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Port Eliot Festival 28-31 July

Port Eliot Festival 28-31 July

Main pic: Port Eliot by Michael Bowles

Imagine one of those crazy fantasy dinner parties where you wish for the most eclectic bunch of performers, thinkers, artists, writers and idlers to feast on Venetian delights, drink wild (as in foraged) cocktails, skinny dip in the river and stargaze. Followed the next morning by an early visit to the Bloody Mary Ambulance bar, some hot tub wallowing and a bit of gentle block printing. Only you don’t have to imagine it because Port Eliot have it all and much more at their annual weekend of surprises (28th – 31st July).

The free range festival is at home on the ancient estate of historical Port Eliot in St German on Cornwall’s Rame peninsula. It is possibly the only festival to give equal importance to music, words, food, fashion, flowers, walking and water with a magical thread of bohemia running through it all. The St German family, owners and creators of the 4 day event say ‘our home is yours for the weekend’ and indeed it is with much of the estate transformed into stages and venues. Like the walled garden which becomes The Wardrobe Department, the century old Rhododendron garden hosting The Hullabaloo kids area, Caught by the River residing by the estuary and the old House with its brand new pop up Science Lab. Lark’s Haven, another first timer, has hot tubs, sauna, meditation and massages – swoon. The programme is jam packed full of workshops, demonstrations and practical skill sessions, so varied it makes me greedy for them all.

This year’s line-up is rather brilliant. Not least because of the thrilling partnerships Port Eliot have established with cool publication Hole & Corner, spirits of the moment Black Cow Vodka and Sipsmith, renowned restaurant Polpo, British Fine Tea Merchants Comins and the iconic Eden Project. At this point I should list the headliners too like Gloria Steinem, Noel Fielding, Ali Smith, Nathan Outlaw and Bruce Robinson but it isn’t that sort of hierarchical event and the schedule deserves being seen in full so take a look. Quickly though because it is selling out fast. And if you still aren’t sure then here is the Festival Director and chatelaine, Catherine St Germans for the last word…

 “If you felt inclined to rugby tackle any of the Port Eliot team to the ground and force us to sum up the festival in a pithy sentence we’d be lying there together for ages. Port Eliot is like falling from the sky into a magic garden where you will be constantly surprised and delighted; where you can drink, dance, discuss, dress up, camp, explore, get lost, fall asleep under the stars to the sound of Andrew Weatherall, and wake up to the ringing of church bells.”


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