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Bearded Theory 2015 - Thursday | FESTIVALPHOTO

Bearded Theory 2015 - Thursday



Bearded Theory started for many as it did for me - sitting in a huge queue of traffic due to lack of stewards directing traffic to the car park.  While this made me miss the first band of the weekend I can happily say that this was the only real problem of the festival, and I'm sure that issues around the stewarding of the car park will be sorted before next year.

The first band I saw was The Bar-steward sons of Val Doonican. They're not a band I've seen before but judging by the fact they'd packed the tent out there were plenty of their fans here tonight, and I soon saw why - this was an incredibly fun show.  Dressed in bright tank tops, the band inject a lot of humour into their music, so they were a perfect choice for this first night of the festival to get people into the party spirit. 
In a first for the festival, they had a lady on stage translating the vocals into sign language.  Normally this would be challenging enough but when the band play cover versions of well known songs with the lyrics changed it can get quite silly - she deserved a medal for her translating of "The zipper caught me balls" (sung to the tune of Abba's "The winner takes it all", and it made N already funny set e Ben more entertaining.
I've seen plenty of band members crowd surf during their set, but this was the first time I've seen a singer leave the stage, crowd surf around the tent, and return to the front holding an almost full pint that he'd picked up on the way around. 
Towards the end of the set they brought on some guests  Roy Harter on accordion, The members of a three daft monkeys, and The Devil complete with a golden fiddle.  On the now cramped stage, they did a great cover of "The devil went down to Georgia".  After that the devil left the stage and the set ended with a great cover of the House of Pain classic, "Jump around".  An extremely entertaining set. 

Next up was Levellers singer Mark Chadwick doing a solo set.  By now the tent wasn't just full, it was overflowing with a lot of people standing outside listening.  With a set that included his solo material along with plenty of classic Levellers hits including Beautiful day" and "Fifteen years", this was always going to go down a storm - after all The Levellers have headlined the festival before, so they have a lot of fans here.  It was a great set, and ended with a great singalong to "One way".  The crowd though demanded more, so despite having no time left, Mark Chadwick returned to the stage to do "The riverflow" as an encore - a fantastic end to a great set.

The final band of the night on this stage was Three daft monkeys.  The band are another regular feature at Bearded Theory and played the main stage last year so it's no surprise that they too draw a large crowd.  
Their music is lively folk and is a lot of fun - perfect party music for Bearded Theory and there are plenty of people dancing.  The crowd gets so lively in fact that the singer gets parents with small children to come past the security barrier and watch from the pit so they don't have to worry about being squashed. It's always nice to see bands caring about their fans like that.  Towards the end of the set, Roy Harter joins the band on stage with his accordion for a couple of songs before sadly the set was over.

The lineup of bands on Thursday evening was excellent - all bands that were sure to get the crowd having a great time, which is the ideal way to get the festival started.  After watching the three bands it was time for me to get some sleep as with three full days of bands ahead it was likely to be a tiring (but fun) weekend.

Check out the photos from the weekend at:


Writer: Anthony May
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