Relentless Boardmasters Review - Newquay 2009

Feeling old at 25 was a sight to behold, I was also witness to a young sub-culture, descending on a small corner of England for what looked like the best fun any teenager could possibly have.

Kat Warburton

Date published: 11th Aug 2009

If UK's paranoid press are to be believed, Newquay is a drunken orgy of teenage deliquency, full of out-of-control youths throwing up on street corners and jumping to their deaths from cliff-tops. Although feeling old at 25 was a sight to behold, I was also witness to a young sub-culture, descending on a small corner of England for what looked like the best fun any teenager could possibly have.
Come Friday, thousands of youths had descended on Watergate bay for the music festival. The sun was in the sky and the cleverly laid out path from Newquays largest campsite, straight to the festival gates, ensured the perfect clientel had their perfect climax to their holidays.
The first act I saw was Master Shortie, who had the crowd in his palm from the start. This is music for a teenage crowd, riding on the back of the success aof Dizzee Rascal and co, Shortie sailed through the set with ease keeping the mood going and the music banging. Ash Grunwald was a perculiar booking for this festival. His blues infused, guitar work- backed by hip-hop beats was probably the most interesting and original sound of the festvial, but the crowd I believe were about 5 years too young to appreciate this. The kids still danced however and Grunwald left the stage with the same grin which was on his face for the duration of the gig.
The King Blues were the only ones from the main acts to take this festival seriously. They played a political brand of ska and wore their influences (namely, the Clash) on their collective sleeve. They skanked and bounced their way through the set and even gave the crowd a cover for good measure. Their softened-down, guitar led version of Bonkers by Dizzee Rascal had been performed by King Blues on Radio 1 and playing it again here guaranteed a place in the hearts of the crowd. 

At this point it was time for the larger acts to start. Both Roots Manuva and Calvin Harris looked at the festival as an easy way to make a quick buck, and seemed to utilise the fact that just by walking out on stage, they would get the kids dancing. Both performances were dry and lifeless, yet the kids still lapped it up, particularly for Harris' set. As a frequent festival and gig goer, it was difficult to watch two respected acts put little effort in, having seen both acts before I can surely say this was not them at their best.
The smaller stage was indeed a place to find hidden gems. As a Preston-born lad, I ventured down to see our home-grown talent, Failsafe. This is a prime example of a band who are on their way up. Playing at first to a small crowd, these boys gave it their all. The density of people watching swelled as their break-neck speed brand of rock got people moving. A fair few new fans will be theirs after this performance and deservedly so.
As the darkness came it was time for The Streets to take the stage. Mike Skinner is a  man who knows what he's doing and it became apparent that every line spoken between songs was a dig once again at the young, naive crowd. Saying that, the music did not disappoint. Skinner is indeed a talented performer and has a great band behind him. A perfect headline choice for the weekend and had the best reaction of the day.

Although not the greatest-festival I have been to (certainly not the best organised) it was the most "up-for-it" crowd I have ever seen. I only wish I was young enough to feel the electric vibe in the air and be one of the people walking away with desperate anticipation for the next day's activities.
Joseph Ruddy

Festivals 2018