Imagine a world where books blossom from trees, buildings come alive and every little road you venture down leads to something exciting. I found myself absorbed in this world for a weekend at The Great Estate Festival in Cornwall, UK.
The festival itself was set on Scorrier Estate grounds, centered around an 18th century manor house and featured an array of performances from music to comedy, poetry to fiery burlesque shows; something for every taste.
Upon entering the grounds you are led down a long and winding path. Straying from the path, you arrive at a secret serene gin garden where the sun constantly shone and you could prepare yourself for the events to come. Not too far from there I stumbled across a humble setting of an outdoor bedroom where poetry was being held in the afternoons.
The three-day event was focused around the music, performances were split between two stages and an additional, mystical tent ominously named ‘The Portal’. At first I wasn’t sure where The Portal was, then out of nowhere I was drawn through it and found myself dancing to an amazing mix of the Talking Heads classic Once in a Lifetime from Hong Kong Ping Pong. The Portal also hosted a film screening with a Q and A session of Brown Willy, a comedy about two school friends who go on a disastrous stag weekend across Bodmin Moor. In the midst of that you could witness enthralling dance performances and DJ’s.
On the main stage we were graced with phenomenal shows from Dr. Meaker – The Bristol based sound system made up of electronic and acoustic musicians, Echo and the Bunnymen – The iconic and inspirational post punk group, and Craig Charles’ Funk and Soul Show. There were also other amazing artists like Showhawk Duo, bringing us 90’s club classics on two acoustic guitars and Meadowlark, a pair feeding you thick indie electronic sound.
Over in Madam Wong’s House of Wrong we were treated to the freshness of the BBC introducing stage, which hosted intimate acoustic shows from King Creature, Rosie Crow and Daisy Clark. Throughout the day the stage hosted comedy shows and a performer who mashes up vintage circus style with fire and burlesque, Talulah Blue. All the while this was going on you could book yourself in for a tattoo.
As dusk came closer, this tent got wilder with hard-hitting performances from RSVP Bhangra who gave out sonic hugs left, right and centre and guided you through the Bollywood-Dub experience. WAXX left us wanting more of their engaging mix of grungy pop punk. Bringing the festival to a close and headlining the second stage was If I Were King, a trio of amazing musicians delivering heavy bass lines with live looped hang drums, keys and synth wrapping around vocals and guitar; they’re like the soundtrack to a lucid dream.
There were many other things to keep you occupied over the weekend and plenty for the little ones too like face painting, bouncy castles and silent discos. The Sanctuary invited you to join in with morning yoga and chakra cleansing workshops and delicious, earth friendly treats from Archie Browns and the Nature Kitchen. Throughout the festival you could indulge in some vintage attire, hand-made jewellery all while witnessing camel races and Cornish wrestling.
It’s safe to say that for a festival in its first year, it went down as a blazing success and the organisers are already planning next year’s endeavors. For more information visit greatestatefestival.co.uk. There’s still plenty of festivals left this year in Cornwall alone from Electric Beach Festival based on Great Western beach in Newquay to the renowned Boardmasters Festival, there’s still enough time to get involved.