Beautiful Days: Levellers, Ziggy Marley and Sleaford Mods cap off another success

PUBLISHED: 09:50 19 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:50 19 August 2019

Peter Hook rock pose #2.

Peter Hook rock pose #2.


Most festivals wouldn’t schedule Ash, followed by Sleaford Mods and then Ziggy Marley to headline the Saturday night, but Beautiful Days is a bit different.

Beautiful Days is such an upbeat festival that Peter Hook and the Light, on before Ash, were at first a bit jarring.

A sunny Saturday afternoon is not the place for the oppressive soul-searching of the Joy Division songs, as great as they are. It was only when the familiar beat of Blue Monday kicked in that things really picked up, followed by the glorious Regret and True Faith.

Hanging over those pop classics was the tragic inevitability of Love Will Tear Us Apart (I would posit, the greatest pop song ever written). It was everything it should have been.

Ash are also touring the hits, and with as much relish as Hooky, Girl From Mars is as good as ever.

The Recks in the big top.The Recks in the big top.

It's hard to explain to a non-believer why Sleaford Mods are so great. Pounding, punishing beats with ranted social commentary and verbal tics - that it works at all is remarkable, that it works on a festival main stage is inexplicable.

Beautiful Days is about far more than music though. It's about family, community and social responsibility.

The wonderful and protest singer Grace Petrie in the big top and the presence of Extinction Rebellion are indicative of a growing number of voices crying out that change is essential.

Sunday kicked off in bracing style with the post punk of John Robb's The Membranes, bolstered by a choir, before The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican's Sunday Service and Nick Parker & The False Alarms introduced a feel-good factor, in very different ways.

Protest singer Grace Petrie.Protest singer Grace Petrie.

Having opened the event on Friday, hosts The Levellers put on a huge main stage show on Sunday to close what has become an essential fixture in the calendar for thousands of festival-goers looking for something a little bit different.

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