Theorising a festival: Bearded Theory 2013 in preview

A preview for Bearded Theory 2013

Theorising a festival: Bearded Theory 2013 in preview

Photographer: Sara BowreyChris Eustace on 12 May 2013

November may be all about moustaches these days, but any festivalgoer worth their wellies knows May is all about the full beard, as we welcome the first “proper” outdoor event of the season once again.

As always, make sure you don your fake beard if your own facial hair isn’t quite up to scratch, as every year the festival attempts to break the world record for the largest amount of people wearing fancy dress beards in one place. 

Taking place within the picturesque grounds of Kedleston Hall, on the outskirts of Derby, from Friday 17 – Sunday 19 May, Reverend & The Makers, Asian Dub Foundation and the Levellers will headline this year, following star turns from Adam Ant, The Damned, Athlete, The Waterboys and Dreadzone in the past.

This year, a new late night campsite venue will host everything from Reggae DJs, Indie Discos, up & coming talent, cookery workshops, cabaret and comedy.  Located in a large marquee, it’ll also feature bars, a chill out cafe, picnic area and garden.

New Model Army, Stiff Little Fingers, A Guy Called Gerald, The Farm, The Ruts DC and Neds Atomic Dustbin play the festival in 2013 too, along with these five must-sees:

Seth Lakeman

Having developed a rockier, foot-stomping edge to his last few albums, Seth Lakeman has recently moved back towards the basics of ‘Kitty Jay’, the 2004 album that propelled him to fame when it was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. His stunning vocals and dextrous fiddle and guitar playing (not at the same time, sadly) are still to the fore on his latest, ‘Tales From The Barrel House’ ,with a mixture of sing-alongs and more quieter, tender moments. It’ll be difficult to take your eyes off him.

Asian Dub Foundation

Following Lakeman onto the stage on Saturday night, ADF are the pick of this year’s headliners.  Combining electronica, hip-hop, raga, dub with explosive punk rock guitars and conscious, at times confrontational, lyrics, they’re a jaw-dropping live act who’ve long since become fixtures of the British festival circuit. You’ll see and hear why on BT’s Saturday night.

Karine Polwart

Karine Polwart’s evocative, folk storytelling takes in accordions, harps, fiddles, electro bleeps and rattling percussion. With songs about The Great Fire Of London, birds and Donald Trump’s much-criticised golf course development in North East Scotland flagging up just a few of the topics covered in her set, you certainly can’t accuse her of lacking in scope. Well worth investigating on Friday.


Goldblade’s John Robb knows all about the power of punk rock, and he’s been bringing the good word to the festival faithful ever since the band’s formation in the mid-90’s. With a new, slightly darker album ‘The Terror Of Modern Life’ out a week on Monday, they remain inventive, fun and, in these difficult times, a bit of a necessity.

The Lancashire Hotpots

A perfect choice for early on Sunday, TLH will provide light-hearted folky vignettes to raise a laugh even from those with sorest of heads. Their songs have titles like ‘Chippy Tea’, ‘He's Turned Emo’ and ‘eBay Eck’. One of their albums is called ‘Achtung Gravy’. How could you even think of missing them?

Click here to see the full Bearded Theory line-up.

Bearded Theory tickets are available now, priced at £86.50 (including booking fee) for an adult weekend with camping, arriving on Friday. To arrive on Thursday and camp for the weekend the price is £97.45, including booking fee.

Teen tickets (13-16 years) are available too, priced between £43.80 or £49.30, dependent on the number of nights camping.

Children under 13 go for free.

Click here to buy Bearded Theory tickets.

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