One not to be missed, then. See you there.

Beacons Festival takes place at Funkirk Estate, Skipton, in the stunning Yorkshire Dales, 17th-19th August.  Treat yourself to a ticket!