Beautiful Days have announced the full line-up for their 21st year with names including Richard Ashcroft, The Saw Doctors, Levellers, Richard Hawley, Fat Freddy’s Drop, The Damned, Toyah & Robert, Fisherman’s Friends, Hard-Fi, Inspiral Carpets, Badly Drawn Boy, New Model Army, Utah Saints and many more. The festival has music and entertainment over six stages plus walkabout theatre, amazing site art, a huge children’s area, a vast selection of food and traders plus real ale bars run by Devon’s Otter Brewery. The festival is also well known for its colourful Sunday dressing up themes with the 2024 one still to be announced.
Beautiful Days is the Levellers’ annual family music festival organised by Exeter-based DMF Music since its inception in 2003. Proudly independent, and a firm favourite on the Summer calendar, well over 50% of the tickets have already sold for the 2024 event.
Headlining the Main Stage on Friday night are acclaimed Irish legends The Saw Doctors. Discovered by Mike Scott from The Waterboys at a show in Galway in the late 80s, their single ‘I Useta Lover’ hit number one in Ireland in 1990 and remains one of the best-selling Irish singles of all time. Loved and revered by their fans, they staged a triumphant comeback in 2023 after a five-year break in touring. The festival’s Saturday headliner is two-time Ivor Novello winner Richard Ashcroft. Frontman with The Verve in the 90’s, they released one of the biggest albums of the era in the shape of 'Urban Hymns' (the UK's 18th biggest selling album of all-time) as well as a succession of anthems which remain staples of his live set today including 'The Drugs Don't Work', 'Bittersweet Symphony' and 'Lucky Man'. Richard has released five Top 5 solo albums, including most recent ‘Acoustic Hymns’ which reached #2 in the UK Album Charts in 2022. Levellers, as always, headline the Main Stage on the Sunday to close the weekend with a hit-rich set followed by the traditional firework spectacular. The band will also open the festival with a Levellers Collective acoustic set playing different arrangements of their songs including some released on recent album ‘Together All The Way’.
Also playing on the Main Stage are New Zealand’s soul machine Fat Freddy's Drop. The seven-piece are internationally regarded as one of the world’s finest live performers and renowned for their bold and electric energy. The Damned have brought their 80’s line-up back together in 2024 with Rat Scabies joining Captain Sensible, David Vanian and Paul Gray. With 12 studio albums and several UK chart singles, the band are true pioneers who emerged from the London punk scene. Formed in Bradford in 1980, New Model Army are storming through their fifth decade and show no signs of letting up. They are currently riding high with their recently released 16th new studio album ‘Unbroken’.
Influential four-piece band Hard-Fi recently returned to the live scene after a lengthy hiatus. At their peak, the Staines rockers sold over a million copies of 2005 debut ‘Stars Of CCTV’ and were nominated for the Mercury Prize. A vital component of the infamous ‘Madchester’ movement, Inspiral Carpets are known for hit singles such as ‘This Is How It Feels’, ‘Saturn 5’ and ‘She Comes in the Fall’. The festival also welcome indie rock band Cast led by frontman John Power. Their classic album 'All Change’ which features the hit singles ‘Alright’ and ‘Finetime’ is approaching its 30th anniversary in 2025. Also on the Main Stage bill are Lottery Winners (pictured) who hit #1 in 2023 with their fifth album ‘Anxiety Replacement Therapy’ helping them quickly become one of the UK biggest and best live bands. Reggae ambassadors Third World - one of the longest-lived reggae bands of all time, and one of Jamaica's most consistently popular crossover acts among international audiences – also appear on the Main Stage, as do Pop Will Eat Itself, who after disbanding and then briefly reforming have now returned full time to live shows and brand new material in 2024.
Also announced are 13-piece massive Dutty Moonshine Big Band who boast big brass and even bigger bass, festival favourites Dub Pistols who are still firing on all cylinders after 25 years in the game, exciting and unique Dublin quartet The Scratch, Bristol-based sea shanty sensations The Longest Johns and Thea Gilmore – one of the most distinctive, strident and bold singer songwriters of her generation. Completing the Main Stage line-up are teenage punk powerhouse HotWax, South West electro-modernist guitar group Pale Blue Eyes, quirky and energetic 4-piece 3 Daft Monkeys, Pet Needs founded by brothers Johnny and George Mariott, Bristol 5-piece Holy Youth Movement and rock rebels The Gulls.
Headlining Friday night on the festival’s second stage The Big Top is Mercury and Brit Award nominee Richard Hawley. Best known for his mix of classic songwriting, soothing vocals and northern grit realism, Richard is something of a unique artist in British popular music, able to cross boundaries from one musical style. Headlining Saturday night are music legends Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp who have been married for nearly 40 years. With decades of iconic albums and hit singles between them, they connected with audiences worldwide online during the pandemic with the runaway success of their Sunday Lunch series. Sunday headliners in The Big Top are the original Cornish ‘buoy band’ The Fisherman’s Friends who have nine albums to their name, two feature films, a stage musical, a book, a TV documentary and they’ve played for royalty and to tens of thousands of fans over the years.
Also on The Big Top line-up is Pokey Lafarge, a unique musician known for his vintage, old-timey sounds, he dabbles in everything from Americana to ragtime to folk to jazz to blues. The Big Top also features one of the UK’s most treasured songwriters Damon Gough AKA Badly Drawn Boy, the powerful and uplifting force that is Stornoway, This Is The Kit - the pseudonym of songwriter, banjo strummer and UK born Paris dweller Kate Stables, internationally acclaimed Irish musician Sharon Shannon with her renowned trio, and surrealist rock ’n’ roller, iconic troubadour Robyn Hitchcock.
Also announced are Quebec’s award-winning Le Vent Du Nord, the smokey-voiced roots & blues artist Elles Bailey, folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Angeline Morrison, effervescent political song-writer Grace Petrie, folk & bluegrass band Police Dog Hogan, longstanding urban folk duo Chris While & Julie Matthews and folk/rock collective Nick Parker & The False Alarms.
The Big Top line-up is completed by Katherine Priddy - one of the most exciting names on the British music scene with her haunting vocals and distinctive finger-picking guitar style, plus singer-songwriter John Smith, cross-border band The Magpie Arc featuring amongst others Nancy Kerr and UK folk legend, guitarist Martin Simpson. Bristol’s Gaz Brookfield and his band The Company Of Thieves, also appears, as do folk duo Wilswood Buoys, Guise - the voice and heart of singer-songwriter Jess Guise, and the annual Sunday Service with like-minded knit-wear enthusiasts The Bar Steward Sons Of Val Doonicans plus special guests.
The Little Big Top plays host to System 7, legendary duo Utah Saints, DJ Rap and special guests King Kong Company plus Leroy Thornhill, Ragga Twins, Mr Bruce, The Nextmen Feat Jman, Gary Clail, Mark XTC, The Beatles Dub Club, Nick Coles, Up Bustle & Out, Hippo Sound System, Kaptin Barrett, The Reggaskas, DJ Ambiessence, Ladylmelza, Frankie G, Melosa, DJ Shinybeast, King Farmer, Big Fish Little Fish’s family rave and a Silent Disco.
The seated Theatre Tent will welcome Circus Of Horrors, comedy from Paul Tonkinson, productions by Le Navet Bete, Rubbish Shakespeare Company and Under The Bed Theatre Company plus Rachel Modest who presents Women Of Soul, Jim Causley and Miranda Sykes who present Songs & Stories Of Sabine Baring Gould plus festival favourites Entertainingly Different with their Rise n Shine morning shows.
The line-up for The Bimble Inn and The Rebel Tent are still to be come. Pop-up folk/roots sessions will return in The Fiddler’s Arms curated by Geoff Lakeman. And the festival also welcomes back The Magic Teapot who were a welcome addition in 2023 – a unique amplifier-free, unprogrammed venue with a piano and a fire burning at its heart. Tickets for the 2024 event are on sale now and selling fast with over 50% sold. Bell Tents and campervan passes have nearly SOLD OUT but there are still tipi or yurt options still available or general family camping. For information about Accessibility, go to the festival website.
Buy Tickets: www.beautifuldays.org/tickets
16 – 18 August 2024
Festival address: Escot Park, Devon, EX11 1LU
Festival website: www.beautifuldays.org