Ah Summer. Exams are over, results are in, and the students of Swansea can chill out, wherever they are. The Summer festival is one integral part of our Summer holidays, and Becca Taylor was lucky enough to attend Beach Break Live, mere days after our epic Summer Ball. Have a read of how she enjoyed herself with live music down by the seaside…

by Becca Taylor

I’d like to start this article by thanking Pembrey Country Park and the residents of Llanelli for being some of the bravest people in the world and letting 20,000 students takeover and trash their beautiful surroundings for four days every year. I have great sympathy for anyone involved in the clean-up, and hope that it now looks like a habitat for wildlife again.

Picture courtesy of Chris Melvin

In this ever changing and growing festival culture, Beach Break Live is making history as the UK’s first student festival. Now in its fifth year, it brought the likes of Example, Tinie Tempah and Newton Faulkner to thousands of student fans for stupidly low prices. The BBL story starts in 2006, and includes a successful and then rejected trip to the Dragons’ Den, three different locations and a visit from a BBC film crew. It’s faced cancellation nearly every year, but now that it’s moved permanently to the coasts of Llanelli, BBL is here to stay.

This year, my friend Josh and I attended BBL through Seed Staff, a festival recruitment company who offer free tickets in exchange for anywhere between 12 and 36 hours work as a steward. We were able to get our first choice of Silent Disco stewarding which proved to be hilarious despite the stress. Silent discos are great for showing just who doesn’t know the lyrics (it’s definitely not ‘some of those who work forces, are the same who ride horses’) and creating a surreal vision of crazy dance moves to no music. The perks of working include a separate staff area with proper loos and slightly cleaner showers (owing to fewer users rather than more regular cleaning) and so it can be worth it if you’re planning on hitting a few festivals with the company.

BBL branded this year as its fifth year spectacular and they pulled out all the stops. With more workshops and activities than ever, it was about more than the music, and that was impressive enough. Headlining the first night was Tinie Tempah, and he performed a comprehensive set to an excitable crowd. Returning to Wales was Ed Sheeran (who graced Sin City with his musical genius a few months back) and he managed to exceed my expectations of a festival set given his tendency to smaller, intimate gigs. The second night brought brilliant sets from Beardyman (who’s shaved… awkward), as well as We Are Scientists (just fantastic) and Example, a surprising non-headliner.. The closing night brought us Newton Faulkner, who blew me away with his set. Maybe I just love the ginger dreadlocked man too much, but he was genuinely my highlight of the weekend, his chilled tones perfectly complimenting the beach festival atmosphere. Closing the stage was Magnetic Man, pumping the crowd with some filthy, filthy dubstep, a great end to a fantastic weekend of live music.

One of the great things about festivals, and in particular a student one like this, is the outer stages where up and coming bands, including student bands, can have the chance to share their music with open minded folk who are looking for something new. Mooching about the tents brought the likes of Three Pairs of Shoes and the Tom Bradbury Band into my life, and I’m sure many other attendees found hidden gems in the mass of music that went on over the weekend. BBL is doing a great job in bringing out University bands and artists and getting them on the performing end of the festival stick, and I hope it continues to bring out young musicians and nurture that talent.

Next year’s BBL is sure to keep up the good name of the growing festival, and with around 5,000 extra students attending every year, it’s bound to keep getting bigger. For just £99, it’s a bargain of a festival, and I hope I see you out in the rain next summer!