Review - The Great Estate Festival
The Great Estate Festival - Reviewed by BBC Music Introducing in Devon and Cornwall volunteer, Meah Howlett
Situated in the grounds of the stately Scorrier House and
amidst an enchanting spectacle of glimmering gold flags, glitter beards and the
Whispering Woods, the most striking quality of the Great Estate Festival is how
overwhelmingly friendly it is.
Whether this manifests in a loyal crowd huddling to the
front of stage to sing along to Sam Howard during a power cut, the chatty
stewards and jovial security guards, or the conversations you strike up around
the campfire when you retreat to the Sanctuary yurt - this spirit is
infectious. It makes you want to try hip-hop yoga in a yurt full of laughing
strangers, join a circle cheering on a funky dad dancing at the main stage, and
help a smiling wizard litter-picking until dark.
The distinctive character which has been created in only the
second year of this fledgling festival, in a renowned Cornish festival scene
steeped in time-worn, hard-earned tradition, is unique.
This good-natured energy was fully embraced by each artist
which graced the various eclectic stages of the weekend; Ska-hip-hop fusion
eight-piece Town of Cats donned their best jungle attire, the Soul Grenades
flamingo bass player threw free merchandise to an eager crowd, and Craig
Charles boasted his best moves in a dynamic set bursting with 60s and 70s
classics, which rounded off the festival.
On the first day of the weekend, BBC Introducing Cornwall
artist Skye-Anna, performed a bold, note-perfect set on the Madame Wong stage.
Incorporating a confident ‘No Scrubs’ cover which even had the security guard
singing along, she also exclusively revealed her new original tracks, which had
the crowd reclined in their muddy wellies, admiring the chilled vibe. Despite
the skilful 18-year-old singer-songwriter initially seeming nervous to share
her new material, as she left the stage she was clearly elated:
“It was actually amazing. I didn’t realise how big the stage
was until I got here, so I was probably more excited than anyone else. I really
enjoyed it, a great crowd, it was really lovely.”
The diverse festival programme featured music which extended
to the empowering all-female Falmouth punk-garage band The Eyelids, the playful
electronic self-produced sounds of Charlie Bowdery, and the beautifully raw
cinematic sound of the folk-rock duo Atlantic Bridge, a pairing making melodies
which had you thinking you’d been transported right into an indie rom-com.
The grounds of the estate furthered the experience with the
unique Secret Gin Garden - which nestles a stage within a secluded walled
garden - offering a different pace, chilled vibe and gin cocktails which taste
just slightly too scrumptious.
However, if a refreshing escape from the music is more your
scene, Madame Wong’s Comedy Hour should be at the top of your to-do list. With
appearances from award-winning comedians such as Louis Burgess, who gave a
slick, self-aware and superbly funny mix of comedy and music, the exploration
of everything from online dating woes to innuendos for the faint-hearted
– but would have been foolhardy to miss.
A stand out performance from Raikes on the Sunday garnered
one of the largest crowds at the Madame Wong tent throughout the weekend.
Exuding charisma on stage, they performed intricate guitar solos and delicate
harmonies over lyrics of love and their Cornish roots, with impressive
technique and vigour.
With a record-breaking Sunday cream tea event, copious
amounts of bunting, flower crowns and beer, Great Estate is a quintessentially
British festival with an eccentric twist, more than deserving a spot among your favourite summer Cornish events.