The 5 best things we saw at this year's Boardmasters Festival 3 years ago

The 5 best things we saw at this year's Boardmasters Festival

I have a confession to make

I grew up in Cornwall and this year's Boardmasters Festival in Newquay was the first I've ever attended.


Poor showing, right? I'm sorry. No, truly I'm sorry. I know that's a pretty offensive statement to make, especially to my fellow Cornish men and women.

Rest assured moving forward I'll be going as often as I can, but not solely because of the music.

Sure, the lineup at Boardmasters was pretty amazing - Stereo Honey, George Ezra, The Chemical Brothers, Kano, Grandmaster Flash, MNEK, Friendly Fires were just some of the standouts - but there's more to the cliffside beach festival that resides in the south west that not even the rain could ruin this year.


Whether it was the yoga classes, the fairground, the various stages that were sometimes disguised as pubs or clubs, the competitive surfing, the countless food trucks that accommodated everyone from BBQ fanatics to vegans, or even the silent disco, there was quite literally something for everyone.

Here's a list of the five best things I saw at Boardmasters 2018:

5. The Keg & Pasty


BEST. PUB. NAME. EVER. For real, I'm not joking. It's the only reason I stuck my head in through the doors in the first place. Then once I bought a pasty I proceeded to stay in there for a little while. And it wasn't just a pub either. Aside from selling a variation of different pasties, it also hosted a bar and a stage on which an array of bands played all weekend.

4. Coney Island

No, I didn't hop on a plane in the middle of Boardmasters and head over to New York in the hopes of recreating the ending of the cult classic The Warriors. Instead Boardmasters brought Coney Island to Cornwall... sort of.


I'm not sure I'd ever previously entered a club via an underground tunnel that almost required me to crawl. But that's precisely what I did after queuing up outside the vintage gig poster-decorated Coney Island. Once inside I felt like I was a part of something exclusive, an underground dance club complete with a 360 degree DJ booth - even though anyone could get in, provided they could crouch down low enough to manoeuvre the tunnel.

3. How clean the festival was

Sustainability and an awareness of its impact on the local environment and community has been a big part of Boardmasters' ethos for quite some time and it really showed. I'm not even sure I saw a single piece of trash on the ground the entire time I was there.

Sure, there was the odd one or two cups but they weren't paper cups they were reusable plastic cups. Wanted a clean one? You could exchange them at the bar and at the end of the weekend you could take them home and keep them as a momentum of your epic weekend.


The work that Boardmasters continues to do, especially their work with SAS (Surfers Against Sewage), is remarkable. With over £100k in donations to SAS and repurposing 20 acres of land in association with the RSPB to further protect local bird species it might just be one of the most environmentally aware festivals on the planet.

Read more about it here.

2. Surf competition

Here's another confession for you: I grew up in Cornwall and never surfed a day in my life until this year's Boardmasters. I know you're now reading the sub heading and thinking "There's no way he entered a surf competition" and you'd be right.

I was given the opportunity to make an ass out of myself via a surf lesson courtesy of Watergate Bay and the results were actually surprising, especially to me. I was pretty good. Okay, I was alright. I managed to stand up on the board three times in about 30 minutes of being in the sea. I didn't want to get out but duty called.

Now to the surf competition. Free to spectators, Fistral Beach hosted the World Surf League (WSL) qualifying series featuring an array of travelling international surfers as well as the best British surfers, all looking to qualify for the World Championship Tour.

Getting to see some of the best surfers in the world do their thing was definitely something I won't forget in a hurry.

Edouard Delpero beat Great Britain’s Ben Skinner to win the UGG Men’s Longboard Pro final and European Men’s Longboard title, while Aping Agudo claimed victory in the UGG Women’s Longboard Pro. Spain’s Andy Crier won the Quiksilver Open and France’s Juliette Lancome won the Roxy Open.

1. The music

I said it wasn't 'all' about the music but that didn't mean it wasn't going to be the main focal point of the festival. With an incredible lineup, that inspired those in attendance to brave the rain just to catch them, Boardmasters had it all: pop, rock, dance, Hip Hop, R&B, folk, country, indie and even an orchestra or two.

Best performances? The Chemical Brothers bodied the main stage on the Saturday complete with some of the best on-stage visuals I've ever seen. Grandmaster Flash packed out the Land of the Saints stage, something that hadn't happened all day before he touched the stage with his new new show Hip Hop: People, Places & Things.

Friendly Fires brought their trademark unparalleled energy to the festival, while Kano put on one hell of a show for his UK festival exclusive. Other great performances from MNEK, George Ezra, Lily Allen and Craig David all helped make Boardmasters one of the summer's most exciting tickets.

Boardmasters 2019 tickets go on sale soon. For more information visit the official website.