May 2019 Muddy Guide
What’s not to love about May in Cornwall? Two bank holidays, half term and more cultural happenings, foodie events and local festivals than you can shake a stick at.
If you fancy seeing some traditional May Day celebrations, Padstow and St Ives will be making merry the old fashioned way. Some particularly keen revellers in Padstow can be seen singing in the streets from midnight on 30 Apr but the main Obby Oss celebrations begin the next morning with local people parading and dancing with their Obby Oss’ (hobby horses). St Ives’ May Day celebrations were revived relatively recently but involve choirs, brass brands, dancing round the may pole and the crowning of a May Queen and King.
Pie & Ale Festival, Smugglers Den, Cubert, Thurs 2 – Mon 6 May
The Smugglers Ale and Pie Festival is back for its 20th year. The festival that takes place over the first May bank holiday promises a massive selection of ales and ciders. Meaty and vegetarian pies are available in the ‘festival’ marquee and function room with the the full menu and daily specials being served in the pub which is open as normal. There will also be live music all weekend.
World Pilot Gig Rowing Championships, Isles of Scilly, Fri 3 – Sun 5 May
It’s the 30th year of theWorld Pilot Gig Championships and each year it gets bigger, with more crews attending, from as far afield as Holland and the USA. The majority of participants, however, come from the South West where the wooden pilot gigs are still built locally and raced regularly. The “champs”, have become an island spectacle with a carnival atmosphere. The veteran’s race kicks off the proceedings on Friday night, followed by men’s and women’s races on Saturday and Sunday.
The Masked Ball, Porthleven, Fri 3 – Sun 5 May
“A multi-layered wonderland of secret venues and twisted surprises, set to a scorching soundtrack.” The Masked Ball, an event that heralds the start of the great British festival season, is staged in West Cornwall and has been running since 2009. The Spring Ball is carved into the clifftops near Porthleven, overlooking stunning Mount’s Bay for one long weekend in May. Crazy costumes are encouraged and there’s the option of camping, which you’ll probably want to take, so you can dance till dawn.
International Male Voice Choir Festival, Trebah Garden, Mawnan Smith, Sat 4 May
As part of a series of events taking place across the county, Trebah will be hosting 3 choirs will be performing live throughout the afternoon in the Amphitheatre. Falmouth Glee Singers will start the event at 12.15pm, followed by the Warwickshire Choristers at 1pm, with Much Wenlock Male Voice Choir concluding the day with their performance at 2.15pm. Performances included in the cost of garden entry ticket.
Bluebell Festival and Art Exhibition, Enys Gardens, Sat 4 – Sun 12 May
The historic Enys Gardens are famous for their incredible display of bluebells. During the annual Bluebell Festival, the gardens are open every day, from 11am-5pm.Within the 30 acre gardens lies an open meadow known as Parc Lye, where the spring show of bluebells is breathtaking.The annual art exhibition ‘The Art of Nature’ will also take place simultaneously inside Enys House, displaying the work of local artists on the walls of this historic building.
Flora Day, Helston, Weds 8 May
The people of Helston have been celebrating the ancient tradition of Flora Day for hundreds of years. It is a spring festival to mark the end of winter and arrival, vitality and fertility of spring. The shops and houses are decked out with bluebells, laurels, gorse and other greenery and the dancing begins from seven in the morning, continuing all day. Eighty couples dance through the streets – as well as several shops and houses – to drive out the darkness of winter and usher in the light of spring.
Summer Feast, Nancarrow Farm, Zelah, Weds 8 May
You will be welcomed with canapés and drinks in the courtyard before sitting down for a three-course feast in the Oak Barn. After a starter of Planked Fish you will enjoy some of Nancarrow’s home-reared Tamworth Pork along with the first of the season’s Cornish Earlies with wild garlic butter. £38pp
Hidden Hut Feast Nights & Beach Breakfasts, Porthcurnick Beach, dates throughout May
This super popular beachside café hosts the most laidback (and affordable) feast nights in Cornwall. Held outdoors whatever the weather, guests bring their own plates, cutlery and wine – the Hidden Hut provides the food and fire. One dish is served on each night, which in May includes Flat Iron Beef and Rotisserie Chicken. Breakfasts are a new addition, with asparagus eggs, woodfired crumpets and bacon saffron toast to tempt you.
Fowey Festival of Arts & Literature, Fri 10 – Sat 18 May
A nine-day literary festival based in Daphne du Maurier’s beautiful hometown of Fowey, Cornwall. Featuring a wide range of guest speakers with talks, panel debates, workshops and concerts. This year, the festival welcomes authors Diane Setterfield, Ruth Ware, Raynor Winn and Patrick Gale, broadcaster Andy Kershaw and musician Seth Lakeman.
St Ives Food & Drink Festival, Fri 10 – Sun 12 May
Prepare for a weekend of culinary treats on the sands of beautiful Porthminster Beach. There’s a great line-up of local and national chefs putting on demonstrations, including Tom Brown, Aine Carlin, Simon Hulstone, Jude Kereama, Hersha Patel, Chris Eden, and Ben Tunnicliffe. There will be a large selection of the best street food on offer plus plenty of traders with delicious produce for sale in the Artisan Tent.
Chef’s Seafood Feast, Una, St Ives, Fri 10 May
The Mediterranean-inspired restaurant sits just on the outskirts of St Ives, where a Gozney wood-fired oven takes centre stage. Head Chef Glenn Gatland and his team will be joined by Mick Smith, Porthminster Beach Café; Nik Boyle, The Victoria Inn; Ryan Venning, The Rockpool and Tom Hunter, The Scarlet & Bedruthan Steps, each delivering a course for a spectacular seafood tasting menu. Expertly matched wines accompany each course, with guidance through your evening from Carl Burdett and Nick Sowden from LWC Drinks. £70 pp.
Creative Scilly, Fri 10 – Weds 22 May
“Thirteen days of island whimsy and intrigue.” This new cultural festival will celebrate the islands’ culture and creativity on a scale beyond anything hosted on the islands before. Building on the foundations of the long established and well-loved Art Scilly week, the Creative Scilly Festival will feature an eclectic mix of events from visual art, literature, comedy and the spoken word to hands-on workshops, demonstrations, public art displays, performances, gallery openings and fun nights out across the five islands.
Art 8: Newquay Art & Culture Festival, Fri 10 – Sun 12 May
From photography to theatre, pottery to film, puppetry to dance, poetry to craft – and everything in between – Art8 promises something for everyone this year. It’s a community festival that looks to involve residents, visitors, businesses and local organisations – to celebrate and showcase the cultural and artistic activity already taking place in and around Newquay, as well as bringing in artists and performers and commissioning new work.
Funk & Fizz Night (with Knightor & Tarquins), Trebah Gardens, Sat 11 May
Eden Classic Sportive 2019, Eden Project, Sun 12 May
The Eden Classic Sportive is a mass-participation cycle ride with three route options, ranging from a short yet challenging ride of 36 miles, to a middle distance of 60 miles, and a long ride for the experienced sportive rider of 100 miles. Riders will pedal the length of Eden as they begin, then ascend steep hairpin bends before taking a choice of three routes along stunning coastal roads and finishing back at Eden. Family and friends of riders can enjoy free entry to Eden on the day.
Surfers Against Sewage & St Aubyn Estates Fundraising Dinner, St Michael’s Mount, Thurs 16 May
Arrive on the island by ferry boat where you will be led to the coastal gardens for a welcome drink. Following this, a four course menu, created by award winning chef, Greg Milne, will be served at the Sail Loft that draws inspiration from the many issues that SAS are currently campaigning for, so expect inventive dishes that each tell a story. £50pp – all proceeds will go directly to Surfers Against Sewage
LostFest, Lostwithiel, Sun 19 May
LostFest is a quirky one day free festival in Lostwithiel with something for everyone! LostFest is an eclectic mix – there will be music and dance all over town to keep everyone entertained, stalls selling arts, crafts, antiques and food to browse, plus live demonstrations and workshops to watch.
SW Skinny Dip Sunday in aid of MIND, Summerleaze Beach, Bude, Sun 19 May
Inspired the NE Skinny Dip and marking Mental Health Awareness week, this fundraising event is raising money for the charity MIND. The SW Skinny is a public skinny dip or fancy-dress swim celebrating togetherness and the importance of camaraderie and moral support. All bodies welcome, with no age limitations! All manner of swim wear is fine, or push yourself to experience the adrenaline of stripping off and running into the waves “au natural” with friends.
Bude Folk Festival, Bude, Fri 24 – Sun 27 May
Bude & Stratton Folk Festival is a friendly festival by the sea in Bude, North Cornwall with the emphasis on enjoying & sharing traditional acoustic music. £55pp for access to all events all weekend, children FREE.
Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival, Sterts Theatre, Upton Cross, Sat 25 May
Started by former Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, The Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival has gone from strength to strength, establishing a reputation as one of the best and friendliest around. Now in its eighth year, the theme is ‘conversations’, with a stunning line-up pairing poets new and established. The poets will be reading from their work as well as talking to each other about their practice, influences and experiences. Our day opens with a special poetry workshop and rounds off in style, celebrating the greats of rock n roll in poetry and music.
Cornwall Open Studios, Sat 25 – Sun 2 June
There are many galleries large and small across Cornwall, where you can see the work of local artists but during this special event, almost 300 Cornish-based artists will open their studios to visitors. Some of these artists may not show in Cornwall at all, giving a unique chance to see their work in their workspace and to meet and talk with working artists around the county. Many artists are also offering workshops throughout the week and if you are looking to buy a piece of art, this is a great opportunity to see a range of work or possibly commission something. Participating studios will display an orange ‘O’ outside, so you know you are welcome to pop in and say hi, though opening times vary, so check the catalogue before making a special visit.
Tunes in the Dunes, Perranporth, Fri 24 – Sun 25 May
The UK’s biggest festival on a beach held on the white sands of Perranporth. Major national and international headline acts will be performing over three days and nights – including John Newman, Newton Faulkner, Fisherman’s Friends, Molly Hocking, Bananarama, Gabrielle, Madness, Sugarhill Gang, Morcheeba and more.
The Greenbank Fal River Festival, around The Fal River, Fri 24 May – Sun 2 June
This fantastic 10 day celebration is a not-for-profit community festival which encompasses over 150 events varying from music & drama, the arts & heritage to gig racing, swimming, walking & lots more. The festival was established in 2006 and will be running for its 14th year in 2019. It’s a chance to embrace the places, people, history, culture, sport & industry that are connected by this very Cornish river.
Surya Yoga Camp, Chyan Cultural Centre, Penryn, Fri 24 – Weds 28 May
Now in its tenth year, Surya Yoga Camp is about getting away, trying new forms of yoga and movement and finding harmony, within yourself and with those around you. It’s a small festival which takes place once a year and welcomes families and single visitors alike. Surya is incredibly lucky to be based at Chyan Cultural Centre; an eleven acre site deep in the Cornish countryside and is a great place to expand your yoga horizons; whether you are a lifelong yogi or a newcomer; from early meditation practice to kirtan evenings – diversity, openness and exploration are able to flourish in our non-judgemental space.
Porthilly Spirit Festival, Rock, Fri 24 – Sun 26 May
An exciting new addition to the Cornwall festival circuit, Porthilly Spirit is an independent 3-day festival drawing together music, feasts, workshops, outdoor experiences and wellbeing. It will be held on a secluded farm at the mouth of the Camel Estuary, close to Rock, with food from Simon Stallard (of the Hidden Hu) and Tomos Parry of Brat, music from Tom Odell, Villagers, Gilles Peterson and more and a jam-packed programme of talks and workshops – from foraging to growing veg.
Port Eliot Dog Festival 2019, Port Eliot Estate, Saltash Sat 25 May
Families and their four legged friends are invited to Port Eliot Estate this may for the annual Dog Festival. With stalls, refreshments and entertainment, as well as a family dog show and agility course, not forgetting – Port Eliot’s resident whippet, Roo will be hosting a special tea party for canine friends. £5pp, children under 11 free.
Green Man Festival, Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park, Sat 25 – Sun 26 May
The giant figure of the Green Man returns to Mount Edgcumbe as a centre piece looming over the event sitting on his throne of leaves and bark. Created by artists and volunteers, he will be presiding over stalls, entertainment, refreshments and lots of activities. Entry to the event is free of charge- all day parking £5 per vehicle.
Wilder Festival with Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Mount Pleasant Eco Park, Porthtowan, Sun 26 May
A naturally wild day out for everyone to celebrate our wildlife and wild places in Cornwall at a sustainable eco-park on the North Coast of Cornwall. Wildlife workshops, forage & feast, live music, street food, the animals of Feadon Farm Wildlife Centre, bird-ringing demonstrations by BTO Cornwall, wild art, forest schools, welly-wanging and other wildlife friends visiting from across Cornwall. Free entry, bring friends & family, and your best British animal-themed outfit. All welcome, bring a picnic rug and relax for the day.
Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves (Illyria Theatre), Trebah Garden Amphitheatre, Mawnan Smith, Thurs 30 May
“The most rambunctious Garden Fête!” Expect major international headline acts – including James, Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly and Craig Charle – a mix of comedy, theatre, music and the arts, all within the beautiful grounds of Scorrier Estate. Look out for the vintage fairground, woodland silent disco, secret gin garden, The Whispering Woods, burlesque sessions, Madame Wong’s House of Wrong, classical corner, glamping, hot tubs, The Sanctuary and the Swamp Circus and much more.