Review: Tunes in the Dunes 2019

PUBLISHED: 14:59 31 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:59 31 May 2019

Tunes in the Dunes. Photo credit: Ian Mayou

Tunes in the Dunes. Photo credit: Ian Mayou


Tunes in the Dunes is celebrating its 5th birthday and this year the team pulled out all the stops to mark the occasion

What was striking and exciting about the 2019 Tunes' bill was the variety of high quality, genuinely fabulous local acts. Whether it's cheeky St Ives gal Polly Jones confidently opening main stage on Friday; the bizarre yet undeniably infectious didgeridoo-y bass lines of Watergate Bay's Echo Town; or the banter of now world-famous voices of Port Issac shanty legends Fisherman's Friends - alongside countless others - this year's line up, if nothing else, is an advert for all things sonically local.

But it's plenty else, too. Within 10 minutes I'd spotted a dozen glitter beards and bopped in front of an Estrella DJ booth with an ocean backdrop. When main stage was gearing up I joined mums, dads and kids to dance to everything from Baby Shark to Green Day to the Fresh Prince Soundtrack in the Silent Disco big top. I was very happy to be in this corner of Perranporth beach.

Estrella DJ Booth. Photo credit: Tom NicholsonEstrella DJ Booth. Photo credit: Tom Nicholson

And so were the visiting bands, each in turn leaving their prints in the sand telling fans how beautiful this festival is. London ska outfit Imperial Leisure proclaim the Cornish the 'luckiest people'. Illinois pop punkers Plain White Ts say their 13 year old hit Hey There Delilah has never had a more beautiful backdrop.

Family-friendly fun at Tunes in the Dunes. Photo credit: Tom NicholsonFamily-friendly fun at Tunes in the Dunes. Photo credit: Tom Nicholson

The variety was huge, too. There was the beautifully smooth tones of the Skatelites, who first created their music 55 years ago, and new kids on the block Chef'Special, combatting early technical difficulties to rival John Newman in grandiose pop. On Friday, Newman, as expected, had the crowd in the palm of his hand - a true entertainer.

Madness at Tunes in the Dunes. Photo credit: Ian MayouMadness at Tunes in the Dunes. Photo credit: Ian Mayou

Finnish oddballs Steve n Seagulls pulled arguably one of the happiest crowds, with an hour of intense ukulele and banjo lead covers, leaving onlookers genuinely thrilled. Other highlights included festival favourite Newton Faulkner and big name pop legends in the form of Bananarama, Gabrielle and Morcheeba, each drawing crowds to the main stage ready and waiting for hit after hit.

There was food and drink aplenty to fuel the dancing, and a decent selection for the number of revellers. Unfortunately however, for many, overpriced nachos and fancy waffles will only go so far when feeding a family of four. The no food policy feels a shame when the mood is on point. Why can't parents bring in a few snacks for their brood? There is no real answer, just something to think about for next year.

St Ives' Polly Jones at Tunes in the Dunes. Photo credit: Przemyslaw FilipczySt Ives' Polly Jones at Tunes in the Dunes. Photo credit: Przemyslaw Filipczy

Because like it or not, in it's 5th year Tunes in the Dunes is not a small, noisy party on the beach. It's becoming an all-age celebration of Cornish musicians and sand castles, peppered with the opportunity to show our county off to international acts who seem genuinely stoked to be there too.

As the sun set over Madness and three generations of fez-wearers danced together in bare feet to classics Baggy Trousers, House of Fun and It Must Be Love, you do have to wonder if it gets any better than that.


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