JUST over yonder hills to the east, an annual music festival is waking from its slumber to welcome 10,000 revellers for three more days of beats and barminess.
By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be at the Ribble Valley’s Beatherder festival myself, setting up the Bowland Brewery ale tent near the main stage to quench thousands of thirsts until late on Sunday night.
Come and say hello if you can!
Unfortunately, I’ll be leaving the festival on Saturday afternoon, meaning I’ll miss headliners Orbital on Saturday and Lee “Scratch” Perry on Sunday, as well as performances from Mike Freear’s Slamboree, Mr Scruff, Kitten and the Hip (who also play the Gregson Centre in Lancaster on Saturday night), The Beat, Grinny Grandad Live, Yes Sir Boss, The Navigantes, Black Lace (yes, Black Lace), Etienne De Crecy and loads more.
I will at least however be able to catch The Parov Stelar Band, Death in Vegas and Jinx in Dub on Friday night, so it could be worse.
Another band I’ll miss for the first time at Beatherder is The Lancashire Hotpots.
I’m proud to say I’ve been a “Beatherderer” every year since its inception in 2006, when Dreadzone, Skinny Sumo, Eat Static, Tetchi and Beat Milk Jugs rocked a couple of thousand-strong crowd.
The Hotpots made their main stage debut a year later, and have played every year – apart from 2010 – since, turning Sunday afternoons into a “riiiiight” old knees-up, and bringing everyone back from the brink of festival fatigue with their raucous stage presence and hilarious musicianship.
It’s been great to welcome the band pre and post gig to the real ale tent too.
Hotpot Dickie Ticker said: “Beatherder will be ace.
“They were the first festival to book us when we got off the ground, and it’s always a pleasure to go back.
“As a band, Beatherder make you feel really welcome, like you’re part of the family and that they’re glad to have you performing there.
“At Glastonbury, you feel more like an inconvenience at times, you’re just a small cog in a very big machine.
“Small is good, plus we’re all big fans of bang, bang thumpy dance music, so we’re going to be raving to Orbital on Saturday night.”
If you’ve followed this column over the last couple of years, you’ll have noticed I have a soft spot for this festival, not least because it is quite simply brilliant.
If you’ve not been, it’s well worth a look and they cater for everyone, young and old.
If it’s not your glass of brown joy but you still want to see the Lancashire Hotpots perform live, they’re appearing at The Dukes in Lancaster in July to promote their new album A Hard Day’s Pint.
Filled to the frothy brim with tracks about drinking and good nights out, the band is even launching its own limited edition brand of bottled beer with Lancaster Brewery.
The Hotpots played Kendal Calling last year, on the main stage before Frank Turner, who described them as his “new favourite band”.
They’re also performing this year on the main stage as well – quite rightly on the Sunday afternoon.
The band employed two new members, Billy McCartney and Kenny Body, following the suicide of its drummer and founder member Ton McGrath, AKA Willie Eckerslike, in 2010.
A Hard Day’s Pint features tracks Let’s Get Leathered; the classic beer in the air anthem Bitter, Lager, Cider, Ale Stout (“designer drinks, I’d rather drink nowt”); and The Perfect Pint, with the line “You’ll never go one better than a wetter pint of bitter ’cos a better pint of bitter is the perfect pint”, set to a classic seafaring ditty.
I’ll ‘Ave One Wi Yer, the Lock in Mix, The Beer Festival, and Last Man Standing also feature on this dedication to the art of drinking beer.
Like its predecessors Never Mind The Hotpots, Pot Sounds, Criminal Record and Achtung Gravy, A Hard Day’s Pint has got to be taken with a handful of salt, so to speak.
But if your face doesn’t ache at least once listening to this album, you’re obviously not from Lancashire.
Bizarrely, the band has also recently teamed up with Lancashire Police, and has recorded a song and music video – Be Part of It! – to raise awareness of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in November 2012.
Check it out on YouTube.
The Hotpots, plus guests, play The Dukes on July 16, entry is £12.50, and the show starts at 7.30pm.