AN established music festival is promising a £1 million boost for the South Derbyshire economy after moving to Catton Hall for its 2014 event.
The Bearded Theory festival has been held at Kedleston Hall, near Derby, for the last three years after starting up as a small-scale event near Ashbourne.
The first festival in 2008 was a one-day affair for around 400 people in a farm field on the side of a pub.
The idea of donning silly beards for charity gave the festival its name. Quickly outgrowing its first home, it moved to Kedleston in 2011 and was able to cater for more than 8,000 music fans this year.
Now it’s planning for the future again by moving from the National Trust property to Catton Hall.
The stately home is an established venue that already hosts the Bloodstock heavy metal festival.
Organiser Rich Bryan said Catton Hall is the perfect venue for this years Bearded Theory festival.
“The landowner is willing to invest as well,” he said.
“At Kedleston, one of our biggest expenses was building temporary roadways; at Catton they are willing to put those in. Catton has done work on drainage and developing the site year on year.”
Mr Bryan has watched the festival grow and thinks he knows why Bearded Theory has thrived while other festivals have fallen by the wayside.
He said: “We have been very fortunate considering the economic climate. We have seen other festivals come and go.
“We are cautious financially and have grown organically. It’s certainly not the name that has done it.
“It’s because it’s all modelled on feedback. There’s not one band we book in that hasn’t been requested. We engage with people over every aspect.
“Even for the bar we ran a competition to see who people wanted as bar provider.”
The move to Catton Hall means organisers can take full advantage of a four-day event, with music starting on Thursday, May 22, and continuing through to Sunday, May 25.
Investment in the site means it boasts ‘better-than-ever’ facilities for camping and the arrival of Bearded Theory will, through the use of local suppliers and incoming investment, add up to a £1 million boost for the local economy, according to festival organisers.
Joy Division/New Order main man Peter Hook and his band The Light lead the first batch of artists confirmed for 2014.
Tickets are now on general sale costing £87 for adults and £220 for a family of four.
Further information on the Beaded Theory festival is available by visiting www.beardedtheory.co.uk