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What’s on September in Cornwall

No plans? You need Muddy's monthly what's on guide with a mix of openings, events and online gems all from local venues to keep you entertained.

Summer’s almost over but Cornwall hasn’t got the memo…

FESTIVAL: St Ives September Festival, St Ives, 11 – 25 September

With the summer rush of holidaymakers over, St Ives draws down art and music lovers from all over the country for a whole host of exhibitions and cultural events.

EVENT: North Cornwall Book Festival, St Endellion, 23 – 26 September

North Cornwall Book Festival brings together readers and writers (and a few choice musicians) for a festival of literature, narrative, craft, workshops and concerts in a site of outstanding beauty, between the holiday resort of Polzeath and the fishing community of Port Isaac. Authors include local favourites Liz Kessler, Lamorna Ash in conversation with Lisa Woollett and national faces, including George Alagiah.

EVENT: Porthleven Arts Festival, 25 September – 3 October

The first Porthleven Arts Festival sounds like fun – more than 60 events across the town including exhibitions, art, workshops, music, poetry and performance. It’s about community, about participation and, most importantly, about celebrating art in all its many and diverse forms. Highlights include the Salty Sisters swimming, music from sea shanties to the blues via a delightful programme of classical music in St Bartholemew’s church and poetry performed and to reflect upon, including a tribute event for the late Nick Hardcastle and a spoken word performance by Megan Chapman. The mermaid day also sounds great fun, with a visit from a mermaid and Elspeth Stephenson (above) who is hosting a practical creative writing workshop that draws on the environment, the sea and mythology.

EVENT: Rare Breeds Month at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Heligan Woolly Weekend, 25 – 26 September

In a year where many livestock shows and exhibitions have sadly been cancelled, Heligan Home Farms’ Livestock Team are celebrating and highlighting all the rare breed residents who call Heligan their home.

Heligan Woolly Weekend take place this weekend – make your way to The Barn to meet a variety of visiting rare breed sheep and learn more about these estate lawn mowers, why they are so important and the conservation breeding programme that Heligan proudly works hard to complete.

SHOPPING: Houseplant Extravaganza, The Plant Palace (People Plants HQ), Scorrier (25-26 September)

Join Emily Anderson and People Plants from 9-4pm when they are opening up the plant palace doors. If you want to see an indoor jungle, this is the weekend for you! Book your slot and expect 1000s of beautiful houseplants; from 12ft Fiddle Leaf Figs to rare Alocasias right down to tiny airplants — this is the last one of the season, with 20-40% off all houseplants.

NEW! EXHIBITION: Discovering Anchor Studio: An artist’s haven in Newlyn, Penlee House Gallery & Museum, 25 September 2021 until 8 January 2022

Forbes, Stanhope Alexander; Gala Day at Newlyn, Cornwall; Hartlepool Museums and Heritage Service

The Grade II* listed Anchor Studio has been at the heart of cultural life in Newlyn since the 1880s. It  was used for over 60 years by Stanhope Forbes, father of the Newlyn School, and then by John Wells, a principal St Ives Modernist. Forbes and his wife Elizabeth ran their school of painting from Anchor, attracting many students who became distinguished  artists. Featuring paintings by artists associated with Anchor, this exhibition explores the history of the studio and its recent restoration.

FOOD: Al Fresco Spanish wine and pinxtos night, The Bottle, Newquay, 26 September

Located in a secluded outdoor courtyard in Newquay, The Bottle are hosting a special one-off menu featuring a selection of pinxtos, charcuterie and cheese celebrating the Basque country (one of the areas of Spain that inspired The Bottle). Tickets are £20 – booking essential – which comes off the bill, and includes a complimentary glass of Txakoli on arrival. Find wine by the glass and bottle paired with the dishes on offer, plus cocktails too.

MUSIC: Sunday Sessions, Una St Ives, 26 Sept

Every Sunday throughout September enjoy a delicious dish from the Una Kitchen woodfired menu, expertly mixed cocktails and live, acoustic music as the sun sets…the summer only ends when you let it. Sunday lunch is served from 12pm-2pm and can be booked online. Live music starts at 4pm.

LAST CHANCE! EXHIBITION: Haegue Yang Strange Attractors, Tate St Ives, ends 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.

EVENT: The Cornish Seal Talk, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, 29 September 2021, 6.30pm

Expertly introduced by Sue Sayer and Rob Wells from Cornwall Seal Research Group and encompassing everything you ever wanted to know about our beautiful Cornish seals but with narratives about local seals that live and visit the three bays geography. As a real highlight see the full life size skeleton of a seal, now named ‘Septimius’, who was found at Chapel point.  Pre booking is essential, tickets £7 per person with drinks and canapés on arrival.

EXHIBITION: In Your Hands, Newlyn Art Gallery, ends 16 Oct 2021

In Your Hands is a group exhibition connecting international artists with people in Cornwall in collaborations to realise or fabricate their artwork. The artists have put the making of their art into the hands of others, placing their trust in them, and embracing serendipitous outcomes.

While the pandemic has brought restrictions to travel, there is an ever-growing desire to be part of international networks. Touch has been very much missed, and In Your Hands explores new connections, inviting a dance between continents; a call and response with words and flowers; and an ode to the home we have all spent so much time in. Includes the installation by Klaas Rommelaere (above), a textile artist based in Antwerp, who created a fabric room, furnished with cross stitched objects, ornaments and possessions created by over 80 people across Cornwall and the UK, including members of the Tea, Cake & Art group, and others who took part in the recent Extraordinary Postcards exhibition.

THEATRE: Everyman Tour, Various locations, until 17 October

Miracle Theatre brings Carol Ann Duffy’s electric adaption of the fifteenth century English morality play right up to date, creating an intense, exciting, multi-media experience with live music, projection, choreography and a high-energy cast of 4. 

JUST MISSED…

MUSIC: Tunes in the Dunes, Perranporth, 2-4 September

The UK’s biggest festival on a beach held on the white sands of Perranporth. Tom Walker, Craig David and Richard Ashcroft are the headline acts over the three days and nights – now set for September rather than the usual June weekender.

MUSIC: Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, Park House Opera, nr Truro, 2-5 Sept

Food and opera in the grounds of Park House at St Clements – on Sunday there is an Italian picnic served before the performance which is from Duchy Opera, one of the finest regional semi-professional opera companies. Booking essential.

EXHIBITION: Lulu Ash, Joy Editions, Bude, until 3 September

This is the first exhibition from a new gallery in Bude, located in a former DIY shop in the heart of the town. Joy Editions was set up by local artist Nina Brooke to bring visitors prints, photography, original art and works on paper by artists who are inspired by the land and sea.

EVENT: Wavelength Surf Film Festival, Watergate Bay, 4 September

The clifftop screening lineup features the very best of contemporary surf filmmaking, from critically acclaimed international releases to locally produced independent shorts. Overall, it’s a heady mix of engaging docs and high-octane bangers. Brings to an end a summer of drive-in cinema with the final screenings from the team on 5 September.

EXHIBITION: Ben Weller, Jupiter Gallery, Newlyn, until 4 September

The Dog That Digs The Deepest Finds The Bone is an exciting collection of Weller’s portrait photography – from Vogue shoots to capturing the surfers of Cornwall, Ben Weller’s images always capture a strong sense of narrative.

SHOPPING: Market at Fowey Hall Hotel, 5 September

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. This is the last of the summer series, so don’t miss out.

EVENT: AJ Bell Tour of Britain, 5 September

(Credit SWPix)

Cornwall hosts the modern Tour of Britain for the first time ever in September 2021, following the postponement of the 2020 race. The Grand Depart will see riders travel 180 kilometres through the Cornish countryside, starting in Penzance and ending in Bodmin.

The ‘Grand Départ‘ of the Tour of Britain, sets off from Penzance, taking in 111 miles of Cornish countryside and towns including St Ives, Falmouth, Newquay and St Austell before ending in Bodmin on the Sunday evening. Expect rolling road closures among the cycling excitement.

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.

EVENT: Bombay Sapphire Sunset Sessions: a fusion of cocktails, art and music, Polurrian on the Lizard, 11 September

Join Polurrian on the Lizard for a sunset inspired event on Sat 11 September, with cocktails by Bombay Sapphire and an art masterclass by Elly Jahnz, to celebrate the last few weeks of the British summer. Stay on for the Sunset Session from DJs Pete Denton and Portia Freeman (and win a pair of tickets here!)

THEATRE: St Just Ordinalia 2021, 4-18 September

Under golden autumn sunsets or the dramatic dark skies of far West Cornwall, a two week festival of open air repertory performances of all three Ordinalia plays, and Cornish language and theatre Workshops will be hosted and re-enacted in St Just’s Plen an Gwari – one of the two surviving ‘places of the play’ in Cornwall, and arguably the oldest working open-air theatre space in Britain. 

EVENT: Heritage Open Days Festival, various locations, 10 – 19 September

There’s heaps to explore across Cornwall at the Heritage Open Days Festival – a fantastic way to see our ‘hoods prettiest buildings and landmarks that are free to enter for the public. Last year this included St Lawrence’s Church – a unique opportunity to explore Cornwall’s asylum church-inside and outside – you can even have a go at playing the organ. This year highlights include a free festival at Wheal Martyn.

EXHIBITION: The Best of Both Worlds, The Byre Gallery, Millpoint, ends 12th September 2021

Cornwall artist Nicola Mosely makes a welcome return with a new collection of her elegant and peaceful studies of the coastline and estuary around Falmouth, alongside Alex Yarlett and Tara Leaver, who are showing collections of  their elegant and distinctive work at the Byre Gallery for the first time.

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.

MUSIC: Eden Sessions, The Eden Project, Ben Harper (11 Sept), McFly (12 Sept), Royal Blood (14 Sept) Snow Patrol (16 Sept), The Script (17 Sept)

While the majority of 2020’s Eden Sessions are postponed until 2022, including Lionel Richie, My Chemical Romance, Diana Ross, Bryan Adams and Idles, there are a number of gigs lined up for September 2021.

EVENT: Watergate Bay Sprint, 18 – 19 September

Two-day closed road speed event which returns with a new format. Replacing the hillclimb, Watergate Sprint will provide competitors with a unique closed-road challenge and spectators superb viewing above the cliffs at Watergate Bay.

MUSIC: Shanty Festival, Port Isaac, 17 – 19 September

The first event took place in 2019, with 2020 postponed. Acts and details to be announced…

FOOD & DRINK: St Ives Food & Drink Festival, 17 – 19 September

Prepare for a weekend of culinary treats on the sands of beautiful Porthminster Beach – although this year (we hope) in September, not the usual May. There’s always a great line-up of local and national chefs putting on demonstrations, which in previous years have included Tom Brown, Aine Carlin, Simon Hulstone, Jude Kereama, Hersha Patel, Chris Eden, and Ben Tunnicliffe. There’s usually a large selection of the best street food on offer plus plenty of traders with delicious produce for sale in the Artisan Tent.

EVENT: Cornwall Balloon Festival, Wadebridge Showground, 18 – 19 September

The first balloon festival to grace Cornish skies for 25 years, this two day extravaganza is also a giant fun fare.

EVENT: Eden Classic, The Eden Project, 19 September

Cornwall’s biggest home-grown cycling event the Eden Classic returns, with three routes that take in some of the most spectacular parts of the south coast of Cornwall. The courses range from a short yet challenging ride of 36 miles, to a middle distance of 60 miles, and a long course for the experienced sportive rider of 100 miles.  All routes take in dramatic coastal and country scenery and riders can enjoy top-class refreshment at the Lost Gardens of Heligan feed station as they fuel up for the remainder of their ride.   At the end riders are greeted by the sight of the world-famous Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes as they descend into the Eden Arena.  Booking essential, entries close 14 September.

FOODIE: Biodynamic wine tasting with Carte Blanche Wines, The Bottle, Newquay, 19 September

Newquay’s wine shop and deli The Bottle will welcome guest hosts Carte Blanche Wines who focus on importing wines from ecologically-minded producers which have a real sense of place. The evening will shine a spotlight on organic and biodynamic wines. Tickets £30 to include five wines and a paired tasting plate, booking essential.

AND SADLY, WHAT’S NOT ON

FOOD & DRINK: Newquay Fish Festival, 10 – 12 September {postponed}

Every year Newquay Harbour hosts a fantastic fish festival, with stalls, cooking demonstrations and music, celebrating Cornwall’s huge fishing heritage and culture. 

FESTIVAL: Looe Music Festival, Looe (Postponed to 16-18 Sept 2022)

Looe Music Festival serves up three days of superb live music in a magical setting on the stunning Cornish coast. A ‘grown-up’ music festival where camping isn’t a prerequisite, where you can visit for the day or the weekend, stay in comfort and eat like a king. Acts to be announced!

EVENT: Open Studios Cornwall 2021 (Postponed to 2022)

More than 200 artists, designers and makers usually welcome visitors into their studios in a celebration of artistic practice, but sadly due to the ongoing pandemic, 2021’s celebration has been postponed to 2022.

Find more ideas here

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