It was the festival that almost didn’t happen………
Just days before Beach Break Live was due to set up councillors in Cornwall did a U-turn and decided the festival would not take place on their turf. But despite this catastrophic turn of events the organisers managed to shift the whole event some 300 miles to Port Lympne.
The last minute venue change for the festival undoubtedly left the organisers in a flurry, but the new venue was next to a safari park, and I was told we would get free admission, which was a lovely touch to add to a music festival.
On arrival at the site we were greeted by hundreds of pyjama clad euphoric students. The layout of the festival was impressive for a relatively small venue, there seemed to be a lot on offer. As we arrived so late (11pm) we didn't have much of an opportunity to look round the site, but I was definitely excited at the prospect of getting acquainted with the venue in the morning.
The only problem we had with the first few hours was the apparent disorganisation of the security team. Nobody seemed to know what the different wristbands (red, green, white, yellow) actually meant, and once in we were told we could not go back to our car to collect things. We were also originally sent to set up our tent in a field with nothing in it! It was a nice surprise, but alas we had been sent to the wrong place. After putting our tent up in the dark (and drizzling rain) we ventured out to look for a toilet. Despite having VIP tickets, there we only four available between some several hundred production staff, not ideal but they were still clean.
When I woke up I found to my delight that the campsite had a shower that we hadn’t spotted the night before! Unfortunately my excitement was slightly premature as was actually out of order! Oh dear.
Next I decided to have a good walk around the site and see what delights it had to offer its joy-seeking students. There was a good selection of food outlets, including North African cuisine, a stand offering mashed potato with various combinations and a good range of organic produce was on offer. I could see a Ferris wheel in front of me, nearby was the 'Lost gardens' a place where you could make masks for a £2 donation to Shelter. It also offered various workshops, and 'Granny's gaff', a cinema today's offering was 'The Goonies'. There was a hot tub, “open from 11.30 until they run out of water” the sign told me, there was also a massage therapy tent, which I was sure would come in handy for all those aching muscles.
As I walked further I reached 'Chai Wallah's' a tempting sign offered’Herbal Emporium- incense, healing teas, super foods and herbal shots.’ This open walled tent also had some excellent music on offer.
Close by there was a Vintage fashion tent that sold clothes, and there was a stimulating sculpture of a tree made out of lots of coloured wires, there were different coloured lights attached to it that lit up when it got dark, this made it eye catching. There was also a skate park and a graffiti wall, both showed how much talent was on show here. There was an artificial beach, (a nice touch given the late change of the venue), and people could play volleyball as though they were at the seaside, occasionally taking a break to relax on the windbreakers set at the side.
There were various tents offering a range of different music. As well as the main stage, there was The Residential Dance Home, Forest of Kernow (mainly DJ’s), The Boat (Mainly new bands and bands playing extra sets), ACM Presents Club Tropicana – (hosting some the UK's best new bands), and the Moustache Bar offering a wide range of acts including workshops, Burlesque shows and comedians (compulsory moustache painting before entering).
As we walked towards the main stage, the first band to appear were The Baker Brothers, the female singer Laura Brophy had a very powerful voice, and also a very alluring swimming costume over a pair of leggings. There was quite a nice sized crowd considering it was the first band of the day.
The next band we watched completely bowled me over. The Red Light Company. As they broke into their first song the people at the front immediately began singing along. As the set continued, more and more people began moving towards the front. As the lead singer Richard Frenneaux announced the next song would be 'Arts and crafts' the fans at the front started dancing. Red Light Company have been named as one of the hottest new bands of 2009 by both NME and HMV, I can absolutely see why.
In between the music we decided to check out what else was on offer. We were drawn to ‘The Mighty Cornish Goblet’ (in Kent). This consisted of various hilarious events students could take part in, either individually or as part of a team. The events included a Zorb assault course, 3 Legged rounders and a Blind folded long jump. These events were so much fun to watch and participate in (by the looks on the students faces).
The next act I really enjoyed was the multi talented recording artist, songwriter and producer VV Brown. There was a slight delay to her coming on stage, so people began chanting her name. As she bounded on stage full of energy and charisma, (sporting her trademark hairstyle) it was clear that her waiting audience had forgiven her. It was obvious the crowd adored her as she broke into 'Shark in the water'. Brown is a real joy to watch and sounds impeccable live. The crowd applauded as she announced the next song would be a cover of Kings of Leon's 'Use somebody' "the most watched youtube video in the world three weeks ago" the fans absolutely loved it!
Earlier in the day I had met a lovely young man named Mike Baker from a band called the 'Felix Fables' trying to entice people to their gig that evening, so we decided to check them out later. The 'Felix Fables' are a delightful band, their fun and catchy folkesque songs attracted smiling people in for a dance. The thing I liked about this band was that their music was accessible and upbeat and the members were really enjoying themselves, smiling throughout. Mike Young's voice has real similarities to David Gray. A really lovely atmosphere, I left the tent smiling.
Friendly Fires attracted a large crowd, and quite bizarrely before the band came on a 'Yorkshire chant' ensued, as a Yorkshire girl, not what I was expecting in Kent! This is the second time I have reviewed 'Friendly Fires' and the third time I have seen them, they still blow me away every time! Ed Macfarlane had his usual exuberant dancing on tap. They performed all the hits including 'Lovesick' and 'Jump in the pool' followed by 'Photo booth' The lead singer announced that the song is about "leaving university to a life of pain and strife" that made me giggle.
The highlight of the Tuesday for me was definitely a band called 'The Vintones' I saw them by chance, as a student came up to me and recommended them, he had seen them before and claimed "they were so good I got my c**k out" - interesting I thought, so I decided to give them a go. ‘The Vintones’ are an active high-energy band. Their style is similar to the 'Yeah Yeah Yeahs' - the four members all dressed in yellow, with yellow slashes across their faces. The female lead singer Kirsty Trice has amazing energy. The band is a fresh sounding blend of dance and rock. I would recommend anyone to check out their music on their myspace. I already have!
Today’s headliners 'Mystery Jets' attracted a drunk but happy crowd of students having the time of their lives, after such a brilliantly scorching day, everyone was pleased with the way the day finished.
While watching the band I got chatting to Stuart Rescolla. Stuart won a VIP ticket through Facebook! It was a good opportunity to get some information from a student point of view on how the change of venue affected them. Unfortunately Stuart told me that a few of his friends were unable to go to the festival, despite having tickets, as it is too expensive for them to travel there as they live in Cornwall (the original venue).
Today we took advantage of the free Zoo visit included in the ticket price. This was a really nice touch and the vast majority of students seemed to do the same. While checking out a rather fruity looking Ostrich we spied the Zutons having their own personal safari experience!
As we arrived back at the venue we were in for a real treat. On the main stage the ACM Gospel choir were taking place. As they began their performance the relatively large crowd (for the first act of the day) began cheering and dancing. They began with a cover of ‘Begging’, which sent the crowd into an elated trance. As they finished, the crowd were chanting “more”, to which the lead turned to the side of the stage, got the go ahead, and they burst into song once again, much to the delight of the crowd. I could hear people gasping in amazement as a solo female stepped forward and preceded to give a mesmerising performance, as she hit the top notes the crowd started screaming and applauding her, before the rest of the choir joined in. When they finished, they all danced off the stage to whistles and cheers. A truly uplifting start to the day.
This festival really has one of the nicest atmospheres I have ever experienced. The students were so friendly and I have did not witnessed any problems at all, it really seemed like a community, everyone was really happy and relaxed. I was even propositioned by a student asking for a dance, I felt slightly disorientated after being swung round for the tenth time, but the light hearted carefree fun was lovely.
Later on in the day was Dan Black’s turn on the stage. Unfortunately there seemed to have been a mix up on the programme, as it said he would be on at 6.20, when it was actually 4.20. It is a shame the crowd isn’t bigger, I am guessing from the time mix up, as he is exceptionally good at electronic rock. He announces “this is cool, it’s like being at a village fete”
The next act was one I have seen a couple of times before and always look forward to: The Cuban Brothers. They entered the stage with their trademark flamboyant dancing, dressed in sequined short suits and bright orange suits. As always, the Cuban Brothers put on a well-rehearsed act and had the crowd in stitches with their sexual innuendo. The lead singer declares “this evening we are doing it for Susan Boyle”, and proceeds to tell his adoring crowd that he has recently taken her virginity. There were windmills and human bongos, break dancing, and spinning on their heads. They each had a unique dance “for James Brown”; then some freestyle contemporary dancing. Brilliant. At the end of the set the lead singer took off all his clothes and jumped naked into the crowd, before running around and posing naked for photos near the VIP entrance. Absolutely hilarious!
Next was Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. The crowd surged over when they heard the lead singer start, people were chanting the lines from his songs right from the start. It was clear there were some real fans there. They got a really good reaction from the crowd. The atmosphere at the front was good, no pushing and there was enough space for people to dance comfortably. The crowd sang along as they played ‘Thou shall not kill’
“Welcome to Beach Break” Hadouken shouted as they took to the stage. A few members of the crowd began screaming, assisted by two thunderbirds and a group of neon clad ladies jumping around erratically. It became apparent that this band has a large following at the festival, heads were bobbing and people were hopping about. Security looked in control throughout the festival, keeping on top of crowd surfers and inflatables flying about. One daring crowd surfer was handed to the stage carrying a deck chair. The security team were quick to remove him, so that nobody was mistakenly hurt. The lead singer demanded a mosh pit circle at the front and the crowd obliged, with the guitarist throwing himself into the crowd for good measure. They did a cover of Nirvana’s ‘Smells like teen spirit’, which went down a storm.
Wednesday’s headliners were ‘The Zutons’ who received a warm reception. Their first offering ‘Why won’t you give me your love’ got the crowd going. I was unable to get that near the front for this one, due to the sheer amount of people!
We ended the evening with a spot of burlesque dancing performed to a packed tent in the Moustache Bar. Two Burlesque acts got the students excited with their sultry moves, it was so busy the security refused to let anyone else in!
At the end of the evening we went back to the tent and spotted three people acting suspiciously in the empty field behind us. They seemed to be hiding behind a tree. Concerned for our safety (and the rest of the people in the VIP area as there was so much expensive equipment around) we reported it to the security team. They assured us that they would look into it and send a dog team to have a closer look. Unfortunately as far as it seems, nothing was ever done.
We kicked off our Thursday with ‘The Hitchcock Rules’ As they finished their first song they announced that they had free CD’s of ‘ For my monster’ to give away, which meant I had to get up very quickly before getting trampled on. People were literally sprinting to the front! The band were impressive and I really enjoyed their show.
Our next act of the day really caught my eye. A Texan named ‘Rodney Brannigan’ Very unique, and impossibly talented. He performed covers of the Beatles classic ‘Come together’ and Johnny Cash’s ‘Rusty Cage.’ People started to chant and began line dancing at the front. This guy can play the guitar unbelievably fast! At the end of his set he played with two guitars, one balanced on its side on top of the other one and finished with a rendition of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’.
Later on we headed to the ‘Shaken Udder’ milkshake stand. Behind the counter ‘Howie’ very kindly gave us a couple of milkshakes to try. We opted for a Hob Nob and a Milky Way shake. They were to die for and Howie kindly gave us a couple more to try. Shaken Udder travel round festivals all summer, so if you get the opportunity to buy one at your next festival I would really recommend them.
Next up was ‘Killa Kela’, joined on stage by ‘DJ Skeletrik’. Killa Kela is a resoundingly talented human beat box. He performed MCing, ultra- realistic vocal scratching, body popping and imitations of popular songs, on this particular occasion his set included ‘Milkshake’ by Kelis. The final night was fancy dress night. We saw a very happy Teletubby dancing like his life depended on it and quite frankly the best fancy dress outfits I have ever seen. A group of guys dressed up as crayons! Killa Kela is astoundingly good at what he does and I was very impressed. Towards the end of the set the famous Beach Break Live ‘Unmissable Paint Fight!’ began. It was really fun to watch, with neon paint being thrown everywhere.
As the most eagerly anticipated act of the festival ‘Dizzee Rascal’ took to the stage we had to head for the VIP area to stand on a chair, as it was so busy there was absolutely no way we could get anywhere near the front. As sirens blazed out Dizzee announced “This is the Beach Break Live festival B**ch!” to rapturously deafening applause. He began with a version of the Ting Ting’s That’s Not My Name, to which he asked the crowd “what’s my name?” The crowd scream “Dizzee” although I cheekily feel like shouting ‘Dylan Mills’(this is his real name).
Dizzee diligently asked that the crowd “be careful with the moshing at the front, we don’t want anyone to die” The atmosphere is electric as he breaks into ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’, before testing a new song, a remake of the old school dance tune ‘Money talks’, by this point I was having a precarious dance stood on the edge of my chair, trying not to fall off. Next he dedicates ‘Flex’ to all the sexy ladies in the crowd. During ‘Dance Wiv Me’ security sprayed water out from the front of the stage, to cool people down. The last song ‘Bonkers’ got an intense reaction from the crowd, the atmosphere was electric! From my chair I could see people for what seemed like miles. All I could see was a sea of heads bouncing up and down. An absolutely brilliant finish to the festival!
We eventually retired to our tent, tired, sunburnt and half deaf, but so happy we were there to witness an absolutely fantastic festival!
If you are a registered member of Safeconcerts you can submit your article or reviews. You will need to be logged in, and your article will not show until it has been approved.