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What’s on in Cornwall – August 2021

Get planning! The social calendar is full and we're celebrating a Cornish summer! From festivals, foodie events and cutting-edge theatre to bold exhibitions, here's what's on in Cornwall in August.

FESTIVAL: Rock Oyster Festival, Rock 30 July – 1 Aug

Hosted by local chef Paul Ainsworth and friends, Rock Oyster Festival, held at Dinham House near Wadebridge, is a north coast favourite. Expect live music, circus acts, yoga and a chance to try some of the best oysters, mussels, and artisan produce around. This family-friendly event also offers lots of fun for kids and can be reached by bike – straight off the beautiful Camel Trail. We like the sound of the Bordeaux Bar and wine tasting and the Italian Cocktail masterclass with Bottega gin, as well as lots of awesome music including Sophie Ellis Bextor, Nick Mulvey and more.

THEATRE: Charlie and Stan, The Minack, 1 – 12 August

In 1910, the then unknown Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel set sail on board a tramp steamer from Liverpool to New York as part of Fred Karno’s famous music hall troupe. On the voyage, they shared a cabin, they shared comedy routines, they shared laughter, but, by the end of the journey, they hated each other… yet they would both go on to become two of the biggest stars of the age. Inspired by real life events, Told by an Idiot’s acclaimed production of Charlie & Stan is the remarkable story of the greatest comedy double act that nearly was. With an original piano score played live at every performance, Charlie & Stan is a hilarious and deeply moving homage to two men who changed the world of comedy forever.

CINEMA: Skylight Outdoor Cinema, various locations and dates

Catch family films in iconic Cornish locations including the Jubilee Pool, Scorrier House and Great Western Beach in Newquay.

MUSIC: Nova Festival, Wheal Martyn, 6 – 7 August

Artistic director and founder, Joseph Barker, has teamed up with fellow Cornish musicians to bring a new concept to the iconic Wheal Martyn near St Austell, planning a fantastic, varied programme of live classical music over two nights. Expect Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Mozart movements played by a variety of ensembles in the lovely glass entry area of the museum, with drinks outside – the perfect, chilled summer evening out. Also look out for children’s workshops in St Austell itself. Tickets here.

THEATRE: Wild Moon Forest Days and Forest Nights, Rogue Theatre, Tehidy Woods, 18 Aug – 5 September

Wild Moon Forest Days is a woodland theatre adventure for all ages, a celebration of the wild, and the wild magic of life! Like wandering into a fairy tale forest, Wild Moon Forest Daysoffers a wild hearted welcome, weaving a summer spell of woodland wonder with Rogue’s theatre magic, incredible live music, breath taking dance, humour, and a collection of moon-spun tales.

EVENT: Falmouth Week, Falmouth, 6 – 15 Aug

Falmouth Week is a major attraction for locals and visitors alike. With its origins in a local sailing regatta dating back at least far as 1837, the Week has evolved into not only a major sailing competition in the SW but also an opportunity for sailors and landlubbers to enjoy the many daytime and evening attractions in the town (including the Red Arrows on the 11th and a fireworks event on the 13th).

FESTIVAL: Paul Ainsworth’s Travelling Feast, 6 – 20 Aug

Billed as the ultimate food-lover’s festival, join Padstow’s Paul Ainsworth for his first-ever Travelling Feast food & music festival, taking in various foodie locations across Cornwall including Boconnoc (nr Lostwithiel), Scorrier House (home to the Great Estate festival later in August) and Wadebridge plus Roscarrock just above Port Isaac. Expect some proper nostalgic dance music plus camping and feasts (from Paul and other chef friends) – each destination will have its own unique mix of music, comedy, food, and family entertainment, ensuring no two days are the same. Join for the whole lot, or just one location.

SHOPPING: Market at Fowey Hall Hotel, 8 and 22 August

The first of these beautiful fortnightly community market launched in glorious sunshine in the grounds of Fowey Hall Hotel at the end of May and it was the hottest shopping location in the Duchy, attracting a host of famous faces enjoying possibly the nicest coastal view for a spot of feel good purchasing. Following the success of the pop up shop at the hotel last summer, journalist Fiona Golfar joined forces with former Port Eliot festival founder Cathy St Germans (remember her Farms to Feed Us enterprise in lockdown 1.0) and Harriet Baylis, founder of Marazul clothing, to set up a new community focused shopping experience. Top tip: park in the town car park at the top of the town, peruse the market and then head down into Fowey for lunch and a swim.

EVENT: Red Arrows, Falmouth, 11 Aug

As part of the town’s festival, the Red Arrows are back at 6.15pm, with a world-class display of breath-taking stunts and synchronised manoeuvres across the skies of Falmouth. Vantage points to witness the performance include Pendennis Point, Cliff Road, Castle Beach, Gyllyngvase Beach and Swanpool Beach.

FESTIVAL: Boardmasters, Newquay, 11-15 Aug

Credit: Callum Morse (Boardmasters Festival)

{SOLD OUT} Hopefully it is third times a charm for the Boardmasters Festival, after the 2019 weekend was cancelled due to poor weather, and 2020 due to Covid-19. The live music and pro surfing on the stunning Cornish coast is hosted across two beautiful locations. The festival site sits on the cliff top at Watergate Bay, home to arguably the world’s best festival view. Expect twelve stages, with a collection of acts ranging from local acoustic talent, to mind-bending visual performers, to international headliners (2021 line up still to be announced, but 2018 featured Catfish & The Bottlemen, The Chemical Brothers, George Ezra, Rag’n’Bone Man, Annie Mac, whilst the 2019 line-up had included Wu-Tang Clan, Florence and the Machine, Foals, Dizzee Rascal, Jorja Smith, Plan B, Bugzy Malone, Razorlight, Franz Ferdinand to name but just a few of the acts). Oh and over at Fistral there’s one or two things too … pro surf comps, skating, BMX, live music, the Surf Village and much more.

EXHIBITION: Wheat – From Plough to Plate, Jackson Foundation Gallery, St Just, until Aug 14

The building that now houses the gallery in St Just was once an integral part of Warrens Bakery, the oldest pasty-maker in Cornwall. From here, forklift trucks darted back and forth taking their loads to the bakery up the road, where the sweet aromas of baking bread and cakes, sausage rolls and pasties emanated, perfuming the town, filling the streets. In this exhibition, contemporary artist Kurt Jackson traces the journey of a staple crop – wheat – from ‘field to fork’, exploring how it has shaped the landscape (and our lives) in a range of media spanning paint, sculpture and poetry.

EXHIBITION: Robin Hanbury-Tenison: Echoes of a Vanished World, Jackson Foundation Gallery, St Just, until Aug 14

Bodmin based explorer Robin Hanbury-Tenison is a natural born storyteller. A founder of Survival International, his images speak directly to us in a voice that is fresh and clear. Echoes of a Vanished World, an exhibition of some of his best work from time spent in Africa, South America and the Pacific during the 1950’s – 1970’s.

EVENT: The Great Steam Engine Rally, Stithians Showground (20-22 Aug)

Family friendly weekend at Stithians to celebrate the 66th anniversary of the West of England Steam Engine Society. Expect, well, Steam Engines and plenty of vintage vehicles, plus fairground and rural animals including shire horses, plus a dog show.

FESTIVAL: Dadfest, Via Ferrata, Penryn, Falmouth, 20-22 August

Run by the ‘Dangerous Dads’ group, this is a dads and kids camping festival near Falmouth, hosting a variety of events including the Official World Dad Dancing Championships.

FESTIVAL: The Great Estate Festival, Scorrier (27-29 Aug)

“The most rambunctious Garden Fête!” Expect major international headline acts – 2019 included James, Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly and Craig Charle – and 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. Usually in May, this year the festival has moved to the August bank holiday weekend.

FESTIVAL: Cornwall Folk Festival, Wadebridge (27-30 Aug)
The bank holiday weekend is all about folk music in Wadebridge, with four nights and three days of concerts, sessions, folk clubs, dancing, workshops, craft fairs and children’s events in the beautiful market town.

EVENT: Cornwall Pride, Newquay (28 Aug)

Now in its fourteenth year, Cornwall Pride is a celebration of diversity in Cornwall. This traditional Pride event includes a colourful and vibrant parade from Towan Beach, Rainbow Fest with an afternoon of live music at Newquay’s Killacourt and a ticketed evening ‘Moonbow’ party.

CINEMA: Wavelength Drive-In Cinema, Watergate Bay, until 5 Sept

Back by popular demand, Cornwall’s surf mag hosted a summer of cult films including Cornish surf classic, Blue Juice, as well as other surf and classic movies, all on a clifftop looking over Watergate Bay.

EXHIBITION: Laura Knight, Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance, until 15 September

This major new exhibition celebrates the career of one of Britain’s best-loved artists. Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970) was one of the twentieth century’s most prolific British artists. Her career spanned nearly eighty years and the extraordinary breadth of her talent encompassed a huge variety of subjects, techniques and styles. Her achievements included being the second ever female Royal Academician, a highly acclaimed War Artist and being made a Dame of the British Empire.

The exhibition is an overview of Knight’s entire career and focuses on several different genres; beginning with her early years, the flowering of her work in Cornwall before the First World War, through her portraiture and on to her later years painting the Gypsy dynasties in Malvern.

EXHIBITION: Haegue Yang Strange Attractors, Tate St Ives, until 26 Sept 2021

Berlin-based South Korean artist Haegue Yang has been taking the art world by storm and her largest exhibition to date in the UK opened at the Tate St Ives last October. Gloriously fun and chaotic, Haegue Yang’s exploration of the domestic, cultural and spiritual responses to the natural world is a definite conversation starter. Check out our review here.


Unicorn Derby, Jubilee Pool, Penzance 

The Jubilee Pool’s famous unicorn derby is always a fun day at the end of August with inflatable races across the pool, unicorn fancy dress and entertainment. Win swimming passes, cafe vouchers and more. All inflatables can take part but only unicorns can win in life!

& sadly not on this time

Falmouth Tall Ships (race starts 19 Aug)

{Cancelled} August sees the world’s tall ships flock to Falmouth for the start of the Magellan-Elcano Tall Ships race – the boats and ships will be moored in Carrick Roads and in the inner harbour in the lead up to the start on 19 August (they then sail on to Spain). Yours truly sailed in the same race as a teenager back in 1999 so I speak with first hand experience when I say that the gathering of the ships, complete with crews at least 1/3 of which are under 25 and plenty of (uniformed) naval officers to boot adds a frisson of excitement to the locale. Just how that works post Covid I’m not sure, but the pre-race parade of sail is a spectacle in itself.

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