Being a fallow year for a certain, fairly well-known festival, a lot of us have all but forgotten the urge to hang out in a field, hair crusty with dry shampoo, sipping on a 8am cider. But instead of taking a year off, we should be using this summer as the perfect excuse to discover what other great festivals are out there.
For me there’s only one festival I would spend my time encouraging you to go to; whether you’re after a weekend of drinking warm Jäger in a tent with your mates, want somewhere you can take your kids and know they won’t be bored for a second, or are after something somewhere in between I can guarantee Leopallooza is the festival you’re after.
(In case you can’t be bothered to read the whole thing, there’s a competition at the end of this… it’s a good one.)
For full transparency, I work for Leopallooza. I have done for about ten years now. I’ve gone from painting and sanding and helping clear up spiderwebs, to running around the multiple bars like a lunatic, and now working on social media and admin. I don’t work for the festival because they pay me the big bucks (one day…), I work there because I fucking love that place. I have a passion for it, the people who work there, and everything it stands for. I’m writing this blog for those reasons, and those reasons only.
Leopallooza is one of those places that once you’ve been you completely understand the hype. Starting as a tiny gathering of like-minded friends with a penchant for a party, it has since grown to something nobody could have dreamed of and has played host to some of the biggest names on the music scene; from Bastille to Rag’n’Bone Man, and Thom Yorke to Seasick Steve, and many, many more. This year Kelis will be taking to the recycled and upcycled, hand-built main stage.
What would a festival be without music? Basically just camping and nobody wants to do that without good reason. Thankfully there will be more than enough music to feast your ears on across the weekend. Leopallooza prides itself on finding your next favourite band, and they do it spectacularly well.
The boys who book the bands have a special set of ears where they are able to hear the next big thing before they take off, it’s quite a talent and one that leads Leo to be one of the best festivals for introducing new music. Alongside the new talent they also book some of the biggest names in music, old favourites and new favourites play alongside each other and make for a perfect soundtrack for the perfect weekend.
Here are my must-see acts for this year:
Obviously. Saturday night main stage headliner and one that nobody will be wanting to miss. One of only four UK venues she’s gracing with her presence this year and her only festival booking, this is a rare chance to get to see Kelis. I’ll bring the milk, you bring the shake.
Oh My God! It’s The Church
There aren’t words to properly prepare you for what these guys will be bringing to their late Sunday night service, all I can say is make sure you’re there for it. Hilarious, amazing, fun, and more than a little bit innuendo-filled, OMG! are the band not to miss this year.
If you’ve been to a festival in the southwest in the past few years chances are you’ve had the pleasure of catching hip-hop three-piece, The Scribes. Always fun, always energetic, always sure to get you dancing, The Scribes are sure to liven up your Saturday afternoon.
This year Leopallooza is introducing a whole new stage, The Funny Side. With a line-up of incredible comedians from the local and lesser known, to the big names who regularly grace our TV screens, and all hosted by Balls of Steel‘s Mark Dolan. The Funny Side will be the perfect break from dancing and the ultimate workout for your stomach muscles.
Big comedy fans will know of Bobby Mair, either from his regular panel show appearances or his hilarious documentary alongside his wife on Viceland Bobby and Harriet Get Married (if you haven’t seen it, watch it).
Clearly Shappi needs no introduction. If you haven’t seen her stand up, watched her on panel shows, or read her books… where have you been? It wouldn’t really be a comedy stage without her would it?
One promise I can make you with regards to Leopallooza is that eating and drinking until you can’t take anymore won’t bankrupt you. The bar prices are kept in line with local bars (and remember this is Cornwall, not London…) and in some cases are cheaper than them. No paying a tenner for a weird metal bottle of Corona here. They’re also stocked by the glorious Sharps Brewery, so the beer is cheap, Cornish, cold, and bloody delicious!
Leopallooza is home to Palloozaville, they say themselves its ‘full of friendly village idiots’, it’s also full of some of the most delicious eats you can find in Cornwall. You can find some of the amazing food stalls on offer this year here. My top tips include Just Pigs, Burger Theory, and Jumunjy. Trust me.
Obviously many of us who are attending festivals are doing so with tiny humans trailing along behind us. And those tiny humans require an annoying amount of entertainment, feeding, attention, and money (this might not all be related to this blog tbh…).
Fortunately Leopallooza get this, and they know that not every parent wants to sit through the same old live entertainment for kids, so this year there is a whole new area just to keep the small ones happy – Rogue Wood.
Brought to you by the incredible Rogue Theatre, Rogue Wood has a full schedule of entertainment, crafts, dance classes, face painting, and story-telling to keep the kids happy (and hopefully wear them out enough to sleep while you dance later!). Check out a preview here.
There are also rides, food vans that will keep everybody happy, and loads of space to run around. They will love it, and you’ll love them being able to relax and be themselves.
Other exciting bits
There’s so much to see and do at Leopallooza, and most of it is best discovered on your own. But there’s a few other things you need to make sure you don’t miss: the burning car, Dinkies – the Tiny Nightclub, the cocktail bar up in the trees. And one last thing, make new friends, Leopallooza is filled with the best people and friends you would never make anywhere else. Buy a stranger a beer, share your chips, have a dance – who knows where it might take you! The Wyldes is a magical place…
Head to my this post on my Instagram and tell me your must-have festival essential (don’t forget to go follow Leopallooza too) to be in with a chance to win a Golden Squirrel (VIP – sold out!) family ticket that includes entry for two adults and two children ages 6-17 (under 6s are free). As well as access to the Golden Hollow with a separate cocktail bar, gourmet food, DJs and live performances, separate camping, luxury toilets and showers.