Port Eliot Festival
Port Eliot Festival is the original free-ranging festival of ideas, which draws an unmatchable collection of artists, musicians, writers, comedians, performers, thinkers, makers, protagonists, agitators and scribblers to one of the most beautiful corners of the country. This year’s Port Eliot Festival event will run from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 July 2018 on the rolling park and woodland of the ancient estate at St Germans, on south east Cornwall’s Rame Peninsula.
Stages, tents, saloons and wooded glades are curated by the likes of The Idler Academy, Caught by the River and Lark’s Haven. The poetry stage, curated by Luke Wright and Rosy Carrick, cements Port Eliot’s place among the most significant homes for poetry of all UK festivals; the Ace of Clubs explodes with blues, soul, rock & roll, and, on occasion, opera; and the Park hosts the festival’s comedy and biggest bands.
For full details see website.
What’s special about it?
The four day festival finds its way into the House itself. The House has been lived in for over 1000 years and is believed to be the oldest continually inhabited dwelling in the UK. It has housed Augustinian monks, survived confiscation by Charles I’s Court of the Star Chamber and been declared the most beautiful place in England by Napoleon. Its central room boasts a 360° masterpiece mural by South West England’s most celebrated 20th century artist, Robert Lenkiewicz, alongside great works by Reynolds and Van Dyck.
There are no off-limits ‘luxury’ areas and no in-your-face sponsors – the ancient estate becomes yours for the weekend. The festival takes its lead from the much-loved, scarcely believable and – at a time when the word is well overused – legendary Elephant Fayre festival, which took place on the same site thirty years before.
Did you know?
The first year, 2003, the festival had 17 paying punters and three times as many performers, artists and crew. Word quickly spread among young writers that at last here was a festival at which they could do what they wanted. The following year, 1,000 people attended. The rest is, as they say, history.
Camping at Port Eliot is memorable (in a good way), whether packing your own tent or sliding into a shimmering silver airstream caravan. The parkland takes in rolling pastures, ancient woodland, stunning estuary and river views, shady rhododendron groves, hidden mazes and walled gardens and it’s a treat to camp there for a few days. But for those unsure about a few days under canvas, there are plenty of options, including traditional tipis and yurts for couples, families or groups of friends, luxury yurtels or beautiful gypsy bowtop caravans.