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Second Year of Arts on The Beach Soars on the Shoreline

Fresh from making waves at Watergate Bay, this weekend saw the two-day festival entice over 4,000 people to celebrate Arts on the Beach 2024

The sands once again set the stage for Arts on the Beach – the free two-day creative family festival – and its theme of protecting the ocean, with audiences peaking on Sunday afternoon. Over the weekend Watergate Bay sprang to life, welcoming over 4,000 festival-goers as they watched, danced, played and got stuck into two days of sea-themed, sustainably-minded festivities for the whole family.

Circo-rum-Ba-Ba’s life-size 60-foot inflatable whale beckoned audience members inside for an enchanting puppet tale of the life cycle of a leatherback turtle, inspiring minds young and old to think about the role we all play in protecting the ocean.

Highlights also included the return of Eko, a 13-foot sea giant summoned from the imagination of the Johnny Autin Dance company. Before his beach appearance, Friday saw Eko visit the headline performance partner Cornwall Airport, Newquay – surprising holidaymakers as they stepped out of the terminal. As the weekend rolled on, Eko’s colossal size and shape-throwing stopped beachgoers in their tracks with his spellbinding performance.

Josie Hutt, marketing manager, Cornwall Airport, Newquay said: “This is a hugely valuable event for the local area, with a high calibre of talent in the line-up, so we were thrilled to be able to support the weekend. And seeing Eko out and about on our airfield on Friday was magic.”

Giant parasols twirled as Hikapee Theatre delivered aerial acrobatics in their performance Everywhere’s a Beach; H & T Creative shone a spotlight on reducing plastic waste with No Time to Waste; and the Hall for Cornwall Youth Theatre dance troupe showcased their new piece, Jack – whetting appetites for the full performance at The Hall for Cornwall later in the year. Helen Tiplady, deputy creative director of Hall for Cornwall, said: “This weekend is a brilliant way to celebrate the outdoors, the beach and the environment, with performance and a gathering of our creative community.”

Watergate Bay Hotel’s group head of events and programming, Laura Smith, couldn’t have been happier with the way the weekend panned out: “Our first Arts on the Beach was a real hit; so it was great to see its second year roll out with thousands of people having a brilliant time across the weekend,” she said. “The sun shone and we were able to welcome more people than last year, with visitors from the local community and further afield coming along to join in the fun. It’s really put the flag in the Cornish summer calendar for our ocean-loving festival.”

Throughout the weekend, Watergate Bay welcomed not one, but two Artists in Residence to the sand – Georgina Peters, who mesmerised onlookers by channelling the spirit of the weekend into a collaborative abstract piece, painted in real time. Meanwhile, Beach4Art, a family of artists, gathered beach-found materials and collaborated with festival-goers to create a lobster mural to celebrate National Lobster Day.

Dance moves were made on Saturday evening, as beach-goers clad in headphones danced to a sandy silent disco, supported by Korev. Says Becky Palmer, marketing manager for St Austell Brewery: “It was great seeing so many families enjoying their weekend here at Watergate Bay. We were pleased to be able to support such an important community event and to help keep people dancing into the evening. What better place for a disco than on the sand?”

In partnership with Watergate Bay Hotel, Land Rover Discovery supported the ‘Discovery Zone’, where talks, workshops and crafts were a real draw, keeping the theme of protecting the ocean and the environment front and centre. Jamie Kirk, JLR UK brand partnerships manager, said: “We’re really proud to be part of Arts on the Beach this year, a fantastic event celebrating creativity, the outdoors and the spirit of adventure that could be seen in all those who took part.”

Food and drink partners kept spirits high over the weekend, with offerings from My Mum Makes Thai and a Wax beach barbeque dishing out flame-fired burgers until the last coal burned out.

The weekend drew to a close with a fancy dress parade of flags in honour of National Lobster Day, with City of Lights Truro holding their lobster lantern high – a creation fashioned throughout the weekend with the help of children and their families.

As the procession snaked through the crowds, Weapons of Sound (billed as the UK’s most eco-friendly junk band) let their imaginative instruments sound out contagious beats, before the dipping sun signalled the end of the weekend.

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