Masked Ball Beacon Crag, Porthleven
Review by Max Channon
WEST Cornwall has again proved it can party harder, for longer and with more verve and vigour than just about anywhere else, at the Porthleven Masked Ball last weekend.
The beloved biannual ball once again kick-started the summer season of shindigs in sensational style, attracting glorious sunshine and droves of party animals in weird and wonderful costumes to Beacon Crag's cliff-top.
The site had a very different layout this year, giving the camping area a real festival vibe, with its own music stages, bars and food outlets.
Saturday night saw this area's Alive Stage host, among others, dub-rock pioneers Dreadzone and the crazy Cuban Brothers. However, as ever with the Masked Ball, there was much more to discover as you sashayed around the site's circular route. The first stop on this journey into the unknown was the Grand Ballroom, where the inimitable Groove Armada blew the roof with a ballistic headline set, and the music kept the party rocking until 6am.
Next up was the Raveyard, which pulsated to the steaming trance beats being pumped out by the likes of John Askew and Simmer.
Then came the delirious delights of the Jelly Jazz Soul Circus, with stilt walkers, demented dancers and aerial acrobatics performed to the eclectic soundtrack served up by the likes of Pete Isaacs of Jelly Jazz.
The View Stage, featuring ball regular Lee John, and then the hidden delights of Loose People's tucked-away tent were the next stops on this magical mystery tour.
The Upper Terrace, home to the likes of Daytoner and Panda followed, and then a route through the gnarled fairy-light entwined branches of windswept trees provided the perfect pitstop to top up the fuel tank with Truly Crumptious, who served delicious freshly cooked crumpets through the night.
And then it was back into the campsite field, where the Trojan Soundsystem featuring Sir Vinyl DJs and Boogaloo Dee ramped up the ragga in the Sir Vinyl Dub Dome.
After a six-hour hiatus for a brief battery recharge, the party started up again in the camping field and the Alive Stage, for the chilled out vibe of the Sunday Service.
With its stunning view over sparkling sea of Mount's Bay, a water slide, and music from brass bands and a Prince tribute, it was the perfect spot to recover from the previous night's exertions – before gearing up for some Rebel Bingo, and a blistering set from Rob da Bank, which sent revellers back to their tents at midnight with sore feet, huge smiles and some magical memories.
As well as serving up one of the best weekends to be had this year, or at least until the Halloween Ball on November 1, the event also raised at least £2,000 for charity, with Pants Cancer (Falmouth) and Porthleven School receiving £500 each, and Surfers Against Sewage benefiting by £1,000.
Organiser Kelvin Batt said: "This had to be the best Masked Ball yet, the whole event had a proper festival vibe. The crowd was fantastic, with some amazing costumes. A great line-up helped and we really upped the production. Everyone was really well behaved."