Review  and photography by Fran Prince

A daunting multi-coloured ocean of tents packed a claustrophobic multitude of fields. The scenic hillside of Watergate Bay welcomed over 50,000 festival goers to its glorious grass banks, as the Cornish coastline hosted Britain’s beloved surf and music festival, Boardmasters with a full lineup including Jamiroquai, Alt J, Stormzy, Frank Turner, Two Door Cinema Club and many more….

Boardmasters 2017

Friday morning was a wash out, so taking a dip in the sea wasn’t going to get us much wetter. After warming up with a hot chocolate on Fistral beach, we headed back to the festival, where Kiko Bun‘s jazzy red tee and sunnies brightened us up with songs like ‘Sticky Situation’ and ‘Can’t Hold Back’ his catchy summer vibes brought the crowd to attention.

Boardmasters 2017

An overcast afternoon was brought to life with our favourite dreadlocked acoustic act, Newton Faulkner. The one man band was on top form with classics ‘I Need Something’ and ‘Dream Catch Me’ the main stage crowd was spellbound by his soulful voice and guitar hand-percussion. Introducing us to his newest album ‘Hit The Ground Running’ he humbly thanked his Cornish fans for “making his career” and announced the launch of his own record label, which was widely congratulated.

An energetic Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls took to the stage for a curious rock made up of the folky sounds of mandolin and guitars alongside his mod-rock vocals. ‘Recovery’ and ‘Photosynthesis’ encouraged an elevated crowd through their undemanding repetitive melodies. Turner’s songs seem ambiguous to me, his compelling riffs and anthemic choruses tended to distract from his lyrical politics but you couldn’t help but be lifted by his music.

Boardmasters 2017

New friends are easily achievable at Boardmasters, and we seemed to bag the right one, having been handed what looked like monopoly money, *Ben* claimed these would bestow free bevvies. Sceptical, we took our flimsy money to the bar and wolah! Free G&T. Cheers pal.

As the stormy sea mist turned red in the hue of Two Door Cinema Club’s entrance, we let go of our inhibitions, girls hair no longer pristinely positioned, glitter smudged and hoods down. Friday’s headline act had us crammed in like a swarm of fish, glistening in the rain.

Boardmasters 2017

With their indie pop 80’s tones ‘Bad Decisions’ gets the swarm moving in sync, whilst ‘Undercover Martyn’ gets us reminiscing to 2010 with its rhythmic castanet like percussion designed to get the audience jumping. ‘What You Know’’s synchronised chorus and identifiable electrics echoed this. The drunken fish dispersed into chaos after a wired set, trudging through the mud back to our tents where only those in VIP could hope for a steamy shower in the morning.

Sticky and moist. Two words I distain but the overall combination of a clammy tent in the morning sun with the damp remnants of the night before. Dragging us from our pits the sunshine stirred us into action, a quick shampoo and a stroll down to sandy-side boutique Roos Beach, the robotic wet crowds from last night were in high spirits, decked in aviators and flip flops Saturday was filled with life.

Solidifying Friday’s mud bath we sat upon the golden grass listening to the sounds of Raye in the background with an ice cold Corona in hand.

Loyle Carner’s jazz rap combination stole the afternoon with a bluesy feel to ‘Aint Nothin’ Changed’, and ‘NO CD’. He brings a new era of music with his gospel infused ‘The Isle of Arran’, which featured his unique hip-hop roots.

Boardmasters 2017

Appropriately followed by Laura Mvula’s authentic and raw vocals which got our bones moving with tracks like Overcome, this incredible feminine musician wears an identifiable instrument, a white Keytar whilst she integrated us into a psychedelic embodiment of gospel-funk in ‘Kiss My Feet’.

Boardmasters 2017

Boardmasters 2017

Heading across to the Land of Saints tent to get a glimpse of Kate Nash, we were enthused to hear her more grounded and youthful songs like Foundations, yet we were startled by a crazed rock intro. Having listened to songs like Dickhead and Skeleton Song, it became a relief to breathe fresh air outside of the tent. We never got around to hearing Foundations after all.

Boardmasters 2017

Resting up for a while to watch the sunset, The Views Catherine McGrath held the innocence of Taylor Swifts ‘Love Story’ united with country acoustics. The cutesy 19-year-old held a sickly-sweet adolescence about her, with every song either about a break-up or make-up.

London quartet, The Vaccines became a throwback for noughties indie-pop rock. Resembling the basic emotions of The Strokes, with their dullened speech like vocals atop a consistent strumming, we were all strangely addicted to tracks like Post Break Up Sex and If You Wanna.

Boardmasters 2017

Boardmasters 2017

Drawing our attention a disco ball glistened in the distance, ‘COCKTAILS’ in big neon letters stood out, behind it the glow of red smoke piping out of a erotically lit ‘Underground’. Dropping beneath the questionable train inspired hatch we made our way through trippy tunnels that immersed you within a world of different eras. Drag acts erotically smoked with feather boas, and pineapples and flamingos decorated a tropical inspired bar. Another tunnel delivered us into a hardcore rave, whilst another a war-time vinyl danceathon. We’d been removed from reality, enveloped into a musical anthology.

Boardmasters 2017

Wearing bizarre headgear like a Neptune’s crown, Jay-Kay of Jamiroquai took to the stage after a long time off the scenes, from ‘Automation’ and classics like ‘Emergency on Planet Earth’ the group wowed their fans with their old-school funk sound.

Boardmasters 2017

Sunday morning had sunk in, and for the second year running Samsung’s colossal cube impeded the sea view. Passers-by had the sounds of Callum Beattie ricocheting off its metal panels like an intimidating speaker which echoed music in every direction.

Boardmasters 2017

VIP access allowed us to skip the streaming queue; mirrored floors and walls surprised us upon entering. Whilst a lady with a headset boomed through the room inaudibly, a lightshow flashed before our eyes almost enough to give you an epileptic seizure. We were rapidly hurried outside into the blinding sunshine; disappointment ensued for participants as one lad asked “can I get my life back please”.

Boardmasters 2017

Boardmasters 2017

Fashioning a stonier punk rock attitude was radio hoggers The Amazons, a highlight of the weekend and having already gained a huge fan base glittered girls juxtaposed the older generation with white hair and beards, both which accelerated themselves into a mosh pit and crowd-surfing indicating their eclectic fan base. Gritty riffs and the clashes of symbols drew us into ‘Black Magic’ and the recognisable vocals of Matt Thompson got us head banging to the guitarring of ‘In My Mind’. Let’s not forget their top trick ‘Junk Food Forever’ which engulfed the entire audience in a wave of madness.

Tom Grennan’s upfront presence demonstrated his confidence in his music and we won’t disagree for his husky vocals and memorable song-writing skills brought you to life. Fuelling the fire inside us all, we bounced to his tracks in a disorderedly approach. His east-end accent and swagger similar to Paulo Nutini were gratefully received with festival fever singing back ‘Something In The Water’, ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ and ‘Praying’.

Boardmasters 2017

Out for some reggae-soul Ziggy Marley holds name his legendary father. With Jamaican flags painted on faces, dreadlocks and a smell of marijuana trees blowing in the breeze, a chilled atmosphere ensued before we were about to be electrified.

Boardmasters 2017

Whilst the sea breeze carried roars of applauds and screams for Stormzy over our heads, the fight was hard to find a space in his hyped up hordes. The soft reggae vocals of Natty drew us to The View stage one last time, this humble artist had us swaying like zombies to the beats of ‘Bedroom Eyes’ and ‘July’, whilst ‘Coloured Souls’ fitted perfectly to the evenings gathering amongst the hay bales.

Never afraid to push the boundaries, Alt J’s haunting electric ambiance ruptured beats and strobing unlike any of the acts so far. With an intricate mix of songs from their album ‘Relaxer’ they stunned the audience with a stage set resembling that of a forest of lights, playing us out with a memorable ‘Breezeblocks’.

Boardmasters 2017

If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest donning a wetsuit and diving in at the deep-end for 2018’s Boardmasters is sure to be another dose of sun dripping ecstasy.

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