MUSIC: 2013 Beat-Herder festival line-up announced

PEACE: Revellers at the Beat-Herder Music Festival 2012.'Photo Ben Parsons
PEACE: Revellers at the Beat-Herder Music Festival 2012.'Photo Ben Parsons

LEGENDARY Jamaican singer Jimmy Cliff and German house duo Booka Shade Live will headline this year’s Beat-Herder festival.

The festival returns to the Ribble Valley for its eighth year on July 5th to 7th for a three-day instalment of what is being billed as “sheer escapism, created by an entirely handcrafted site full of surreal surprises, a refreshingly unpretentious Northern ethos and an eclectic program bursting with DJs, live acts, comedians, drag queens and much, much more”.

Beat-Herder Music Festival 2012.'Photo Ben Parsons

Beat-Herder Music Festival 2012.'Photo Ben Parsons

Taking place in fields near Sawley, Jimmy Cliff is famed for his infectiously uplifting hits ‘Wonderful World, Beautiful People’ and ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want It’.

Also confirmed is veteran soul, funk and house DJ Norman Jay MBE, a true icon whose career has spanned four decades and who is one of the few DJs to be officially awarded with an MBE for his invaluable contributions to music. Joining him in the woods on Sunday night will be Ninja Tune stalwart Mr Scruff with his typical genre-blending mix of jazz, funk, bass, reggae and everything in between.

Described as maybe “the best music festival the North West of England has to offer” by the Big Issue, Beat-Herder is staying true to its dance origins with a music line up that reads like a who’s who of seminal artists across the electronic, reggae, dub, funk, soul and bass genres. As with previous years there will also be a carefully programmed selection of live acts, giving festival goers the chance to catch the next big things in an intimate setting.

Electronic music act Booka Shade will be playing a live show of epic proportions alongside Cologne-based electronic pop newcomer Roosevelt. Elsewhere Stanton Warriors, Jaguar Skills and Radio One presenter Mistajam will all be providing the Ribble Valley with an abundance of beats, bass and breaks.

Representing the live contingent this year are Krautrock inspired psychedelic indie five-piece TOY who are certain to entertain with their roaring riffs and epic choruses, the inimitable 11-piece hip hop orchestra Kormac’s Big Band, who were recently described by Annie Mac as “the most bizarre set-up I’ve ever seen”, Rodigan favourites Gentleman’s Dub Club, with their high octane ska/dub/reggae sound, newcomer George Ezra, who is making a name for himself with his raw authenticity and distinctive gravelly voice, and the hotly tipped Clean Bandit – Black Butter’s latest signings and instrumentalists who describe their unique sound as “electronic chamber music: bass pop with cello, violin and live electro-acoustic drums”.

Built entirely by hand over 12 months, the Beat-herder encompasses rolling hills, stone circles, fire pits, a network of secret underground tunnels accessed through telephone boxes, a working men’s club (complete with a troupe of Bette Lynch-esque “ladies”), 10 feet higwicker foxes, giant lizards made from hollowed out old fighter planes and dozens of stages and soundsystems.

At the heart of the site lies a copse known as the Toil Trees, inside which all manner of surprises and curiosities await. Winding through the trees is a built-to-scale, fully functioning Victorian Street housing a sweetshop, a record shop, an Irish pub, the Hotel California saloon bar and a 50 X 30 ft solid wood parish church complete with pews and altar, whose regular services are less about prayer and repentance and more about good times, disco and debauchery.

Venture deeper into the woods, past the vintage car converted into a DJ booth where anyone is welcome to come and spin vinyl, and the trees open up into a magical woodland clearing in which an impressive tulip lipped stage sits, and where DJs play day and night.

Tickets cost £105, children 12 and under – £20 and infants, 18 months and under – free. Car parking is £8, campervans/live-in vehicles – £18.

For more details about the 2013 Beat-Herder festival visit the website (www.beatherder.co.uk) like the festival on Facebook or follow it on Twitter@beatherder.