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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…

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.

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.

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.

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: 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.

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 half term holiday 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. Events are yet to be announced but watch this space.

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.

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.

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.

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!)

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