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28th May 2009

Bearded Theory Incident

One of the early festivals went ahead last weekend but was hit by freak weather that has had implications for the festival's future

Last weekend Bearded Theory was in full swing at Bradley Nook farm in Derbyshire, this popular event is just in its second year and there were some 2500 people onsite. Festival organisers had secured headliners Hawkwind, Dreadzone, The Saw Doctors and Neville Staples among a host of other acts and entertainment for the event.

The weather (as it so often is!) was awful from the start and organisers, staff and festival goers were faced with some appalling conditions including a hailstorm followed by freak gusts of wind (Met reports say that the winds reached 50 miles per hour) which culminated in damage to the main stage as the wind caused part of the roof to dislodge, this left some injuries to people at the event and many festival goers in shock.

In all there were 3 reported injuries in association with the incident and these were taken care of onsite and at Derby Royal Infirmary, following medical checks all were able to return to the site to continue the weekend without further concern. A number of people were also treated for shock.

As is so often the case the dominant festival spirit shone through and festival goers and organisers alike were determined that the event would go ahead and this happened with the blessing of Health and Safety Officials who gave clearance for the event to go ahead following site checks on the Friday (15th may) Health and Safety Officials have also conducted a full site investigation and a report will follow.

Festival organiser James Willis said at the time:

'True to the festival spirit, personnel and festival goers pulled together to ensure the continued running of the festival. Despite this incident organisers worked hard to accommodate the acts which were due to appear on the main stage at other points during the festival'.

Members of the public interviewed onsite likened the camaraderie of the festival to that of an early Glastonbury and praised organisers for keeping the event going until the end of the weekend.

Bearded Theory was really up against it at the weekend but the disruption and mayhem created has caused longer term problems for the organisers and has put the festival in jeopardy, whilst everyone rallied round during the weekend turning a negative into a positive, the longer term future for Bearded Theory will rely upon ongoing and continued support. With that in mind festival organisers have issued the following statement:

The Bearded Theory team have now left Bradley Nook Farm following the fantastic festival that occurred last weekend.

The future of Bearded Theory has been compromised by the freak act of nature which toppled the main stage this year.

Fortunately only minor injuries were sustained and 2 people were taken to Derby Royal Infirmary for treatment, one security guard and one crew member. They have both been given the all clear following medical checks and returned to the festival the same day; our thoughts are with them at this stage.

The financial implications of the destruction and disruption caused by the incident has left the festivals future in jeopardy, however due to the overwhelming support from the public and press the festival aims to settle the mess and deal with the financial deficit over the next few months in the way of benefit concerts. Many artists from this year’s festival line-up have already offered their support.

Bearded Theory is also looking to secure funding from ethical and suitable third parties; offers should be forwarded to the festival team through the Bearded Theory Website.

I would like to thank everyone who came to the festival for their overwhelming support and hopefully we will be back next year, better, stronger and happier for another dance for charity.

We wish them well and hope they get the support they need.

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