Bearded Theory with a 4 Year Old – Festival Diary Preview

Bearded Theory with a 4 Year Old – Festival Diary Preview

After the runaway success of my Glastonbury with a 3 year old festival diary last year, I thought that all 5 of you might be interested in this year’s adventures, Bearded Theory with a 4 year old.  Same kind of thing, but at Bearded Theory instead of Glastonbury, and with a 4 year old instead of a 3 year old (same lad, just a year older).

Festival reviewers often whiz-around, trying to catch as many bands as possible, whilst missing the festival shenanigans. Certainly, if I’m at one on my own with a photo pass then that’s what I do.

It makes sense because it’s the bands that attract people to festivals, but often it’s the festival that brings you back.  We all know someone who goes to Glastonbury every year and never sees a band!

But as this is also our family holiday, I hope to be able to capture a bit more of the spirit of the real festival rather than just the bands, and also the highlights and lowlights of taking a young child on the adventure.

The wee one loved Glastonbury, the first day he was in wide-eyed wonder, on the last day he tried to stop us from dismantling his travel-cot, and though of course it’s very different to going by yourselves, we still had a great time.

Most of my Glastonbury friends also love Bearded Theory, some of them even prefer Bearded, so I’ve wanted to go for a while, but as it’s only about 4 weeks between Bearded and Glastonbury, I’ve given it a miss in previous years.

However, next year we are toying with going to Bearded INSTEAD of Glastonbury!

It makes logical sense, if we only see a small part of Glastonbury due to a small person, then why not go to a smaller , cheaper festival with less long treks, but what looks like a similar vibe?

But logic and Glastonbury don’t always go together – anybody who’s been and gets it will know that it has a special something that keeps bringing you back, it’s much more than the sum of it’s parts, and to sit on ticket day deliberately not getting a ticket after being an emotional wreck when not getting tickets in the first round in the past, will take nerves of steel.

But that decision can wait until October!

Back to Bearded, since I’ve been on the forums, the excitement has been building.  It has a real community feel, with everyone helping each other, and the excitement is infectious.

The wee man likes a dance and dressing up, so he should be in his element!  Particularly looking fwd to the Forrest school and kid’s disco!

In an ideal world, there would be no bands on the Thursday that we want to see.  So we can get down there, get pitched, put our feet up while the wee’un brings us a cold beer, before taking a leisurely stroll around the site to find our bearings.

That would be an ideal world, so of course 2 of my “must sees” are on the Thursday night, Manchester’s The Whip who I haven’t seen since Glasto 2009 and did a fab job of opening the Other Stage.  Fiona’s drumming is a sight to behold!  If the Clashfinder is to be believed they will be on stage at 7.30.

We won’t be able to leave Liverpool until at least 2pm due to work, which probably means 4pm (you know what I’m talking about parents!) journey should take 2 hrs according to Google Maps, which probably means 4 hrs + festival traffic, finding the camp site, finding friends, pitching the tent (manufacturers say it can be pitched in 15 mins, I can’t even get it out the bag in 15 mins, they will have their little jokes to get you through the misery of trying to get it set up!) then I’ve got to find the press office, get my photo pass, find the stage, and how to get to the pit, all before they go on stage.  I’m thinking this may be a tad optimistic!  Note to self: don’t forget Camera, SD cards and Batteries 🙂

Might be another 9 years before I see them!

With a bit of luck, will hopefully catch Reverend & The Makers.  Last time I saw them would have been Summer Sundae 2012.  John McClure is the perfect front-man, with lots of audience participation.

So, in no particular order, some musical highlights I’m looking fwd to catching at least some of them over the course of the weekend:

The Coral

Don’t think I’ve ever seen The Coral live, which is a bit mad when you consider they come from over t’wirral, high time I put that right!

Jesus & Mary Chain

Another band I’ve never seen, and I’m not sure why!  I feel like I definately should have caught them before now.  Their album “Damage & Joy” was one of the best albums I heard last year.


Always seemed like a bit of an “also-ran” Britpop band, though some nice catchy tunes and I’ve heard they are good live, so why not?


Heard nothing but good things about this band, and sounds like they went down really well at Sound City, so looking fwd to checking them out!

The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican

The opening line of “The Lady in Greggs”

I’ve never seen your baps look as lovely as they did tonight
Be they tasty wholemeal or white

to the tune of Chris De Burgh’s Lady in Red, sets the tone!

Sounds like the perfect drunken seaside postcard type comedy festival singalong to me!

How family friendly they turn out to be is another matter, their song about punching Justin Bieber in the face, though an admirable sentiment, had the wee-one singing “punch in the face”.


A bit heavier than most of the bands at Bearded, they look like they could blow away the cobwebs and dispel these early post-festival blues on the Sunday afternoon!


Another on my “never seen / always wanted to” list

Shy Billy

At last, a band on the list I’ve seen before 🙂 Seen them a few times, including under their old name “Lying Bstrds” which for some strange reason limited the number of people who would book them!  Great band, well worth checking out.

Dub Pistols

One of my highlights from Bestival a few years back, looking fwd to seeing them again.

Jimmy Cliff

A legend who needs no introduction.  He played a blinder at Glastonbury a few years back.

Sleaford Mods

Gotta admit I haven’t seen what all the fuss is about on their recorded stuff, but a few people who similarly didn’t get it, said they were amazing live, and what are Festivals for if not to step out your comfort zone and check out some bands you wouldn’t normally see?


Seen them a couple of times, but you can’t get too much of a good thing!

Membranes + Choir

They are performing at Wakefield Cathedral the following weekend at Long Division, so we might save it for then, but could well have a sneaky peek!

Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip

I remember catching him by chance at one of my first Glasto’s as I wandered around the green fields on the Thursday.  He was so funny that I was gutted I hadn’t got his name.  I’ve since learned that it’s scientifically impossible to wander around Glasto and not catch him, which is no bad thing!  According to the clashfinder he’s playing Bearded twice, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he pops up more than that!  Well worth checking him out!

Jeramiah Ferrari

Hadn’t heard of him before, but listening to some of his stuff, sounds like good upbeat festival stuff!

Eat Static

Nice ravey end to the Saturday, if we’re still awake after negotiating with a 4 year old all day 🙂

Fun Lovin’ Criminals

We saw Uncle Frank at Summer Sundae a few years back, looking fwd to seeing the whole band!

Rev D Wayne Love

As a massive Alabama 3 fan, I should try and catch his solo set!


Loved this song back in the day!


Not herd of him before, but liking the sound of this!

Jesus Jones

I wasn’t a massive fan, but they had some good tunes, could be interesting to check them out!

Robert Plant

The biggest of the “Big Names” playing this year, caught a bit of his set at Glasto a few years back and he was on fire, expecting good things from this one.


Right, I’d best get back to packing, chasing up Amazon to see where our Kazoo’s have got to, charging batteries, and generally getting excited / panicky!

Most importantly, need to get something to take to the food bank.

I plan on writing daily updates via this very blog, follow our facebook here.

And if I figure out how to use Instagram, I will be posting on here.

At the end of the festival I’ll do a final write-up on Live Music Reviews, follow on FB here.

Of course, whilst Glastonbury has EE as a sponsor who are keen to show off their telecommunication prowess, with a massive mast which almost copes with 200,000 people posting selfies, I rarely see people posting from Bearded.

I suspect this is either because a) they are living in the moment/enjoying themselves too much.  b) it’s actually a weekend blood sacrifice cult who take your phone off you on entry (yes, I’ve been watching The Following on Amazon) or c) everyone is trying to connect to a mast designed for a dozen sheep and a couple of cows the rest of the year.

I’m going with b) but whatever the reason, with the best will in the world I might not be able to post as frequently as I’d like, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I’ll leave that to you!


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John King

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