RouteNote and the Sessions team made their way to the Cornish coast to spend a weekend with artists from around the world amongst one of the most magnificent festival celebrations around.
Music festivals are the light that keeps so many of us going, waiting year round for the season to begin when you roll out the sleeping bags, load the car with cans, and make the journey to the field becoming your home for the weekend. Every now and again a festival stands out amongst the crowds of great festivals and goes beyond the music and dancing to become something so much more – encapsulating you in a pop-up community for 3 days.
What the Tropical Pressure team creates every year is without a doubt one of those stand-out festivals. Imbued with the passion and creativity of every single person involved, Tropical Pressure lights up the north coast of Cornwall with a blazing array of colour that sets the stage for a plethora of incredible and unique artists coming from the far-reaching corners of the world.
The festival is all about celebrating world culture by bringing music and people from some of the planet’s furthest corners to join the people of Tropical Pressure. Each day is unique and fascinating in their own right.
The weekend begins with Latin American day on Friday. Tropical Pressure has become renowned for its ability to bring the sun out no matter what the week before has brought. Though the sun had a long lie-in before peeking out on the first day this year, the festivities began in riotous fashion. As the gates opened and the music started it was clear to see the festival was in for another incredible weekend of whirling to tunes with far-reaching smiles.
The crowds near the main stage found themselves parted by a line of drums. Led by dancers in beautiful dresses, the drumming waved its way through the audience and made their way on stage to perform as the incredible DakaDoum. Truly a roaring introduction to the incredible sets to come from the weekend.
As Friday went on, so did more and more artists hailing from Colombia to Japan, Malaysia and further. Highlights taking to the beautifully decorated main stage include the raucous La-33, the very talented Malphino, Mira Mundo, Penya, and many more amazing acts.
Take a walk up the sensory overload of the food alley, sitting just up from the main stage, and you find delectable delights of delicacies spanning the continents. There are too many food stalls to try in just one weekend, which is a true shame as it’s all delicious.
After passing through the tasty temptations a secret pathway transports you to the other side of the festivities. Here you can go up the hill to the gorgeous amphitheatre where bands take to a more intimate yet none-the-less exciting stage to jump around under canvas or sit on the hill and look out over the gorgeous surroundings.
Africa is the culture of choice for Saturday and saw artists from all over busting out incredible poly-rhythms that no sensible feet could resist moving along to. Amazing performances included the jumping bass playing of Kongo Dia Ntotila, the wow-ing stage presence of Pat Kalla, and fantastic shows from
Têtes de Pois, The Scorpios and many more.
Move into the night and glowing mushrooms erupt from the ground, projections light up walls and ceilings and the tunes evolve into a mixture of psychedelic greatness made for dancing long into the night.
You can travel between the fabled Fandangos dancehall, swimming through a hall of glowing jellyfish as incredible DJs like Nickodemus and Edna Martinez sparking up the sound systems. Head back to the amphitheatre for a transformed experience with an awning covered in the lights of trippy paint effects and lose yourself to a selection of psych-beats to keep you waving until the early hours.
Once the evening’s acts have died down there’s no rest for the wicked, unless you want to head back to your tent and drift into the quiet of the night. A campfire by the main coffee site keeps burning into the night with an unlimited stream of chilled reggae beats and enough hot drinks to keep the festival moving to the sunrise.
The final day awoke with sunshine falling down across the entire grounds. Where Fandangos had been pumping in the shadows, it was now a bright musical room that became the setting for a variety of dancing workshops. Groups huddled together to follow the rhythms and learn traditional African dancing, salsa and more over the weekend.
Outside Fandangos there was even more to discover on the Sunday as stalls lined the walls. From quirky creations from waste, fitting the heavy ecological focus Tropical Pressure has, to unique foods from the cultures on display – it was a mini-market of many mystical manners.
The order of the day for Sundays at Tropical Pressure is the bright music of the Caribbean. This year saw acts like Samson Sounds who, despite their Scottish origins, find their musical roots from across the ocean. The amazing L’indigo brought the ethnic history and traditions of Reunion Island to the Cornish Isles, dub-fuelled Royal Sounds had the crowd pulsating, and The Bongo Hop were among many of the sounds that had the coast bouncing to top the festival off.
As L’indigo brought the day to a close the sun moved down the sky and dropped into the sea between the cove that sits below the festival. The beautiful sight eclipsed the feeling you get from a festival that is so passionate about creating something amazing.
Tropical Pressure is a festival that cares about the music, the people, and the culture. There’s no more to it and every cell of the weekend breathes the creative inspiration and pure passion that has been put into every element of this truly unique weekend.
Tropical Pressure is something you have to experience yourself to really understand and once you do, you’ll feel the draw back to it every single year.