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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Tunes In The Dunes 2023

Photo Credit: Caitlyn Ebsworthy & Jack Delve

Situated just twenty minutes along the coast from Boardmasters festival site we found ourselves on the beach of Perranporth for Tunes in the Dunes Festival. We were attracted by its impressive set of headliners including The Vaccines, Kaiser Chiefs and James Bay, but beyond a handful of exciting additions to the line-up such as Lime Cordiale and Daytime TV, the festival left us feeling slightly hung out to dry, and that wasn’t even because of the surprise rain storm on the Sunday afternoon.


The flow of the billing was strange. Friday’s lineup started off fairly strongly with first mainstage performers The Velvet Hands; a somewhat hometown show as the band are based in St Austell. An unfortunate set time for them saw a smallish crowd gather towards the front of the stage. This is perhaps the third or fourth time in two years we’ve seen them on a festival line up, and credit to them as they have consistently dealt well with poor set slots. The size of the crowd didn’t seem to faze front man Toby Mitchell, who does his best to rally the audience but it felt to little avail. Some revellers amongst the barrier clearly got stuck into the set but overall, we think it must have been a fairly lacklustre experience for the boys on stage. A shame, and a lot less than what they deserved. 6/10 (CE)

The day followed with an Aussie takeover by Felipe Baldomir and then Kim Churchill. The two are very similar sounding acts, both in regards to their actual singing and also their songwriting; perhaps splitting them up would have been better for variety. After a small break we went to watch Lime Cordiale, another act from Oceania. This time our attention peaked. We were new to this band but instantly found ourselves post-performance desperately searching for 5G to add them to our playlists. Some highlights from the set included Money and their big summer vibes hit Robbery. They were a stand out from the beginning, confidence as bold as Oli Leimbach’s orange suit. They really perked up the crowd who’d been a little docile until this point. We felt a little uncool realising quickly that this band was a well-kept secret, but here at Bring the Noise we don’t gate-keep! They clearly loved being up there, sharing their brotherly love with the Cornish crowd. We’ll certainly be keeping tabs on these boys, and you should too. 9/10 (CE)

Bringing the first day of the festival to a close, The Vaccines arrived on stage and instantly raised the energy with tracks from their debut album What did you expect from the Vaccines?. A Lack of Understanding and Wrecking Bar (ra ra ra) being relatively new additions to the set list however that didn’t stop the crowd from partying any less. A highlight from this set was the addition of Wetsuit also from their debut record, a really fitting song to be played on the Perranporth beach after a long day of scorching sun. Every fan of the band had something to look forward to as the band didn’t neglect any of their albums, instead touching on each of them for at least a song or two but we did feel lucky as we had the chance to hear an unreleased song Heartbreak Kid which we were told will be on their forthcoming album. Sounding like a return to Come of Age or Combat Sports, we can’t wait to hear more from the new record when we see the band next as it went down so well at this festival. Although it was one of their first gigs after lead guitarist Freddie Cowan left the band to pursue his solo outfit, Freddie and the Scenarios, the core Vaccines identity was still there and they were still a great fit for the festival. 9/10 (JD)


Our Saturday started off slowly as the early afternoon lineup consisted mostly of tribute bands until Daytime TV took to the stage. Thankfully, it was well worth the wait. The British quartet breezed onto stage and dug into a packed set list including songs from their debut album and beyond. Some songs that translated particularly well live were Side Effects and Ugly. Frontman, Will Irvine, leads the line and makes sure to shine a spotlight on his bandmates between his fantastic live vocals. The band make sure to break up songs with nice audience chatter and even invite the growing fans below to go crazy when they filmed a live music video for their new single Jessica . These boys are a well-polished band, ready to go onwards and upwards to huge stages, hopefully their hunger to perform will be rewarded with more mainstage slots this festival season and beyond. They’re a band you do not want to miss. 9/10 (CE)

Just as golden hour was setting in on Perranporth, Scouting for Girls took to the stage and got straight into Heartbeat, Famous and I wish I was James Bond, proving that the band know how to hook an audience from the very second they set foot on stage. Frontman Roy Stride, especially, knew that getting up close to the audience would be a memorable moment as he leapt onto a speaker in the pit with his phone on the longest selfie stick we’d ever seen, filming the audience and posting it to their Instagram later that day. There was not a moment that the crowd wasn’t singing out in song as it seemed that the majority of the crowd were Scouting for Girls super fans, however you would be hard pressed to find anyone that hasn’t had ‘She’s so lovely’ stuck in their head in the last 15 years, which was fitting as they closed their time-slot with the anthem even with an extended outro to wind down after such a energetic and memorable set. 9/10 (JD)

Kaiser Chiefs were this year’s Saturday Headliner and they came out strong playing Never Miss a Beat. Playing all the hits, the band instantly connected with the crowd as many had bought tickets just to see them. We were sad however, that we didn’t get to hear much of their most recent tracks apart from How 2 Dance because we thought that the band’s fairly recent 2019 record Duck has some songs that would really be a great fit for the festival. It is understandable that the band would have such a safe set list though, as many people view Kaiser Chiefs’ early work as a mainstay in British music culture. Nonetheless, we were delighted at the band because they sounded better than ever and it’s proof that Ricky Wilson and the band can captivate any crowd that they see in front of them. 7/10 (JD)


Sunday was perhaps the weakest of the three-day event. When we arrived it was in time to catch Freya Ridings who isn’t someone, we would normally feature on Bring the Noise. She seemed to be a huge hit with the crowd though, as her appearance at the festival comes off the back of her number one album Blood Orange. Even though she isn’t really the kind of act we’d go out of our way to watch normally, she seemed genuinely happy to be there and it helped us to get into the performance a bit. Her live vocals are very similar to those on her record and she seemed to play it fairly safe as far as we could tell. It would have been nice to see her be a little more animated than she was, but then if that’s what is working for her, then who are we to suggest otherwise. Overall, not someone we would personally care to watch again, but that’s more a matter of taste rather than diminishing her as an artist. You don’t get a number one for no reason and clearly Freya has plenty of fans out there. 5/10 (CE)

Closing the festival was the one we’d been waiting for, James Bay. What stands out immediately is the strength of his live vocals, his voice is strong and controlled, the kind of artist who is worth the while seeing live. Switching between electric and acoustic guitar he works the tempo of the set well. His band are a highlight too, they really add to his set to bring out moments in songs that may have been lost in the production of a studio. He’s the kind of artist that has us going, ‘oh yeah, forgot about this one’, before realising we know all the lyrics and singing along. Now on his third album he yields a varied discovery, and during his set he plucks from it all. One song we were disappointed to have missed out on was Chew on my Heart, but he made plenty of space for other big hits such as If You Ever Want to be in Love, Let it Go, Pink Lemonade and of course, Hold Back the River. Listening to Bay brings back nostalgia of 2018 in particular, a lot of this music was what we listened to at university so hearing it live was a strange fuel of mixed emotions. There are talks of him working on a fourth album, and if that’s the case, we’re interested to see what way he takes his music. We’ll look forward to hearing it live, that’s for sure. 8/10 (CE)

To recap the last few days…odd. While there were some excellent headline performances it was difficult to feel like this was a complete festival. A huge gulf in quality for the majority of the day between support slots and headline slots left us feeling like it was dragging a lot of the time, and this is exactly not how a festival should feel. On the subject of feel there was a really strange vibe to the audience as it was perhaps a first-time festival for some and then just the start of a packed season for others. Never have we seen so many portable chairs be dragged to the front of the mainstage, with an announcement requesting they were to be removed in the latter parts of the day. Some of the tribute acts seemed to strangely be a big hit, with no disrespect to them. In terms of organisation, it’s difficult to praise the festival, once we had our access bands we were just left to it and wonder how the experience was for other audience members.

General weekend ticket prices ran around £105 which is probably about right if you specifically just wanted to see the three headliners if you consider standard ticket pricing for gigs, and food and drink seemed fairly reasonable too. We personally wouldn’t find ourselves going back, but if you’re a local in the area and are looking to fill a weekend in May, and you don’t mind a tribute band for every 80’s act tangible, Tunes in the Dunes is the one for you.

Photo gallery features Lime Cordiale, The Vaccines, Daytime TV, Scouting For Girls, Reef, The Vaccines, Freya Ridings and James Bay

Review By: Jack Delve & Caitlyn Ebsworthy