Helstonbury is a live music festival which is held in the Blue Anchor, Helston every year, raising money for local charities.
Set up in 2001 it is now in its 17th year and keeps on going from strength to strength. Bands and volunteers donate their time and go all out to make sure everyone has a memorable time and this year volunteers also helped to build new stages as the old ones had gone past their best. In just 3 days this year the festival has raised over £13,300, every penny of which will be put back into the community.
Helstonbury 2017, bigger and better than ever!
Unlike most festivals Helstonbury focuses on local musicians, rather than bringing acts in from outside the area. It is therefore a fantastic showcase of the wealth of talent that exists in Cornwall and is a great way for new, up and coming bands to get noticed. Here’s the 2017 line up:
Just as the audience ranges from tiny tots to ageing rockers, the line up also embraces all kinds of music from acapella, through folk and acoustic to funk, ska and hard core rock and roll. The Music Foundation stage gives space for the next generation of musicians to show what they can do. The acapella stage greets everyone entering the pub with the rousing sound of shanties and beautiful voices singing in harmony. The acoustic stage provides a chilled out space to relax with a pint, while the Skittle Alley and Special Stage cater to the more ‘lively’ bands.
Sunday at Helstonbury
Unfortunately Live Bands Cornwall weren’t able to attend the whole festival this year but we were lucky enough to go for the last 10 hours or so on Sunday, and what a day it was! We missed the Sunday service and choir sadly as this is one of the highlights of Helstonbury but did get there in time for the ScareCrows kicking off on the Special Stage at 1pm.
Their upbeat set was comprised of popular numbers by The Stones, Rod Stewart, The Doors etc, cut with one or two originals of their own. Just perfect for a sunny Sunday afternoon! This was followed seamlessly by a catchy, bluesy set on the acoustic stage by Jolly & Janie which had everyone singing along; whilst the Skittle Alley eased into Sunday with a resounding performance by The Tiger Tales who hail from The Lizard and play an eclectic mix of original music. Both female leads had incredible voices and it was difficult to know which band to watch – so we dashed between them trying not to miss anything.
Not The Beatles took the Special Stage by storm again immediately afterwards (the organisation at Helstonbury is sooo smooth!) and wowed the audience with their bright Sergeant Pepper outfits and all the favourite Beatles tracks you can think of. The courtyard was starting to get very hot and sweaty by this point!
Taking It To The Next Level
From then on it all got a lot messier with Go Go Skank and then Snake Oil taking us through into the evening. Go Go Skank take well loved 70s, 80s and 90s tunes and chew them up and spit them out in a joyful Rockabilly Ska style that is just irresistible! Also you get rewards if you skank, so yep the beer garden was bouncing pretty quickly.
Snake Oil in the Skittle Alley changed things up again by playing a heavy, soulful set that had everybody grooving. Winners of the 2017 Tyacks Battle of the Bands it is hard to believe that they have only been on the scene for just over a year as they already have a firm following in Cornwall. No wonder when they play all those songs that just make you go “Yes!”, and do them really well. They cover great material by Clutch, The Black Crowes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mountain, Rival Sons among others and an hour on Sunday just wasn’t long enough!
Even Nine, the next act, are long time Helstonbury favourites. They missed Helstonbury 2016 as they were on tour so were welcomed back this year by a very enthusiastic crowd! Even Nine formed in 2005 when brothers Jody and Rick Martin met up with Brett Stepto the drummer. Realising they all shared the same musical loves and ambitions, they set about writing and recording songs that include heartfelt, inspired vocals underpinned by an energetic, modern rock sound. Their energy packed set certainly proved popular on Sunday with everyone bouncing along.
By the way, previous support gigs include ‘Fun lovin’ Criminals’, ‘Reef’, ‘Thunder’ and ‘Rooster’ and their next gig after Helstonbury sees them supporting ‘Feeder’ at Bands in The Sands.
The last band on the Special stage were the wonderful Good Old Fashioned Lover Boys. Big favourites in pubs and festivals up and down Cornwall they certainly know how to get the crowd singing. From start to finish we were belting out those fabulous Queen anthems alongside them while the floor pulsated and the bunting above our heads jerked up and down in time with the roof: Fat Bottomed Girls, Another One Bites The Dust, Radio GaGa, I Want To Break Free and so many more. Culminating of course with the climactic Bohemian Rhapsody which was, well… pretty rhapsodic.
Finally, bringing the live music to an end in the Skittle Alley were The Olives. This was their 4th Helstonbury and they are now established as firm favourites to finish the party off! With a recent change in their line up with new lead vocalist, Jake, they have continued to maintain their place as one of Cornwall’s top party bands. They certainly got the Skittle Alley rocking and there definitely weren’t any cobwebs left by the time they’d finished.
Roll on 2018 when we can do it all again!
Debi @ Live Bands