Beautiful Days 2003
John Bownas - 16 August 2003
Still in a Beautiful Daze...
The Levellers are perhaps the quintessential British festival band - synonymous with both major league big-hitters like Glastonbury (where they still probably hold the record for the biggest single crowd), as well as more intimate and grass-roots oriented events that only really draw in small local audiences. With their Jeckyll and Hyde personas of stadium rock guitar gods and back-room of a pub acoustic pranksters (AKA Drunk in Public), The Levellers are able to pitch their inimitable brand of nu-folk at whatever crowd they find themselves in front of.
The Beautiful Days Festival was therefore born from a simple conversation amongst members of the band...'what was the last really great festival we've played at?'
Having realised that the answer lay on a Cornish beach some five years ago, they deconstructed the festival genre over a few more pints and bags of scratchings. The band put together a sketch of their perfect event - small enough to feel personal, but large enough to bring in some decent acts; a site that provided a naturally beautiful backdrop to the performances; a handpicked range of stalls, offering decent food at reasonable prices; top-class production management and sound engineering; a range of alternative arts and crafts that allowed the crowd to interact and participate in the experience...oh yes, and of course featuring The Levellers as main headliners!!
When we arrived at Escot we found the dream become reality.
Suffice it to say from the outset that Beautiful Days was without doubt one of the best festivals of 2003 - and that is saying a lot given the nature of the competition, and the fact that this year's tremendous wheather has produced a bumper harvest of fantastic festival memories.
The list of bands that rocked the Escot world over the weekend is too long to provide a blow-by-blow account of every performance, but we have captured most of them for posterity in our massive Beautiful Days photo gallery. However, because the bands really did pull out the stops to offer up some fantastic entertainment to the Beautiful Days crowd, we'll try to skim a stone across the surface of the many brilliant sets that were played out under the lovely Devon skies...