A Cornwall-based singer-songwriter has taken aim at the controversial G7 Summit host venue Carbis Bay Hotel on her angry new single.
Bailey Tomkinson – who worked at the Carbis Bay Hotel in her teens – has been deeply disturbed by what she describes as the destruction of the Cornish coastal headland by the hotel and the wider issues of poverty and lack of opportunities in the local area.
In fact, she was so incensed she felt inspired to pen a new song, Bright Red, drawing attention to the issue and the “paving of the bay”.
The Carbis Bay Hotel and Estate has faced widespread criticism after being accused of destroying trees and animal habitats to make way for G7 meeting rooms for when world leaders gather there on June 11 to 13, despite not having planning permission.
A planning application for similar works on the site was rejected three years ago. After there was uproar when the works started a few months ago the hotel submitted a retrospective application, but this will now not be considered by the council until after the meeting of US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others takes place.
You can stay up to date on the top news and events near you with CornwallLive’s FREE newsletters – enter your email address at the top of the page.
Bailey, from St Ives, said: “I wanted to use whatever voice I have to encourage people to look at the real lives of people in the area. I’m sure that the news around the G7 coming here will focus on the beautiful beaches and our golden sunsets, but one in three children in St Ives and Carbis Bay are born into poverty, the average house price is ten times that of the average income and it’s a situation that is getting worse.
“The rich can’t keep taking from Cornwall; from the land and from the people. Second homes put the chance of buying property out of the reach of Cornish youngsters. The profits going outside of the county is like blood leaving the body, if you lose enough, the body withers and dies.”
Bailey, who made headlines last year when she outsold the likes of Dua Lipa and Kylie, added: “The irony is pretty apparent when you’ve got the G7 here talking about sustainability at the same time as their hosts are chopping down trees to build on the headland. Literally paving the bay.
“Generally, I’ve written about love and relationships but I wanted the song to say something about that irony and the themes of the G7 conference from the perspective of somebody that lives where Biden and co are meeting.
“It’s also a bit of a departure from my normal sound as well, it’s a more mature, bluesy sound to reflect the gravity of the situation.
“Having a blue flag beach in danger inspired the title Bright Red, which we picked to not only reflect anger at the continued erosion of community but also evoke a sense of urgency at the situation.”
Bailey added: “That area couldn’t be more important to me. I paddleboard there every week as part of the Ocean Sports Centre. We paddle by that headland all the time and to see it concreted over is heartbreaking.
“I can understand why people have been saying that the G7 should be on Zoom like the rest of the world is but I hope they actually do come and that when they’re here they see the Cornwall that sits behind the pretty pictures.”
The singer added: “We’ve basically seen a leveraged buy-out of Cornwall. Speculators coming in, often at the expense of the local environment and we are rapidly becoming an area where not only can ordinarily people not afford to live, but soon normal people won’t be able afford to holiday here either. There are properties here costing £7.5K a week to stay in. It’s not sustainable, in every sense of the word.
“I love my home and we need to protect it from those who would take from it, but not give back.”
Bailey made national headlines in February 2020 when, as an unsigned, unmanaged artist, she outsold Dua Lipa and the Pussycat Dolls to reach number one in the iTunes Video charts, later outselling Kylie to reach the top of the iTunes Country chart.
Her atmospheric new song is co-written with Devon-based Luke Simpkins (who has written for The Vamps and One Direction) highlights local anger at “the paving of the bay”.
I’m back here again
This golden coast is my trend
So casually worn
Sunset to dawn on my skin
Mr capital grey
Paving more shade on the bay
Don’t you ever wonder how anyone else feels?
I’m bright red
I’m so incensed
Corporate hunger etched in the lies
Turn me bright red
I’m so incensed
Bright Red is released on June 1 and will be available on all platforms. She will be performing at a number of festivals this summer including Cornwall’s Rock Oyster Festival, The Great Estate and Boardmasters.
You can hear Bright Red here.
More stories from Cornwall: