With less than two weeks to go before The Spring Masked Ball, we caught up with its co-founder, Kelvin Batt, to find out how the Ball has grown over the past 11 years and what to expect at Porthleven this year.
Q: What led you and (co-founder) Al Short to start the Masked Ball back in 2007?
KB: Al and I were running surf schools in Cornwall and would hold parties on the beaches in the evening, but we ended up getting into trouble (they weren't exactly legal – but people loved them). So we decided to try going down the legal route!
Our friends owned some amazing land on the cliff tops near our home village Porthleven, and we decided to hold a party there. We used a digger to cut out a site in the cliff and we got 280 friends together – and it was amazing. After that first one it just exploded – and 11 years on we have 5k attendees and a global reputation for blending the dance scene’s hottest talent with one of the most up for it crowds in festival land.
Q: The Masked Balls are famed for their hedonistic creativity and frivolity. Who comes up with the ideas and creative concepts and where /who do you take inspiration from?
KB: We spend a lot of time in the fields and coastline around Porthleven – a landscape that really lends itself to free thinking. And then ideas normally get hammered out in our beloved local pub ‘The Ship Inn’.
Q: This year, for the first time, the Ball has a 24 hour music and alcohol licence. How is this going to add to the experiences of ballers?
KB: We think it’s going to make the atmosphere much more relaxed - you can start and finish when you want. The grand ballroom is always as busy at 6am as it is at midnight, so it’s going to be incredible to be able to carry on.
Q: If you could go back in time to 2007, what advice would you give yourself?
KB: I think it probably boils down to the idea that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. I’d tell myself not to overspend (time/effort/money) on trying to please as many people as possible - some folk just can't function unless there's an issue, so weed those folk out :) Instead, focus on doing some things really well. Oh – and get a good team! We’ve got a brilliant one now – great people around us and exciting times ahead.
Q: Which acts are you most excited about this year?
KB: We always try and get the local up and comers - people like Russel Kay, Harry Lusted, the Viscera crew and Tom Chapman - playing alongside the likes of international such as Joe Goddard (of Hot Chip) and Danielle Baldelli. This is kind of the whole point of the Ball - to give local talent a chance to play with the these guys, so this is always the highlight for me, seeing the progression of local talent.
Q: What are your top three tips for getting the most out of the Ball?
KB: You’ve got to make sure you explore the site - it's spread out over fantastic gardens and a lot of people miss stuff. There are different levels, secret gardens and bars, and hidden dens. So make an adventure of it.
Also, make sure you get to Coney Island which is going to be incredible this year, with the likes of Little Gay Brother and Horse Meat disco playing. It’s always an eye-opener!
On Sunday, get down to Johnno’s shed, as there as some great little acts and talks lined up - including one about animal sex from BBC presenter Lizzie Daly and Lucy Fizz talking about her Transgender Life.
Q: Tell us about the Halloween Ball 2018? What’s going down?
KB: Ah, it’s going to be awesome. We’re pleased to say that we are returning to Los Flambardos in Helston, and is going to be darker and more sinister this year. The theme for 2018 is … Voodoo!
Published on 17 May 2018 by Ellie Glason