After a three-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and with heart-breaking back-to-back postponements, Beat-Herder returns on July 14 – 17 for a belated 15th birthday party bursting with hedonistic joy.
The legendary event boasts 20+ whimsical stages, world-class DJs, live acts and comedians, and surprises aplenty. This year is the first time that the festival will run across four days, opening the Ribble Valley site on the Thursday for an intimate gathering to those lucky enough to grab the very limited tickets for an extra day of unbridled revelry.
Beat-Herder continues to exist as it did back when it started as a free DIY party in 1998: uncompromising, unwavering and distinguished by an overwhelming sense of community. Its reputation as one of the friendliest festivals around can be attributed to its loyal followers - friends, and families who create new memories to cherish in a bold and barmy atmosphere each summer.
Headlining the main stage this year and promising an electric live show is one of music’s greatest living legends Nile Rogers & CHIC. With a musical back catalogue that transcends generations and whose creative prowess knows no boundaries, expect the stage to be set alight with monumental hits such as ‘Le Freak’, ‘Good Times’ and ‘Everybody Dance’.
Also appearing this year are reggae icons The Wailers, whose music was, and is, culture-defining: rebel hearts with brave souls embodying the spirit of 70s era-defining reggae. They are joined by dancefloor party-starters Hot Chip, known for their electric live performances and cited by The Guardian as the ‘greatest British pop group of their generation’. They’ll be armed with their collection of earworm hits including ‘Over and Over’ and ‘Ready for the Floor’.
Sensational, innovative electronic act Public Service Broadcasting also join the main stage party, while Craig Charles will bring his captivating live Funk & Soul show to Beat-Herder this summer; alongside the original reggae selector and soundclash champion David Rodigan.
Singer and lead guitarist in rock band Gomez, Ben Ottewell is well known for his unmistakable voice and talent for blistering and inspired guitar solos. He performs alongside Cassia, who will deliver their euphoric, carnivalesque indie-pop sounds. The hugely popular electronic band Dub Pistols, who have been tearing up festival stages for 20 plus years, are confirmed; as well as other-worldly ravers Henge, winners of the accolade of ‘Best Live Act’ at the Independent Festival Awards.
Confirmed for the Toil Trees stage, the birthplace and beating heart of Beat-Herder set in a majestic woodland, are techno legend Alan Fitzpatrick whose enrapturing sets has sent his accolade-laden career on an upward trajectory. Also confirmed are one of the country’s most talked-about DJs, HAAi, whose exhilarating sets blend techno, breaks, and 90s rave; alongside dubstep pioneer and distinctive experimental techno producer KiNK, ‘one of dance music’s most captivating live performers’ (DJ Mag), who performs live.
The aptly named Fortress, a monstrous construction of corrugated iron, is the refuge of Beat-Herder’s most hardcore revellers. Featuring fire-spewing turrets, the Fortress will host, drum & bass icon and King of the dancefloor, Danny Byrd; alongside master of reinvention, visionary producer, label owner, and DJ Dance System.
Reflecting the Ribble Valley’s mystic heritage, The Ring is a sacred arena where all genres converge in a melting pot of past, present and future. A 100-foot diameter earth mound accessed via a giant Stonehenge-style entrance, it is the perfect venue to capture the original stadium house innovators, Utah Saints, whose sampling of everything from Eurythmics to Kate Bush made them one of the genre’s earliest crossover sensations. The innovative BBC Radio 6 DJ Jamz Supernova will take to the decks with her forward-thinking blend of alternative RnB, global club sounds and leftfield electronica, while world-renowned party-starting DJ Krafty Kuts, respected for his highly technical turntablism, will deliver a meticulously crafted set.
At Trash Manor, expect an eclectic, eccentric courtyard of chaos, where 2020Vision head honcho and prominent electronic figurehead Ralph Lawson will be spinning a myriad of house music. Also performing is Greg Wilson, who is generally acknowledged as the godfather of the early 1980’s Manchester electro scene, and who played a pivotal role in the development of UK club culture.
The Factory is a split-level arena in which you can clock in, but never clock out. Looking a little like Studio 54 transported 40 years into the future and 3500 miles east, it is the perfect backdrop to host the lovingly created remix project and party Fleetmac Wood. With exclusive remixes and edits crafted for the dance floor, this DJ set and AV show is not a tribute act, but a rave that re-frames the music of Fleetwood Mac, taking you through disco, techno, house and all in between.
Music is just part of the experience at Beat-Herder. Entirely handmade from scratch, the stages stand out as something truly bespoke in the increasingly cookie-cutter festival landscape. That attention to detail creates an immersive world full of beguiling and intriguing creative concepts, winning ‘Unique Festival Arena’ at the 2019 AIF Festival Awards, and the ‘Extra Festival Award’ at the UK Festival Awards, for ‘attention to detail & creating unforgettable festival experiences’. Where else would challenge you to find the hidden, heated swimming pool, or invite you to dance to drum and bass in a chapel?
If the beats and barminess all get a little too much, guests can slow the pace by lounging by the huge fire in the stone circle, sample one of the many workshops available or sit back and enjoy some nostalgic entertainment at the site’s very own working men’s club.
There’s no surprise it’s quoted as a ‘favourite festival’ by so many. To experience Beat-Herder is to ride a rollercoaster like no other.
Tier 4 tickets are now available for £174.45, inc booking fee, via https://tickets.beatherder.co.uk/