Never failing to entertain with wondrous stage designs, a bumper line up and a feeling of hedonism unmatched almost anywhere, The Beat Herder Festival 2017 delivered immensely.
There were some new delights too for this year, with the Factory, a dual level house of fun, providing a real ale bar, some thumping analog techno in the form of, coincidentally, Factory Floor, on the Friday of the festival and the unfathomably gifted Max Cooper on the Saturday of the festival - he blew the crowd away with a set of banging techno and a popular airing of The Prodigy's 'Poison'.
The Beat-Herder main stage hosted a Friday night headline slot from r'nb godess Kelis, who wasted no time in whipping the crowd into a frenzy with 'Millionaire', whilst her mid set repertoire featured a 'Milkshake' / 'Gravel Pit' mashup and a whiff of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'.
EDM bangers including the Calvin Harris hook up 'Bounce' ramped up the excitement to another level before 'Acapella' really got the crowd singing along. On Saturday, Stereo MCs brought out the old ravers, with their electro hip hop anthems 'Connected' & 'Step It Up', as well as first album track ‘On 33,’ getting a rapturous reception.
Trentemøller was also a live highlight. Despite rain falling quite heavily by his performance on Saturday evening, and a slight delay due to the traditional fireworks display, the Danish producer looked totally unaffected. The slow-building set was ambient and dark to start with, increasing to full on techno with help from his full live band. Trentemøller dropped tracks from last year’s album Fixion as well as mid-2000s numbers released via Steve Bug’s Poker Flat Recordings.
The main stages are by no means what truly make Beat-Herder however. The totally immense Fortress, a purpose built, corrugated raving heaven housed performances from all many of DJ talent including Slam, Solardo, old-skool legend Altern-8 and more, while a hidden path to the side of it led to various party rooms. One, had a trippy, mushroom vibe, one was a dark, old saloon, and one just a wide open area of greenery complete with a huge transistor radio masquerading as a DJ booth and an old fashioned game of Twister.
Another highlight was undoubtedly Trash Manor, which was styled like the courtyard of a country manor - complete with fountain and acres of raving space. CCTV-headed pole-dancing robots shimmied side stage, while a deeply eclectic line up including Cabbage, Greg Wilson and a dj set from Coldcut held court.
it wouldn't be Beat Herder without a mention for the Tall Tress. Among the many hidden delights, including a Jacuzzi, a heap of old fashioned cars, and plenty more, there were many musical highlights. The festival was born in the woods and with the lights bouncing off the tree trunks & canopies to sets from Denis Sulta, Jon Hopkins, Jackmaster and more, it truly felt like a special place to be.
In terms of attention to detail, not just in terms of the lineup, but all across the festival, you can't look past Beat Herder; it truly is a dream festival for anyone looking for sheer, otherworldly escapism.