Bearded Theory Festival: A Q&A with Organiser Steve Blount

Chart-topping, Brit & Mercury-nominated Stockport 5-piece Blossoms have recently been announced as the main stage Friday night headliners of this year's Bearded Theory. They join Robert Plant and Jimmy Cliff at the top of the 2018 bill! With the line-up looking like one of the most impressive of all 2018 festivals yet, we spoke to organiser Steve Blount to find out what else the festival has to offer this year.

The East Midlands is known to host some brilliant music festivals such as Splendour and Hockley Hustle, what makes Bearded Theory stand out?

We are most proud about our steadfast customer focus, and the fact we do everything we can to provide really great value for money. Nobody else offers the line up and facilities we have at the same ticket price.

The people who attend are very much a big family, and the atmosphere this brings with it is fantastic. Having been around for more than a decade now, the festival has a strong identity, and this makes it stand out from the mainstream festivals.

Aside from booking brilliant bands, we have always focused the things – big and small – that help make everyone’s experience as enjoyable as possible: well-trained polite staff, pub priced drinks, plentiful clean toilets, great campsite facilities etc. All of us here at Bearded Theory HQ are seasoned festival-goers, so we draw from our own experience to ensure our festival is the best event we can possibly make it.

Bearded Theory has won multiple awards such as “UK’s Best Family Festival”, “Promoter of the Year”, “Gig of the Year” and more, what makes this weekend festival so successful?

For us, it's delivering a festival how it should be – a brilliant weekend for the people who have spent their hard-earned money to buy a ticket – rather than seeing it as an opportunity to run a corporate sponsored money-making machine. We actually still have full time jobs on top of running Bearded Theory (!), so we have never viewed it as something we rely on in order to make a living.

The other crucial factor is that we are 100% independent, which means we have total control over all aspects of what we do. If we want to blow our budget on putting huge 20 foot tall fire-breathing robots all around the main stage arena… that’s what we will do (ahem, did!).

This year, the line-up is boasting some big names such as Blossoms and Robert Plant, but which of the up and coming bands do we need to look out for?

This year, we have worked really hard to showcase some fantastic young acts across all our stages. Acts like Rews, Pins, October Drift and Colin Macleod are all really exciting prospects. We do have a bit of a knack for spotting future talent – way back in 2009 we booked a local lad to perform. His name… Jake Bugg!

Also, for the first time this year we have set up an entire "One Big Showcase" Stage, in conjunction with Academy of Music & Sound. We ran a competition for unsigned bands to perform at the festival and had a huge response to this – literally thousands of entries!

Will Bearded Theory have any exciting food and drink stalls popping up this year?

We hand pick all of our traders to ensure we have a varied selection of high quality food stalls, including an extensive selection of vegetarian and vegan options. We also ensure that pricing is kept fair, and have intervened in the past where we have felt this isn’t the case. Just some of the delights we have in 2018 include a sit down Indian restaurant, a pirate ship fish and chip shop, a village Deli, Caribbean, Kitty’s Cake Emporium, the hugely popular Cheesy Vinyl bar, (port and cheese) Duck burgers and a fabulous Burrito stand.

Other than the impressive line-up, what else have people got to look forward to at Bearded Theory 2018?

Our provision for young people is second to none – we have a huge children’s zone with literally hundreds of activities taking place across the weekend – all are free to participate in. We even run our own on-site school for children attending on the Friday!

In addition to our 9 live stages of music, we also have poetry and acoustic performance spaces, late night comedy, a funfair, arts and crafts workshops, fabulous camping facilities (including bookable quiet camping fields), and – for the grown ups – fantastic on-site bars run by local Thornbridge brewery, providing a wide variety of ales, ciders and other beverages at normal pub prices.

Oh, and the magic teapot….

Bearded Theory is happening from Thursday 24th May to Sunday 27th May with camping tickets available. If you'd like to check it out this year, tickets are on sale now!

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This article was a collaborative effort, written together by the See Tickets Marketing team; Georgia, Sarah, Hayley, Callum and Abi.

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