Welcome to the vibrant world of Boardmasters, the UK's premier music festival that has been enchanting music enthusiasts and surf culture enthusiasts alike for decades! Back for their 2023 season with a huge lineup to wash waves over your auditory senses. This festival has its own unique place amongst the UK’s favourites, sitting in Cornwall’s idyllic coastal setting, there’s even time for surfing lessons in between the festival hangovers.
Founded in the early 1980s, Boardmasters was initially known as the "Unleashed Surf, Skate & Music Festival", It took root in the serene coastal town of Newquay, Cornwall, UK, a region renowned for its stunning beaches and world-class surf breaks. Over the years, the festival grew organically, blending together the exhilaration of surfing with the mesmerising rhythms of music, creating an event that became an annual pilgrimage for countless enthusiasts.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Boardmasters is its seamless fusion of music and surfing culture. As the festival evolved, it became synonymous with not just iconic music performances across various genres, but also with exhilarating surf competitions featuring some of the world's best wave riders.
Amongst some of our time-proven favourite artists, an eclectic mix from a UK festival exclusive appearance from Liam Gallagher to Little Simz to Rudimental, there’s a whole host of breakthrough and festival-seasoned artists playing for the tides. If you’re lucky enough to be heading to Boardmasters this year these are the acts to make sure you watch:
First up we’ve got Bear’s Den. This folk-rock duo from London has a wonderful range of music with a mixture of pulsing late-night-drive-80s-synth-head-nodders through to the deep-reaching and lyrically poetic pieces in their catalogue. Their newest album Blue Hours took shape through contemplative moments. It’s a showcase of what this duo have crafted consistently thus far, a soundscape for reflective moments of both the highlights and lows of life. One of the most captivating parts about Bear’s Den is the melodic rise and fall of both instruments and vocals, it seems only fitting to give them a listen live on the ebbing coastlines next to crashing waves and (hopefully) glorious sunsets. This is the sort of music that main characters arise from, so whether the festival season brings your old friends together, or new friendships form, romance, or heartbreak, maybe the next step a personal journey, Bear’s Den are a candidate to soundtrack this August’s memories. Catch them on The Land of Saints Stage on Saturday.
For an accelerated change of pace, catch Bob Vylan on Friday on The Land of the Saints Stage. Their eruptive punk-grime fusion is a new kind of sound for the era. It’s provocative. It’s loud. It’s a bold statement about the state of our society across multiple politically charged songs. Bob Vylan’s music will be ready for the mosh pits from the first track. Explosive, their energy on stage is erratic and memorable. With the duo made of up lead vocalist/guitarist Bobby Vylan and drummer Bobbie Vylan, both of whom give enough punch in the performance to power the entirety of Boardmasters festival. Whether you like it or not, Bob Vylan are the new generation of chaos and rebellion.
Our third act to watch out for is playing The Point on Saturday, if you need reset your cardiac rhythm with a splash of Dance music who better than TSHA? With a range of music to uplift the soul and dance the day away, each track has a collection of wonderful sounds that build and withdraw momentum to steer your emotions and energy, so expect to be expertly guided through every movement you feel inspired to bounce and sway into. A highlight of this set will be the way TSHA will encourage the crowd into seamless unison, with a shared energy rippling through with each pulse of her set.
A duo that has burst into the music scene are the outstanding Nova Twins, if somehow you haven’t heard of them yet, you definitely need to. Musical prowess and precision-cut stage performance is at the forefront of every show they put on. The pair have big energy and a sharp styled edge to their rock sound. Encouraging all motions of head banging through their powerful riffs and with bassist, South, tapping her pedals at lightning speed, the music takes a magnitude of shapes during each set they do. There is an immutable connection between Love and South as they play, their energy palpable across any sized stage or crowd, their music a product of instrumental and emotional artistry. Do not miss Nova Twins.
Before continuing with the last artist to watch here are some special mentions for the weekend: Four Tet for a special kind of trip, Sofi Tukker for a range of genre-merging dance music, Dermot Kennedy for powerful vocals that move you, and Black Honey for hooky indie melodies.
The fifth and final act to run to get a good spot for has to be Little Simz. The Islington-born hiphop artist is one of the defining voices of current music, with a distinct style not only in vocal sound but across the whole of their (rightfully) acclaimed discography. There is a reason Ajikawo is so highly decorated (having won a Mercury Prize for her fourth album ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’ and a BRIT Award for Best New Artist are only a couple of examples from 2022 alone). Little Simz owns the stage during live performances, with an unmistakable swagger in movement and lyrical flow, she clearly enjoys the process of playing shows. Make sure to catch her set on the Main Stage on Saturday.
This year’s Boardmasters is definitely one to remember, the lineup is phenomenal and boasts plenty of range to explore most musical interests and tastes. Mix the acts with sea, sand and the Cornish coast, there isn’t a much better setting this summer for UK festivals.
See you at the front! Tickets are still on sale! find them here