Boardmasters is undoubtably Cornwall’s biggest festival. Much like it’s partner, Nass, Boardmasters thrives off its love for music and sport. This year I had the pleasure to head down to the beautiful coastline of Newquay to soak in the sun, the surf and the music.
For anyone who has yet to go to the festival, it is located over two main beaches, Fistral Beach and Watergate Bay. Surfing competitions including Men’s and Women’s Open and Men’s and Women’s Longboard (LQS1000) located at Fistral and the music located at Watergate, with this year’s headliners being Chase & Status, Deadmau5 and James Bay. Other sports include BMX and Skateboarding which took place over the course of the weekend at Fistral as well as music ranging from Eliza & The Bear to Rat Boy at Watergate.
Walking into the festival arena on Friday, it was clear that it was something special. With the main stage to my right and the never ending sea on the horizon to my left, the atmosphere and energy was a completely different level to that of a city based festival. The air was fresh, the sun was out and the music was loud. With a buzz of people heading down from all over the country to go and embrace the popular festival, the diversity of families, students and children meant this festival was welcoming for all. One of the first acts which caught my attention was Nahko and Medicine for the People who really captured the alternative melodic music scene which is ever increasing down in Cornwall. Having played London’s KOKO in Camden a few days prior, the Oregon-native and percussion heavy artist drew a surprisingly huge crowd for such an early time slot.
Another up and coming band which caught my attention were the blues rock ’n’ roll trio Smokin’ Durrys. All three bands members spent their university lives down in Cornwall and where brought together by their love of classic rock and blues music. After their performance at Boardmasters, they are hoping that because of the positive reaction from their set that they are in the hopes of securing a slot in next years Truck, Y Not and 2000 Trees Festival.
As the day drew on all I could hear around the arena was the anticipation for Catfish and The Botttlemen. Having played Truck and Y Not Festival this year, they have definitely been one of my favourite acts of the summer and their crowds do not disappoint. Having been announced for Lollapalooza, Berlin as well as touring USA with Mumford & Sons, it is clear that they could easily be headlining festivals next year.
Chase & Status however proved that they deserved that headline slot. Drawing the biggest crowd of the day making the perfect end to the first day of the festival by playing some of their most classic and popular tunes.
I headed down to Fistral Beach for the majority of Saturday to witness the Surfing Men’s Open competition. As you walk down to the beach the paths are crowded with stalls selling all kinds of food and surf related clothing and merchandise. The sun and the clear blue sky, the clear water and the plan trees made Newquay look like California.
The beach was packed with spectators, photographers, and families, all soaking up the beautiful weather proving why Cornwall is one of my favourite places in the UK. The men’s open consisted of over 50 surfers battling it out for the grand prize. The semi-final consisted of Heat 1 between Shane Campbell and Tomas Fernandes and Heat 2 between Angelo Bonomelli and Bruce Mackie. With 0.57 difference Bonomelli managed to take lead in his heat taking him to the final alongside Campbell. However when it came to the final, an interference on Bonomelli’s second wave meant that Shane Campbell with a final score of 13.50 took the winning title of Boardmasters Men’s Open 2016. All scores from the other surfing events as well as video highlights from the 5 days at Fistral can be found on the official Boardmasters website. (http://www.boardmasters.co.uk/surfing/results)
By the evening I had made it back to the arena at Watergate to continue with the music, starting with Gabrielle Aplin. Famous for her feature in the 2012 John Lewis advert with her Frankie Goes to Hollywood cover of ‘The Power Of Love’. Her music is a lot more relaxed than the rock headliners of the Land of Saints stage, Maximo Park, but none the less her music brought a beautiful innocence and relaxation to the festival. Her voice so pure and strong for a 23 year old, drawing a huge crowd and performing songs for her first 2012 EP Home and her 2015 Album Light up the Dark.
Kaiser Chiefs undoubtably had a staggering, if not bigger crowd than Chase & Status. They are a band who have been around for many years but have proven they can bounce back with strong force. Bringing all kinds of characters together to enjoy the classic Brit-pop band, they played songs such as Ruby which drove the crowd wild.
Headlining on the Saturday of Boardmasters was Deadmau5. (I have never heard so many people pronounce his name incorrectly at a festival). His electronic dance music brought a beach rave element to the Newquay Festival. Having been a fan of his music for a long time, his set did not disappoint with a spectacular light show which took you into a trance with his melodic tracks. With many waiting impatiently for Craig David’s set after, it was much to his disappointment that he had to cancel his appearance due to a flight cancellation which left his fans upset. Nevertheless, Example performed his heart out to make up for this over at the Land of Saints stage.
Boardmasters had a range of different stages including Unleashed which centred around DJ and dance music, The View which turned an old metal camper into an acoustic stage and the forever famous Keg and Pasty Stage, which essentially summed up the Cornish atmosphere brilliantly.
The final day of the festival had a more rock and alternative lineup with Primal Scream performing main stage and James Bay finishing the night. With the previous headliners bringing electronic music to festival, having the folk-pop style of James Bay on the final night proved to be an excellent finale. Boardmasters is one of the most beautifully located festivals in the UK, and it is definitely worth the travel to far ends of the UK to visit.