Cornwall’s Finest Festivals

Food, music and tradition

There’s nothing the people of Cornwall like better than a good old fashioned festival. And we’re not talking about fairy wings and legal highs here – Cornish festivals are a riot of tradition, culture, music, dancing, food and drink, making them some of the most colourful events on the British summer calendar.

Think dancing horses, seaside shanties, surfers, singers, and more seafood than you ever thought you could eat.

Here are eight of the most brilliantly Cornish festivals that Cornwall has to offer.

Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival

http://www.falmouthseashanty.co.uk
Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival
When is it?

Early summer

What’s it all about?

It’s an annual celebration of all things sea-related. For three days, the fishing town of Falmouth plays host to dozens of musicians across 21 venues – all completely free of charge. There is a Gala Concert on the final evening, with all proceeds going to the RNLI, so you are supporting a good cause while brushing up on your favourite sea shanties.

Rock Oyster Festival

http://www.rockoysterfestival.co.uk
Rock Oyster Festival
When is it?

Mid-summer

What’s it all about?

It’s supposed to be a straight-up oyster festival, complete with oyster-shucking competitions and seafood cooking lessons. But over the years it has ballooned into something much more spectacular. Held on the grounds of the 17th century Dinham House, the Rock Oyster weekend features live music, circus acts, performing arts, and even a shopping bazaar.

Rock Oyster Festival

Eden Sessions, Bodelva

http://www.edenproject.com/visit/whats-on/eden-sessions-summer-concerts
Eden Sessions, Bodelva
When is it?

Throughout the summer

What’s it all about?

Every year, the Eden Project invites a selection of top artists to perform on a tiny stage set against the backdrop of the Eden Project’s iconic Biomes domes. The natural acoustics of the venue mean that each gig feels amazingly intimate, and tickets typically sell out in record time as a result.

Boardmasters, Watergate Bay

http://www.boardmasters.co.uk/whatson/watergate-bay
Boardmasters, Watergate Bay
When is it?

Early August

What’s it all about?

What’s it all about? Sun, sea, sand and surf…plus an always-impressive line-up of big name bands. By day, you can roam the beach with a cocktail, or learn how to surf in the world-famous Watergate Bay (one of the best surfing spots in the UK), and when the sun goes down, the music cranks up and the beach party vibe kicks in.

Boardmasters, Watergate Bay

Port Eliot Festival, St Germans

http://www.porteliotfestival.com/
Port Eliot Festival, St Germans
When is it?

Late July

What’s it all about?

What’s it all about? A riot of creativity – it is a favourite with writers, artists, designers and bohemian types, who love to roam around the grounds of the old manor house (which boasts original paintings by the likes of Van Dyck and Reynolds) and the perfectly manicured gardens (which even have their own maze!). Each year, the Earl and Countess of St Germans open their home up to festival goers and performers with one rule – do what you like. The result is a magical combination of history and modernity.

The Great Cornish Food Festival, Truro

http://www.greatcornishfood.co.uk/festival
The Great Cornish Food Festival, Truro
When is it?

September

What’s it all about?

A massive festival which takes over the seaside town of St Ives for two weeks every September. This year there are more than 300 events planned, covering everything from poetry and stories, to music and dancing, walks, talks, workshops, theatre and exhibitions. All set against the idyllic coastal scenery of beautiful St Ives.

The Great Cornish Food Festival, Truro

St Ives September Festival

http://www.stivesseptemberfestival.co.uk
St Ives September Festival
When is it?

September

What’s it all about?

A massive festival which takes over the seaside town of St Ives for two weeks every September. This year there are more than 300 events planned, covering everything from poetry and stories, to music and dancing, walks, talks, workshops, theatre and exhibitions. All set against the idyllic coastal scenery of beautiful St Ives.

'Obby 'Oss festival, Padstow

https://padstowobbyoss.wordpress.com/about
'Obby 'Oss festival, Padstow
When is it?

May Day

What’s it all about?

An utterly barmy but deeply traditional festival which is held every May Day in the Cornish town of Padstow.

Two ‘obby ‘osses (‘hobby horses’, or at least, men dressed up as hobby horses) dance through the town, attempting to catch young maidens along the way. Masked ‘teasers’ keep the ‘osses moving, while the Mayers (or townspeople) sing the Morning Song, and dancers entertain the crowds. The procession ends at the town maypole, at which point the ‘osses meet and retreat to their ‘stables’ (pubs) until the following year.

Who will be there?

Why, none other than the two rival ‘obby ‘osses themselves: The Blue Ribbon ‘Obby Oss and The Old ‘Obby Oss. You can’t miss them during the day, as they dance their way between the Padstow Institute and The Golden Lion pub.

'Obby 'Oss festival, Padstow

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