Ripcurl Boardmasters Unleashed 2008

United Kingdom United Kingdom | | 10 August 2008

Overall - 7/10

With a perfect vista of Newquay's legendary coastline and the right level of sun:cloud ratio, Watergate Bay was the very epitome of a summer music festival. As far as line up's go, kudos goes to the organisers. Shoe-horning rock, chill and dance into a 2-day festival is no easy task but all credit where it's due, the line-up held something for everyone.
 
Getting there & back – 8/10

With free buses running from Newquay and surrounding areas and decent sign-posting on the relevant roads, getting to and 'fro was no chore. It was up to you whether you opted to park in nearby areas and opt to walk/bus to the main site or go straight for one of the site's own car parks. One nice touch was a charge for cars carrying less than 4 people – encouraging car sharing and, one can hope, a lighter carbon footprint.

The Site - 8/10

Well laid out, extremely friendly and helpful security staff and loads of toilets. In short, it was nearly perfect. I can't think of any real negative points. The stages (3 in all) were well enough spaced-out so not to bleed sound between each other. If I had to find a single negative point, it was a definite lack of seating/chill points. Of course you had the option to sit on the floor but a few benches wouldn't have gone amiss.

Atmosphere – 7/10

In a nutshell, pretty good. Friendly security staff most definitely lend to a better festival atmosphere. With near-enough ideal weather conditions, the choice of 3 music stages, a wakeboard run, motocross display and mountain-bike display, there was rarely a moment that left anyone boared. Unless you were queuing for drinks and tokens...

Music - 8/10

Uppers

Natty – With the sun shining and rich-blue skies, a reggae-set was bound to be a crowd pleaser. It's refreshing to witness an act who are both as happy to play as the crowd are to watch and who display a great deal of humility.

Morcheeba - Stepping onto the stage, Morcheeba kick things into touch quite nicely by starting their set with “By The Sea”. Ironically, they were. With an early-evening seascape as a backdrop, there couldn't have been a more apt time and place.

Audio Bullys – With a massive crowd screaming “Bang, bang. My baby shot me down”, the 'Bullys managed to pull off a very energetic set that left many breathless just watching. A definite crowd pleaser.

Groove Armada – It might be unfair but two things took the edge off of this set; over 20 minutes waiting for them to appear and then having to stare intently into the near-unlit set to see what was happening (not that the experience is to be had in watching the 'Armada). Having said that, you can't argue with the weight of the 'Armada's tunes and all was forgiven as soon as they decided to step on-stage. Highlight track was 'My Friend'. A well chosen headline-act for sure.

Other highlights

Wet T-shirt contest – What sort of event would it be without some kind of display from the ladies. Wet T-Shirts & buckets of water were a-plenty and seemed to bode well with an almost exclusively male crowd... go figure.

Freestyle Motocross - A daring display of balls as some of the UK's most talented riders took it in turns to superman, lazy-boy and can-can over the seemingly tiny ramps. The crowd were treated to some impressive stunts including several back-flips.

Downers

Asides from a number of acts having dropped out of the line-up for various reasons, there wasn't much to grumble at.
I'm going to force myself to find a moot point and that will be the long wait for both Groove Armada and second-stage headliners, The Holloways. Despite both acts seemingly taking a lifetime to arrive, all was forgiven as soon as the first notes were pumped through the sound systems.

by Simon Clement-Hawes

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Photographer: Marc Broussely

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