Edge Of The World
Save for a handful of live dates, 1999 was essentially a year-off. During this time out of the limelight, there was a significant change at their record company as China Records was bought by major label Warner Brothers. Work, however, did eventually begin on a new studio album Hello Pig. This was a change in direction for the band, and the resulting work confirmed this to listening ears. Hello Pig was released in September 2000 and went to number 28 on the chart. Happy Birthday Revolution was released as a single, reaching number 57 in the charts. The album received critical acclaim, however, the band's fans didn't particularly take to the Levellers' new musical change in direction. With the relative commercial challenge of Hello Pig, both the band and the record company had their excuses to sever their relationship. By mutual agreement, the Levellers and Warner Brothers eventually parted company.
2000 and 2001 saw lengthy schedules of UK and American tours. However, in early 2002, the focus for the Levellers returned once again to making new music, with Al Scott returning as producer, and the band signed a new deal with Eagle Records. Around this time, the band pumped fresh blood into their creative veins by adding new member and keyboard player, Matt Savage, to the line-up. After the recording of Green Blade Rising was completed, the band played a short UK tour of smaller venues to preview the new songs, and they were well received by the fans and heralded as a "return to form". The album was released in September 2002 but did not enter the UK Top 40 Album Chart.
In 2002, the band, growing weary of the ever more commercial UK festival scene, decided to put on a festival of their own. After a change of venue, the band started Beautiful Days (originally called Green Blade Fayre) at Escot Park in Devon in 2003 with new partners and organisers DMF Music, who also became and still are their live agents. The festival has become an enormous success story for the band and is now in its tenth year, consistently selling out in advance. Featured acts over the subsequent years have included Levellers (of course), The Pogues, James, Gogol Bordello, Frank Turner, Seth Lakeman, Flogging Molly, Show Of Hands, Willy Mason and Public Image Limited.
The festival has become one of the most popular and talked about festival on the UK summer scene winning 'Best Family Festival' and 'Grass Roots Festival' at the UK Festival Awards.
In February 2004, Levellers played a sell-out acoustic show at the Buxton Opera House. Although they had played a couple of shows in a similar format, this particular show saw the full band being joined onstage by Maddy Prior, Nick Harper, Nick Burbridge and Rev Hammer. The show set the tone for the rest of the year, with the band appearing at many festivals through the summer as 'Levellers Acoustic'. These festival dates included their first visit to Glastonbury since 1997, where they captured another audience record on the Avalon Stage where the field had to be closed due to the number of people trying to watch them. The year was rounded off with a highly successful acoustic tour of UK theatres.