Date: 14th – 18th June
Location: Pembrey Country Park, South Wales
Price: £109 (£10+ for non-students)
Capacity: 20,000 students
Security: Strict and plentiful
You don’t get a much better location than this. Pembrey is the ideal grounds for a festival. It’s mostly flat, very big and on the border of one of the UK’s largest beaches. When you’re next to a beach the last thing you want is rain.. and that’s what it got. However, Beachbreak can hardly be help accountable for such weather types! This is a particularly early festival, happening mid-June, and no one could have predicted the down pour that would occur during our lovely British summer. Luckily, Pembrey has a mixture of sand and soil which helps stop huge puddles from developing like other festivals and I often spotted the crew laying down wood chips in order to minimize festival goers ending up on their arse’s. There is also plenty of shelter and large tents inside the main arena that mean you can escape your tent and dry off whilst chilling out to some day time tunes.
Watch the promotional video
It must’ve rained about 70% of the entire time the event was taking place, but that didn’t totally dampen the spirits of the 20,000 eager students ready to have a good time. This festival is exclusively for over 18 year olds, so their is an atmosphere not far from what you’d see on one of the reality shows that follow youngens in places like Ibiza and Magaluf. Not necessarily a bad thing but certainly lacking that mature and loving vibe that comes from festivals who allow all age groups.
The music is pretty much what you’d find if you toured the UKs student unions with head liners from Dizzee Rascal, Chase and Status and Friendly Fires, but there is so much more to offer than just the music at this festival. This festival is big on extreme sports with all sorts of activities and competitions going on – mostly down the beach. At the campsite, Onepiece offered students the chance to jump from a crane if you purchased one of their onesies.
If you feel that being at the camp site is the least interesting part of any festival this is especially the case at Beach Break Live. The camp site this year definitely lacked that communal feel, which made it hard to meet new people. Everyone was either trapped in their tents trying to stay dry or seeking salvation in the main arena. It’s a reasonably long walk to and from where everything is going on and even longer when it’s pissing it down! Not to mention that security are constantly walking in and around all the camp sites. Now we all appreciate that security are there, making sure no fights are happening and no weapons are brought in, however when you see people being taken away from their friends because of soft substances such as balloons and joints, you can’t help but become uncomfortable and it certainly loses that festival vibe. Over all coast 2 coast were a friendly bunch of guys, but I expect they are on commission to bust as many people as possible (most likely to give back their findings to crew at the end).
The main camp site is separate from the arena, which means that you have to queue to be thoroughly searched before entering the area where stages and performances are going on. This means that you can’t take any of your own alcohol into arena – their way of pushing you into paying for over priced drinks. Don’t try and smuggle anything inside. I saw a chap have his bag searched, then inside his tobacco pouch, only to find a tiny bud. The police were called in and he was taken away. Not worth the risk!
Once inside the area is not huge but it has all the usual festival set ups. An abundance of food stands of all varieties, plenty of different stages for all music types, fair ground rides and the occasional free give-aways e.g. a McFlurry van.
Chai Wallahs is a large open sided tent that plays all those beautiful reggae funk vibes that get everyone stomping. Chill out here and listen to live music from dance hall to ska, hip hop to soul, while sipping on an exotic tea or smoking a shisha. Merlin’s Forest is a massive indoor stage for those bass line junkies.
Sunday was the day the sunshine actually made an appearance and what a difference it made! Being able to relax next to the main stage and take off the wellies really brightened up everyone’s day. This meant many of the installations were finally able to make an appearance. Face painting was going on over at Chai Wallahs, people were eating sheep testicles in the name of charity, Bearded Kitten organising all sorts of Celtic Games that often involved nudity and of course the beloved paint fight that took place during The Maccabees set at the main stage, which leaves you looking colourful, your hair matted and your throat dry.
It’s a shame that many of the installations, performances and activities were not able to go through with due to the weather conditions but the organisers tried to cram as much in as possible when they could.
Over all the music here is very commercial, as per chosen by students, the other entertainment was a lot more fun and it was a good start to the festival season.