Masked Ball in Review – A very Cornish Disco

Masked Ball in Review – A very Cornish Disco

Once a year up on a cliff side called Beacon Crag lives a weekend that is notorious along the West Country coast, this would be The Masked Ball’s Spring Ball. While this weekend may have passed for festival goers who heard the calling of the cliffs, the sound of bass may still be ringing in their ears and glitter memorialised in the lining of their tents. Despite not selling out the 3000 party-person capacity, the festival was an intimate shindig made up of some of the most bejazzled characters in Cornwall.

Following everyone’s anticipation for the festival, yearly attendees were not disappointed by the Spring Ball. In fact, one returning member claimed that it has only got bigger and better since its first opening. Marking the 12th year since the Spring Ball’s conception, a line-up of big-name DJs (both local and international) made the perfect soundtrack for a weekend of ED-Mayhem.

With cosiness and cliff-side views in abundance, Underground had the opportunity to be part of the Masked Ball that despite its name didn’t see many masked individuals. Nonetheless, here is everything you need to know about our experience and perhaps your stay next time…

The stages:

As practically a guarantee from The Masked Ball organisers, the Spring Ball had a multiplex of stages that filled your eyes with laser beams and interesting décor. Over on the east side all your light show dreams could be fulfilled with a stage name the “Laser Shack”. With hay-bails suited for sitting and bar selling some cheap cocktails, the Laser Shack seemed to be home for ballers who danced from breakfast to dinner and through the night. Over on the west side The Deck was one of the largest tents on offer, housing a bar which sold Cornish faves Jubel and Rattler, it was a popular spot for disco ball boogiers and sequin fanatics.

PHOTO CREDS: Kane Hibbert

Up north was occupied by the warmest tent of the festival, the Pleasure Dome – almost unsurprising now putting the two and two together. Run by KIWI, a Cornish arts and entertainment company, ballers could dance confidently knowing they were in the safe hands of such renowned party throwers. And in the south, near to the cliff edge, was the furthest stage The Grand Ballroom. Staying open the full 24hr licence on Saturday, most ballers could be found watching the sunrise still wearing yesterday’s make-up and managing to move their feet.

Other mentionable stages included: the Pyramid Stage which had a moment of delving into 90s cheese, The Garden which had been tucked away and slightly overshadowed by size of The Grand Ballroom, the Dad Bod Boogie one (AKA The Gramophone) which was shaped like a giant gramophone and the hot tub discos – because the cliff top winds got unbearable at times.

PHOTO CREDS: Kane Hibbert

 

The music:

The line-up certainly promised an array of house come electronic DJ’s who are looking to break the mould in their genre, and that’s what Masked Ball delivered. If this is your thing than you were indeed in for a treat, especially since on Saturday DJs continued to blare out tunes until the afternoon on Sunday. With a lot of different stages to choose from different sounds could be located across the little festival. Music ranged from deep house to remixes of Sister Nancy to disco played from vinyl.

PHOTO CREDS: Kane Hibbert

Competing with a plethora of live-music events outside of the festival, The Masked Ball certainly makes waves in the area as one of the only places to find a party putting on electronic music. In doing so they offer anyone in this area of the country something out of the ordinary and chance to indulge excessively in the dark arts of EDM. Playing around with how much brain-shaking bass one baller can handle, the Spring Ball was clearly made to excite people who’s dancing feet were reluctant to stop moving – although a live band here or there wouldn’t have gone a miss.

Some notable acts: B2B Telephone, Powder, Body Hammer, KIWI DJs, B2B Dave Harvey, Daft As Fuck, Alfresco Disco, and many more…

PHOTO CREDS: Kane Hibbert

Camping and day-time activities:

Masked Ball certainly changes the game when it comes to festival camping, not only can you pretty much camp where ever you like in the festival, but you wake up to the most insanely beautiful views of the vast blue sea. Literally setting up your tent on a hill – yes you may wake up at the bottom of your tent after sliding down it all night – you can see the edge of the country right from your front-door. And what’s more refreshing than a serene lookout at the sea when you’re feeling as rough as the portaloos look, eh?

PHOTO CREDS: Kane Hibbert

But such a view comes with a price, unfortunately, which is THE COLD. And I do not say this lightly. With such a high location comes low-low temperatures as the sun descended into night. However, all in all the plummeting weather in the night was nicely combatted with beautiful sunshine in the day and only light speckles of rain, given it was May in England.

As for the day, there wasn’t too much to do on the actual site, unless you fancy a hungover kumbaya with your tent neighbours. Instead ballers are implored to head into town, which was a speedy ten minute with unmissable views of the sea and baby sheep. The town, Porthleven, was a truly delightful hangout for anyone who wanted to relish in traditional Cornish coastal life. This includes: buying a pasty (Ann’s Pasty is a must-stop-shop for a proper pasty), exploring the beach and taking a perch with a pint in one of the local pubs. There was also the chance to chuck on a wetsuit and get surfing and paddle boarding if you so wished.

PHOTO CREDS: Kane Hibbert

Tips for virgin-goers:

  1. One of the main things that is crucial to remember when heading to the Masked Ball, is to consider the weekend more as a long party. Looking at it and expecting it to be “a festival” as we traditionally know it could lead to disappointment in some places. Take for example the food-options that were on offer, they were far and few between especially if you have particularly dietary requirements. However, with this, ballers are reminded why such a party is so important to festival scene, emphasising the key role that independent festival organisers play. Keeping the candle burning for these players means that the only way is up for festivals such as this to change the way we brits enjoy festivals.
  2. Bring more layers than you think you need… it’s May people! You can certainly still rock that little festival number with a pair of tights or a turtle neck underneath. When sleeping, if you do sleep, this is the most important rule to take away from the experience.
  3. Let yourself go – with such a small capacity (for a festival) and a small budget, the space the Spring Ball has on offer begs its ballers to really enjoy the moment and let themselves go, even if its only for the weekend. I have no doubt many ballers where happy the event was held on a bank-holiday.

 

Overall:

With such a small price range for a weekend of fun away from the mundane of Monday, Masked Ball is a bang for your buck. For locals it’s a chance to reveal in an eclectic mix of electronic music brought into the west Country sphere. For those who have travelled it’s a not only a 24hr party but also a chance to take delight in the scenery and small fishing town that without the event might have never been on your radar. Fingers crossed next year is just as scenic as this one.

PHOTO CREDS: Kane Hibbert

 

Words by Aimee Williams-Maynard

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