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Bearded Theory 2018 - Friday | FESTIVALPHOTO

Bearded Theory 2018 - Friday



Friday started with the news that 41 tents had been robbed overnight - all festivals get targeted by thieves these days, and while 41 out of around 9000 people on site is a very small percentage, the news spread fast and along with the poor weather put a bit of a dampener on things . The Bearded Theory spirit shone through though with donations being made via the welfare tent to help those who had money stolen. I think the fact the robberies came as a shock is testament to how low the crime rate is at Bearded Theory and how friendly people tend to be - at say Leeds or Reading, I doubt there would have been any surprise at a load of robberies. Needless to say the organisers weren't happy and I'm sure that along with the security chief they'll be looking at options to tighten security next year without impacting on peoples enjoyment.

October drift kicked the day off with some great Indie rock. They've got a great stage presence and it was just what people needed to start the day off.

The Membranes came next. It's been a few years since they last played Bearded Theory although frontman John Robb has played more recently with Goldblade. They're a great live band with John Robb being a fantastic frontman and really working hard to get the crowd enjoying it. For todays show they had a small choir with them on stage which was an interesting touch that worked surprisingly well.

I then strolled over to the Woodland, mainly to have a look at it, but as I got near I heard The Brandy Thieves and got there in time to hear the last few songs of their set. If I'd known just how good they were I'd have rushed over sooner - they're really impressive and put any of the main stage bands today to shame.

Show of hands were next on the main stage. After punk from The Membranes, Show of hands slowed things down with a Folk set. It's great music to chill out to (or more to the point, enjoy while having a beer). It's one of the things I love about the festival - you don't get hours of similar bands, but instead get punk, folk, reggae, rock all mixed together on the same stage.

On the Woodland stage, Pizzatramp were loud and with plenty of attitude. One of two swear words may have been uttered especially with the song "Bono is a cunt", which followed a long rant about Bono, U2 and their tax dodging among other reasons why they hated him. It may be loud and sweary but damn they're good fun. A great band.

Radio riddler are an odd act that features two members of Fun lovin' criminals. They take songs from other artists then do Reggae versions of them. Todays set was the entire "Purple rain" album by Prince, done in a dub/reggae style. A crazy idea? Maybe, but it worked better than I'd expected - I still prefer the original, but this was a nice novelty.

90s Britpop band Sleeper were next up. Famous for their cover of Blondie's "Atomic" that featured in the film "Trainspotting" they split back at the end of the 90s and only recently reformed. They're still sounding great and were one of my favourite bands of the day on the main Pallet stage.

Rews were a pleasant surprise as I knew nothing about them till I saw them on the Woodland stage. A two-piece consisting of Shauna Tohill and Collette Williams one drums and one plays guitar with both doing vocals. They've got a great sound and put in a very enjoyable set - so enjoyable that one of the CD's I ordered after returning from the festival was their album Pyro.

Pins were another pleasant surprise - an all girl band, they somehow managed to turn up on stage in spotless white outfits - not even one splash of mud visible despite the wet and muddy conditions. They've got a great sound and I'm sure they'll be playing bigger stages than this before long - definitely a band to watch out for.

The Jesus and Mary chain emerged in a cloud of smoke that never really lifted. While they're a band I never really got into, it's hard to ignore their talent and legacy and they were certainly a popular choice with the fans here tonight.

I left the main stage fairly early as I wanted to see Jesus Jones and was rightly expecting the woodland to get busy (it did). They may not have been headlining but this certainly felt like a headline set. It's still the original lineup and having heard their new album (Passages) which was released in April I had been looking forward to their set, and they didn't disappoint. They delivered a great set that covered both old and new material and really went down a storm with the crowd.

Blossoms were the main stage headliners. They're a very popular band right now, but I've got to be honest, I don't see why. Yes they're good musicians and he can sing well, but it just felt a bit bland to me. With the sheer amount of bands and the really diverse range of styles at Bearded Theory though, being disappointed by one big band didn't bother me - there were so many other great bands today in particular that I went to bed having had a great day.

Woodland stage headliners Milburn influenced bands like the Arctic Monkeys but split in 2008 before reforming a couple of years ago. Sadly they've not come close to the success of Arctic Monkeys despite demonstrating tonight just how good they are.

Today was a fantastic day at Bearded Theory. Ok the weather may have dampened the atmosphere slightly, but there were a load of great bands, particularly on the woodland stage and people had a good day. Bearded Theory is more than just the bands though - today saw the school keeping kids occupied and learning while the parents enjoyed the bands, while the bar's kept the adults occupied with a great selection of real ales (I wish all festivals had bars this good) and there are lots of other activities going on around the site.


Writer: Anthony May
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