DANCE heavyweights Simian Mobile Disco, Leftfield and Mr Scruff may well have been the headline acts at this year's Beat-Herder festival.

But the three-day event in the Ribble Valley was packed full of many more musical treats and amazing sights.

DJs, bands and performers on numerous stages made up just part of the beguiling atmosphere in the picturesque wood and farmlands outside Sawley.

Large flags rippled in the wind above a village of food and craft vans, tents and stalls, with handmade attractions and unusual contraptions scattered across the site.

In the welcome absence of any corporate branding or sponsorship, it was strange and fantastical sights that instead dominated the view, from an old plane converted into a giant metal lizard to towering wooden fox fiddlers.

Passing through an arch made of shoes next to a beating drum powered by a Wallace and Gromit style-waterfall machine, the central woodland formed a unique focal point.

Lanterns lined a path to the Toiltrees stage, a forest haven in the centre of a clearing watched over by a large paperstrip owl.

Relaxing in the woodland shade, Holly Greenwood, and Georgia Fowler, both 18, from Skipton, said they had an ‘amazing’ time watching Friday night headliners Simian Mobile Disco.

Holly said: “We went and danced in the reggae tent until about five in the morning when the sun came up. It was beautiful.”

Georgia said: “They’ve put a lot of effort into it, the way it looks and things you can see.

"We went to Leeds Festival last year and didn’t like it, but this is more like a proper festival should be.”

Past an open air cinema, revellers could find Quality Street — boasting an old-fashioned drinking saloon, sweet shop, book shop, barber’s and tattoo parlour — or take a shortcut via teleporting telephone booths to the Trailer Trash Lounge and Perfumed Garden.

Meanwhile, out in the sunshine children were taught tricks by circus performers in an interactive adventure playground, while parents sat around a smouldering fire in the centre of a stone circle.

Andrew Meek, 44, from Hebden Bridge, who was at the festival with his daughter and her friend, said he enjoyed the raucous environment of The Beat-Herder & District Working Men’s Social Club.

He said: “We saw Stan’s Magic Foot in the working men’s club. It was great in there.”

Pals Fay Beard and Rafaella Ronchetti made the short journey from Clitheroe.

Fay, 25, said: “It’s awesome. Last night we went to the tall trees wood and spent ages in the reggae tent.

"My stepmum Denise Laurence-Beard is running Transition Town, a tent which is all about being environmentally friendly.”

Rafaella, 22, added: “It’s such a good atmosphere; it’s a nice place to be.”

In contrast, Pauline Hammarskiold, 21, travelled all the way from Sweden to join the party.

She said: “I’ve had lots of fun, this is my first time and it was worth the trip.”

And Eleanor McArthy said she had flown back to England from her new home in Barcelona to be at the festival with a group of friends from Manchester and Leeds.

The 30-year-old said: “Every year we come and every year it’s equally as fantastic.

“I wouldn’t miss it.”

Clitheroe Ladies Circle had a tent at the festival selling cakes and refreshments to raise funds for local charities.

Chairman Jayne Case said: “They are all handmade by the ladies’ circle.

“One of the members has a bakery and she offered us the use of it for a whole evening, so this is the result of about five hours’ work. It’s been lovely.”

Jordan Williams, 22, from Blackpool, spent Friday night dancing to A Skillz in the woods.

He said: “The bars in there are amazing, the ones in the ground and the old pub.”

And Bob Thorpe, 50, from Keighley, said the key to the festival was the atmosphere.

He said: “There’s a good spirit and a good vibe.”

Organiser Eva Green, representing the festival committee, said: “It has been absolutely amazing.

"Everyone has enjoyed themselves and the sun just kept shining.

“We could not have asked for a better weekend."

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