Boardmasters cancellation ‘bitter blow’ for shops

Image caption People were queuing at Newquay railway station after Boardmasters was cancelled

With 55,000 people expected to attend, 2019 was set to be the biggest Boardmasters festival yet.

But 12 hours before the gates were due to open, organisers announced it had been cancelled due to a bad weather forecast.

It means thousands of people have scrapped their plans to visit Cornwall.

In 2017, research by the South West Research Company estimated that Boardmasters brought in £45m to the Cornish economy.

Kim Conchie, the head of Cornwall’s Chamber of Commerce, said the cancellation, which was announced at about 23:00 BST on Tuesday, would impact businesses in the town.

“People do spend a lot of money with a lot of businesses in Newquay and beyond Newquay in a full five day festival like Boardmasters,” she said.

“It’s a bitter blow. What a great impact and profile Boardmasters brings to Cornwall for young people and for our summer season and this is a bitter blow.”

Image copyright Lee Kirby
Image caption The music festival at Watergate Bay attracts world class acts and thousands of fans

Boardmasters makes the second week of August the busiest of the whole year for Newquay traders, with the festival split across two sites.

The main focus of the music is at Watergate Bay and acts like Florence + the Machine and Lewis Capaldi were due to headline this year.

That is five miles from the other main site at Fistral Beach where the surfing and skateboarding happens, along with extra stalls, bars and a music venue.

Fiona Rick, from Cornish Premier Pasties, said one customer had been forced to cancel an order of “several thousand pasties that he was going to pick up every day between now and Sunday”.

Other businesses have also reacted to the “disappointing” news.

Tim Rowe – Rip Curl

Image caption Tim Rowe said they had lost out on “T-shirts and hats” trade

He said customers from the festival “tend to come in and buy caps and T-shirts”.

“I put on extra staff because so many people come in the shop,” the shop manager added.

“My biggest problem is that families are put off coming this week because of Boardmasters.

“So not only have we lost the T-shirts and hats trade from the festival goers, we won’t get the families buying wetsuits and surfboards either.”

Damian Rowe – Newquay Camping and Leisure

Image caption Damian Rowe had ordered 500 ponchos

He said the cancellation could cost the shop up to about £6,000.

We sell more wellies this week than the rest of year put together so have a couple of hundred pairs,” he said.

“Last year we didn’t have enough ponchos so I ordered 500 of them.

He said he also stocked up on cheap tents but said they would “last till next year and maybe some proper campers will now come into town because the festival isn’t on”.

Nick Coates – Bro Clothing

Image caption Nick Coates has had a pitch at Fistral beach for the last six years of Boardmasters

He said organisers “made the call for the right reasons, for public safety”.

Mr Coates added: “I saw it in 2014 when the weather got really bad and they wanted to avoid that. It can be very dangerous at Watergate where it is exposed with lots of heavy equipment around.

“It’s not good for the traders. Last year was amazing so I have travelled from Germany to be here.

“There won’t be so many people down here but we should still get some good traffic for the surfing so it’s not a complete loss, but it won’t be as good as it could be.

“We don’t pay small amounts for the pitches so we are hoping we may get some money back, or perhaps have it free next year.”

Chris Rome and Aaron Richmond – 24 Hour Club

Image caption Chris Rome and Aaron Richmond are from Peterborough

Mr Richmond said the cancellation would have an impact.

“People from the festival often come down here during the day so we won’t see so many people. We found out last night and it’s a big disappointment,” he said.

“The atmosphere has completely dried up here – it’s all anyone is talking about and it’s not a nice topic.

“For trade this is not good news. Last year the pitch opposite made £3,000 to £4,000 a day. I didn’t make that much, but still did well.”

Mr Rome added: “Hopefully the big surf will bring people down to Fistral but we are a bit concerned about numbers. We want to have a good time but we are here to make money.”

Cornwall councillor Oliver Monk said Boardmasters was “like Christmas” for the area.

“It’s three days of maximum trade and cancelling it has a massive, massive knock on effect for all the businesses in town,” he said.

“I’d like them to have considered an alternative of shutting the music field down and letting the people on the campsite to come and use the amenities of Newquay.

“This happened a few years ago when they had to shut it down on the Saturday night and the town assimilate the people quite well, and all the businesses in town did really, really well.”

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