Relentless Boardmasters 2010: Rated!
Fistral Beach, Newquay - 4-8 August
Howard Jones - 10 August 2010
Overall - 8/10
Festivals marrying extreme sports with music are growing in popularity and the formula works no better than at Boardmasters. The extreme sport competitions have been taking place all week at Fistral Beach, but the music hogs the limelight on Friday and Saturday at Watergate Bay.
The festival's real stars are the crowd, who squeeze excitement out of every act performing over the weekend, regardless of stage or time. The crowd keep up the good vibes and mosh in the right spirit, ensuring people leave with a smile on their faces and not blood.
Getting there and back - 7/10
Newquay has good train and bus connections but the Russian roulette of Sunday trains puts punters at risk of a nightmare journey home. The car is the safer bet - but that is when you park it away! The traffic in and around Newquay on festival days, means that using the regular reasonably-priced shuttle buses is vital to keeping festival-goers chilled, travelling between Fistral Beach and Watergate Bay.
The site - 9/10
The festival site is a ten-minute walk away from Watergate Bay, which gives the perfect excuse to hit the beach. The site has four music stages and numerous dance tents, so the acoustic View stage provides a welcome sanctuary from the action. The site may be fairly small and crammed full of stalls, fun rides and sport displays, but it is easy enough to escape the fun fair vomitters and dry humping teens by retreating to the campsite or View Stage.
An extreme sports festival should have an edge, but it never feels like boiling over, despite the high alcohol intake from a young crowd. There is good mix of people and the age range is wide. It seems like many of the younger fans are at their first festival and they are eager to go mental. The crowd's attitude means that many main stage acts are elevated into Rock God status for forty minutes. The sight of moshing to Example and bottle throwing to Seasick Steve tells it own story.
Music - 8/10
Headliners Leftfield and Newton Faulkner seem abandoned by the feverish young audiences, that gave acts like Example and Plan B huge responses earlier in the daytime. Chase & Status and a Pendulum DJ set, who replace Tinie Tempah, prove perfect acts for this festival crowd.
Three other stages give plenty of alternatives to the main stage pop, which makes flitting between the stages pretty addictive. Gallows and Chase & Status pack out the Relentless tent which is too small for such big names but it only adds to the hype of their sets. Four dance areas surface after the main music ends leaving people spoilt for choice going into the night.
Chase & Status - 10/10
The London production duo's graduation to festival A-Listers makes them Saturday's big hit. Multiple mosh pits flare up during a set full of modern dance anthems. Mali guest appears on stage for latest blockbuster 'Let You Go' and their remix of Nneka's 'Heartbeat' smashes the crowd before the set closes 'with 'Pieces'. Their DJ set that follows in the Relentless stage is sectioned off be security.
Gallows - 9/10
Gallows sound tight and together as they blow away any second album blues, romping through their two albums during a triumphant Relentless headline set. Super energised frontman Frank Carter instructs the crowd to make one massive circle pit during 'Abandon Ship' and then form human pyramids (“big fuckers at the bottom, yeah”) for 'I Dread The Night'. Epic stuff.
Plan B - 8/10
'The Defamation of Strickland Banks' provides the basis for the crowd-pleasing set with 'She Said' and 'Prayin' drawing huge cheers. A beat boxing buddy comes on stage to help him through a mash up of three dubstep tunes before Plan B performs an a cappella version of Seal's 'Kiss For A Rose' which precedes the final tear up for 'Stay Too Long'.
Seasick Steve - 8/10
The bluesman has fleshed out his sound for the bigger crowds but the charm remains. He serenades a girl on stage to 'Walking Man' and the use of his legendary three stringed guitar keep the crowd on side. He closes the set with his fabled story of leaving home at fourteen before rolling into 'Dog Boogie Blues', which has the crowd throwing every single beer bottle into the sky.
Ou Est Le Swimming Pool - 7/10
Ou Est Le Swimming Pool benefit from a main stage slot afternoon, despite admitting to nearly being late. 'Jackson's Last Stand' and 'These New Knights' whip up the crowd with their phat dance pop produced by just two singers and two synthesisers. Set closer 'Dance Way I Feel' proves why Ibiza have embraced these boys.
Fenech Soler 6/10
Fenech Soler are highly anticipated but their fate is sealed by a late stage switch. The four-piece electro band switch to Relentless, leaving behind an earlier slot on the buzzing main stage. The band will play to better crowds in the future as stormers such as 'Lies' struggle to ignite a half empty tent.
Example got the best (or worst) gift of the weekend when a dildo landed at his feet halfway through his set, to which he picked up and pointed at a lady at the front and asked: “Is this yours love?” A clear message being sent to Example maybe?
Tinie Tempah's no show on Friday kept many festival-goers entertained with stories of his whereabouts, whilst there was a bizarre Kings Of Leon guest appearance rumour spread about on the Saturday. A lot of alcohol had been consumed.
A final word to Headluv and Passman who kicked off the weekend on Friday morning. Their Euro pop cover of Soundgarden's 'Black Hole Sun' was unexpected genius. A great start to the festival.