If Cornwall is primarily associated with picturesque landscapes, small, chocolate box fishing villages, old tin mines and cream teas, over the last thirty years or so it has slowly been building a new reputation as the go-to place for UK’s surfing set. If there is one thing that Cornwall has a lot of it is coast and the waters around the peninsular easily compete with those anywhere on the globe in terms of drama and excitement. It is only natural then that there is a Festival dedicated to celebrating this vibrant and expanding scene. Since 1981, the Boardmasters Cornwall festival has been slowly growing in reputation and size, currently at a capacity of around 40,000 people, and is a four-day event that is a combination of surf competition and music festival but also incorporating skateboarding and BMX. It is the perfect marriage of a lifestyle and cultural gathering and a live sport and music event. Newquay is your destination, easily accessible by train and road and there is official festival camping nearby plus a thriving tourist business in the town but bear in mind that over the course of the event around 150, 000 people may come and go through Newquay which normally caters for a population of around 20,000, so as always plan ahead. This years event takes place between 9th -13th August so act now.
The action takes place around Fistral Beach but not everything takes place in the water, Canna Ramp return to the festival to provide the stage for Skate and BMX competitions, very much the land-side son of surfing. And of course the other big draw is the music, not just a bolt on attraction to get you through the post-surf/skate blues but a full on festival in its own right. At Boardmasters Cornwall this year you will find indie-pop legends Two Door Cinema Club, that souled out space cowboy Jamiroquai and popsters Alt-J. Alternative sounds come from punk upstarts Slaves, Jake Bugg ticks the singer-songwriter box and a swathe of dance and DJ acts bring the party tunes. And between the action and the music there is a whole packet of other experiences to check out from a wellbeing area to help you unwind, beach yoga to get you fired up each morning, the adult play area that is Funderdome, shops, stalls, day time beach bar music and of course all the culinary experiences you would expect from a rich tourist haven.
For those who want to build the Boardmasters Cornwall festival into a longer exploration of the north Cornish coast, there is plenty to do. It is dotted with picturesque ports such as Padstow and Port Isaac as well as the mythical castle of Tintagel and Boscastle’s Witch Museum. There is golf and walks, cheap guesthouses and sumptuous hotels, gardens and history, all which can be built into the perfect build up or wind down to the main event.
Main acts include Jamiroquai and The Flaming lips. Oh yeah, it’s sold out, probably to all the touts. Bastards