If you go down to Cornwall this month, you are in for a big surprise. Nestled away on the Rame Peninsula, in the south east of the county, the most magical festival will be taking place in just over two weeks time. An enticing concoction of music, fashion, food and literary performances will be taking over the beautiful site of Port Eliot.
Port Eliot is the historic family seat of the Earl and Countess of St Germans, who have been hosting incredible festivals and events at in the House and grounds since the 1980s. In 2003, Peregrine and Catherine St Germans, along with a team of creative friends, founded the Port Eliot Lit Fest, with the idea of starting a completely new and exciting type of literary festival. Since then it has grown into an amazing mixture of music, the visual arts, incredible food, brilliant authors performing their work, and this year, a fantastic fashion element in the form of a dedicated tent in the Walled Garden (even the tents sound romantic!)
The first Port Eliot Festival had only 17 visitors, that number has grown to 5000 in only 7 years!
The organisers always encourage both the performers and festival goers to be as creative and free-spirited as possible during the weekend, which creates a truly magical atmosphere. It is not unusual for people to hold spontaneous seances in the woods, or a masked ball in the middle of the night, or for younger punters to run down to the 'One Minute Disco', held on the hour, every hour. It is this unique spirit that has meant knowledge of this boutique festival is spreading via word of mouth.
The capacity of Port Eliot festival is limited to 5000, which means everyone has space to camp wherever they so chose (a far cry from the usual flooded shanty towns of other festivals!) and there is the choice of several areas offering different forms of entertainment; the Cabaret Tent, the Boat House, the Caught By The River stage and the enchanting House of Fairy Tales.
A typical Port Eliot Festival goer!
There is a truly incendiary list of authors and musicians who will be performing at this year's event, but what has really tickled our fancy is the thought of the fashion tent in the Walled Garden.
Barbara Hulanicki (founder of Biba) and Fashion Junior's fave, Luella Bartley, will be making clothes for festival goers live and for free! How brilliant?! Sarah Mower, the British Fashion Council's Ambassador for Emerging Talent, will be interviewing milliner Stephen Jones on stage, and he will also be creating bespoke hats during the event.
Stephen Jones driving the world's cutest golf buggy!
Taking a break from curating iconic exhibitions at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in NYC (yes, where the amazing Met Ball is held), Andrew Bolton will be teaming up with fashion legend Anna Sui for another special event. Anna says of the festival itself:
"It's like a fairytale. Those vistas! You have to catch your breath."
That sounds like a good enough reason to discover the festival if ever we heard one. Tickets are still available if you want to experience some of the magic for yourself, and you can buy them/get more information from the website:
Images courtesy of Port Eliot (Bill Bradshaw, Fiona Campbell)