Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Boardmasters 2014

Last weekend I headed to Boardmasters Festival in Newquay. This festival is based over two sites: Watergate Bay accommodates the main arena and music, along with the campsites, along with Fistral Beach five miles down the road. Fistral is home to surf competitions, traders and other entertainment. We arrived on Wednesday night, just in time to enjoy an amazing sunset in Watergate Bay. The festival is much more spread out than most I have been to, and has a great feel about it. The view over the top of the hill as you come into the area is breathtaking. I just generally like being near the sea!

Boardmasters is run by the same company as NASS Festival, which I wrote about here. As at NASS, the theme team did a great job of making the site look awesome, with loads of cool features and signage, including the Boardmasters logo made out of wood, with the beach as a backdrop, as you can see below.

I was working pretty solidly throughout the weekend, so didn't see much in the way of music. My friend Sam and I were pretty delighted to bump into Snoop Dogg though [sort of]. His personality was a bit flat! [sorry]. The main arena hosted loads of great traders and brands, including Neff, Movember, Havaianas and Coca Cola with their personalised bottle label machine, plus many others. The Co-operative 'tweet4aTable' campaign was there too, and we were pleased to win a table for four, with a free dinner by tweeting them! Sadly we didn't get to enjoy this amazing looking food, as the festival was closed down before we could eat this. Read on and I'll come back to this!

Myself, 'Snoop' and Sam

I was at Boardmasters to run the Headphone Disco shows in the public campsite. This ran for six hours each night from Thursday to Sunday, with up to 1,000 festivalgoers at one time enjoying music played over two wireless channels. We were kept very busy all weekend by a huge number of people partying with us. My crew of 28, including some very talented DJ friends made sure the shows ran very smoothly and they all worked very hard. We were one-in-one-out a few times and the DJs had a great time playing tunes to a very lively crowd, with a variety of genres including Chart, Dance, Party, Cheese, Drum and Bass, House, Trap, Dubstep and more.

On the first night, I thought I recognised a security guy who was working with us, and it turns out he had been on Take Me Out! His name was Ian and he is a bus driver by day. He sang Wheels On The Bus as his special skill, which you check check out on the [poor quality] video below! He says in his video that he enjoys a bit of DJing - perhaps I should offer him a set at Headphone Disco!

Ian from Take Me Out and myself. The high vis crew! 

DJ Emmerliejay and Tiger Lighting

We'd been hearing varied reports and rumours that bad weather was heading towards us, which was a knock on effect from Hurricane Bertha, which battered other parts of the World recently. Everyone kept saying "a hurricane is coming!" which seemed rather overdramatic. In the early hours of Sunday morning the weather did get pretty bad, with gale force winds damaging tents and structures at the festival. I was kept up for hours by the sound of the wind, before being woken up very early by our tent being snapped by the wind! We've had the tent for two years and it's been to over a dozen festivals with us, so we're pretty annoyed. Hopefully we can get a replacement pole rather than having to buy a complete new tent. 

RIP to our little canvas home :(

My girlfriend Emily tweeted a bit of a jokey tweet about the campsite being 'carnage', as everyone really was running around trying to peg their tents down to stop them getting blown around so much! Emily was joking when she said "pretty sure this is the end", implying the end of the World, but the reporter clearly thought she meant end of the festival. They used her photo too [see the purple broken tent in the article]. You can read the BBC News article here. 

At around lunchtime on the Sunday it was announced that the festival was cancelled, due to the wind creating health and safety issues in the main arena. Punters were encouraged to go home and there was a pretty quick exodus of the site. It was decided that they would keep the Headphone Disco tent open as planned in the public campsite, to entertain the festival-goers who were stranded due to trains or lifts being booked for the Monday. We were full all night and had a great time entertaining the remaining campers!

Someone using their tent as a kite!

Due to our tent being broken, we had decided that we would drive straight home at 2.30am, when we had finished packing up. We got in the van, which wouldn't start as it had a flat battery! After a very long day and barely any sleep the night before, I literally couldn't believe our bad luck. The campsite manager, some of the security staff and some lighting technicians all very helpfully pitched in to try and jump start the van, but the battery was flat as a pancake and wasn't going anywhere. I then called AA, who took over two hours to arrive, by which time it was my batteries that were also fizzling out! Once the AA guy had started the van, he said we couldn't turn the van off for around 30 miles, to allow the battery time to charge. We drove for around 35 miles, before finding a layby to sleep in for a couple of hours, at around 6.30am. Three of us slept in the front of the van, with me sleeping across the footwells! More comfortable than it sounds, but I won't be making a habit of it. 

Flat battery in the early hours of the morning :(

Boardmasters was a very long weekend for me, but very rewarding, as we had four very successful shows, that I am proud to have managed. Roll on next year!

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