Caught by the River

A few words on Port Eliot 2018

7th August 2018

Robin reflects on another great weekend spent down by the Tiddy

Postcard kindly made in situ by Nick Hand

There’s a field in England – a corner of Kernow even – where Caught by the River truly comes alive. We’ve said before that our stage at Port Eliot Festival perfectly captures our ethos – possibly never more so than this year. It feels a little disingenuous to say that each subsequent year really is the best one, but every year, without fail, whatever the weather, it’s true. From Thursday night’s Heavenly hit parade to Sunday’s gloriously mellow coda, the acts on the stage seemed to channel the spirit of this site without any prior conversation or planning. They just got it.

It would be remiss to single out personal highlights (Roy Wilkinson’s eyeliner-heavy tour-de-force pub quiz aside, obviously) but Confidence Man’s performance on the Saturday night does stick out. Stood at the side of stage, watching as mine and Andrew’s 8 year-old daughters became entirely entranced, I was struck by just how far the idea of Caught by the River had come. Here was an out-and-out pop band fronted by a guy in his pants and a girl with a pair of ‘laser tits’ (her words for a light-up conical bra) playing on the same stage I’d previously watched Gwenno, Tim Dee and Philip Marsden discussing the Cornish state of mind. As the gig exploded in a riot of noise and light while rain poured down outside the tent, I found myself wondering if this was what being ‘caught by the river’ really was – family, inspiration, warmth, humour, friendship…good times basically.

A minute later I was shaken back into action as Justin Robertson started DJing – opening his account with a phenomenal piece of tribal techno that seemed to push the audience backwards with the force of a jet engine firing. The kids had gone to bed. It was going to be a late one. Best get another beer and get stuck in then. Can’t wait to see what next year brings.


An enormous thank you to all the performers, punters, DJs, and behind-the-scenes folk who made another year’s Port Eliot antics possible. Early-bird tickets go on sale in October – you can keep tabs via the Port Eliot Twitter account.