Another weekend, another festival – that’s Cornwall for you. Now in its 5th year, Porthleven Food and Music Festival is a free community event celebrating all things foodie. The last weekend of April will see the picturesque harbour come alive with the tastes and smells of Cornwall’s finest produce and producers, as well as being a feast for your ears thanks to the exciting music programme which runs in tandem.
Extra sensory treats are in store thanks to ‘Half-Cut Cinema’, who are screening an eclectic mix of archive film, short films and animation at the Ship Inn, while the Jollyboat family marquee will keep the kiddies occupied with all kinds of fun, pirate themed activities and entertainment. Buskers, street performers, Porthleven’s quirky galleries and shops – you’d be hard pressed to be bored with so much going on. Not to mention the more than 90 food and craft stalls lining the harbour, where browsing can be lethal on your waistline.
So many delicious things to choose from the likes of Cornish Chough Brewery, Dreckly Fish, The Kernow Sausage Co, Sushi Ichiban Cornwall, Origin Coffee, Treveador Farm Dairy, Ruby Junes, The Brownie Baker, Cornish Seaweed Co, Spirits Of Cornwall and many, many more. Make sure you bring your purse, wear loose fitting clothes and skip breakfast at home, as you’re sure to be tempted by the tasters, not to mention the takeaway food stands, especially as this year the emphasis is on world street food.
The Festival kicks off on the Friday night with acclaimed American ‘Rockgrass’ band Hayseed Dixie headlining the Harbour Head stage. Performing a mixture of cover versions of hard rock songs and original compositions in their unique bluegrass fusion style, they’ll be ably supported by West Penwith’s very own Flats and Sharps. These young whippersnappers are finger pickin’ good, aim to get your toes a-tapping and make you smile, and what they don’t know about bluegrass ain’t worth bothering about. With their new Always There EP out in June, see them before they go stellar. While St Bartholomew Church will host Strings and Pimms: a charity concert with all proceeds going towards new defibrillators for the village, where Classical Strings Quartet will be performing works by Mozart, Brahms, Franck and a selection of Cornish and Celtic Melodies.
Saturday is the main event where top chefs share their skills and knowledge by giving cookery demonstrations. The festival always attracts an incredible mix of Michelin starred and celebrity chefs from up the line, as well as some of Cornwall’s finest. Festival patron Antony Worral Thompson and Jude Kereama from Kota restaurant will be first up in the marquee doing their “Ready Steady Cook-Off” challenge, followed by Rick Stein cooking up a storm.
All the demos are free, so it’s a good idea to try and bag a seat early. Donations towards the festival are welcome though; a not for profit community organisation entirely run by enthusiastic volunteers, contributions will help fund next year’s event.
The objectives of the food festival are: to stimulate the local economy, involve the whole community and promote awareness of the benefits of locally sourced food.
And it certainly does. With more than 18,000 people attending the Saturday, that’s a big boost to the town’s coffers, while at the same time, showcasing some of the finest food and drink Cornwall has to offer.
Not forgetting music. Saturday’s menu of live music begins with Porthleven Town Band playing on The Lime Kiln Stage at 10am, followed by Paotred Pagan, a male voice choir from their twin town Guisseny singing in their native tongue of Breton. From midday the stage will host BBC Introducing: a nationwide BBC brand presenting emerging, unsigned talent like Stone Roots and Sounds of the Sirens.
With decent swell forecast for the weekend too, you may even catch a glimpse of some local surfers showing off their moves in front of the crowds.
And with all the excitement and inevitable overindulgence, be careful; you might end up like this guy…
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