Shout-out to the booking agents responsible for putting Fat White Family and Bo Ningen on the same bill as Clean Bandit and Rudimental; a line you’ll unlikely read on the still-incoming, totally unofficial (and pretty nasty) ‘Spotted At’ Twitter feed that kept Clash amused – and multiple times disgusted – at Boardmasters festival last weekend.
While elsewhere (Romania, apparently), The Maccabees were celebrating a much deserved UK number one spot, the Newquay sites welcomed the masses – predominantly of still-in-single-figures-circa-‘Colour It In’-age – to gorge on Domino’s (two vans on site plus a busy shop in town) and cultural appropriation by way of MC Fashion’s extensive native American headdress range and bindi’s brought from home via eBay.
Billed as a ‘grassroots surf and music festival’ and flaunting the jolly hashtag #webelieveinsummer, it stands to reason that Clash’s turn at Boardmasters 2K15 began on the beach, around a random’s campfire, with non-branded pizza and beer and an unsuccessful scroll of Happn. At how many other British festivals is this a feasible first night, really? Certainly few enough to overlook the fact we would later discover a Cereal Killers (a la the Brick Lane ‘talking point’) stall at camp…
Leaving the extreme highs of Fistral Beach – where the surfing, skating and biking events would leave most fans gawping in utter awe – until Saturday, Friday provided the first of many stopovers at The Point presented by Relentless. Responding to the rallying call of Skepta’s ‘Shutdown’ – nice one Tiernan Locke & Sean Moyle – we were quickly joined by a posse of bucket hats, Palace skatewear and skanking. Cut alongside clips of Northern Soul the scenes read like a revised take on Mark Leckey’s ‘Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore’.
Fat White Family later provided the biggest cause for riot; Saul Adamczewski clad in a ‘Last of the White Ni**ers’ T-shirt while Lias Saoudi’s top was removed amongst much hip shaking, as the rest of the band asked for (and were brandished with) cigarettes from the crowd. Plenty of chanting ensued – both of the plodding nature that forms genuine backing vocals and from those on the other side of the barrier – while the provocatively charged ‘Touch The Leather’ concluded the set.
Our pasty consumption on track, phones full of sunny beach scenarios and an improved knowledge of BMXing, Saturday evening played host to De La Soul on the main stage. “We gonna party tonight,” the crowd, Seastick Steve included, were warned as the group initiated ‘The Magic Number’. Unimpressed by the inevitable “snapchat and sh*t” that took place during their set, we were later informed that “Hip Hop is over here”. And it was, and the sun was shining, and it was great.
Lethal Bizzle followed at the Unleashed tent, full to bursting, boasting a strong contingent of unofficial (read: audience member) vocalists hyped for 2011’s ‘Pow’: still a fresh track in the respectively boundless environment. Bo Ningen, on the aptly titled Mavericks stage, were a complete vision of good hair and even better facial expressions; the small but ultimately obedient crowd soaking up tracks like ‘DaDaDa’, the body as crucifix poses and obsessive guitar hula hooping that concluded the Japanese band’s performance.
By Sunday the blue skies had been replaced by an on-off rainy drizzle, which didn’t much correspond with the Sunsets titled stage on which Romare played. Regardless, there was an audience (for whom toe tapping security guards took #squadgoals group shots, naturally) and which grew throughout Archie Fairhurst’s early doors stage time, boasting a mix of uptempo vintage dance music and his own collaged sounds.
The grey sky similarly stuck around for Lucy Rose, only slightly disheartening the chilled Sunday vibes her polite melodies produce. “My second record’s just come out, but I rarely get to play in front of crowds this big so there was no way I wasn’t going to play some tracks from my first record” she announced ahead of ‘Middle of the Bed’.
Back at Relentless HQ – backed by the ridiculously attractive Watergate Bay, used throughout the weekend as a sensory hangover cure by some – Monki took to the decks, in front of her a messy arrangement of movers and shakers and those not fussed at seeing Sunset Sons in what must be the most natural of festivals for the band brought together by the surf (Clash was enticed and rewarded, if a little guiltily, by both).
For some parties Boardmasters might read simply as a precursor to ‘lol’, but for all the lolz that can genuinely occur beside a beach in generous weather surrounded by Insta-credible views and without stepping foot on a plane (the latter not impossible if you really must), there certainly ain’t nowt wrong with a British Summer Loliday that delivers hip hop legends beside rebels with (a sort of) cause and artists whose songs you only really know as a result of hungover Sunday’s glued to The Hits.
That it delivers the most credible excuse for using the wave, beer and musical note emojis together in abundance is just the icing on a particularly rad cake.
Words: Zoe Whitfield