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St Agnes Outsid’er Festival | April 2015

Outsid'er-Programme

Celebrating the great outdoors, St Agnes is set to once again host its delightful Outsid’er event, where the local environment takes centre stage, and there’s a range of activities on offer for people to try their hand at something fun and different.

Now in its third year, the varied programme showcases some amazing Cornish talent and makes the most of getting out and about, enjoying the natural wonders of Chapel Porth, Trevaunance Cove and surrounding areas, as well as St Agnes itself.

Outsid'er-Programme

I’ve never been before, but I’m making a date to let my hair down, roll my sleeves up, dip my toe in the festival waters on Friday April 10th right through to Sunday 12th.

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There’s plenty to do and see appealing to all ages and persuasions, from Rockpool Rambles, to Kayak Adventures, a photography Scavenger Hunt, Cornish language heritage walk, Walk on the Wild Side wild food forage and cookery demonstration, BBC Gardener’s World presenter Joe Swift talking about garden design, guided bike tours, Skate ramps, SAS (Surfers Against Sewerage) Sand Sculpting competition, Star Gazing on the beacon and so much more.

Here’s what I’m thinking of getting up to over the weekend, in between just kicking back and relaxing (hopefully) in the sunshine. For starters I’m keen to have a go at GeoCaching. I get lost in a paper bag, have never come to grips with the finer points of compass directions and interpreting OS maps, so the thought of using GPS technology to locate secret, hidden treasure sounds ace. There are millions of caches stashed all over the world, with the National Trust loaning their GPS devices from 9am -3pm on Friday at Chapel Porth for people to discover the ones nearby.

Also on Friday, and throughout the weekend, artist-in-residence Tony Plant will be making his incredible site-specific and ephemeral, swirly beach drawings, using nothing but his creative genius and a rake. Fleetingly viewable between tides, to get a taster of how stunningly beautiful his work is, take a look at this.  Tony is inviting folk to grab a rake and join in on Saturday, as well as take part in his Creative Colony Project as virtual mapmakers, so I reckon I’ll give it a whirl then.

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And a twirl at 4pm when Cate Manby (aka Hoop La Dervish) will be running a free drop-in hula hoop workshop on the beach at Trevaunance Cove. I’ve tried hooping in the past, but cannot for the life of me master this skill. Having seen Cate perform I know she knows her stuff, so with some expert tuition, maybe (just maybe) I’ll nail it this time. And if I don’t, who cares, as it’ll be fun trying.

It’ll also help build a healthy appetite for the tantalising Festival Launch Beach Feast. Delicious locally sourced food al fresco on the beach, by the bonfire – can’t top that as a fine dining experience. And with entertainment too, thanks to storytellers Soozie Tinn and Harvey Kurzfield, acoustic guitarist Dan Maltwood, LED/fire hooping Cate, and nature’s own sensational sunset. A BYO plates and cutlery eco-friendly affair, you can bring your own drinks as well, or pop into one of the nearby drinking establishments for a pint of Cornish lager, ale or cider.

And to top a full Friday off, I quite fancy an evening under the stars, watching some epic surf films on the outdoor cinema screen. A free event, but donations are welcome. The sea views are free too. I’ll be there wrapped in a snugly blanket, with my hot water bottle and a mug of cocoa – the perfect way to end an outdoorsy day.

Surf_Cinema_2014

Saturday’s plans include getting arty at the Drop in and Draw session at the Jo Polack Studio Gallery. An opportunity to doodle away in the Creative Courtyard, no previous experience or artistic aptitude required. And I’ll probably stay on to bling up my bike in their Bike Art Bonanza. The idea is to pimp your wheels by decorating your ride with a multitude of materials, and lots of pizzazz. First prize is a new bike from Aggie Cycles, and a Jo Polack print, so not to be sniffed at, and well worth the suggested £2 entry donation.

In the evening I’ll be heading to the St Agnes Miners and Mechanics Institute to see Salt Roads. The latest collaboration between fab Cornish writer Anna Maria Murphy, (Kneehigh Theatre, BBC Radio 4) and superb musicians/composers Bagas Degol, their shows are always spellbinding. A sublime blend of storytelling and music, where the characters speak to your soul, and the tunes whisper humanity, Salt Roads promises tales of the sea, how it shapes us, takes us, and leaves some of us behind. A journey I’ll not be missing that’s for sure; can’t wait to see it.

And if the skies are clear, I quite fancy a bit of star gazing from St Agnes Head with members of the Cornwall Astronomy Society, who will be sharing their celestial knowledge of the heavenly bodies, and peeks through their telescopes. Conditions permitting, on view will be constellations, Jupiter and its moons Io and Europa, maybe even Orion Nebula’s Stellar nursery where new stars are being born.

Sunday’s itinerary includes a proper brekky in one of Aggie’s lovely eateries, a surf if the waves are right (i.e. small and clean) or a bellyboard if mushy, with the afternoon highlight being the Push, Pull, Pedal Whacky Beach Race. Like a raft race, but on the sand, car creations must have wheels, and at least two team members on their contraption at all times. As long as there are no hidden motors, and competitors aren’t tempted to carry their ‘vehicles’, anything goes. With prizes for the winner, best vehicle, and best dressed team, sounds a hoot. I’m even tempted to enter…

Unless I get the urge to drag my violin out of its case and rosin up my bow to take part in the Pop Up Orchestra, that is. Learning and performing three movements from Holst’s extraordinary Planets Suite: Mars, Venus & Jupiter, in one day, what a musical challenge. And what a great way to end a great local event.

So come along for some or all of it. I’ll see you there!

For the full programme, event details, and info about St Agnes visit their website.

Fancy coming along? Stay in a cottage nearby >

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