Festivalgoers at Boardmasters have come from up and down the country for the biggest event of the year so far in Cornwall – and they have said they feel “completely safe” regarding Covid.
Boardmasters 2021 is finally here. It feels like it’s been years since a live music festival came to Cornwall, and that’s probably because it has been.
After the cancellation of the event in 2020 due to the pandemic and it being called off because of strong winds the year before, even up until a few weeks ago it did not feel like a sure thing that tens of thousands would be descending on Watergate Bay, Newquay, for the festival.
But it’s here, and people from all over the place have come to bask in the occasional sun, drink and surf by the sea – and possibly watch some live music.
As the gates to the arena opened for day two of Boardmasters today (Wednesday, August 12), hundreds queued, cheered, wooped, and hugged as they eagerly waited to get in.
Many ran straight to the gates, wanting to be the first to get inside the arena.
One man, who was one of the first inside and did not give his name, cheered as he ran after being checked by security.
“I’m buzzing,” he said, and explained that he could not wait to get into the festival spirit.
Asked if he was worried at all about Covid, he said: “Nah, that’s all done and dusted now. Jabby jab!”
He proceeded to imitate injecting a needle into his arm.
The majority of Cornwall, and the UK as a whole, now has both doses of a Covid infection.
Nevertheless, rates of Covid infections in Cornwall have been high in the past few months. Boardmasters host town Newquay, in particular, has seen some of the highest rates in the country, let alone Cornwall.
As well as this, Cornwall has also seen some hospitalisations and Covid-related deaths.
But the mostly-young festival crowd felt the organiser’s requirement of either full vaccination, natural immunity, or a negative lateral flow test to be enough to keep everyone safe.
Attendee Connor said: “This is my my first festival ever. I got here today, got around midday. It’s… heavy. Very heavy. Covid-wise, it’s been easy, I had a bit of a mixup, I forgot to put my name at the top of the vax slip to prove i was double jabbed.
“But then I showed them the confirmation and they said off you go.
“I feel completely safe here.”
Connor also joked that he didn’t even know who was playing today.
Harry agreed, and added: “I feel safe, too. Everyone had to have a negative lateral flow test to get in, so it seems okay.”
Fellow festival first timers Tom and Charlie, who travelled from Bristol today, said so far the festival has been pretty calm for them.
“We only waited 45 minutes in the queue today,” Charlie said.
“It’s our first even this year, we’ve found it pretty safe. We had to show our Covid status on the door. Everyone has been sitting around the campsite. We’re looking forward to seeing Blossoms most, and we spent an hour in the queue to get headphones for the silent disco.
Fellow attendees Olivia and Charlie agreed that they felt it was safe.
Olivia, who said it was her first big event since lockdown had ended, said: “I can’t wait to go around. It feels really safe, especially for camping, they’re re-testing people all the time.”
Charlie added: “It’s my first festival of the year, and my first time at Boardmasters. I really like it so far. And I feel totally safe, there’s a lot of checks.”
Another group, from Reading, said they weren’t too worried about Covid – and that they just wanted to enjoy the festival.
But it’s not just the revellers who seem to trust the organisers.
One food trader at the festival, Graham, who runs a stall called Lord of the Fries, said he has done many festivals so far, and that he loves it.
“I enjoy it while I’m working,” he said. “It’s a lovely day too. What more can we want? It’s the first big event I’m done since restrictions have ended. I’m happy. I’m not worried, it should be safe enough, we’ve all had our jobs. We’ll go from there now.
“I’ll watch all the acts from my stand. As long as there’s something I can dance to.”
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