Cornwall LivingIssue #123

Celebrating sound

After two years of radio silence in the world of live events, the summer of 2022 is set to turn the volume up and bring us back to days of dancing in the sun.

The world has felt pretty quiet lately. Cancellations and postponements of the festivals, live music events and cultural celebrations we so looked forward to, while necessary, certainly put a dampener on our hopes for the summers of 2020 and 2021, and the road from that very first lockdown has certainly felt like a long one. However, with restrictions easing and the proper precautions in place, this year is well on its way to pulling an absolute showstopper out of the bag, and Cornwall is right there amongst it all. From local celebrations of food and culture to one of the biggest music festivals in the UK, we’d like to take you on a journey through the light strung trees to some of our favourite Cornish festivals as the sun comes up on the summer of 2022. 

 Home to a wealth of cultural arts and a fiercely proud heritage, here in Cornwall we love to celebrate our local traditions and histories, and the Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival is an excellent example of how we like to showcase local talent whilst welcoming friends from all over the world in celebration. Founded in 2003 with a mission to keep the history of the sea and the days of sail alive, the cobbled streets of Falmouth’s historic town will once again find themselves filled with the rousing sound of sea shanties, songs of the sea and Cornish songs, all performed live throughout the weekend. Spread across from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th June, and featuring pop-up bars and music stages throughout Falmouth town, you’ll find shanty groups drawn from across the UK, Brittany, Holland, Spain, Canada and Ireland who’ve come together in celebration of all things nautical. 

On the north coast of Cornwall you’ll find another Cornish town that plays host to an annual celebration of art, food and music; the Rock Oyster Festival. Set in the stunning grounds of Dinham House, and overlooking the Camel Estuary, this festival celebrates one local delicacy in particular, as the name suggests. Each year thousands of oysters are eaten as visitors and locals alike celebrate the famous quality of Cornish seafood. With cookery demonstrations, children’s entertainment and even a ‘shucking’ (oyster shell opening) competition, taking place from 29th to 31st July, this year’s events are hosted by Jack Stein, who has gathered famed foodie names like Rick Stein and Rosemary Shrager to share their culinary expertise. Meanwhile acts like Laura Mvula, Happy Mondays and Passenger are sure to have you up and dancing like it’s 2019. 

What could be a better way to mark the fifth year of The Great Estate festival than with a special four-day celebration over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend? Self-proclaimed as ‘the most rambunctious garden fête’, this year’s celebrations took place once more at the charming Scorrier House, and boasted headline acts at Stage on the Green such as Manic Street Preachers, Black Grape and Ibibio Sound Machine, while fresh new talent made waves on the BBC Music introducing stage. While frequenters to the festival were sure to find familiar sounds, there was no shortage of new curiosities to happen upon this year, including the new Earth Roots world music stage.

With The Playground to entertain little ones, The Secret Gin Garden to sip Tarquin’s and enjoy the vibes, and the delightfully weird and wonderful Madame Wong’s House of Wrong, The Great Estate is a festival for all, and a fantastic way to kick off the summer of 2022. 

For any lover of Cornish cider, sun and good vibes, the Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival is certainly the festival for you. Located within the beautiful grounds of Healey’s 150-year-old working cider farm in the rolling Cornish hills, where the famous Scrumpy Rattler and even cider whiskies are created, this will be three days of music, activities and a whole world of fun for the entire family. Taking place from 9th to 11th September, festival goers will be greeted by tractor and trailer and chauffeured through the farm to the festival area, where live music from local acts and international headliners will be keeping everyone entertained all day and night, while a selection of ciders from all over the UK can be tried alongside delicious street food. Famed for its wonderfully weird activities, events like Grandma’s Sofa Derby and the Rattler Olympics are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face, and the Silent Disco in the Orchard will keep the party going into the early hours. 

Leopallooza is the festival that began all things Wyldes. Originally an attempt to get some friends together to listen to and play good music, now Leopallooza Festival is a multi-award-winning, grass roots music festival that celebrates the very best in new, up-and-coming and established bands, artists, DJs, and comedy, as well as hosting immersive theatre, family entertainment and a whole heap of surprises. Hosted in The Wyldes, a bespoke festival site which is nestled in a hidden, tree-filled Cornish valley, just a few miles from the sea, Leopallooza will take place from 22nd to 24th July, bringing with it live music, comedy and family entertainment for all, with acts like Metronomy, Sleaford Mods and Lianne La Havas to get those feet moving in the sunshine. 

As one of the biggest music festivals in the UK, Boardmasters naturally attracts big names, and this year’s line-up isn’t one to disappoint, with acts like George Ezra, Disclosure and Kings of Leon making an appearance across the weekend. From 10th to 14th August, you can expect all the energy and excitement of a bigger music festival, with multiple stages catering to all music lovers, with one unique difference. As its name suggests, Boardmasters has been hosting world-renowned surf competitions since 1981, and all are invited to watch the events unfold from Newquay’s Fistral beach. With one hand firmly in the global music scene, and the other in a surf culture that Cornwall shares with pros from around the world, Boardmasters is a tonic for the soul in need of some good vibes this summer. 

The summer that we’ve all been waiting for is finally here, and the opportunities for days in the sun and evenings in the company of friends and family with drinks in our hands and the vibrations of talented artists and musicians in the air hold much promise for the sunny months ahead. The joy of live events is no longer a much-missed memory, and this summer we invite you to join us in all that Cornwall’s treasured festival scene has to offer as we come together in a long-awaited celebration of sound.