Best Festivals In Cornwall

James

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James

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Instead of going to the usual holiday destinations or party hotspots, head over to Cornwall for a thrilling experience.

You might be wondering, what’s so special about this small county? Although Cornwall is laid-back, it has a vibrant party culture in several cities that most people don’t know about.

Luckily, we have picked out the best places to spend an enjoyable weekend with your family or go wild at night with friends. Read this guide and pack your bags this summer! 

Best Festivals In Cornwall

Here is a list of the top festivals you can attend in Cornwall.

1. Tunes In The Dunes

Between the 12th and 14th of May every year, Perranporth Beach in Cornwall is transformed from its usual relaxed vibe and sun-tanned tourists to a festival of song and dance. We are talking about the Tunes In The Dunes music festival, one of the biggest parties in the county.

Park your car behind the Co-Op and head to the golden sands of the beach for an unforgettable experience. It’s one of the most popular music festivals, where you can enjoy live music from The Kaiser Chiefs, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boys, or the Queen cover band.

The stunning scenery heightens the atmosphere because as the live bands hit their tunes, the waves crash in the background, and you can feel the sand shifting under your feet. And if you get hungry from all the dancing and singing, food stalls stationed at the side of the arena serve up delicious cuisines.

Among other options, you can treat yourself to fresh seafood and pizzas. 

2. Rattler Fest

If you have managed to leave the kids in the care of their grandparents, head over to Penhallow in Healey’s Cider Farm to let your hair down. This is the scene of the Rattler Fest, which takes place in the 3rd week of April and is an adults-only music festival running for 3 days.

This song festival is unique and caters to people with different tastes in music, combined with fun and games. Apart from live music, you can enjoy silent disco and musical acts from celebrity DJs who take the experience to a new level.

We guarantee you won’t party like this in Cornwall, as the setting is complete with fairground rides and Rattler Olympics. In other words, you have plenty of ways to make your inner child happy by riding bumper cars or dunking for apples.

3. Porthleven Food Festival

If you are in Porthleven and looking for a break from music festivals in Cornwall, head over to the Porthleven food festival. This three-day event occurs in Porthleven Harbour, with all the roads closed for non-residents.

So, how will you reach it? You can access the car park near the event, take public transport, or walk or cycle to the venue. This is a family-friendly festival, and once there, you can sample street food from around the world. 

Porthleven Harbour is the perfect backdrop as you walk through the different stalls and wagons. Some items on offer include pizza, Cornish cakes, ales and spirits, American grill, etc.

You can also take part in cooking demos from chefs and workshops, while the organisers hold disco parties and other music events at night for the guests.

4. Rock Oyster Festival

At the Dinham House Estate In Wadebridge, music lovers and foodies mingle together to enjoy a one-of-a-kind celebration. This is the Rock Oyster Festival that promises an action-packed weekend for everyone, thanks to several high-profile artists performing at the venue.

The Big Moon, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Chic, and Nile Rodgers have all headlined the event in the past, with other popular artists and established bands also taking the stage. So, while music lovers groove to their favourite tunes, they can head to the chef stalls to try lip-smacking cuisines from Michelin-star chefs.

You can even ask for cookery demonstrations to see how different recipes are made. After all the singing and dancing, guests can go to Mussel Beach and coasteering for SUP yoga.

5. St Ives September Festival

For a large part of September, St Ives hosts one of the best music festivals in Cornwall. Going on for 2 weeks, the September Festival attracts large crowds, and car parks have been known to fill up fast. 

This is because you will find a fusion of live music shows, theatre, poetry, comedy, and open studios. It has become the cultural hub of Cornwall, and people can walk down cobbled paths or the scenic harbour to find artists playing inside cafes or street corners. 

But if you want to witness high-profile artists in action, go to Guildhall. Guests can choose from ticketed and free events by looking at the schedule on the website.

6. Eden Sessions

Eden Sessions gets its name from the venue Eden Project, which organises some fantastic music shows throughout the summer, starting in May. The place is strewn with illuminated biomes like giant disco balls and serves as the ideal backdrop for the concerts.

You can watch famous singers and artists performing popular songs, with even international singers participating in the music festival. This eclectic mix of music and guests will be a dream come true for every music lover as the line-ups get bigger and better towards the latter end of the year.

Artists like Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson, and The War on Drugs have taken to the stage in the past.

7. Boardmasters Festival

Want to enjoy delicacies from the world food market, the highs of a music festival, and the energy of dance festivals all in one? There’s no better place than the broadcasters festival, which takes place in Newquay and is considered one of the most popular festivals in Cornwall.

Tourists from around the world stream into Newquay town centre to be part of the festivities and can also surf the waves. The organisers built 7 stages and have a silent disco, so you are destined to have a good time.

Liam Gallagher, Florence And The Machine, etc., have performed at Boardmasters in the past, or visitors can head over to Fistral Beach. Here they can check out the pop-up stalls or sit on the sand and enjoy the Boardmasters OPEN, where people display incredible skills with their boards.

8. Great Estate Festival

Another one of the well-known music festivals is the Great Estate Festival, which is organised in Scorrier House, Redruth. You can travel by train with the stations at Redruth and Truro barely 15 minutes away, or park your car in the estate.

In this garden gathering, you will be treated to live music, with several performances happening around the ground simultaneously. Famous numbers from Primal Scream, Elvis, Nirvana, and Elvana will get the crowd banging their heads and swaying their hips.

People can even play garden games or go to wild gin foraging shops. Moreover, the numerous food stalls will keep all the family members happy throughout the weekend.

9. Panda Fest

Panda Fest is a grass-roots music festival with top-notch food and drinks to keep everyone entertained. Much like Pandas, this music festival may look cute from the outside, but there’s a lot of fun happening on the ground.

It takes place over 2 days in Bodmin, with the food and music going hand-in-hand. Some of the best touring bands visit the event along with food traders, who travel miles to serve tasty items. 

You can also camp on the grounds or enjoy with your family in the campervan.

10. Cornwall Folk Festival

A slightly smaller event than other music festivals, this Cornwall music festival still has its charm. When you want to get away from modern-day songs and reminisce about folk music, go to Wadebridge in August.

Several stages across multiple venues host more than 70 acts. Here you can enjoy traditional genres like alt-rock or Americana while learning more about folk music.

11. Falmouth Oyster Festival

Falmouth Oyster Festival is the place to be if you like local music and seafood. This 4-day carnival takes place in August, near the harbourside car park on Church Street.

The main attraction of the festival is the delicious oyster dishes, which you can enjoy with live music and other fun activities. As the live bands perform on stage, you can treat yourself to the local Fal Oyster cuisine. 

Apart from the bands, many comedians visit the Oyster Festival, and in 2023, the event will complete 25 years. So, expect something grand! 

12. Bude Jazz Festival

People who love jazz music and identify as jive bunnies or cool cats should check out the Bude Jazz Festival. Between August 29 and September 1, you will experience the madness surrounding jazz music in Bude, Cornwall.

This annual gathering welcomes bands from miles away, and 80 concerts play out in various venues. Even tourists come to the North Coast to attend this music festival, with some loyalists attending the jazz fest every year.

13. Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival

For 3 days, throughout Falmouth, you can groove to the infectious tune and vibe of sea shanties with a glass of ale. Sing at the top of your voice, bellowing with passion, in this picturesque South Cornwall setting, which makes this one of Europe’s largest song and free nautical music festivals.

2023 promises a fantastic line-up of artists, especially after last year’s online event. So, sing loud and drink deep with live performances from The Oggymen, Fishermen’s Friends, Longest Johns, and more.

14. Royal Cornwall Show

The Royal Cornwall Show is one of the biggest annual events in the county, being held for the past 200 years. It showcases the best of Cornish agriculture, shopping, entertainment, competition, and food for 3 days of the year.

The bespoke festival site also offers a fantastic chance to meet old friends while viewing animals from across the country. You can also go to the food stalls, promoting Cornish drinks and food, while other areas of the Royal Cornwall showground hold a cider-making competition in fine style. 

Moreover, you can find everything at the trade stands, including cars, furniture, fudge, cheese, etc., so every day here promises a different experience.

15. Falmouth Week

For 9 days, Falmouth becomes a brimming kettle full of vibrant culture, live music, sailing, and pink wigs. This is Falmouth Week, which transforms the waterside town into a big stage, which helps the fundraiser generate funds and raise awareness for breast cancer. 

Every day presents new sights and sounds to entertain you while participating in a noble cause. You will find food vendors selling a wide range of items, and at night time, party-goers can reminisce over 80s and 90s music.

Those were the heydays of pop, and the week-long celebrations ended with a firework display. There are even parades and aerial displays from the Red Arrows.

16. Leopallooza

The Wyldes in Week St Mary hosts Leopallooza, regarded by many as the greatest house party. It’s organised in a field for 3 days, and the summer festival consists of singing, dancing, and head-banging to popular tracks.

You can also enjoy comedy shows or participate in yoga. In the past, Seasick Steve, Rag’n’Bone Man, and Bastille have performed live acts and this year, over 100 acts are lined up.

Visit this garden party with family, friends, or kids for the whole weekend.

Cornwall Festivals For Every Mood

Cornwall is a scenic county with its watergate bay, tree-filled Cornish Valley, and other attractions that bring tourists from across the world and Celtic nations.

But if you want to let your hair down and have fun, head over to one of these parties and experience the vibe of a place like never before. There are several activities to keep you interested and relaxed over the weekend.

So, recharge, sing out loud, and dance your heart out, for the night is always young in Cornwall!

About The Author


James

Reviewed by

James

James is a writer who is a self-confessed kitchenware and coffee nerd and a strong advocate of Sundays, good butter, and warm sourdough.