Boardmasters Festival applies to expand capacity in 2024 and 2025


By Tamsin Melville & Dan Wareing for
Political Reporter

A popular surf and music festival in Cornwall is applying to expand its capacity over the next two years.

If successful, Boardmasters Festival’s application to Cornwall Council would see it increase from a capacity of 53,000 people to 58,000 next summer.

The festival said it brought £40m into the local economy annually and that approval would “take the festival to the next level”.

Some locals have criticised the event for creating extensive traffic queues.

‘Absolute chaos’

The proposal includes a further expansion to 65,000 people in 2025, almost a 23% increase in capacity compared to the current figure.

Festival founder Andrew Topham said the move would mean “greater economic impact locally”.

He said: “We have exciting and ambitious plans for Boardmasters and, under the proposal, we would be able to take the festival to the next level.

“That means even bigger artists from all over the world, even more content for our attendees to enjoy.”

He added: “Operationally, it would allow us to further elevate festival facilities, create more space, and enable us to continue to invest in our industry-leading safeguarding work.”

Lauren Pointon works at a café in Newquay and said that, while the event was good for business, “Boardmasters is absolute chaos”.

She said: “It’s good for business and really hard work, but young people are generally really respectful when they come in.

“[But] It’s a lot for emergency services, and for the people who do live in the town. I don’t want to leave the house unless it’s to walk somewhere because the roads are chaos.”

She said it meant “a lot more cars on the roads and a lot less parking spaces”.

‘Too much already’

Rafal Sienkiewicz lives in Newquay and said the town could “barely cope” with the current capacity.

He said: “It’s too much already. Newquay is a small town and we can barely cope with that number of people.

“Typically, I’m angry with what happens after the event. I work with green energy and the environment should always comes first.”

Mark Warren, Newquay business improvement district (BID) manager, said: “Boardmasters is a mammoth annual gift to Newquay.

“A significant number of local businesses experience their most busy and profitable week of the year during the festival.

“We wholeheartedly support the Boardmasters’ application for a careful, and sustainable growth plan, with increased attendees and staff numbers, and are delighted to continually provide a two-way consultation between the event and our brilliant Newquay BID businesses.”

Management increase

Since 2017, the Boardmasters Foundation said it had donated £436,000 to local organisations, businesses and charities.

Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council cabinet economy lead, said he wanted to “see how the increase will be managed”.

He said: “I think I am in full support. The Boardmasters Festival is hugely important to Newquay and Cornwall’s economy for the summer.

“However, we need to work with the organisers to ensure things like the traffic inflow, and outflow, from the festival are not more of a pain for people than it has to be.

“Newquay is difficult all summer and it’s one of the things you have to face when living there.

“We’ve seen over the last few years the bus service from the festival site down into town has increased massively, and keeping cars onsite once they are onsite is really important.

“But we need to see how the traffic rules are going to change.”

Originally published by on 28th november 2023 SOURCE

Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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