What is the best way to describe a Beat-Herder experience? A Midsummer Night’s Dream mixed with mud and music - deep muddy fields and depths of musical variety allow you to sink into this other world of fantastical music mayhem. The masterminds who organise Beat-Herder consciously create a festival with a dreamlike quality in a number of ways.
Inside the firelit fortress revellers raved to dance beats for which Beat-Herder is famously renowned. DJ artists such as Stanton Warriors, Krafty Kuts and Ryan Hartley filled the fortress to the delight of all ages held within its walls. It was however, once again, Paul Taylor who reigned his majesty over the mere mortals who were happy to dance at his feet, feeling like kings of their very own castle that weekend.
Inside the forest is where the true magic of Beat-Herder is felt. You have the dance roots here which are as strong and firm as the pine trees surrounding the beats. As you dance and sway in the breeze, you may notice the trees stand a little taller and the branches splay a little prouder. The rules relax as nature enfolds you and the moonlight flickers on the trees. Toil trees – unspoiled sensual self-indulgence. Not to be missed. Never can be forgotten.
A new addition to Beat-Herder and juxtaposing the farmer’s green meadows is the amazing wall of death. Exiting the fortress, you may need to keep the euphoria pumping in your veins and a visit to the wall of death is highly recommended. Synonymous with speed and danger, all those who see the show will remember it for the rest of their lives. The smell of rubber, the screeching noise and the sheer crazy speed of the bikes being ridden inches from your face will ensure you avoid a come down when watching this exciting spectacle.
In the middle of the Beat-Herder weekend is fancy dress Saturday where anything goes. Literally. From Ronald MacDonald to LED robots nothing is forbidden. So if you think your outfit is too outlandish, too audacious, too wild for Beat-Herder, think again. You will probably just look like a runner up in the junior school competition. The sights and the guises are beyond imagination, at times, blurring the boundaries of appearance and reality once more.
Face glitter and paints is almost compulsory and these masks of sequins allow hierarchical society to break down as you see order sink into disorder in a happy, high and safe sort of way.
Aside from the amazing line up of artists, Beat-Herder has its own quirky features which need to be experienced not read about but if you head over the cars, through the telephone box tunnel, you will find them on the street to see for yourself. A favourite hotspot is Hotel California where you can chill on a bed, as long as you don’t mind sharing that is: a spectacle of wellies in the air and disco lights create a cool vibe whilst you take the load off and just breathe in this other worldliness for a while.
The fireworks are simply amazing: if someone said it was New Year’s Eve and you were stood on Sydney Harbour Bridge for the millennium you would believe you had time travelled. The whole sky lights up this northern gem and Pendle Hill silhouettes perfectly as a background for the flying fish and the chrysanthemum comets. As the many fireworks collide and light up in front of you so too does the dreamlike world and real world.
So next year be on time and make sure to get a golden ticket because everyone who went this year is going again just to make sure it wasn’t all a dream of crazy and colossal visions. You don’t need to be a lover, lunatic or a poet to go but you may just end up leaving as one. Word of warning - make sure if you do go, not to be a spectre at the feast: leave your tight fitting brogues on the roadside and fill your (wellington) boots!
Published on 28 July 2016 by Louise Herbert