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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Boardmasters 2023

Photo Credit: Caitlyn Ebsworthy (Cian Ducrot, Bob Vylan, The Vaccines, Cassyette, Kid Kapichi, Sam Tompkins, Lanks, Black Honey, Lava La Rue, Dermot Kennedy, Florence and The Machine)

Jack Delve: (Wunderhorse, Everything Everything, The Reytons, Nova Twins and Yard Act)

Tucked away on the Cornish coast is the Boardmasters festival sight. Coming over the hills into Newquay the mainstage stands out amongst the idyllic countryside like an alien with the rolling hills of tents encompass its landing spot. The ecliptic mix of artists who’ve gathered to entertain the revellers is bigger and better than ever before and we couldn’t wait to join in the party. Boardmasters 2023 featured international stars and British music staples, here’s what we thought.


The first act we got a chance to see was Wunderhorse, the opening act of the Land of Saints stage. We have previously see them support Fontaines DC on their tour last year and we were more than excited to see them in their own right. Starting off strong with Leader of the Pack and Purple from their debut album Cub released just last year. It’s evident that even since the few months ago that we have seen the band, they have become more dominant in the British rock scene and will undoubtably be even more present as we go ahead because their infectious tunes and devoted audience boost them to levels, they deserve. After seeing the band perform so early in the day, we can see that they will become mainstage material in the very near future. 8/10 (JD)

Arriving onto the mainstage in the mid-afternoon was the art-rock outfit Everything Everything fresh out of a warm-up gig in Exeter the previous evening. This was one act that we were very eager to watch as they are in the midst of re-releasing their debut album Man Alive, we hoped that we could hear a couple of deep cuts that are exclusive to their headline live shows however they didn’t go near any of the tracks featured on that album. Apart from this, it was a very eclectic mix of tracks from each of their other albums from Night of the Long Knives and No Reptiles. The latter of which the band closed with as after they had energised the crowd with Distant Past. It is incredible how Johnathan Higgs’ voice invigorates these tracks and somehow makes them sound even better than the studio versions. Although the band is still almost in the niche category of their genre, the crowd definitely still loved the set and were belting out to the songs that they knew. 9/10 (JD)

We once again found ourselves in the presence of The Vaccines. We’ve started to feel as though they’re our festival comfort blanket because knowing they’re there is knowing you’re guaranteed to get at the very least one excellent set. Of course, they didn’t let us down. Frontman Justin Young is utterly thrilling to watch, he carries such an intensity in his performance; pointing out and holding the gaze of the audience members he connects with for enough time that they know he was definitely looking at them. Playing through some massive hits including of course, If You Wanna we really found this to be the moment where we were properly engaged with the festival, they brought a shift to the energy of the day. 9/10 (CE)

The Cove stage was host to the three secret sets across the weekend, so we popped over to see what the commotion was as a rather large crowd had gathered to see Fridays surprise act. It was Cian Ducrot, who had headlined the main stage earlier in the day. He was celebrating having his first number one album and this really shone through in his performance. His short set included some really lovely moments including the song Heaven. Ducrot seems like a really lovely singer songwriter, and the stripped back versions of the songs were lovely in such an intimate setting. 8/10 (CE)

Bob Vylan were one of the highlights of not only the day but the festival. Huge energy followed after a calm stretching session with the audience to make sure everyone was on the same page about what was about to go down. We Live Here was huge. The crowd was well up for everything the two-piece band from London did. Bobby Vylan hopping down to the pit and then launching himself into the audience was met by massive cheers and excitement from the crowd before he was back up on stage running through some other numbers. Their sound was so right for the festival, and perfect for the Land of the Saints tent. 9/10 (CE)

Headliner 1/3 is New Zealand superstar, Lorde. No time is wasted, she comes straight in with her mega hit and the song that really elevated her career, Royals. She spent a good chunk of this song from back/side stage until she makes her grand appearance and the crowd erupt. Interestingly though, this dies away quickly after she goes deeper into her discovery and once she has performed Solar Power. A lot of the audience around us seem not to care and start to leave and mumble about not knowing any of the songs. We however thought her energy seemed fairly gripping and loved the staging. Perhaps this just filtered out some of the bad vibes because after a while people regathered and started to get more into it. The crowd was even spoiled as she teased a new era or music with two new songs. A great choice of headliner in our opinion, and a massive coup for the festival. 8/10 (CE)


Simply put, we loved Cassyette. A hugely brilliant act. She made us nostalgic for old P!nk records, her vocals reminding us of that grit and power that the latter is so famous for. Everything from her energy to her live vocals was excellent. It was such a refreshing and fun performance. Mayhem and September Rain were of course met with a wild reaction. Cassyette had the biggest smile on her face for the entire performance, clearly thrilled to be performing and with the reaction she was getting it was unsurprising as to why. 10/10 (CE)

Before going to watch The Reytons we were unsure of how it would play out as we weren’t sure if they were just going to be a close copy of early Arctic Monkeys. Although the resemblance is there, the Yorkshire four piece instantly came out into their own, with their heavy riffs and interacting with the crowd after every song, something that has been lost for some artists. They definitely don’t take it for granted and even brought a young man onto the stage with them to play On the Back Burner citing that ‘people have got to take every chance they can get to break into the industry.’ Any way you want to put it, The Reytons are filling a hole with their heavy and loud guitar music. If you, like many others, are not too impressed with the way that Arctic Monkeys have gone with their music, you owe it to yourself to check this band out as they are one which has been arguably the continuation of their older style, but also bringing a modern twist to it. 10/10 (JD)

LANKS was an opportunity for us to wind down slightly, for those unfamiliar, he essences James Blake and that electro-pop sound. Utterly mesmerising tones making us feel relaxed and chilled amongst the chaos of the festival. His set is silhouetted against the long line of coast in the background, the vibes were immaculate and the set is exquisite. Stronger Than is so visual and so beautifully written, it was so perfect for this early evening slot against the setting sun. 9/10 (CE)

Saturday headliner and UK festival exclusive, Liam Gallagher wasted none of the audience’s time as after a short film played on the screen at the back of the stage, he started with two of the most iconic Oasis tracks, Morning Glory and Rock ‘n’ Roll Star. In recent years, Gallagher has adopted more of a chill approach to being a frontman but honestly has not lost any of his humour. An example being dedicating his set to a noodle stand that the dominating main stage loomed over. Even if you were there purely for the Oasis tunes or were just a fan of his solo discography, this set undeniably had something for everyone. and as a silhouette at the front of the stage for much of the performance, we still loved this set. So, Liam, Oasis reunion when? 10/10 (JD)


The first band we caught on the final day were Black Honey. They’re excellent live, anyone who’s seen them won’t disagree. Frontwoman Izzy Bee Phillips’s live vocals are as impressive as they are in on the studio records, she reminds us of a young Lady Gaga, both in look and sound. Despite the rain, a decent crowd gathered to hear hits including Corrine, Heavy and a great selection of tracks from their newest album A Fistful of Peaches. After their 2000trees set we were so pleased to see them on the mainstage where they belonged. 9/10 (CE)

British music icons Florence + the Machine closed this year’s festival. We were not only lucky enough to be able to photograph them along with only five other photographers, but of course we were there also to witness one of the most influential British acts of this last decade dazzle through the storm. A household name, and the star power to go with it. Florence Welch is British music pedigree, and drenched not only against the summer rain but the tears of dedicated fans crying and applauding at the barricade, some of whom have been there since we arrived early in the day, in costumes dedicated to Welch’s own white gown she so famously takes to the stage and dances in. The rain was lashing against the arena, the wind only helping the fabrics of her outfit carry more elegantly across the stage. This was not just another headliner. This was a proper star. 10/10 (CE)

And that closes out another year spending an August weekend at Boardmasters, see you next year?

Written By: Caitlyn Ebsworthy and Jack Delve