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Boardmasters 2014 | Festival Review

Hurricane Bertha hit the Boardmasters festival hard causing it to close early on Sunday, but was it still worth the trip?


It’s the early hours of Sunday morning and the sound of wind is immense. As our tent is being moulded into some sort of deformed ‘L’ shape by Hurricane Bertha, we rise to check the tent pegs. We’re immediately greeted by several tents ricocheting down the fields as festival goers desperately scramble to recover what remains from their festival possessions. The sound of cheers echo over the 25mph winds as each tent disappears over the hedges at the end of the field. People were in good spirits, but the festival site was gradually being destroyed by the heavy winds. We were just so thankful that the rain wasn’t contributing too.

Our immediate reaction was to help fellow festival goers clamp down what they could, before moving on to catch the shuttle buses into town for some breakfast. One of the heads of security was overheard saying her team was up through the night holding down the two foot long pegs to the entrance marquee, to prevent them being ripped out from the ground, which was what happened with the Mavericks Arena on the main festival site, an act of nature that sparked the decision for festival organisers to close the festival on the Sunday.

It’s very rare that a festival chooses to close early with a positive reaction but in the case of Boardmasters, people responded very understandingly. They couldn’t have done anything more to prepare for the unstable weather, kept people well informed and most importantly, offered refunds where applicable. That, in the combination with an incredible two days that preceded the Sunday, still meant that people had a great weekend.

Source: Joshua Bond

While the surfing and skating competitions, as well as a couple of beach sessions from the likes of Skindred and Fink occurred earlier in the week, we arrived at the main part of the music festival on Friday at 10am, where one thing became glaringly obvious. The searches there were ridiculously in-depth. With a three hour wait time to get in, the majority arrived in poor spirit.

Speaking of spirits, you couldn’t take any into the festival, a thing that caught many by surprise (although it did say on the website). Along with many other things listed as contraband quickly filling wheelie bins in the searching areas, it was hardly a surprise that we saw the use of drugs increase on previous years and other festivals.

Many festival goers could be heard talking about having their alcohol confiscated on entry, meaning they were on the lookout for drugs. This was a sad sight to see to be honest, and in future we hope Boardmasters would consider allowing spirits on site, in favour of reducing the use of drugs.

Evening arrived and as Blonde dropped some incredible songs including one that sent the crowd into a frenzy, Round Table Knight‘sCalpyso“, the heavens opened. Mistajam was playing a great set on the main stage, but the sound was fairly inaudible, perhaps drowned out by the windy, rainy weather.

Blonde rounded off his set with his remix of Corona – Rhythm of the Night as the sun set on “The Point“, a stage with a stunning view set on the headland of Watergate Bay.

Boardmasters – The Point

The choice of stalls around the festival really were favourable, with a wide variety of delicious food and drink readily available. We really think it helped to create a great experience overall.

One bar that really stood out among the rest was under the Relentless Energy Drink brand – The company behind the popular energy drink really created something unique, incorporating a “London city” atmosphere with it’s famous black bricks. Inside, there was even a tattoo parlour, as well as its own line-up which saw a diverse combination of both bands and DJs play over the weekend. You

To round it all off, there was a sweet store near the main stage that was just simply amazing!

Source: Joshua Bond

Chase and Status

The highlight of the night came with Chase and Status’s set, on the main stage. Despite being twenty minutes late, the multi-genre electronic duo manage to pull off a great set.

Featuring guest vocals from the likes of Tempa T, and a drummer with one insane set of skills that saw him playing on a massive drum kit incorporating 8 Cymbals, Chase and Status had all the makings for one of the best performances of the weekend.

Despite the late arrival, one other thing really let them down – the sound on the main stage. Unfortunately it was just too quiet near the back of the crowd and beyond. We’re not sure if this was due to the extreme weather or just a lack of speakers (as when Zane Lowe arrived the next day with his own sound system in addition, the sound was fine).

One final thing that could have added to the experience would have been a few lasers. When it comes to electronic music events, Lasers are almost something of a necessity to create a truly electric atmosphere. A bit of mixing or flow in between tracks would have been great too, rather than a few seconds of silent pause.

The track that got the most attention of the weekend was Chase and Status’s performance of “Blind Faith“, which saw every light on the stage illuminating the crowd as they sang along.

It was at this point the wind started picking up, and when Chase and Status finished, hundreds of people flocked to The Point stage, to catch Friend Within‘s, who delivered nothing other than a sterling performance that despite the weather, had everyone raring with excitement and ready for the after parties in Newquay town centre.

Source: Joshua Bond

The Cribs

A few years ago The Cribs were putting on incredible live performances around the country, but then with much of the Indie scene, we didn’t hear much from them for a while; at least in the mainstream. It was brilliant seeing The Cribs take to the main stage with great performances of much of their discography, including their mammoth hit “Men’s Needs” that drove a strong crowd reaction.

The wind was picking up at this stage, causing the sound on the main stage to be drowned out a little more. As preperations began for Zane Lowe‘s mammoth setup, it was time to check out the VIP bar. This area itself was seriously cool, with large garden games on hand such as Jenga and Chess, Table Tennis, its own bar and a chill out area with a talented DJ line-up. The VIP bar alone was well worth the extra money.

Source: Joshua Bond

Zane Lowe

We didn’t actually expect too much from Zane Lowe, but he proved us wrong as he took to the main stage with a stack of speakers that really gave the performance that bit of extra “oomph” it deserved. Incorporating a plethora of genres, from what many would class as EDM, to heavy Dub Step drops infused with a bit of Hip Hop to round the set off.

What really added to Zane Lowe’s set was how he really demonstrated his talent by spinning and scratching the CDJs in perfect timing to the music. His technical ability really added an extra level of excitement to the tracks he was playing.

Zane Lowe put on a really great performance that saw one of the wildest reactions of the weekend, particularly when dropping DJ Snake & Lil Jon‘sTurn Down for What” as he took to the front of the stage with a microphone to get the crowd enthused. When we were asking people after who they enjoyed most across the entire weekend, Zane Lowe was the name that was most commonly shouted out.

Source: Joshua Bond

Snoop Dogg

Thirty minutes late, as the wind picked up and the colder weather settled in, Snoop Dogg finally took to the main stage, as the biggest crowd of the weekend was drawn in to see the Californian rapper perform his enormous catalogue of chart-topping hits.

One thing that really let the entire performance down was the volume. The music was hard to hear and Snoop Dogg‘s voice was even quieter, which meant that many of his attempts to motivate the crowd went unheard.

To finish off his set, he got everyone to hold up their illuminated Mobile Phones (Cell Phones) into the air as he performaned “Young, Wild and Free”.

Source: Joshua Bond

Dead Kennedys

As Snoop Dogg closed the main stage, we headed to the Mavericks Tent to see American Punk The Dead Kennedys, a band that played a big part in the hardcore punk movement of the 1980s.

Dead Kennedys have changed quite a bit as a band over the years, with Ron “Skip” Greer stepping up on vocals in 2008. The band as a whole put on a great performance, but Ron was the only member who demonstrated any real energy, which was unfortunately overshadowed by a giant pillar (or a Pylon as Ron described it) directly in front of the stage, blocking the view for much of the audience.

At the same time, Duke Dumont was absent from his set due to exhaustion from his time in Ibiza, but he was promptly replaced by the mighty Drum and Bass heavyweight, Sigma.

We quickly checked out Ben Pearce back at The Point, however heavy winds meant we headed back to the tents early. It was probably just as well, as a very early wake-up call was in order.

Hurricane Bertha had arrived and hit the festival hard, causing Boardmasters to close for the Sunday and while there was a silent disco available for those that couldn’t leave yet, many started to head home throughout the day.

Overall, Boardmasters was a great festival with one of the best views we’ve ever seen. The backdrop of Watergate Bay created such a stunning setting, creating a truly magical experience, as the sun set behind The Point every day.

The Main Stage certainly could have done with better sound, for the electronic acts and maybe even for some of the bands, but we don’t want that to put a damper on the overall experience, which was pure brilliance.

Sunday was out, but Boardmasters have re-assured us that refunds will be available.

Wednesday 13 August: Boardmasters has confirmed all ticket holders will be refunded the face value of their Sunday ticket after the event on Sunday 10 August was cancelled because of extreme winds caused by ex-Hurricane Bertha.

As Boardmasters operates a tiered ticketing system, refunds will be remunerated accordingly to the ticket purchased. The value of refunds is listed on the website here:

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