Haven’t you heard? Beards are, like, totally back. Once relegated to dads and weird uncles who wore bad jumpers, now everyone’s in on it. And why not? They’re warm, look good (if you do it right – don’t even think about showing us a straggly one), and save you a tonne of money on razors. They’re the must-have recession accessory, basically.

Jodie Schofield has spent the past few years documenting the best of the region’s beards on her TashWags blog – an online resource of all the most impressive hirsute Merseysiders. If she sees some facial hair she likes, she’ll make it known.

Jodie’s put together the city’s first ever beard and moustache contest in the form of Beerdfest, a pre-Christmas knees up at Camp and Furnace celebrating the best and most wonderful facial hair in Merseyside. It’s set to be rather ace. We caught up with her for a chat.

Tell us about BeerdFest. What made you want to start it up?

I’ve produced my beardy picture blog since 2007 after a chance encounter with the World Beard & Moustache Championships in Brighton. I felt it was important to show appreciation for all that effort. Having been back in Liverpool for a year I noticed a healthy hairy showing on the streets of my hometown and thought it would be fun to celebrate these hirsute pursuits. The Liverpool Biennial also inspired me to hold the Beerdfest because this is a very artistic thing going on right under our noses (literally). My dad had a fab ginger beard in the 80s, so they tend to be my favourite shade, but mostly I love anything that has obviously taken time and effort to craft, not to mention the chutzpah to wear proudly in a clean-shaven world.

What’s the facial hair status of Liverpool at the moment? Are we having a vintage year?
Beards seem to be having their moment in the sun. I see more and more on TV and in advertisements. I think it’s great to see men being able to express themselves. Facial hair has had such a bad rap for so long – the streets of Liverpool, I would venture, have never been so hairy. I’m particularly pleased to see younger guys having a go. It shows that attitudes are changing.

You snap beards for your beardblog. Is there a particularly memorable person you’ve met that stands out?
One of my favourite beards on the blog was Malcolm, in July this year (right). He’s a retired oceanographer and explained he’d grown it to keep his face warm when working in the South Atlantic. It was so smart and good-looking. I literally stopped my car mid-journey to go take his picture. Poor bloke! Another good one is a ‘Gandalf’ beard I got at Birmingham coach station back in May. It took him 4 years and now his girlfriend won’t let him get rid of it…

What can we expect from the Beerdfest night? Are beards mandatory?
On the night we will have prizes for best beard, best moustache, best sideburns and best fake – that one’s for girls and babyfaces to enter a drawn on or stick on effort. There’ll also be some live music from hairy rockers Mervin Gersh. So even if you don’t want to enter the contest, it’s fine to come along and support our hairy friends.

What’s the best celebrity beard?
Probably has to be Brian Blessed – he gave @beerdfest2012 a re-tweet. Brian has been rocking the friendly bearded look for years – he’s a bearded legend. Other favourites have to be Jack Passion, US beard extraordinaire, and Ben Caplan, a Canadian folkster I met at Sound City in 2006.

Camp and Furnace
4th December 2012 free entry

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