Written on: 04/07/2012
Beatherder is a good festival but after having read previous years' reviews one wonders, whether this is still the same festival.
The biggest gripe is, that one gets searched just about every time one wants to go anywhere, the worst being upon arrival.
After parking your car you end up taking all your kit on a mile long hike which gets interrupted by being thoroughly searched. If you are unlucky enough to need two or three trips be prepared to be searched again and again. Therefore setting up camp can take hours, especially if you have a bit more kit because you are a bit older or have children (which is most people at this festival).
Once you have set up camp you'd like to explore the site and also go and see some acts.
Be prepared to get searched again. So make sure you bring everything you need for the whole night and also give yourself plenty of time as otherwise you may not get to see your favourite acts.
If you need to go back to your car to get more supplies...see above, and so it goes on and on, a real downer for the festival spirit.
If you are (un)lucky enough to stay in a live-in vehicle you will be searched twice every time you want to go and enjoy some music.
Despite the above, this is a good festival, mainly because the punters are a bit older and therefore are not just very friendly but also have respect for everybody else, resulting in a great atmosphere.
The food is good and varied, with veggies and vegans also having enough choice. The food prices are a bit steep (£3.50 for a cheese burger, £6-7 for a full meal) but the portions are quite large and those prices are only to be expected at a festival.
The sound on the Main Stage and at Toiltrees is excellent, less so in the many smaller tents dotted about, with some systems sounding downright awful.
Toilet facilities are excellent for a festival, right up to Sunday. Not only do the punters make a bit more of an effort but the toilets are also regularly serviced, making the festival that bit more enjoyable. We didn't try the shower facilities this year so can not comment, but there are sufficient washing facilities.
Medical care was excellent (a friend broke a leg in the mud) but the organisers could have done some things like lay felt mats or straw in the worst places, as they do at other festivals.
The music, although this festival obviously can't compete with the "big" ones, was good this year, with the highlights for us being Lee Perry, Orbital and System 7, with Mr Scruff also playing a great Sunday afternoon set at Toiltrees.
All in all a great little festival set in beautiful surroundings with everybody being very friendly, mostly due to the size of the festival and the age of the average punter.
The only downsides were the indignity of being subjected to frequent searches and the lack of organisation in dealing with the mud, especially as this was the wettest June since records began and the weather forecast was well known.
It was also sad to see that all the tents left behind were just simply crushed and put on heaps, rather than recycled.