“I saw The Felice Brothers at the 100 Club, back in the day, with Simone Felice. They were amazing. Lots of us got up and danced on stage with the band, it was a bit of a party.” If that was a top Felice Brothers moment – experienced not by me sadly, but by my companion for tonight’s gig – I would certainly now put this event, at The Garage Highbury, a very close second.

Felice Brothers at The Garage 2015A noticeably trimmed-down James Felice was on superb form with his band mates, taking us through a set which opened with Lion from their 2014 album Favorite Waitress, followed by early number Wonderful Life. Next came Appalachian folk song, Cumberland Gap.

The audience was already in singalong mode, and Whisky in my Whisky came in just at the right time to cement the feel-good atmosphere, after which the band took the pace down a few notches for the introspective Meadow of a Dream. It’s this form of emotion-laden narrative-driven number rather than the more brash singalong songs that is ultimately the more rewarding experience, with Ian Felice’s emotive, melancholic voice, touched with vulnerability, finding its full expression.

Felice Brothers at The Garage 2015 A more mellow section ensued, with Ian Felice taking the helm for the mournful Saint Stephen’s End, followed by Cus’s Catskill Gym. Time for many of the crowd to lose their concentration for a while and converse – loudly – with their mates. Not that this bothered The Felice Brothers I’m sure – they look like a band who could play through a bar-room brawl without a note out of place.

The Felice Brothers are adept at delivering a set of traditional-with-a-twist Americana with a mixture of soaring laments and rousing folkloric ditties. This was a long, well balanced set with material culled from their entire back catalogue, rather than focusing on their 2014 release – in fact 2008 release The Felice Brothers featured more heavily than most. The band looked as if they were enjoying themselves on stage, and the intimate environment of The Garage brought out the best in them.

Star singalong track Frankie’s Gun made its appearance as the encore, followed by Many Rivers to Cross, the Jimmy Cliff classic. Another maybe impromptu encore followed with Penn Station and Take This Bread, before a satisfied crowd head out into the drizzly London night.

Support: The Pierce Brothers, a duo from Melbourne, are definitely ‘one to watch’ – an energetic, rousing sibling act with great harmonies. They return to The Garage to headline their own show in October.

THE SMALL PRINT WHO: The Felice Brothers WHEN: July 15, 2015 WHERE: The Garage, London TICKETS: £20 approx

Festival No 6 beachOne of my favourite festivals has just got even more exciting. A new headliner has been revealed for Festival No 6 – it’s the legendary Mancunian indie-rockers James as the surprise co-headline act on Sunday night.

James

Tim Booth of James

Said Jim Glennie from James: ‘I love Portmeirion and I can’t believe we are going to play a gig there. The festival looks amazing. Can’t wait.’ The band delivered a storming set at Bearded Theory festival in May, festival goers are in for a treat.

Joe Duddell, No.6 Composer-in-Residence, will be returning for the fourth year to present another series of the Town Hall Sessions in the beautiful Portmeirion Town Hall. Joe will be collaborating with Gaz Coombes, Edwyn Collins, Jane Weaver and Rae Morris on new material, as well as some old favourites, all performed with the wonderful No.6 Ensemble. I do have a tip here for those keen on attending: the space is limited so make sure you get there early!

Other new No.6 announcements include Arthur Baker, the world-renowned New York hip-hop producer, headlining the Virgin Village Limits stage in the woods with its now famous floating dance floor.

There will also be a sneak preview of the new Kill Your Friends movie, a darkly humorous satire on the UK music business at the height of Britpop. John Niven, author of the original novel will also be in conversation with literary legend Irvine Welsh, the director Owen Harris and producers Will Clarke and Gregor Cameron as they explore the story and how it translates to film.

In the shadow of the Castell Deudraeth, one of Portmeirion’s most stunning areas – The Castell Gardens – has also revealed its impressive bill featuring Bugged Out! with Justin Robertson, James Holroyd and Rob Bright, a celebration of 20 years of the Electric Chair and Bill Brewster and co serving up one of the very last Low Life parties. It’s almost a festival within a festival.

AND there are more acts to be revealed…

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Village Limits floating dance deck

Weekend Ticket Prices (Friday Arrival)

Adult Weekend Camping from: £170 + BF (£10.00)

Young Person (11-15 years old) Camping from: £80 + BF (£6.50)

Children (10 years and under) Camping: £Free + BF (£1.50)

Parking (Park & Ride): £20 + BF (£2.00)

Programme: £8.00 +BF (£0.80)

Weekend Ticket Prices (Thursday Arrival)

Adult Weekend Camping from: £185 + BF (£10)

Young Person (11-15 years old) Camping from: £90 + BF (£6.50)

Children (10 years and under) Camping from: £Free + BF (£1.50)

Parking (Park & Ride): £20 + BF (£2.00)

Programme: £8.00 +BF (£0.80)

The haunting and compelling 2007 documentary of Joy Division, directed by Grant Gee, opens with a montage of images of Manchester in the 70s. It depicts a time of sweeping changes after the post-war streets were systematically cleared of ‘slum dwellings’ and occupants were rehoused in shiny new high-rise developments.

As became evident pretty swiftly, poverty was not eliminated, merely temporarily masked, and a new, creeping social poverty began to manifest itself. Joy Division’s sound came into being in this maelstrom of post-industrial upheaval, a legacy of the era of the cotton mills which spread over the city and its satellite towns, a fine layer of dust hanging heavy in the damp Manchester air. In Gee’s documentary, Joy Division’s ambient ‘interior landscape’ coalesces to form the band’s distinctive gritty, moody sound.

Shirley Baker 2 Shirley baker 1

Those images remind me of a world captured a decade earlier by Manchester photographer Shirley Baker, whose retrospective is to be held at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, 17th July to 20th September.

Shirley was born in 1932 and was brought up in Manchester. When she was seven or eight, a neighbour bought her and her identical twin sister a present each: a Brownie camera. For Shirley, this was a life-changing moment, her sister recalls how she was mesmerised by the camera and thus began a lifelong obsession. She studied photography at Manchester College of Technology and then went on to teach at Salford College of Art.

During the 60s, she became frustrated at being denied a press card, which she interpreted as a result of being woman in a male-dominated industry. At the same time, she became aware of vast changes taking place in Manchester and Salford, and turned her photographer’s eye to capturing the city, its people and communities, realising this was a way of life about to be lost forever. She would wander through the streets alone with her camera, talking to the locals, whom she photographed with a searing honesty and a gentle humour.

shirley baker

All images: Mary Evans Picture Library / Shirley Baker

Ice cream van on terraced street - Manchester 1965 The extreme poverty of the times is painfully evident, and some of the images, as Shirley pointed out, look almost Victorian rather than from the 1960s, but these hugely powerful social documents show above all the humanity and pride of the people who lived there. Shirley’s photos are a tribute to the families left living in a kind of limbo, watching houses and streets flattened, wondering when it would be their turn to be rehoused in one of the brand new concrete estates which, by the late 70s, were already falling into a state of decay.

Shirley spent enough time in those crumbling streets to become acquainted with the families, and especially the children who would crowd round her, jostling to be photographed. I can understand how she would have been able to gain their confidence; she was always a very patient listener, quietly spoken and never imposing. She would allow whoever she was engaging with to be the focus, and always showed genuine interest in other people. Shirley put people at ease, and managed to make them feel comfortable enough so they no longer noticed this strange woman with her camera in their midst.

My memories of Shirley are of an intensely private person. Being a twin gave her the perfect opportunity to hold back and observe, allowing her naturally more gregarious sister to take the limelight. Her secretive nature was partly due to the fact that she didn’t want to raise expectations. But she needn’t have had concerns, her work became increasingly appreciated throughout her lifetime, validation of her talent. What shines through her work is the passion for her subjects; this is what drove her, not fame or a desire for money, indeed this desire for simplicity was reflected in every aspect of her life.

A rather sad lone survival of a Victorian Terrace in Moss Side, Manchester. The floral curtains seem to show that this building is still being occupied, although the open cellar window, lack of front door and broken glass suggest the fate of this building may already be set. Photograph by Shirley Baker     Date: 1964

A lone survival of a Victorian terrace, Moss Side, 1964. Mary Evans Picture Library / Shirley Baker

Since the millennium, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of her work – and a realisation of the rarity of female photographers at this time. An exhibition at The Lowry in Manchester in 2000 was an indication of the large body of work she had amassed (the Queen visited, much to the delight of many of the children in the photographs who were present at the occasion); Salford Museum and Art Gallery held an exhibition in 2011, this comprehensive show took in a sweep of work from 1960s Manchester to street life in Camden in the 80s and beyond.

The remains of family cars lie derelict, stripped of engines, glass and wheels in the cleared area formerly occupied by terraced houses, demolished in the mid 1960s for new housing schemes, such as the tower blocks rising in the back right of this photograph. Photograph by Shirley Baker     Date: 1965

The remains of cars lie derelict in an area once occupied by terraced houses, demolished for new housing schemes, such as the tower blocks rising in the back, right. 1965.  Mary Evans Picture Library / Shirley Baker

The visual power of her images has led to Shirley’s work finding a place on record covers.

Mary Evans Picture Library / Shirley Baker

Blackpool-born folk artist Gus MacGregor greatly admired Shirley’s work. He says, “I just find she captures a humour and beauty out of what might otherwise be bleak.” He used several of her works as a backdrop for a series of gigs last year in Bern, Switzerland, and wrote a song entitled Before The Unions Fell which was inspired by her work.

Gus MacGregor

Mary Evans Picture Library / Shirley Baker

And so it continues… the chequered history of the great northern city still proves to be the driving heartbeat for artists and musicians. Julie Campbell, aka LoneLady, recently released her second album Hinterland, a work inspired by her own north Manchester landscape. See my review of her at Rough Trade East. Shirley Baker’s upcoming exhibition, ‘Women, Children and Loitering Men‘, was in the initial stages of planning when Shirley became ill; the event is now a dedication to this gifted and original artist. Why the title? Is it anti-men? Far from it – it refers to the fact that men were usually out at work, or had been killed in war. The streets were the preserve of women and children, and those men who were present were usually ill or elderly. This exhibition is a powerful, and in some ways shocking, look at a time of upheaval and urban decay which proved inspirational to so many Manchester artists.

Exhibition: Women, Children and Loitering Men by Shirley Baker at The Photographer’s Gallery, 17th July to 20th September The Photographers’ Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW. tpg.org.uk

UPDATE: Shirley Baker has been featured on BBC4 Woman’s Hour, 18th July. Woman’s Hour, Shirley Baker 

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Shirley Baker’s two books: Street Photographs, and Streets & Spaces. Both now out of print

sbaker1 With thanks to Tom Gillmor at Mary Evans Picture Library for his kindness and help

Since recommending festivals for 2015 fairly recently, temptation has struck once more, with tasty line-up additions, new multi-media weekenders and music-packed day-long events. Summer is here and it’s time to make the most of these warm and breezy days with any number of music and food, beer, theatre and arts events while we can.

A Cornbury morning Ben Phillips

A Cornbury morning / Ben Phillips

Bushstock, 13th June

The weather promises a mix of sun and a few clouds, best of all NO RAIN. Londoners should get themselves down to Bushstock in Shepherd’s Bush for this annual jamboree, taking place across 6 stages in Shepherd’s Bush; venues include the intimate and beautiful little Bush Hall. As always, there’s a dizzying choice of music with Villagers, Nadine Shah, Charlotte OC, Sophie Jamieson, Banfi, Frances, The Beach, and Nathaniel Rateliff performing with his brand new R&B soul outfit The Night Sweats. Also: Michael Kiwanuka, Lucy Rose, Honeyblood, and All We Are amongst many more. Bushstock tickets are now Tier 2 at £30, follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/communionmusic

The London FolkFest, 2-5th July

It’s hard to imagine that this event is staged in a pub and not on a landowner’s vast country estate. In its 5th year, with 3 stages over 4 days, and with a range of music including an ‘Americana and Country’ day on… 4th July of course. Plus Thursday given over to Insight Seminars for musicians. The lineup stars: Patch and The Giant, Red Sky July, Ellie makes Music, Paul Carella and Holly Lerski. The London FolkFest is at The Bedford, 77 Bedford Hill, Balham, SW12 9HD, phone: 020 8682 8940.

Heavenly 25 at the Kazimier, Liverpool, 5th July

Starting with a Heavenly weekender in January (with Jimi Goodwin and Cherry Ghost) at The Trades club in Hebden Bridge, Heavenly are turning their 25th Anniversary into a year-long celebration, now pitching up at Liverpool venue the Kazimier. Featured are a selection of Heavenly acts: The Wytches, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Stealing Sheep, The Voyeur, Hooton Tennis Club, Duke Garwood, Gwenno, Heavenly Jukebox DJs, Bernie Connor DJ set. Kid Wave also feature: their breezy, jangly guitar sound went down a storm at The Trades. Buy tickets for Heavenly 25.

Kid Wave

Kid Wave at The Trades

Cornbury, 10-12th July

Nestled in the Cotswolds in the Great Tew Estate, Cornbury is a community-minded family festival which sets about curating a well-rounded musical line-up – Supertramp’s founder and vocalist Roger Hodgson is appearing, plus Tom Jones, Martha Reeves and Welsh alt-folk outfit Paper Aeroplanes.  Buy Cornbury tickets

Truck, 17, 18th July

What a lineup for this intimate gathering in Oxfordshire. The Charlatans, Temples, Peter Hook, Fat White Family, Basement Jaxx and lots more. No wonder this event sells out pretty quickly. Buy tickets for Truck

Forgotten Fields, 7 – 9th August

de la sc pic

De La Soul

For Londoners keen to leave the sweltering city without it feeling like a total mission, Forgotten Fields sounds like a dream. With the expert team of Kendal Calling behind it, FF is billed as a ‘big party’, with a nicely intimate 4,000 tickets on sale. The lineup features Super Furry Animals, De la Soul, Public Service Broadcasting, The Levellers, Beans on Toast – also Skinny Lister, who got everyone’s vote of approval at Bearded Theory a couple of weeks ago. Glad to see Northern Soul Dance Classes featured too. There will be a real ale bar and gourmet food. Tickets are well priced at under £100. Buy Forgotten Fields tickets

The Levellers

The Levellers

Shambala, 27-30th August

Yes it is well and truly sold out. But by helping with the charity Flags for Nepal, and sponsoring one of the Prayer Flags which will be adorning the main stage, you are in for a chance to win tickets. Nepal will be needed money for many years to come to rebuild its devastated infrastructure. Also, on the Shambala website, there is the chance to win a family ticket.

The Garden Party Leeds 29-30th August

This event has grown and grown and for its 10th year anniversary, there’s a mega lineup, all taking place at The Tetley in the middle of town. The team behind the very successful Leeds Indie Food Festival last month will be ensuring there’s a fine selection of food trucks and on-site dining. Music acts include: LoneLady, Roisin Murphy, Julio Bashmore, Craig Charles, Mr Scruff, Little Dragon and lots more. Buy tickets to Leeds Garden Party and there’s a chance to win tickets too if you sign up to their mailing list.

Festival No 6, 3rd to 6 September

Festival No 6 beachOn the lineup for this year are: Metronomy, Belle & Sebastian, Hookworms, Gaz Coombes and – yet again the wonderful Brythoniaid Male Voice Choir. The Woodland stage is to be curated by guest artists, and just announced is Badly Drawn Boy who will perform and introduce John Shuttleworth, The Wedding Present (performing an exclusive stripped down set), The Walk, Songs for Walter and former ACR bassist and vocalist Jez Kerr. Read my review of Festival No 6 2014. Buy tickets to Festival No 6

FN6-Friday-NORTH-55-2
Which festival or festivals will you be going to this summer? Are you planning to go to any of the city festivals instead of traditional ‘3 days in the country’ style ones? Have they become too pricey?

Reader Recommends: Glass Butter Beach August 12 – 15th, Abersoch, North Wales.

NOW SOLD OUT: Deer Shed Festival; Green Man Festival * All prices are correct on the date of posting

The Water Rats, five minutes’ walk from King’s Cross station, has undergone a refurbishment and now has a stylish and minimalist interior – but what the venue is to be congratulated over is its commitment to live music. The intimate music room, which is in the back room, has been similarly upgraded and offers a very welcoming space for mostly up-and-coming musicians.

Lucy Wainwright, daughter of Suzzy Roche and Loudon Wainwright III, performed here on Tuesday, equally billed with Holly Lerski. Suzzy has an aura of hippy glamour about her, Lucy is defined by her refreshingly ‘non starry’ quality, she comes across as a well-balanced individual who hasn’t been raised in a celebrity bubble.

Lucy Wainwright, Suzzy Roche

Opening number is Suzzy Roche’s Everybody writes a G Chord Song, and the magical harmonies are an immediate draw, Suzzy’s lower register anchoring their vocals. What is unexpected are the humorous and often lengthy anecdotes between each number. Stories revolving around: driving in Britain and having to guess the speed limit, big cars and small parking spaces, and Lucy’s tale of a date which went unexpectedly wrong. At one point Lucy asks if we have any questions for her, which is just one benefit of being at such an ‘intimate’ gig.

Lucy Wainwright, Suzzy Roche

We also learn the backstory to many of the songs, such as Lucy’s story about the horror of having to sit for a portrait when she was small. There are impressively sensitive covers, too, such as Call Your Girlfriend, with its goose-bumps lyrics, which brings out the purity of Lucy’s voice, and The Beatles’ For No One. The final number is Simon & Garfunkel’s America, a song we all join in with.

Things run a little less smoothly for Norfolk songstress Holly Lerski – at least to start with. The first act has been allowed to run over time quite considerably, Wainwright and Roche are selling and signing CDs with their legion of fans and Holly has to find her equilibrium. It takes her a few numbers into her shortened set to get into her stride, although when she gets going we can appreciate the lush warmth of her voice.

Holly Lerski

Most of the material is from her new album, recorded at home in her shed, hence the album’s name –  The Wooden House. Like Lucy before her, she precedes each song with an anecdote although there is less time for her to engage with her audience. Title song The Wooden House and the catchy Building You the Ark I found particularly appealing. She concentrates on new material and there’s little from the past although she does play My Love from Life is Beautiful. Holly and her band are on tour over the summer, and hopefully she will be able to make a considerable number of new fans and her quiet charm will be allowed to flower.

THE SMALL PRINT

WHO: Lucy Wainwright Roche and Suzzy Roche, Holly Lerski
WHEN: June 2, 2015
WHERE: The Water Rats, London
TICKETS: £7

Holly Lerski

Bearded Theory Festival has got its mojo back. Not that it ever really went away, it just went through a dip last year with the new site to adjust to, coupled with relentless rain. But for 2015, the weather smiled down on Bearded Theory, the festival site was looking all new and improved and the confidence was back.

Arriving at Catton Hall on Friday, it’s apparent just how much development has been going on: The Pallet main stage and sound system are impressive and there are more food choices and stalls. Fancy dress theme is Pirates, and from the start a number of swashbuckling types are strolling the site in full regalia; beards too are in evidence and of far more originality than your standard hipster. The bar is Thornbridge Brewery again, with their excellent Festival Ale, and all at decent prices.

The piece de resistance is the Woodlands. More like an add-on last year, it is now almost a mini festival in itself. Tucked away behind the arena in a wooded area, with dappled sunlight filtering through the trees, is the stunning new stage of sculpted oak, the setting for mainly folk-related artists who play from noon till late. It has its own bar, and Nana’s Kitchen, a cosy cafe where revellers queue for home-made roasts, chips and the most delicious cakes, baked daily on-site by Adele.

Woodland stage Bearded Theory

Woodland Stage

A great deal of effort has also been put into the extensive Children’s Village where there’s a daily timetable packed with events, many pirate-related, and the new Bearded School offering school lessons with a festival twist. And even the toilets have been upgraded and noticeably kept clean for the festival’s duration.

toiletsign

kids area

Children’s Village

Alabama 3 are on early Friday evening – a band I’ve seen many times and this is one of their best performances. Aurora Dawn coolly struts her stuff, and Larry Love and Rev D Wayne Love keep everyone entertained with their amusing and somewhat rude banter. Woke Up This Morning, Up Above my Head, Hypo Full of Love (with the low-down dance moves), and Too Sick to Pray are on the setlist. There’s nothing precious about A3 and this was a definite crowd-pleaser festival set.

A3 Aurora Dawn

Alabama 3

Saturday afternoon’s Pallet stage showcases some excellent folk-rock outfits – the opening band, Three Minute Heist, play an Americana-influenced set featuring some strong bluesy numbers. Skinny Lister are adept at getting the audience into full afternoon drinking and dancing party mode before Irish Canadians The Mahones take over the stage with their high-powered punk folk. Still on a folky theme, the Woodland stage is host to The Leylines, who produced one beautiful song after another, and whose fiddle player will have you playing air violin (not in public, though).

The Mahones at Bearded Theory

The Mahones – Katie “Kaboom” McConnell

Early evening and it’s British Sea Power’s first time at Bearded Theory. One of my favourite bands, British Sea Power possess a very British charm and quirkiness and their stage shows are known for – well unpredictability and bears. Maybe the unpredictable here was that the bear didn’t appear. The rousing and uplifting Machineries of Joy opens the set, followed by Apologies to Insect Life, then Waving Flags. A powerful version of Silver Machine finishes the set, Jan Scott Wilkinson repeatedly throwing his guitar in the air, looking increasingly as if he isn’t going to catch it. Sliced in between an afternoon of foot-stomping folk and the all-out rock of New Model Army, BSP offered a more cerebral transition to the evening’s entertainment – a welcome must-see for some, but not maybe of universal appeal.

British Sea Power

British Sea Power

A surfeit of festival-goers sporting New Model Army t-shirts are an indication of the numbers waiting to see these long-term rockers. I caught the end of their storming set at Bearded Theory two years ago and, as the programme blurb says, it is a set “still talked about in hushed, reverent tones”. The band undoubtedly deliver a powerful set, Justin Sullivan a mesmerizing figure among the blue smoke, his voice still powerful and full of portent, opened with Stormclouds, taking the band through a mix of numbers and finishing with I Love the World.

New Model Army

For Sunday at Bearded Theory (beards, pirates, The Beat, Transglobal, James and more…) click here

Bearded Theory Lego beard

For more images of Bearded Theory festival over the years, visit www.samdawsonphotography.co.uk

If you’ve enjoyed reading this review, please ‘like’ my page or leave a comment. Thanks :)

Sunday is unabashedly fun day at Bearded Theory. Proceedings kick off with Mr Motivator and a mass exercise session at the Woodland stage at the unearthly hour of 12 noon, and the place is packed out – Mr Motivator’s appeal is clearly undimmed. There’s so much to celebrate today. Firstly those threatening rainclouds are beating a retreat. It’s also Pirate dress-up day, beard competition, and a day of great music stretches before us. pirates3 Pirate At Magical Sounds dance tent at lunchtime I meet Bruce with a stylish beard made of Lego. He’s also carrying a Lego mug and a Lego phone cover, so this appears to be a genuine obsession. I predict a winner.

Bearded Theory Lego beard

Lego Beard

The competition kicks off at 2pm, with Mr Motivator taking charge of the proceedings. Beard competition And Bruce does indeed win! Mr Motivator Magical Sounds on Sunday is a global feast, with dance sounds from the Scottish Highlands down to the Indian subcontinent. Grousebeater Soundsystem with their atmospheric pipes, have a touch of the Monster Ceilidh Band’s Celtic/dance fusion going on, and seem to have particular appeal to the women present, who are all dancing with enthusiasm. Dr Trippy presides over a compulsively dancey set of ‘Punjabi swamp’ Indian dub mix (this was our driving home music). Heading back to the main stage I get a welcome text from a friend: THE PUPPETS ARE IN THE DANCE TENT! At last… so it’s back to the Magical Sounds for more dancing action with Bearded Theory’s puppets, who have been a bit elusive this year. Later, the tent plays host to a wonderful set from Transglobal Underground collective.

puppets in dance tent

The Beat perform a stunning set, with Ranking Roger and his son on vocals, energising the Pallet stage with a mix of numbers old and new, such as Hands off She’s Mine and Doors of Your Heart Ranking Roger The beat

Sunday’s headliner is James. There’s no time for a slow build, it’s straight into it with the first number Sit Down (taken off the set list for a couple of years, so Tim Booth tells us), and he wastes no time in rushing to the front of the stage, almost disappearing into the clearly adoring crowd. How is he going to follow this? I ask myself. But the hits.. and the power of the new album overcome any misgivings. The second song is Curse, Curse from the latest album in 2014 La Petite Mort. As Tim Booth says, “this is no nostalgia tour”. Tim Booth Tracks from the new album reveal a band in full second flowering. Numbers range from more recent work to back in time. And as we reach the final numbers, a giant firework display kicks off. We’re singing “Sometimes when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul…‘, the fireworks are bursting into the sky, and suddenly I realize we’ve almost reached the end of the festival. Yep, a lump in the throat.. oh pull yourself together. James, Bearded Theory There’s always a magic ingredient that defines the best festivals, and Bearded Theory has whatever it is. This year felt like a special one with the new site now feeling like home. It’s a mix of the music – a mix of old-school bands, new acts and a psychedelically groovy dance tent – plus the fancy dress and beards, and the great family entertainment, but what seems to define it more than anything is the most fun, kind and friendly people I’ve ever encountered at any festival. Here’s to Bearded Theory for 2015… and onwards till the next one. There were loads and loads more bands… too many to mention here, so I’ll be adding more photos of Bearded Theory to the site soon… If you enjoyed reading my review please ‘like’ it, leave a comment or follow on Facebook, thanks! 

For more photos of Bearded Theory Festival over the years, visit www.samdawsonphotography.co.uk

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