The Masked Summer Ball

I have a confession to make. Whilst driving down to Porthleven on Friday afternoon in the torrential rain, the last thing I wanted to do was camp in a wet field. We hadn’t even arrived and all I could think about was the fact that I wanted be at home, curled up in my warm bed with a hot chocolate watching a movie. Yet in an attempt to stay positive, we unpacked our bags, battled through the wind and rain to set up our tent, cried because the two-man tent was way too small for three people, consoled ourselves with food and finally headed out to the festival – and it was so worth it.

Friday evening was the least busy of the three nights and gave us chance to explore the festival site before it got bombarded with people over the weekend. We came across an interesting tent, called the Study, containing fake velvet sofas, and vast amounts of library books all in candlelight. I’m pretty sure if you really wanted to, you could have sat and read a few over the course of the weekend. Although you probably would have been distracted by the yoga rave that happened in the very same tent the next day. If you’re unsure of what a yoga rave is: go to one. Led by some very good-looking men in tight gold leggings and a lot of glittery body paint, this was probably the highlight of the weekend. Everybody got involved, the atmosphere was great, and the weather had cleared up by this time, which was an added bonus. This tent, both a study and a place for yoga, could it be any more versatile? Yes. It later turned into one of the hubs for music and drinks, where my friends and I spent the early hours of the morning dancing.

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In our explorations, we also found a big tent called the Terrace, which was to be where some of the main headliners would be playing over the weekend – Mike Skinner, Jungle, Groove Armada to name a few. I can safely say that this tent carried the biggest ball of energy. When I was in there on Friday night, I got a taster that it would be one of the busier tents and as expected on Saturday night, it was jam packed with people dancing to the never-ending beat, which persisted until an impressive 6am on Sunday morning.

As for the day time, we explored the various food and clothing tents, and relaxed on the hill looking out to a beautiful view of the sea. In terms of food, I discovered possibly the best thing since sliced bread. We all know everyone loves cheesy chips and we also know that everyone loves chips and gravy. How about cheesy chips and gravy? This is weirdly the best combination I have come across, and one thing I needed after a night of heavy drinking and dancing. Admittedly it looks disgusting, but the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ really comes into play here. The vintage clothes tents were awesome too, and good value for money considering how much vintage usually costs. These were especially useful if you forgot your fancy dress. I am amazed at how much effort people put into their outfits. To describe the festival fashion as simply as possible – it was an explosion of colour and glitter everywhere. Going back to the stalls, one of our favourites in particular, was the photo booth. Sitting in a decorated caravan, we had 4 seconds in between each shot to find a new prop to pose with. The outcome? Well, see for yourself.

I have spoken about how the tents, the music and the acts all came together to create a wonderful weekend. But if I’m honest, the one thing I have to praise the most is the people. On Friday night, disaster struck. We returned to our tent ready for bed, only to find out that it was as flat as a pancake having been beaten by the storm… So at 3am, we picked up all our belongings, tent included, carried them back to my car, then proceeded to have a bit of a panic attack at the prospects of sleeping in my tiny, wet Peugeot 106.

For three (slightly drunk) 20-year-old girls, this was quite a traumatic experience. This is around the time that a kind stranger saw our struggles and offered us a place to stay in a spare tent he had, one that could actually survive the torrential rain and wind. We have all been taught as children to never trust strangers, so I was a bit hesitant at first, but trusting this kind person was the best thing that could have happened to us in that moment. Not only in that instance, but also throughout the entire weekend we met so many wonderful people who we have stayed in contact with since. The beauty of The Masked Ball being a small festival is that everyone is comfortable speaking to everyone, there is no hostility, and there was never a point during the whole weekend when I didn’t feel safe (including during our little tent disaster).

I honestly have nothing bad to say about this festival, and despite the weather that started out miserable as well as our tent incident, it was one of the most weird and wonderful weekends I have experienced in a long time. Basically, 10/10 would recommend. See you next year, Masked Ball!

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The Masked Ball takes place biannually in Cornwall, the next one is The Masked Halloween Ball if you feel brave enough to go: http://www.maskedball.net/

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