Cornwall LivingIssue #136

Dancing in the sunlight

Coming together in the summer of 2023 to celebrate music, food and creativity in the glorious Cornish sunshine.

Words by Rosie Cattrell

One of my favourite things about summer in Cornwall is the constant feel of celebration throughout the warmer months. For me, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of complete contentment you get when you’re standing in the sunshine amongst friends with a cold cider in hand, listening to the familiar melodies of a favourite band wash over you in a live performance to surpass any recording as the sun goes down on a perfect day. Down here
in the Duchy we are certainly ones to celebrate the good things in life; fine food and drink, theatrical performances to enthral old and young, and live music to get the toes tapping from acts all over the world. Looking back on Cornwall’s celebratory successes last year, I can’t help but look forward to another festival season as we emerge from the chill of a wintery hibernation to dance together in the sunlight.

One thing we do very well down here in the South West is food, so it’s no wonder we like to base entire festivals around it. On 21st to 23rd April this year, the ever-popular Porthleven Food Festival drew revellers from all across the county and further afield for a weekend of mouth-watering morsels and toe-tapping tunes to kick off the summer season. The Chef’s Theatre showcased the talents of the likes of Anthony Worrall Thompson and Jude Kereama amongst a host of others, while seemingly endless street food vendors tempted tongues left, right and centre. Although the rain made a dramatic appearance at times, it certainly didn’t manage to dampen the festival spirit, and acts like Smokey’s King Shufflers, Oh My God! It’s The Church and Old Time Sailors had folk up and dancing late into the evening.

May saw the arrival of the St Ives Food Festival from 12th to 14th down on the sandy expanse of Porthminster Beach, a sandy-toed gathering of artisan tents, food and drink vendors, chef demos from Jack Stein and more, and evening music sessions with bands like The Scribes, Showhawk Duo and Good Old Fashioned Lover Boys to round off the days. Falmouth Food Festival wouldn’t be far behind, and 26th to 28th May would bring crafters, traders, music and art together for a true taste
of the town.

Cornwall’s wonderfully weird, award-winning family festival, The Great Estate, certainly did not disappoint this year, and 2nd to 4th June brought back ‘the most rambunctious garden fete’ to be delighted in once more at the glorious Scorrier Estate, packed to the rafters with magic, marvel and mystery as usual. Workshops, talks, arts and crafts could be found at The Sanctuary in a glade of calm and tranquillity nestled in a serene corner of Scorrier’s beautiful grounds, where you could find the blissful beats of The Zen Den and the Wellness Workshop Tent. Fresh sounds and young voices could be heard at The Cornish Orchards Stage from the likes of Raffi Maxwell, Lilo and Joanna Cooke. Madame Wong’s House of Wrong saw tribute acts and circus workshops thrill old and young, while favourites like Primal Scream and The Selector shook the ground at Stage on the Green.

Affectionately known as ‘the greatest house party in a field’, Leopallooza will find its home once more at The Wyldes from 21st to 23rd July. With some of the biggest musical names gracing the stages each year, 2023 promises an exceptional line up yet again, with more top-notch headline acts set to join the ever-growing list. From the biggest beats of acts like Hong Kong Ping Pong at Treeline’s dance stage, to Mono’s legendary rock stage, there truly is a band for all tastes, and to be blown away by headliners Orbital, Bloc Party and AURORA, find your way to the Ade Burt Memorial Stage. Renamed in 2022 after the team’s beloved Technical Director Ade Burt, who help design and build it, the main stage remembers a man who helped to bring Leopallooza to where it is today. The legendary Rogue Theatre will once again take over the woodland to bring an immersive world of theatre, workshops, down-the-rabbit-hole style journeys and songs for little ones and big ones, not forgetting their trademark magic and mystery! If you prefer to dance to your own beat, The Quiet Riot’s silent disco invites shape throwing at its finest, and for the comedy lovers among you The Funny Side comedy tent will certainly put a smile on your face.

For a voyage of culinary discovery and musical mischief, the Rock Oyster Festival at Dinham House from 27th to 30th July promises demonstrations from foodie favourites like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, alongside mouth-watering taster plates, al-fresco dining and masterclasses for those looking to grow their passions alongside renowned chefs. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Camel Estuary, The Oyster Stage brings us an exciting range of musical acts this year, with artists like Sophie Ellis Bexter, Nile Rodgers & Chic, and a Groove Armada DJ set to bring full-bellied friends together after a day of feasting to feel the love as the sun goes down.

Last year, Boardmasters brought us sunset blinders like Joy Crookes, Palace, Tom Grennan and the unforgettable Kings of Leon, a hypnotic experience that I for one will never forget, and 2023’s line up promises the event’s continued position on the list of the UK’s biggest and best festivals. With a seemingly endless line up of inspirational musicians old and new bursting the seams of the plump weekend line up from 9th to 13th August, this year is set to raise the bar for Boardmasters yet again. With names like Florence + the Machine, Liam Gallagher, Lorde, Cypress Hill, Rudimental, Ben Howard and The Vaccines among a host of other artists filling the bill, it’s understandable that the weekend draws attendees from all over the country every single year to stand together in green fields alive with the sound of summer while the sun sets into the ocean behind them, casting a golden glow over festival faces. Alongside the magic music line up, Boardmasters would not be the Cornish festival that it is without the world-renowned surf competition that it plays host in the form of the Boardmasters OPEN, so make sure to head down to Fistral beach to catch the action.

With an incredible list of events taking place all across Cornwall this summer, my diary is quickly filling up, and I remember how very lucky I am to live in this beautiful county with such a passion for music, food and coming together in fond celebration while the sun shines over our little corner of the south west.