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Summer music festivals guide in Cornwall and South West

By West Briton  |  Posted: June 07, 2012

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CORNWALL has long been a haven for music festivals – St Germans' infamous Elephant Fayre being a scene-setter.

This year sees more music events on the calendar than ever before.

Here's What's On editor Lee Trewhela's look at the highlights.


June 7 to 9: Royal Cornwall Show, Wadebridge

The Cornwall Council stand, BBC Radio Cornwall, the Festival of Dance, Pirate FM stages ... local music features strongly at one of – if not the – best agricultural shows in the land.


June 15 to 17: Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival

Now in its ninth year, this event does what it says on the maritime tin. All together now: "Heave away, haul away."


June 22 to 24: Rock Oyster Festival

Dubbed a Glastonbury for foodies in the rich man's playground of Rock, this festival has its fair share of music among the culinary highs, including Charlotte Church, the Isle of Wight's superb The Bees, Dub Pistols, London Afrobeat Collective and our own successful musical export, Crowns.


June 23 to 30: Golowan / Mazey Day, Penzance

The colourful jewel in Penzance's annual calendar celebrating midsummer features an array of music including The Mighty Pigshed, Amadou Diagne, Ida Barr, People's String Foundation, Mad Dog McCrae and Dalla.


June 23 to July 11: Eden Sessions, Eden Project, Bodelva

The one that attracts the biggest names and always causes heated debate among the county's music fans. This year the acts include musical comedian Tim Minchin, pop rapper Example, an intriguing folk day featuring Frank Turner, Stornoway, Bellowhead and more, dance big-hitters Chase & Status, hip hop / soul star Plan B, pop-punkers Blink 182 and indie favourites Noah And The Whale and The Vaccines.


June 29 to July 1: Maker Festival, Rame

This family-run festival on the beautiful Rame Peninsula always attracts the best Cornish singers and bands alongside more esoteric national and international acts, including Veller Lia, Weazeldust, Freshly Squeezed and Company B this year.



July 7: Castle Rock, Launceston

After a four-year absence one of the best-loved music events in Cornwall returns with a veritable Who's Who of South West names including Crazy Arm, Crowns, Patrick James Pearson Band, The Sum Of, The Raise, Kola, Suitenoir and many more.


July 10 to 14: Dante Summer Festival

Begin your summer in the Tamar Valley with a feast of music brought to you by the celebrated Dante Quartet. Concerts of Mozart, Schubert, Brahms and Britten alternate with open rehearsals, folk music, workshops, guided walks, shared meals and children's events.


July 13 to 21: Lafrowda, St Just

The two-week festival will feature a host of music, including local up-and-comers such as Gary and the Minefield.


July 21 to 23: Port Eliot Festival, St Germans

The thinking person's Cornish festival features a great array of music among the literary, artistic and culinary giants. Among those playing are Suggs, Stornoway, The Bees, Andrew Weatherall, Cate Le Bon, and my tips for the weekend – Toys, Diagrams and The See See.


July 27 to 29: Leopallooza, near Week St Mary

The cool and boutiquey person's Cornish festival of choice has another great line-up this year including dance-pop festival gods Fenech-Soler, Flash Fiktion, Karima Francis, Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, Man Like Me, Turbowolf and Brother & Bones.


July 28: Electric Beach Festival, Watergate Bay

Me, myself and I highly recommend this one just for the pleasure of seeing hip hop innovators De La Soul in Cornwall. Also playing are Nextmen, BackBeat SoundSystem, The Breaks Collective and The Scribes.


July 31 to August 10: St Endellion Summer Festival, near Port Isaac

After the extraordinary success of the 2011 festival with its never-to-be-forgotten performances of Wagner's Die Walküre, 2012 will transport visitors to one of the leading classical music festivals in the South West to a completely different world with two performances of Stravinsky's Hogarth-inspired opera The Rake's Progress among many other works.



August 3 to 5: Cornwall Folk Festival, Wadebridge

This celebrated event on the national folk music calendar celebrates its 40th anniversary with performances by Nic Jones with his son Joseph Jones, Robb Johnson (UK singer-songwriters), Amadou Diagne (Senegal), Wendy Arrowsmith (Scotland), Lucy Ward (BBC Folk Awards 2012 Winner – Best Newcomer), Tim Edey (BBC Folk Awards 2012 Winner – Best Musician), Gumbo Flyers (UK's and Cornwall's premier Zydeco and Cajun band) and a whole host more.


August 10 to 11: Knee-Deep Festival, Liskeard

The biggest secret on the Cornish festival scene but, with names such as American blues-folk troubadour Willy Mason and Falmouth Uni's most successful musical export, Tall Ships, heading the bill of esoteric indie names, a hidden gem no more.


August 10 to 11: Boardmasters, Watergate Bay

The big one – this year the surf/music event is headlined by the inexplicably popular Ed Sheeran and one-man hip hop party Dizzee Rascal. Others worth catching include What's On favourite Delilah, Ting Tings, Maximo Park, The Big Pink, Maverick Sabre and Zane Lowe.


August 11 to 19: Henri Lloyd Falmouth Week

Among those playing are hip hop stars Chiddy Bang, 1990s one hit wonder Chesney Hawkes, Bjorn Again and Rudi's Message.



September 8 to 22: St Ives September Festival

The biggest arts event down west sees a plethora of talent performing around the town – Billy Bragg, Kate Rusby, Juan Martin, The Blockheads, Cara Dillon, Fisherman's Friends, The Beat and Counterfeit Stones included.


September 21 to 24: Henry's Little Big Gig, The Lizard

A three-day family festival at Henry's Campsite featuring ska-punk band Spunge, Duotone, Rosie Vanier, Flats and Sharps and much more local talent.


September 21 to 23: Looe Music Festival

The new kid on the block returns for a second year with headliners The Stranglers and The Levellers. What a way for the season to bow out – with a little crusty pogo.


What's On will have more on all these events as they approach. If you would like your festival included contact Lee Trewhela at LTrewhela @c-dm.co.uk

July 9 to 11: Labyrinth Blues & Roots, near LooeAmong those playing at this inaugural festival are Vince Lee, Phat Bollard, Parchman Blues, Corey British and many more, at what’s probably the most dramatic festival venue you’ve ever been to, with a sweeping sea view from Rame Head to the Lizard. www.thelabyrinth.org.uk/events

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