Boardmasters 2021 came to a close on Monday after 5 days of basking in the Cornish weather, waves, and of course music. This year the festival saw headliners Foals, Gorillaz, and Jorja Smith descend to its coastal site, overlooking the impressively wild and rugged north coast of Cornwall. There were also hundreds of other acts to catch, each bringing their own sound and atmosphere. It’s safe to say that after 2 years of no live music, artists and fans were eager to embrace one another once more. Throughout the weekend there were countless memorable moments from Easy Life‘s main stage set to Arlo Parks magical performance at The Land Of Saints stage.
Here are our top 5 performances from Boardmasters 2021.
Kano – Land Of Saints, Friday
Kano headlined the Land Of Saints stage on Friday to a jam packed tent of eager and adoring fans. His performance was complimented by an array of backing vocalists, a brass section, and incredible lighting. It was an almost cinematic show from the rapper, boasting not only his lyricism and flow but overall artistic vision. Kano bounced across the stage, donned in a hoodie, only revealing his face momentarily. His energy levels were palpable, hyping the crowd up as he swayed about. The roar of the audience could be felt in ones chest, something that was almost alien to a person that hasn’t been to a live show in 18 months. You couldn’t help but me enamoured by his performance that was one part theatrical and other part musical, proving that Kano is still one of the best in the game.
The Futureheads – The Land Of Saints, Sunday
The Futureheads, who in previous Boardmasters have graced the mainstage drove all the way down from Sunderland to play their half an hour set at The Land Of Saints. It was a spectacular show that proved that they are still one of the UK’s best live bands. Their trademark acapella vocals and harmonies were as tight as ever accompanied by their frantic, hook-heavy riffs. It was a real treat to watch a band that through my teens really awakened me to the wonders of live music, still bring the same energy nearly 10 years later (that makes me feel old).
Arlo Parks – The Land Of Saints, Sunday
It’s hard to put into words Arlo Parks set, but one word that sums it up is magical. Arlo played to packed tent of festival attendees and nearly half the Boardmasters press team, it was truly captivating. Arlo’s music filled the air with grace as she breezed around the stage, which was adorned with flowers and stunning purple lighting. Her soulful vocals, raw and honest lyrics and uplifting energy on stage was something to be adored. A moment that will stick with me for the rest of my life, as it will Arlo who was constantly in awe of her audience saying “Thank you Boardmasters, I will remember this for the rest of my life”. She also paused mid set to tell people “Two years ago I was making beats on a laptop not knowing what I was doing and here I am now, I truly beleive you can achieve your dreams”. After the 18 months we’ve had, especially the younger members, who have sacrificed so much it was a pleasant message to hear.
Easy Life – Main Stage, Sunday
Easy Life cruised on to the main stage on Sunday amidst the Cornish mizzle and played to thousands of eager fans. Both the band and crowd couldn’t be stopped by the small downpour, if anything it only added to the brilliance of their set. Their mellow, chilled back, jazz-infused indie (with hints of hip hop) provided the perfect backing track for a Cornish festival. The ocean wind blew in, seagulls flew over head, and Easy Life soundtracked it beautifully. The audience fed off the bands elation, with smiles all round. It was great to see such positivity from a band who were clearly having a great time. Frontman Murray Matravers dazzled as he grooved around topless, we even got a sneaky preview of his pants due to them coming down at one point, semi on purpose, the cheeky bugger. Musically the band were incredibly tight, each member playing their part to a point of masterfulness. It was impossible to not walk away absolutely buzzing after that set.
Django Django – The Land Of Saints, Saturday
Django Django have released some incredible music over the years but have always remained somewhat lowkey. Although, they have built up millions of streams and hundreds of thousands of listeners. Having only recently discovered them via their recent album ‘Glowing In The Dark’ I was eager to see them. To say their set was a barrage of infectious guitar and rhythm section would be an understatement, all of which was complimented by their unique electro twist. They performed as a bad totally in control of their sound, blowing the minds of the Land Of Saints audience, myself included. They opened with the bass-heavy ‘Default’ and led into ‘Spirals’, another upbeat, funky track. It was a whirlwind of sound that came cascading over the audience. It was a real pleasure to watch.
Foals – Main stage, Friday
Foals are a band that need to introduction, for the best part of a decade they have installed themselves as one of the UK’s best live bands. This was overwhelmingly evident during their headline performance at Boardmasters 2021, they were a true force to be reckoned with. Their closing songs ‘Inhaler’, ‘What Went Down’, and ‘Two Steps, Twice’ were a tirade of energy that came in constant waves. Frontman Yannis was captivating to watch as he ran around the stage, playing his guitar with incredible virolity. Musically the band form a giant wall of sound that is nothing short of masterful, each member playing their part to perfection. Such energy, musicianship, and passion was incredibly spellbinding. Foals truly are one of the greatest live bands of all time and their Boardmasters set proved that.
Honourable mentions: George Moir, Lianna La Havas, The Big Moon, The Snuts, Dizzee Rascal, Katy J Pearson, Do Nothing, The Kooks, Chubby and the Gang, Sam Fender, Jade Bird.