Bearded Theory 2024

Bearded Theory 2024

by jessicajolly / May 28, 2024 / 0 comments
Thursday, 23 May 2024 to Sunday, 26 May 2024

Festival Season has begun, as our mud-caked trolley can confirm. If Bank Holiday weekend at Bearded Theory in Staffordshire provides any accurate forecast, it’s going to be a sloppy summer, but it’s going to f’ing ROCK. My god that was fun. Three days later my neck is still sore. Thanks, Amy Taylor, you beautiful bogan.

I knew very little about this festival. It popped up on my radar due to the blistering international, multi-generational lineup boasting Amyl and Sniffers, Jane's Addiction, and Dinosaur Jr. Then when I looked closer at the small-font acts, I discovered a fantastic assemblage of punk and metal... with a LOT of frontwomen. This wasn’t even something the festival made a point to publicize, which proves you don’t have to make it a “thing” to book women who rock, you can just do it. Ladies in bands such as Wargasm, Panic Shack, Liines, and Lambrini Girls were tearing up stages all over the site, even on the Wednesday early arrival night when the spectacular Congratulations helped open the festival. Frontwoman Leah Stanhope is a bombastic ball of screamy pop you should catch now before they become massive.

Based on the t-shirts swaying into the campsite on Thursday, many attendees had decided to brave the muddy elements to catch punk stalwarts New Model Army, and the old boys did not disappoint their devotees. They shut down the Meadow tent on Friday night with a howling set that put all the campers in a wicked post-concert buzz the rest of the night.

On the other corner of the site lay the Woodlands stage, where Beans on Toast curated and hosted the Saturday lineup. The eclectic offerings often surprise me. I particularly enjoyed Welsh big-band Melyn Melin. And from Portland, Oregon, Jeshua Marshall had the whole crowd, including my five-year-old twin boys, shaking their bums.

More about those five-year-olds. Yes, I took them to the entire event and on Monday one of them moaned “But I want to stay at the festival forever.”

Bearded Theory has been voted “Best Family Festival” in the past, and the family offerings are special. They even offer an onsite school on Friday so parents are not penalised for taking them out. Yes, there are bigger, “familier” fests on the season calendar, some which boast CBBC presenters in the legends slots, and others that showcase the world’s longest outdoor marble run. But Bearded Theory offers parents an equilibrium between family fun and rocking out that no other festival has quite managed to nail. At many of these summer events, parents are stuck watching clowns on one end of the site while their favorite metal band is melting faces in a dark tent that terrifies small ones. The Kids Field at Bearded Theory, however, is just up a slight hill from the main stage, with a lovely cafe / picnic area that provides a perfect viewing platform for parents. At the same time, their kids go nuts participating in creative activities right behind them. The kids area feels safe, fun, and it allows the grownups to actually see some of the greatest rock acts perform their festival sets.

But all you music-loving DINKs out there, don’t let these parental accolades scare you. Bearded Theory is not some yummy-mummy retreat with a campsite full of dirty nappies and 5am feedings. The families that brave this event are ready to rock, with kids conditioned for grownup behaviour. It’s fun for everyone, with a lineup unlike anything else on the circuit.

We’ll be back every year.

Rating out of 11: