Cornwall’s coastline boasts some of the best Sunshine you’ll find in British Summertime and they also boast one of the UK’s most beloved festivals, Boardmasters. We sent Niall Johnson and Nick Harris of RaW 1251am down to find out what the festival is all about. You can read their review and hear their coverage below:
Boardmasters Festival is the ultimate festival experience. Located in and around the Cornish town of Newquay, the festival is comprised of a combination of music, surfing, skateboarding and chiefly fantastic panoramic views of the Cornish Coastline. The idyllic setting has no doubt played a major role in the growth of the festival which now has a capacity of over 30’000. But you in no way feel cramped for space. The ability to swap the very corporate, over stylized festival environment for a more traditional Cornish experience by the beach is a major attraction. This indeed was an opportunity we took up on the Saturday afternoon following a lyrically astounding set by Michael Kiwanuka on the main stage. The only way his performance could have been bettered was perhaps if it had been performed on Fistral Beach itself. This fantasy is not too far from what is available at Boardmasters for before the traditional three days of music begin on the Friday there are exclusive acoustic beach sessions. This year the likes of Sunset Sons who we later saw perform on the mainstage as special guests on Sunday as well as Hein Cooper played intimate sets to those who chose to arrive at the festival a couple of days early.
Asides from the features of Boardmasters I have amorously describes thus far, there was a fantastic array of music that we had the pleasure of experiencing across the entire weekend. Beginning on the Friday our day of arrival we were met with thick grey clouds and the prospect of rain but this soon subsided as Spring King took to the stage to blow away the cobwebs, a high energy set, characterised by the understated lead singer and drummer Tarek Musa really set the standard for a whirlwind of a day. Lianne La Havas, Catfish and the Bottlemen and the Album Chart topping Blossoms were to follow, a new wave of indie music had been resonating from the Main Stage all afternoon. The Main stage culminated with what would describe as the by far the most raucous set of the festival and the largest crowd of the weekend for cult DJ pairing Chase and Status. Trustily assisted by the exuberant MC Rage who ensured the audience remained ‘bouncing’ for the entirety of the 75 minute set, there were a couple of surprise cameos plucked from the many exciting artists Chase and Status have worked with. Namely these were George the Poet and Liam Bailey who performed ‘Spoken Word’ and ‘Blind Faith’ respectively. This was a nice touch and a gracious nod to the fact they were headlining the festival albeit. The night was not over yet though. Wolf Alice were playing a Midnight gig on the Land of Saints Stage, following a popular set from Maximo Park and I can now say it was certainly worth staying up to here the ethereal vocals of Ellie Rowsell.
Day two was now upon us which saw the likes of Louis Berry, Eliza & the bear, Michael Kiwanuka and the Kaiser Chiefs making their way on to the mainstage. The ever reliable Kaiser Chiefs produced yet again a triumphant, charismatic headline set to warm up the crowd appropriately for the arrival of global sensation Deadmau5. Ending the evening saw another rousing set from Londoner Example. Benefitting from a bolstered crowd due to the late cancellation of Craig David, he produced a real throwback set that excited the crowd and captivated the very summery vibes that had reverberated around the festival.
The final day of music was well worth the wait and was a mixture of new and old. James Bay received his first major headline slot and reveled in the increased crowd numbers and high levels of anticipation. This man is a natural showman and a reassured on at that. As an artist he has certainly matured and he has an exciting future ahead of him. Elsewhere on stage Primal Scream the festival veterans played in the lead up to James Bay. On the mainstage they were joined by Soul II Soul, White Denim and Coasts, Mike Skinner and Sigma on the unleashed stage as well as Soak and Mystery Jets on the Land of Saints stage.
Boardmasters was a pleasant surprise. Amazing music, location and activities make it the festival it is. Whilst a certain level of commercialisation has taken place, it is perhaps indicative of the financial struggle that many festivals face and it did provide me with a certain degree of amusement referring to the Nando’s stage as the ‘Cheeky Chicken Arena of Performing Arts’. That aside, the vibe and quality of acts at Boardmasters this year was as good as it has ever been and long may this festival continue going from strength to strength.