I got tickets to the music festival called Beat Herder for his birthday this year. It ran from Friday 13 July until Sunday 15 near to Clitheroe in Lancashire and this is what happened…!

The campsites opened at 9am – we arrived just before noon. We figured that because the music didn’t start until 4pm that would give us lots of time to get set up on the campsite. We’d read ahead of time that the quieter parts of the campsite were further away from the main entrance so – as I’m quite precious about my sleep – we headed to the back of the camping fields and found a nice rural pitch. A few hours later, the field was full of people and their camping units and it no longer felt rural and certainly wasn’t quiet! Oh well – best endeavours and all that.

We headed from the campsite into the festival early Friday evening and got our schedule of events, had an explore and figured out the lay of the land. It was quite compact compared to my benchmark which was my only other previous festival experience – Glastonbury: the biggest festival in the UK! However, compact meant easy to get around and despite its small size there was a good selection of food to choose from and lots of different bars and stages to see acts on.

After having a wander around, we settled on a grassy spot on a hill looking down to the main stage and spent the evening there listening to the bands – and watching people. Wow – watching people was fascinating. The average age was probably early twenties although we weren’t the oldest there by far and there were a few families with young children there too. The temperature was in the 20s and I think it’s fair to say that people were taking advantage of the warmer weather by wearing fewer clothes… There was a bit of a karaoke thing going on when we sat down which was quite entertaining. We stayed through to see the stages’ headline act called Orbital before calling it a night – despite the fact that some of the stages had acts that went on until after 3am.

On Saturday we headed back down to the festival in the late afternoon and wandered through the main stage that the DJs were playing on called Toil Trees. It was nice to be in the shade on the hot day and we listened for a while before heading back to the main stage to see Boney M. They were really entertaining playing all their big hits – but sadly not the Christmas album which I love so much! We also saw Dreadzone before heading to a bar called the Beat Herder and District Working Men’s Social Club which had a real 70s feel to it with posters about the mining strikes and a slightly bizarre sloping floor. We saw Kevin Rowland of Dexy’s Midnight Runners there playing a DJ set– lots of popular 80s tunes – before heading back to the main stage to see my favourite new discovery of the festival which was the Saturday night headliner called Soulwax.

One of the things that stands out for me about the festival is how hard people partied… Lots of beer was consumed for sure but I could also smell pot pretty much the whole weekend and there was a lot harder stuff than that floating around too. The hardest of the partying seemed to take it’s toil on people come Saturday night with people sleeping it off in the most unusual locations, others looking very sunburnt and sorry for themselves and some behaviours which I felt created an intense, edgy vibe…

When Sunday came around there weren’t too many things jumping out of the schedule that we were desperate to see and probably because of the fact that:
· we were missing flushing toilets
· rain was forecast if we stayed until Monday which impacted decamping
· the sun at the main stage was relentless on what was a very warm day
· we weren’t partying hard enough
after a bit of a lazy morning around the van we packed up and headed back home agreeing that the festival had been an interesting experience but that we were unlikely to return… It was great to home to have a soapy, lathery shower and sleep in a nice big, soft bed!

Our next planned camping trip is to the Lake District and will be much more luxurious with access to a proper heated toilet block and everything. I will report back accordingly!