By Charlotte Gay
August 8th-12th, 2012
Those who took advantage of the festival’s helicopter rides must have had a blissful view of the sun beaming down on the tops of Newquay’s Watergate Bay—the musical home of Boardmasters 2012. Back for its 31st annual music, surf and skate festival, the Great British summertime happily disregarded its usual drizzly weather for those flocking to the ever popular event.
The activities began on Wednesday 8th kicking off with the sport events going down at Fistral beach, accompanied by all new free day sessions of music, followed by evening beach sessions with the likes of Reel Big Fish and Xavier Rudd. But it was the main weekend event which drew the thousands of people down to Newquay’s shores. Friday’s high shorts/shirts off weather saw the crowds disperse amongst the six main stages of this year’s festival.
Over the weekend the main stage saw the likes of The Big Pink, Maximo Park, The Ting Tings, Delilah, Maverick Sabre— but the real hero of Friday night had to be the fabulous Ed Sheeran. Holding the stage for an almighty two hour set, the young singer-songwriter admitted to never having played such a long festival set before, but easily captured the throng of Boardmasters fans enraptured by his voice. Laughing could also be heard; Sheeran confidently telling various anecdotes. Even those who wouldn’t label themselves as Sheeran fans were found to be singing along to his chart smashing hits as he called on them to be his festival gospel choir.
— Ed Sheeran
For those who wanted to warm up out of the cool evening’s breeze, the Unleashed stage certainly let forth an energy created by Sway and headliner DJ Fresh. However if it was a night of dancing you were after, Saturday night main stage headliner Dizzee Rascal blew these two out of the water, proving himself to be a cut above the rest. The East London rapper could not put a foot wrong as he belted out tunes ranging from classics like ‘Jus’ a Rascal’ and ‘Fix up Look Sharp,’ through to more recent chart toppers ‘Bonkers,’ ‘Dirtee Disco’ and ‘Holiday.’ The crowd kept a constant bounce as the MC surged an unstoppable energy through them for his hour-long set.
With the main stage finishing up at about 11pm, those hyped up enough were able to expel this excitement with Radio One and 1Xtra DJs Zane Lowe and Misterjam. Zane controlled the Unleashed stage but it was Misterjam’s superb remixes at Marley Point which gave the ending Boardmasters deserved.
Aside from the main stage, other popular acts of the weekend included The Young Guns and The Plastic Thumbs’ DJ set on the Relentless stage. CJ Beats also got the festival goers in the party spirit down at Marley Point, and Pulled Apart by Horses rocked the Vans stage.
— Dizzee Rascal
Throughout the whole of the weekend, Boardmasters’ Watergate Bay site was also treated a taster of the sports happening down at Fistral, at the Desperado’s mini half-pipe ramp. With BMXs to skate boarders taking to the ramp for the chance to earn some cash, the hilarious commentators definitely knew how to keep the attentions of every passer-by. For those whose stomachs rumbled Boardmasters stalls represented possibly every kind of food imaginable. From traditional burgers, chips and fried chicken to pie stalls, vegetarian dishes, paella, cream teas and even ostrich burgers, Boardmasters clearly knew they how to cater from the homely to the exotic with this abundance of choice.
The overall vibe of Boardmasters is clear, they’re ever growing in popularity and have the ability to bring in great acts, yet their Cornish roots will always keep their heads above the tide of commercialism. Aside from the obvious sponsorships, the festival was kept clear of big names squashing out any local businesses. This combination is guaranteed to keep audiences from near and far returning to the sunny shores of Newquay for Boardmasters—it’s worked for 31 years, they must be doing something right.