Last May Bank Holiday weekend once again saw the arrival of the infamous Masked Ball. The theme this year was “Voyage through the Underworld’ with organisers looking to take the festival ‘back to its roots’ with fewer big-name headliners, making it not just about the music to put the focus back on the people and create a feel-good atmosphere.
Festival goers began to descend on the cliff tops of Porthleven on Friday on what was looking to be a beautiful evening. For many students attending, it marked the end of several weeks of exams and deadlines – and the start of summer – so there was a real buzz of excitement across the campsite.
Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side and Friday night the tents shook with high-speed winds and rain battering the cliffs. Despite a rough night’s sleep for many, fellow campers awoke in great spirits and high anticipations for the main event of Saturday night: ‘The Grand Ballroom’! Tents were slightly beaten and the wind was still at high speed, but the view that morning from the campsite could not be spoiled: very few festivals do you wake up directly facing the sea!
We headed to the quirky and beautifully decorated travelling Hurly Burly bar, serving food and hot drinks throughout the day, alongside a weekend line up of all sorts from DJ sets to dance yoga. Their Mariachi breakfast had us set for the rest of the day and we were ready to explore.
It was clear to see the amount of effort put into designing and decor, down to the finest details; the whole site looked like another world! Stalls and tents lined the fields opposite the campsite including body marbling, organic tea, vintage clothing, freshly baked pizza and so many more. Even the intermittent rain showers couldn’t take away the spectacle that was the eccentric tassel-filled garden, leading to the cosy Enjoy Chillout Emporium.
After choosing our funkiest outfits, donning our masks and glittering up we headed over to the music that evening. First stop was The Gramophone; one of our favourite stages! Completely uncovered, a huge gramophone sat atop the cliff where DJs blasted out techno and house tunes from the centre, with the view of the sea directly behind.
There were such a huge range of mini venues and stages from DnB pumping in the Durty Disco – Samurai Temple to the jazzy set up found in The Deck, with arguably the best location in the whole festival!
The highlight of the night: The Underworld! After queuing to board the night train, passing the tube ticket inspectors, you scrabble through lit tunnels and emerge in a musical throwback in time. Four more tunnels highlighted by neon signs, each leading to different sub-venues and time periods of music. From Bristol’s 1996 Reggae filled Bamboo Club to the heart of hip-hop in Sedgwick Avenue – there was something for everyone! Topped off with The Grand Ballroom playing classics ‘til the early hours; it was a night to remember for sure!
A Sunday morning wander around the site, we discovered several people nursing their hangovers with bubbly and soaking in the Kernow Springs Eco Spa hot tubs, overlooking the ocean. The final night went off with a bang, thanks to Psychemagik with The Grand Ballroom’s last stint including the greatly awaited Fleetwood Mac remix of ‘Everywhere’.
All in all, Masked Ball exceeded any expectations and was a fabulous glittered filled weekend, despite the damp weather! If like us, you can’t wait ‘til next year, early bird tickets are now on sale for The Halloween Masked Ball this October. We won’t be missing out!!
The Halloween Masked Ball is now in its 7th year! Sinning for seven deadly years…
Get your tickets here.