FestivalsLive Reviews

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Boardmasters 2022

Photo Credit: Caitlyn Ebsworthy & Jack Delve

Boardmasters; a festival that has previously been plighted by the weather certainly wasn’t in 2022. The sun was out and so were the vibes, checking into the festival there were herds of people heading towards the beach for a break from the blinding sunlight which we thought might deter people from being out until the evening, but we were pleased to see festival site was already bustling by the time we arrived at 11am and it wasn’t long before the tents and stages started to pack out ahead of a busy weekend of music.


Friday found us heading straight into the second stage to catch The Velvet Hands’ set. This wasn’t our first time seeing the band as they played at Sheb Festival last summer, clearly leaving a lasting impression we were excited to catch them here on a larger stage. Initially hailing from St Austell, Boardmasters is as close to a hometown show as they can get. The band enjoyed interacting with each other and are seemingly well-gelled as a group. Strong support for the band ensured a loud rock and roll party in the Land of the Saints tent, their performance clearly going down well with the revellers who’d flocked to the tent to catch them, dare we say before they hit the big time what with fans including Liam Gallagher and Paul Weller. Our only wish was that there had been slightly more variety in the songs as after a while it does become slightly too familiar, not to say that doesn’t work in their favour for those who are a fan of them, and clearly, there were a lot who were. 7/10

We were excited to see Daisy Brain on the line-up for Boardmasters after an exciting set at Community Festival. We really enjoyed the feel of his set, it felt a little like we were all mates gathered for a performance in one of their garages, it felt polished yet rough. Daisy Brain seems incredibly comfortable up there, clearly ready for a larger stage perhaps? He almost seems shy talking to the audience between songs as though he shouldn’t be up there, but when he sings you can tell he’s more than confident when his music does the talking. His new single Small Matters really translates well from record to live performance and was a real highlight of the set. 8/10

If the tent was empty when they started, it certainly wasn’t when they finished. Not that we’d expect anything less from Pattern Pusher. A more condensed set allowed them to fully pack everything into the songs they did perform, including fan favourite Come Along. The Cove tent was absolutely bouncing! A recent addition to the set list is a cover of Praise You which really shows off all of their musical abilities and is a great moment for all the band to really get involved with the audience as they even have time for a crowd photo during it. We were also treated to a hint of their new sound with two new songs, with one in particular leaving a lasting impression called Paradise Island which was giving big summer anthem vibes. Collectively they are all excellent, Benjamin Green on the base, super fun to watch and incredibly animated throughout, Benjamin Conibear, has a smile on his face for the entire set and leaps at any opportunity to interact with the audience, and Alex Johnstone is the frontman of dreams, an incredible voice and a complete showman. The trajectory of this band is only upwards. 9/10

We’re afraid to admit we only recently became aware of Self Esteem having seen her open the cinema screening of Prima Facie, in which she also curates the soundtrack to the show, we can now confidently say we are a fan! We open up with the LED screen at the back of the stage reading “There is nothing that terrifies a man more than a woman that appears totally deranged”, instant chills. We didn’t know what to expect from the set, but full choreography wasn’t on the list, Prioritise Pleasure being a highlight and an instant add to the playlist. We moved around to see what the vibe was like at the back of the crowd and a lot of powerful air punches could be seen throughout. We really liked the sound and style of her work, it’s a breath of fresh air and a voice for all who identify as a woman. 9/10

Friday night headliner George Ezra really surprised us, we weren’t sure what to expect having not really seen much of him live before but he really encompassed everything a headliner should be; vocally excellent, confident on stage and he talks to the audience a fair bit, which personally we really enjoy from a performer. Before the festival we found a video of him playing the View stage nine years ago on what looked like a day of terrible weather, to a group of about twenty people, so he must have really meant it when he told the fifty-thousand he was in front of that Boardmasters, “Felt like home”.  We’d heard whispers of him being a bit boring, but he seemed anything but, the LED board was used effectively to add some nice visuals that really added to his set. Some of our highlights were Cassy O’ and Listen To The Man which we thought were really strong choices for the festival. As a headliner choice, it seemed a really good move by the festival as we think it’s fair to say his songs are particularly summery and really lend to the solstice vibe of the festival. He played a good variation of songs from all of his discography and this balanced choice meant there were some nice surprises in there as it wasn’t just a set of new work. Overall, we think he was the perfect act to close day one off, and we’d not say no to watching him again! 9/10


Any and all hype that Sam Ryder is getting is absolutely justified. Arguably, our favourite performance of the weekend, Sam isn’t even just a pop star, he’s a rockstar. One minute performing Tiny Riot, the next shredding a guitar solo. He really got the crowd going by channelling a bit of Freddie Mercury at Wembley, and treated us to his new single Somebody which is a fun bouncy pop song which he had no problem running up and down too. Silhouetted by some fun graphics behind him, Sam seemed comfortable up there with his band. It’s clear to us that Sam is not just a one hit wonder, this guy has serious talent and puts on an incredible show. We had a smile on our faces for his whole set, which of course he closed with his hit song Space Man of Eurovision fame, which we can confidently say is utterly incredible live. We don’t want to gush too much over him, but he was one act we were particularly looking forward to and he absolutely blew our expectations away. 10/10

We first saw Rae Morris when she was supporting Tom Odell at Brixton, we Ioved her stripped back set and were excited to see that this time she had her band with her and a few new songs to play, so when we saw her on the line-up, we hurried on down to the Land of the Saints stage to catch the set. First up we were treated to No Woman Is An Island off of her new album, Rachel @ Fairyland, which reminded us of Self Esteem the day before, the time for modern woman speaking their truths is upon us, and its being written in such elegant and intelligent ways. We were thrilled to hear some of our favourite new tracks including Running Shoes and Table for Two following this and so were the audience who’d gathered eagerly against the photo-pit. We find Rae Morris to be such a wonderful vocalist, she has a real magical quality to her voice and also her stage presence, she seems so calm and collected. We were sad to see it wasn’t busier for her set, but then those who did come where treated to what felt like a warm hug of a show. Her set was a nice break from some of the other heavier sounds that made up the festival and lulled us nicely into the late afternoon on Saturday. Her voice suited the seaside festival well and her presence was the right chilled vibe to accompany what had so far been a whirlwind of a weekend! 8/10

A distorted version of the Beatles With a Little Help from My Friends played to the full crowd of the Boardmasters main stage, before cutting to the fan favourite  Beautiful Faces. Declan McKenna was as energetic as each time he performed before, running and jumping onto centre stage complemented by the golden hour sun. Owning their colourful 70’s style outfits and instruments that screamed ‘glam rock’ with an honourable mention to his Golden sparkling guitar which glistened from the sun, McKenna and his band were bringing his Zeros tour to a different end of the country. The Boardmasters crowd were instantly appreciative of this because as soon as he moved toward the microphone, the entire crowd were ready to sing the whole set with him. All throughout the weekend up until this set, different beach balls were being thrown from one side of the crowd to the other but it seemed like the Declan fanbase turned the dial up to eleven adding even more beach balls and even an inflatable crocodile, which was eventually brought up on stage for him to be shown to the whole festival. Whichever stage Declan McKenna is on, he goes straight out onto it and becomes one with it. No matter big or small, it only becomes about the music which every spectator instantly becomes drawn to. JD 9/10

Bastille are no strangers to the South West having stopped off for tour dates and festivals in Devon and Cornwall, and if we recall correctly have also headlined Boardmasters a few times in the past. They started off lively, and we could hardly think of where to look at times as Dan Smith moves about so much. It was nice to see the evening glow setting in from the sun that we think might have started to roll in just as the band performed Things We Lost In The Fire, the hit song going down very well with the crowd who loudly joined in for almost every verse. We were slightly irked by the LED board in the back, perhaps as a photographer, we didn’t think it added much to the shots and thus the performance, but there were some moments when it was used effetely and looked like a vortex which is in keeping with the artistic choices surrounding their new album Give Me the Future. We think their set was also unfortunately overshadowed by a medical incident during Pompeii and therefore it ended early, it’s good to see the band take these things seriously considering recent incidents at festivals such as Astroworld. 7/10

We decided to head over to Land of the Saints to watch Bombay Bicycle Club. Now, our aim is to be honest, and we will be. We were really unimpressed by their set. We thought it lacked any really buzz and we just found it to be incredibly lacklustre.  This is only our opinion though and we’re happy to say the crowd seemed to be really enjoying themselves, and the band looked happy to be playing to a fairly busy tent, especially considering that Disclosure had absolutely packed out the main arena. While we may have not particularly enjoyed their set it did seem to us that Bombay Bicycle Club still have a loyal following, we stole a peak behind us to see eyes glued to the stage and fans singing along to every song. We’re sad to have not been amongst those who seemed to be really into it, but we’re glad to see that the band still seem to have a pull over a decade later. 5/10


We must admit, we felt slightly bad for STONE. The festival goers seemed a bit worse for wear from the night before WHERE Disclosure put on a good party. But STONE came out looked thrilled to be there on the Main Stage, full of energy and proudly waving the flag for Liverpool on the final day of the festival. They even mentioned how cool it was to “technically be right on after Disclosure”. They’re something exciting, new and great to watch. All members of the band were having a great time up there, with lead singer Fin leading the line with the confidence of a frontman who’d been performing for years. There seems to be a rise in Brit-Pop/Rock sounds coming back out of the North, STONE seem to have grabbed it and run with it perfectly, with the look and the confidence to match. They’ve got a really exciting buzz about them, their new song Waste standing out particularly for me as an anthem for the Northern Youth. 7/10

Having already seen The Wombats tearing it up at Community festival it was nice to see them playing to a huge audience again at Boardmasters. It seems that a lot of the younger festival goers made way for the “millennials” who were really matching the energy of the band. Moving To New York got the crowd going and never stopping! The sun had calmed itself down by Sunday but this didn’t stop the heat radiating from the main arena, people sat on shoulders and belting along to the songs, exactly the vibe you’d dream of as a band up there on the main stage. By the time the set came to an end you could tell the audience were disappointed it was over. A highlight for us was how stoked bassist, Tord Øverland Knudsen seemed to be, he was jumping and running all over the stage, providing some great audience interaction as he seemed to be reacting to signs and waves from the crowd. The second time this festival season we’ve seen them and once again, they didn’t disappoint. 7/10

Stage presence is never an issue with Tom Grennan. His set at Boardmasters was nothing different. He’s a showman who loves an audience, probably one of the most animated performers we’ve seen as of recent, he really does get the crowd bouncing. He played a real assortment of songs, some older and newer, including hits like Royal Highness and This is the Place. He sounded in really good voice and didn’t stop moving, even finding time for some keepie uppies when a ball got thrown onto stage. Grennan seems to be really enjoying playing these big stages and at times looks as if he can’t get close enough to the audience, at one point inviting a fan up to sing with him! It’s going to be interesting to see what he does next having already made a stamp in Europe this summer and heading off to Australia for shows soon, the sky does really seem like the limit for him as he continues to make a huge impact with his upbeat and catchy songs. 7/10

Kings of Leon underwhelmed us. They seemed detached up there on that big stage, making the odd nod or glance to each other and rarely having anything to say to the crowd. Of course, knowing that Use Somebody and Sex On Fire would come towards the very end, it means the crowd shouldn’t be just waiting for those moments, it felt like they were having to really work at pulling them through for the rest of the show. Speaking to others in the crowd, including huge fans who said, “They seemed a little bothered. Didn’t really get much of a vibe from them” with others commenting lead singer Caleb Followill, “Spoke twice. And the first thing was before Use Somebody where he said “now’s the time to get your phone’s out””… We did really like the use of the stage dressing though, and the pre-show audio visual was an interesting way to keep the crowd excited while waiting for them to come out. As far as vocals are concerned, they didn’t seem to put a foot wrong, and they sounded really quality still for a band who’ve been on the scene since the early 2000’s which is when we remember them best from. You could tell that they weren’t really as much of an interest to the youngest of the festival goers though as we didn’t see many people under 21 in the crowd beyond the first few rows, behind the pits. Nevertheless, there was still a huge crowd in the main arena, though we wonder if this perhaps was due to it being the last set/headliner of the festival and whether potentially they don’t have the pull they once did. Regardless, an impressive band to have billed on any festival and a great coup for Boardmasters. 6/10

Photo Credit: Caitlyn Ebsworthy & Jack Delve

Review By: Caitlyn Ebsworthy