Beach Break Live 2012 Review


This year the weather meant that Beach Break Live was set to be a wash-out. Realistically what more should we expect from the British Summer? With roughly 500 people leaving by the Friday night of the festival due to severely adverse weather conditions (gale force winds and torrential rain) it’s a surprise that the festival continued. All the beach activities had to be cancelled and were only able to continue on Sunday when the sun finally put his hat on, truly taking the ‘Beach’ out of Beach Break Live.  However the high spirits of the majority, despite broken tents, wet clothes and muddy skin meant that the festival was still a success and as Sunday approached, the glorious sunshine came out and people had already forgotten the rain that almost ruined the start of their festival.

I spent the afternoon of Friday at the Dell Main Stage. Delilah was on at 7pm and pleasantly surprised me. She has an incredible voice (and incredible shoes). Next came the Irish wonder Maverick Sabre. If I’m completely honest, he didn’t blow me away. He was pleasant to watch but nothing ground-breaking. He played some songs from his latest album including hits such as ‘I Need’ and ‘Let Me Go’. The headliners Chase & Status can be summed up in four syllables in-cred-i-ble. Their live show proves that dub-step music can be played at a festival amazingly well without just pressing play on a Macbook Pro. Their MC/Hype Man really got the crowd going and to my surprise one half of the duo (Chase) would often come down to the front of stage to rock out on the electric guitar. Opening with ‘No Problem’ and ending with a version of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name’ meant non-stop, rib-crushing goodness! After this I spent the rest of my night in the dance tent, Merlin’s Forest, catching pensioner Rodigan, Mistajam and NERO. The latter proving to put on a very boring, generic set leaving me very unimpressed.

My day started with Ghostpoet at 2pm on the Dell Main Stage. Despite major technical difficulties due to rain, he still battled through and delivered, pleasing the few fans that braved the rain to see him. He came down to chat to us after his set saying he felt guilty to be on a dry stage while we were getting soaked.  I stayed for Scroobius Pip, who I hadn’t heard much about before, and he was amazing! The Essex born performer’s satirical spoken word really got the crowd going and after swigging on a bottle of Rose claiming he won’t “Down it Fresher” he jumped into the crowd and got literally carried away to end his set. Particular highlights are ‘Soulja Boy (Kill ‘Em)’ and the slower, emotional number ‘Broken Promise’; be sure to check them out. Next up, potentially my highlight of the entire festival, was Labrinth. His set was phenomenal from start to end. He even included the emotion fuelled ‘Treatment’, a personal favourite from the record. I was more than impressed by his musical prowess as he would casually switch from electric guitar to keys effortlessly. After Labrinth came a disappointing set from Wretch 32 and an equally boring set from DJ Fresh Live. I’m unsure whether it just wasn’t ‘my thing’ or whether they were actually as boring as they seemed. DJ Fresh was simply a man stood behind a podium while a hype man and a female vocalist performed in front of him. Luckily Dizzee Rascal saved the night. The headline act didn’t disappoint, rattling through some of his greatest hits including ‘Sirens’ and ‘Dance Wiv Me’ and finishing the night with ‘Bonkers’… TWICE!

‘One of a kind’ Irish comedy freestyle rap trio Abandonman were the first act I caught on Sunday at the Dell Main Stage. They were hilarious, casually picking people from the crowd asking them a few simple questions and then making it into a rap song. Thorough entertainment. The next act to impress me were London folk rock band Dry The River. A particular highlight being their song ‘New Ceremony’. Frontman Peter Riddle demonstrated some serious vocal talent putting in so much effort and emotion to his live performance. Following Dry The River was the UK’s new heartthrob Ben Howard. I underestimated his sex appeal until I saw two girls dressed in Banana costumes that read ‘We’re BEN-anas”. Being from Devon myself I posed the question ‘When did this small Devon surfer get so incredibly popular?!’. He put on a good show but it was tarnished by technical issues clearly pissing him off (of which he vocalised to the crowd) meaning he finished his set 10 minutes early and didn’t even play ‘Keep Your Head Up’. I’m surprised the arena wasn’t left with weeping girls collapsing. The Maccabees. Needless to say I was well and truly blown away. They played a delicious mix of old and new, tastefully merging all three studio albums into their set. They even included ‘Latchmere’ as Orlando shyly claimed they hadn’t played it at a festival in a while, merging it with ‘About Your Dress’, making for a beautiful medley. Finishing their set on the enchanting ‘Grew Up At Midnight’ The Maccabees delivered yet another phenomenal live performance. Headlining the Sunday at Beach Break Live were Friendly Fires. I’m going to sound like a broken record but they were simply amazing. The element I am always most impressed by is how incredible the lighting and staging is. Seeing the infamous Scarlett Macaw flying across the backdrop automatically sets the scene for the rest of the show. As always the show dripped with the energy of frontman, Ed ‘Snake Hips’ Macfarlane with him putting at least 110% into his performance. Overall a fantastic way to end an awesome festival.

Good: The diversity of music. Enthusiasm of performers. Great atmosphere and festival site.

Bad: The torrential rain. Multiple technical faults on the Dell Main Stage led to delays and a few acts starting songs again and clearly getting annoyed.


About Author


I’m Megan Downing, an English Literature graduate from University of Southampton. I am the Music, Arts and Culture Editor for The National Student. I am the Membership and Communications Officer for the Student Publication Association, I write about music for 7BitArcade, and contribute regularly to The Culture Trip. I have a passion for live music and this is where I began in student journalism. Reviewing a gig or festival is still where my heart lies four years on. I will be starting at MTV as a News Intern in June 2015. One thing you should know about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with Kevin Spacey.

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