NEVER mind Britain’s Got Talent, the real ‘Voice’ opportunities for those with 2024 musical ambitions could rest with the new ‘Kids on the Block’… the first-ever Made-in-Looe Regatta, which intends showcasing local talent during three days of maritime entertainment, writes John Collings. 

The June 14-16 regatta is a celebration of the South East Cornwall resort’s historic boatbuilding heritage but the organisers, the Looe-based Cornish Lugger Association, are also attempting to replicate their Breton cousins whose traditional boat rallies and reunions always feature musical entertainment, food stalls and demonstrations. 

So, while the Made-in-Looe regatta will shine a long-overdue light on the multitude of craft designed and built in the town by Alan Pape, Robert Newton, Clifford Adams, Arthur Collings, the Pearn brothers (Gerald and Norman), Brian Porter, Jim and David Currah, Andy Skentelbery and also those early 1900 boatbuilders such as the Ferris and Angear families among many others, the on-shore activities will be featuring everything that’s tasty in the worlds of music and food. 

Lugger Association vice-chairman David Darlington, himself a Looe boatbuilder, said: “We are going to entertain our visiting boat skippers and their families, as well as local residents, with three full days of entertainment at Mally’s Shed (the Looe Harbour Commissioners-owned Quayside Centre on West Looe quay) where a variety of non-stop music will play from about 3.30pm each day.” 

Refreshment outlets will be on hand and Looe Sailing Club members are providing the licensed bar.  

“We already have Pete Flukes’ Roadrunners getting back together and we are also very close to tying up all our headline acts,” said David. 

“But what we really want to do is showcase the talents of other musicians to provide entertainment in the late afternoon and early evenings.” 

The Polperro Fishermen’s Choir offshoot, the Wreckers, are already pencilled in for a performance and the local women’s choir, Keltique, have also been invited to get involved, but there are still slots available. 

“This is the first Made-in-Looe Regatta, so we are very much a fledgling operation with very few funds this time around,” said David. 

“We have numerous financial commitments like insurance, entertainment licences, liquor fees and the like that we have to pay for so, on this occasion, unfortunately, we cannot offer our bands much more than a stage on which to showcase their talents but this would be an ideal chance for some lesser known singers and bands to gain exposure.” 

Anyone interested in joining the roster should email: [email protected] 

Plans for the weekend, which will end on the Sunday (June 16), coinciding with Looe Boat Owners’ Association’s popular raft race around the Banjo Pier and up the Looe River, are progressing well and it looks set to be South East Cornwall’s best maritime festival of the year. 

Already a dozen or so owners of Looe-built boats have expressed an interest in bringing them back ‘home’ for the weekend reunion and others are being tracked down and invited all the time. 

Looe Harbour Commissioners are offering free mooring fees for Looe-built boats taking part in the rally and have given permission for a ‘tented village’ on West Looe Quay that will act as the base for demonstrations, historical displays and reflections, the licensed bar, food outlets and, of course, the music entertainment. 

Meanwhile the next biennial regatta of the Cornish Luggers will be held in Looe Bay in the summer of 2025.