SUNSHINE and blue skies greeted thousands of festival goers at The Great Estate this weekend as the idyllic grounds of Scorrier Estate was transformed into a magical soirée of music, cabaret, and camaraderie.

Known for its eccentric approach and plethora of weird and wonderful happenings, this year certainly didn’t disappoint with dinosaurs, bumble bees, flamingos, and squirrels roaming the gardens accompanied by headline performances from The Darkness, The Stranglers, and Soul II Soul. 

As the gates opened to mark the 7th edition of Cornwall’s most rambunctious garden fête, guests were ushered through a (sssshhhh) ‘secret entrance’ and down a winding tree studded pathway before spilling out onto the rolling green hills of the prestigious country estate.

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Donned head to toe in black, The Stranglers took to the main stage on Friday evening with a powerful and captivating performance that reaffirmed why they are one of the most influential bands to have emerged from the punk era. 

Playing tracks such as ‘(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)’ and finishing with ‘No More Heroes’, the band teased the crowd with a melody of ‘Golden Brown’ which had the crowd swaying and singing along until the very end. 

Blessed with warm temperatures and a clear night sky, British rock band The Darkness headlined proceedings on the Saturday evening with a captivating high energy show that saw lead singer Justin Hawkins telling stories, throwing guitar picks, doing headstands, and just generally joking around with the crowd from start to finish. 

Opening with ‘Black Shuck’ before leading into other tracks from their debut album Permission to Land including ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’ and ‘Growing on Me’, The Darkness also performed ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, a track the audience had been waiting for. With hands aloft, the crowd bounced around and screamed back the lyrics shortly before the show came to an end with Justin taking a tour of the crowd on a security guard’s shoulders. 

Closing the main stage of The Great Estate Festival on Sunday was Soul II Soul with their timeless groves and laidback party vibes. 

Performing covers of ‘Ghetto Heaven’ and ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ in addition to their chart-topping hits including ‘Keep On Movin’ and ‘Back To Life’ with the latter leading to a singing and dancing frenzy from the crowd.

Other notable performances included Imperial Leisure, who brought their infectious energy and giant inflatable beach balls to the main stage on Friday in addition to My Baby, Shefu, Bez’s Acid House Party, Dr Meaker, Fat Boy Tim, Rockaoke, and an all-time favourite, Hip-Hop Karaoke.

Festival adventures extended into the decadent walled gardens where nooks and crannies housed hidden artefacts leading to the infamous Secret Gin Garden where performances took place among blossoming urns and twinkling fairy lights. The ancient woodland transformed into a hub of musical merriment showcasing up-and-coming talent from across the county before supercharging into a late-night party spot.  

Colourful and delightfully quirky, Madame Wong's House of Wrong was a party hub for the weird and wonderful combining music, comedy, circus, and cabaret throughout the weekend plus the unforgettable Great Estate Drag Race featuring Cornwall’s very own Vicki Vivacious who previously appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race. 

In between visits to the main stage, for those that wanted to decompress, The Sanctuary hosted yoga classes, sound baths, aromatherapy workshops plus bookable massages, reflexology, and sauna sessions. Cornwall Shop Small were also on hand to help festival-goers in need of retail therapy with a wonderful selection of crafts, home and lifestyle wares, artisan food and drink, and vintage finds from local and independent makers, creators and producers. 

The fun festival also welcomed Rupert Cooper of Philleigh Way Cookery School who brought his culinary expertise and open fire flavour to The Great Estate hosting a long table feast of mouthwatering woodfire sardines, chargrilled mackerel, roasted pork loin, and slow smoked cauliflower each paired with a Cornish Orchard Cider. 

The little ones also had plenty of entertainment throughout the weekend with the Victorian Sports Day event, circus skill sessions, craft workshops, fairground rides, face painting, the mini skate ramp and The Great Lantern Parade which saw giant handcrafted paper lanterns take to the sky. 

Festival directors Ben Hall and Ian Whittaker said: “This year's Great Estate Festival has been one of the best so far with the sun coming out for yet another amazing weekend filled with theatrical installations, strange happenings and an eclectic music programme. 

“We’d like to extend a massive thank you to all the loyal customers that have supported the event for so many years and to the entire team behind what has turned into one of Cornwall’s most well-loved family festivals. We can’t wait to start concocting some more ideas for next year.”