Becky Read reviews Boardmasters 2013

Watergate Bay serves as a picture perfect backdrop, with its golden coast line and the gentle breeze that flows from the water, offering light relief from the baking sun. From start to finish Boardmasters is filled with excitement, from the nail biting battles from the surf, skate and BMX competitions through to the 8 stages that cater for all music moods. Boardmasters is filled with everything for everyone and offers a unique atmosphere, which is unable to be replicated by any other.

Boardmasters 2013

Well into the summer break, Boardmasters has become a regular pilgrimage for students throughout the country. There was enough beer tents to keep any student happy and some of the finest home-grown UK headlining acts.

Whilst there is no doubt that the headlining acts were the favourites to be seen, the weekend was filled with must see quality acts and Bristol’s very own The Other Tribe was the first act I caught.

The Other Tribe

Already voted as the best live act in Bristol, it is inevitable that they are going to make it big. Their set was filled with tribal percussion, ravey keyboards and catchy lyrics, sending an electrical pulsation through the crowd. Their electric sound perfectly suited the festival mood, highlighting how The Other Tribe have an uncanny appropriateness for festivals.

Everything Everything carried on from where The Other Tribe left off from starting with a few lesser known songs before pulling out the infectious ‘Cough Cough’, arguably one of their most famous songs from their album ‘Arc’. A combination of both between known and unknown songs kept the few-thousand crowd waiting for the foot stomping melodies that put them on the map, including ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘MY KZ, UR BF’.

The Vaccines took to the stage to top a successful first day at Boardmasters. Performing with full force they performed a mixture of tracks from their albums ‘Coming of Age’ and ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ Starting with the iconic record ‘Post Break Up Sex’ leapt the crowd into a full on hysteria, ensuring that the crowd were prepared for the following days ahead.

Saturday brought us back into reality and reminded us that we were actually in England with the rain but it wasn’t enough to deter anyone’s high spirits for the day ahead. Saturday certainly was the best day for the line-up, although it seemed that the hottest seats to be had were away from the main stage.

Taking to the stage were the several under the raider artists that left an overwhelming impact upon the crowd for all the right reasons. One of these were cheeky duo Man Like Me, who are perhaps most known for featuring in an Ikea advert. The only way to describe their set is that it was bonkers. A full array of colours, eccentricity and humour, Johnny Langer and Peter Duffy kept the crowd fully entertained with their interesting dance moves and near nudity. The upbeat drums and perky sync-style tunes are there to entertain. They may not have been everyone’s type, there wasn’t a single person not bobbing their head along to the infectious duo.


Clean Bandit was another group not to have been missed. The electric collective was a breath of fresh air with their organically built sound that fuses together strings, electronica and hip-hop, creating ‘classic-electronical doghouse’; as the group describes. Their multi-layered classically-influenced melodies and catchy numbers had the crowd moving from the moment the strings strummed. Noticeably the crowds favourite ‘Mozart’s House’ climaxed the performance. Its lively beat, seamlessly intertwined with a soaring violin melody, skilfully allowed the MC to glide over.  This collective are something special and a definite highlight of the weekend.

Clean Bandit

Ready to entertain, Basement Jaxx headed to the stage to top off a day that had been full of musical must sees. Their set was here to entertain with the stage filling up with props and spectacles including a giant robot, making those who weren’t into their music were unable to take their eyes off of the busy stage.

Playing a set filled with crowd favourites including ‘Good Luck’, ‘Romeo’ and ‘Red Light’, created a carnival like atmosphere that Notting Hill would be proud of. Basement Jaxx put the crowd into full party mood with a few mixes and new songs thrown into the mix, ensuring there was never a dull moment.  Finishing up with the popular hit ‘Where’s Your Head Out?’ it completed an incredible day of music.

With the sun shining, Saturday’s gloomy weather was a distant memory. The atmosphere shifted to a relaxed one, as the line-up was filled with chill out musicians with artists including Tom Odell, Cosmo Jarvis and headlining Ben Howard.

There has been huge amount of hype surrounding Tom Odell ever since the single ‘Another Love’ that had heads turning.  The festival seemed it’s busiest, with crowds gathering from late morning in anticipation for the arrival of Tom Odell and later on Ben Howard.

With crowds gathering at the front and hundreds relaxing and soaking up the sun Tom Odell took to the stage. Enchanting the crowd with his ardent vocals and boundless enthusiasm, Odell performed tracks taken from his debut album ‘Long Way Down’ before performing the endearing ‘Another Love’.  Unsurprisingly it received the greatest cheer, as those in the crowd sang along to the bounding chorus.

Cosmo Jarvis

Away from the main stage, Cosmo Jarvis headlined The View stage. Throughout the weekend the view stage has played host to a bundle of artists who are there to be listened to whilst lying in the sun. Whilst many took their seat for the performance, a large gathering began to form in anticipation for Cosmo.

At first glance, Cosmo is just your average busking artists with a slightly bewildering, just woken up look going on, but looks can be deceiving.  The moment he entered the stage and first played there was a major rush to the front, as a few-thousand rose from their seats to appreciate him. Cosmo Jarvis’ tracks are laden with wit and are made to be sung along with. A wide spectrum of styles from acoustic folk to harder edged rock riffs, topped with his powerful vocals, allows him to be easily enjoyed by many. Tracks included ‘She Doesn’t Mind’, a reggae-inflected, laid back, charming little number about perfect girl and the gentle finger plucking number, ‘Sure As Hell not Jesus’. Following the demand of the crowd, Cosmo ended his set with the witty ‘Gay Pirates’, a prejudice-smashing number with a toe-tapping, upbeat melody that conveys a touching story, highlighting Cosmo’s light-hearted charisma.

Topping the bill, twice Brit award winner in 2013, Ben Howard was one of the most current artists to be performing over the weekend. With a quick dash from the end of Cosmo Jarvis set there was an already large waiting crowd in front of the main stage.

The set list included tracks from the hugely successful ‘Every Kingdom’ and my personal favourite album of 2011. The swaying arms in the air style of slow, acoustic and lyrically strong tracks fully immersed the audience into relaxation. It seemed like the most appropriate way to end the festival and although different in every way to the previous sets it worked incredibly well.

Boardmasters has a unique little charm and it is only something you are able to see when you go to the festival yourself. The variety of the quality of music shown is appropriate for everyone and you may even find something you thought you would never like. It is for this reason I’ll be returning and I am positive many others will too.

 Becky Read  gets us prepared for Boardmasters Newquay taking place from 7th- 11th August. 

Sam Neil


The glistening Atlantic Ocean serves as a picturesque setting for Boardmasters Festival, Newquay. This unique surf and music festival, situated on UK’s answer to the California waves, offers challenging surf which makes Boardmasters surf competition one of the most exciting of the summer calendar. With a diverse music line-up, you have yourself a weekend not to be missed.

Fistral Beach was the setting for UWE’S very own surfing success at the Annual BUCS competition in October. It was on these waves that UWE Surf club were placed third in the men’s competition. According to UWE Surf’s Matthew Gardner “Surfing around Newquay is a brilliant experience” so you can only imagine how the pro’s perform.

Headlining the main stage at the spectacular Watergate Bay are critically acclaimed acts Ben Howard, who’s performance at this year’s Glastonbury captured the hearts and minds of the crowd, alongside Basement Jaxx and The Vaccines. Together with the 8 stages that span across the cliffs of Watergate Bay they offer a diverse range, allowing there to be something for everyone.

Also with the likes of Radio 1’s very own MistaJam, Everything Everything, Miles Kane, The Joy Formidable, Delphic, Tom Oddell, Fenech Soler, Swim Depp, Benga  (1 part of Magnetic Man), Majestic, Jakwob, We Are The Ocean, Dusky, Josh Kumra and Ferme La Bouche and many more.

Whilst at Fistral Beach, the shores will be transformed with boutique market stalls, art and the sell-out Marley Beach live music sessions from the likes of Steve Smith and The Lake Poets, creating celestial sounds for surf and music lovers to enjoy.

Fistral beach is set for plenty of action with the competition hotting up with some of the most exciting home grown surf talent. This year will see the legendary Men’s open with 2002 Boardmasters and twice UK Pro Tour champion Russell Winter and 2012 UK Pro champion Jayce Robinson hitting the waves. Whilst the women’s competition will also feature some of the finest with Keisha Eyre, the English women’s champion and UK Pro Champion 2012 Evie Johnson set to battle it out in the Women’s open. As well as this, the Men’s Longboard competition is looking to be a thrilling battle, with Ben Skinner, 7x European Longboard Champion competing against the English Longboard 2012 champion, Adam Griffiths. This will be a thrilling competition of athleticism and one not to be missed!

This year’s addition to the surf line-up will be the Pro Junior (Under 20’s) and Grom Masters (Under 16’s mixed competition), where Boardmasters will be showcasing the up and coming surfing champions of the future.

If you as excited by this as we are, Head over to to see the full line up and get your tickets!

Check back after the event, when I’ll have all the gossip, interviews and reviews from the weekend.


Rob Tibbles