The Beard­ed The­o­ry fes­ti­val line­up has plen­ty for fans old and new this year… and (checks cal­en­dar) it’s only two months away! Plus there’s all the oth­er fun stuff that goes on dur­ing what has always been one of the most friend­ly fes­ti­vals of the season. 

Beard­ed The­o­ry’s old timers… Some artists make their way onto the BT line­up time after time again… such as New Mod­el Army, with lead man Justin Sul­li­van hav­ing appeared solo too. Fero­cious Dog with their ener­getic folk-punk, dit­to Three Daft Mon­keys are also reg­u­lar returnees. Pop­u­lar trou­ba­dour Beans on Toast shows up fair­ly reg­u­lar­ly and he has a new album called The Tooth­paste and the Tube to show­case. Oth­er wel­come returnees are Bob Vylan, who the Beardie crowd took to their hearts last year, ska act [spunge], feisty Pan­ic Shack, who put on an ener­getic debut show, and LIINES who we inter­viewed as they came off stage in 2022.

New­bies to the fes­ti­val are Man­ches­ter-based Amer­i­can singer song­writer BC Camp­light, Jane Weaver whose spacey psych will weave a mag­ic spell (let’s hope she’s appear­ing on the Wood­land Stage), arty long-run­ning punk out­fit Les Savy Fav, Melin Melyn and Lam­bri­ni Girls.

Two more strong female-led bands are Dry Clean­ing, with Flo­rence Shaw’s spo­ken-word lyrics (often made up of over­heard snip­pets of con­ver­sa­tion) and ris­ing stars Eng­lish Teacher. Lily Fontaine pours her soul into songs like their recent sin­gle Albert Road.

Mead­ow Stage The new team behind Beard­ed The­o­ry got the thumbs up by intro­duc­ing a new stage to the fes­ti­val site. At the oppo­site side from the Main “Pal­lett” stage to avoid sound bleed, the Mead­ow stage pro­vides a sec­ond home for the big crowd pullers. And as the Mead­ow Stage is actu­al­ly a tent – a huge one – it’s per­fect in case of, ahem, rainy days. Although to be fair, the sun usu­al­ly beams down for most of the BT weekend.

The Wood­land Stage. Tucked away from the busy are­na, this carved oak stage set in a shady wood was ear­marked for qui­eter acts but became more of a gen­er­al sec­ond stage. With the Mead­ow now in oper­a­tion, the Wood­land can return to its true call­ing, as a per­fect spot to enjoy those more inti­mate sets.

Let’s Dance There’s a new dance tent for this year, called Coda, high­lights are 808 State, Orbital and The Orb. Anoth­er act of note is Steve Davis and Kavus Tora­bi – two mem­bers (out of three) of The Utopia Strong, whose sets are a mes­meris­ing, trans­for­ma­tion­al jour­ney. This should be a blind­er of a set. 

Fan­cy Dress. The cre­ativ­i­ty of Beard­ed The­o­ry’s fes­ti­val-goers knows no bounds. Every year, the out­fits at Sun­day morn­ing’s cos­tume-judg­ing event are an impres­sive sight. This year’s theme is “retro-future”, and if your out­fit is deemed best in show, you could win two tick­ets for the fol­low­ing year. So get sewing, you’ve only got two months to go! Oh and there’s anoth­er Beard­ed The­o­ry favourite band on Sun­day morn­ing to ease us out of our hang­overs – The Bar Stew­ard Sons of Val Doonican.

Oth­er plus points to Beard­ed The­o­ry are the vari­ety of oth­er stages includ­ing Maui Waui, Con­voy Cabaret and the friend­ly Some­thing Else Tea Tent with seat­ing and a dizzy­ing selec­tion of teas and cakes to enjoy while lis­ten­ing to a dai­ly ros­ter of artists. Lit­tle vis­i­tors don’t get left out either… check out the Chil­dren’s Vil­lage plus Fri­day’s nation­al-cur­ricu­lum stan­dard Fes­ti­val School which gets booked up super-fast.

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