After an 8.5 hour slog down into God's own country Cornwall from London (heavy traffic as we left late didn’t help) we finally reached our destination! Driving up through a farm lane, in the historic town of Porthleven, soon opened up to what I can only describe as a picturesque view. Wow, what a breathe taking setting for a festival on the Cornish coastline.
Parked in the field and car emptied, you instantly feel a sense of freedom, a weight lifted as you breath in the fresh Cornish sea air as we descended to the ticket office. Good vibes were already beginning to show, the crew were amazing, security friendly, welcoming, checks were carried out but it wasn’t crowded, a steady pace and good feeling was in the air already.
Luckily for us, we managed to secure one of the Glamping Shire Huts, so key in hand we ventured on to explore. Walking through the slightly banked field, overlooking the cliff top out to sea, (it was fenced of mind to stop people accessing the beach, sensible decision) we walked past the campers. First impressions we’re good. With no divided off, out the way camping areas or long walks to get anywhere, within 5 minutes we had found our Shire hut, name over the door was Baggins, which included 2 beds, a lamp, electricity (plug sockets), coat hooks and more, for only £300, with a sea view to awake too, every morning, I had no complaints! We were greeted with a little friendly hello from one of The Shire Hut crew as we were unpacking, who filled us in and invited us to join them at the glamping campfire of an evening.
Bell tents were in the same area, which also looked cosy at a cost I believe to be around £350 and there were a lot of campervans as you can imagine just the other side of the main gate, we were in Cornwall after all, these located just 5 minutes away from the main area and where many a small after party gathering was too be had.
So let’s get to the juicy bit, the action! With the excitement building for Saturday nights 24 hour bar and music licence for the first time, the tension was rising to see what was on offer. Friday had a small but insanely good Pyramid stage, pumping out banger after banger with DJ’s getting everyone pumped, as you passed you couldn’t help but get involved in a dance already! As was the Deck, a tented stage playing all types of funk and disco, with revellers partying onto around 2pm that night, saving our energy for the big Saturday takeover.
Saturday came, and with a heavy first night had (standard), a quick wet wipe shower (I’m lazy, but there were showers on the site for all to use), I had to get out to admire that view and find some breakfast.
It wasn’t over loaded with food or clothes stalls, but it had just enough to cater for the 5000 strong crowd, with various options for veggies, meat eaters, and plenty of bars to keep you from getting thirsty, funny hat stalls and more.
Running water was easily accessible to refill bottles etc. Toilets were cleaned each day with more than enough on site and I was amazed at how clean the festival was with only a few litter pickers needed. Bins were placed all around the site which most people made an effort to use, a litter bond scheme was in place to encourage the crowd to assist keeping the farm land clean.
Most people chilled out during the day, which was nice, saving themselves for the Saturday evening, and we realised why.
As 8 O'clock came and the main part of the site opened up, The Ballroom, Coney Island, The Terrace, The Garden Takeover, The Shit Disco all began to start coming alive with revellers exploring the site. The sound of funk, disco, electronic dirty beats started to flow round the site and you really felt a sense of something special. There was also a chill-out area with a massive grammar phone hosting talks.
We stumbled across a burger van, by day, and by night a Rum bar with DJ’s facing out towards the sea banging out D&B with lasers disappearing into the ocean as they flashed overhead, what a highlight that was as we 2-stepped hard for about an hour and half! Old school raving!
After a recommendation about DJ Griff, we ventured to The Terrace where they were celebrating 25 years of Jelly Jazz and we didn’t move from there for 2 hours as we danced away to a mix of disco funk, jazz and electro swing beats, the place was packed. Obviously a local hero was playing in front of us and we were not disappointed in the slightest, a serious DJ!
Over on Coney Island there were bands entertaining with spin off covers for everyone to sing along to, a little bit of Ska was slipped in and dancers really kept the energy going.
As the night went on the smiling friendly faces of the crowd shone through, we felt a sense of belonging. We had found a raver’s paradise that’s been growing year on year since it started 11 years ago and the effort made to get it right clearly stood out.
So Saturday went into Sunday, the masks were all out and it was costumes galore as glitter sparkled across the fields off the crowds faces and bodies. They really went for it with the whole dressing up participation, and well done for it, it played a huge part in the fun and frolics of The Masked ball.
The music carried on right through till morning and we had an amazing night and met some amazing people. We decided to retire about 8am Sunday morning, get some down time and prep up for the final night.
Sunday everyone was out again by about 8pm after a day of relaxation. The crowd were dressed to the nines and raring to make the most of the last night of partying. A few stages were shut, but this was not a problem, if anything it was a ploy to get the crowd more grouped in certain areas to bring us together and unite as ravers, there is method to this madness, and we loved it!
Boy, what a grand finale it was!
The Grand Ballroom was on par as electronic beats from funk to dirty electronic house blasted through the tent as we raved on with a sea of glistening smiles bouncing between the 14 hour Techno set in the Garden and back to The Grand Ballroom and not wanting this to come to an end.
Music stopped around 3am where we then went and sat to take in the final view of the ocean. Saying our goodbyes to the friends we’ve made and retiring to our shire hut after a little sit round the campfire outside, feeling sad to be leaving, but happy we had gone, already planning to come back next year.
At just £75 a ticket including camping for the weekend, this festival is well worth it! Do not be put off by the journey, you will enjoy it!
A stunning festival, magically crafted out the side of the banks, in the fields across the cliff tops of Porthleven, overlooking the beautiful ocean, a raver’s paradise, a party like no-other!
A glorious example of a proper shindig!
Thank you to The Masked Ball.
See you next year!
Look out for The Halloween Masked Ball happening also in October 2018, the same organisers run that, so already I know it will be well worth attending.
Published on 01 June 2018 by Wayne Feltham
The Masked Ball 2018 Joe Goddard (DJ set)