Review: Beach Break Live
In terms of the biggest festivals in the UK, Beach Break Live is one of the only ones that feels like it is made with students fully in mind. After all, it "the student festival."
We included the festival in our student festival guide and travelled down through the Welsh hills to check it out for ourselves in 2012. So, we set off from Manchester to the south coast of Wales with great expectations… along with the anticipation of a once in a lifetime storm (which never really happened!).
The location may appear like an odd place to stage a festival but the Pembrey Country Park turned out to be ideal, not least because of the vast white-sand beach. What's more, there were around 20,000 students from all over the country that had travelled to see the star-studded line up and get involved in the weekend's shenanigans.
Seeing as though Save the Student! is primarily a student money site, we thought we would take a look at the festival from a value for money point of view…
Is Beach Break Live good value for money?
A student ticket for the long weekend at Beach Break sets you back around £109, which we think is pretty darn good value.
For this you get Thursday – Monday camping and music/events pretty much all day and all night long.
Unfortunately for us, the beach was not open until the Sunday due to the treacherous weather conditions but most of the festival goers didn't seem to mind due to the fact that there was such a great mix of activities and acts to get into elsewhere.
Whenever you go to a festival you always get great value for money for the artists that you see. For example, Chase and Status lit up the stage on the Friday night and you could easily pay up to £30 to see them elsewhere.
The line up was very good. The main stage saw Maverick Sabre and breakthrough act Delilah sooth the crowd on a wet and windy Friday with Chase and Status following to boost everyone's energy in time for an amazing set by Nero.
Saturday saw Labrinth, Wretch32 & Dizzee Rascal get the crowd buzzing with some great urban music. After this most students headed over to the Merlin's Forest tent to spend the night getting down to Skream and a Live set from Benga.
On Sunday there was more of a chilled vibe as the sun shone over Pembrey Country Park. This was excellently reflected in the mix of indie and chilled grooves with artists like The Milk, Ben Howard and Friendly Fires playing.
Then, if everyone was still up for it on the last night there was a night of hard-hitting drum and bass from the likes of High Contrast, Danny Byrd and the amazingly talented Netsky.
The best of the rest
So, that was a quick shout out to the big headliners but don't think it stopped there. One of the highlights of the weekend was standing in a crowd of only 200 to see HeyMoonshaker, a sublime and interesting mix of Beatbox and Blues. Levi Roots also made an appearance before GhostPoet, The Maccabees, DJ Fresh & The Whip.
Basically, the line up was exactly what was needed for a student festival. There was such a wide variety of choices and up and coming artists to keep you entertained that you never felt like you "had" to watch a certain artist. As for value for money, the amount and quality of acts was definitely well worth it.
Beyond the music
It would have been impossible to try out and see absolutely everything but there was definitely a lot to keep the 20,000 students entertained.
One of the most entertaining events was the Celtic Games, where teams face gruelling challenges such as an obstacle relay (in sumo suits) and eating a mouthful of glitter and mustard. The winners, all dressed in swim suits were aptly named "The Breaststrokers."
There was also a funfair (£3 a ride), loads of interactive stands and of course the beach. There was a lot of free things that you could get involved in which meant you could have fun without having to worry about your dwindling dosh.
Of course the food at festivals is always on the more expensive side and Beach Break Live was not really exception.
Food ranged from £2 for a small portion of chips, £4 for a burger to £7 for a tasty hog roast.
This is one of the most important things to most festival travellers and Beach Break managed to keep prices at a reasonable level with a pint of Coors Light or Brothers Cider only setting you back around £3.30. Whilst a few tried, you can't take your own drinks into the main arena.
What's more, the allowance for taking beers into the festival (camping only) was 24 cans, which was more than enough to keep you going for the weekend. All in all, the drinks prices were on the low side compared to most festivals so top marks for that.
Overall value for money
The weekend was fantastic overall. The rain and wind on the first couple of nights threatened to put a dampener on the festival but this never seemed to develop into the forecasted storm. Spirits were high and there was a real community in the campsite as well as in the main arena.
The quality of the acts made the ticket cost well worth it and there were many cheap ways to entertain yourself. You could easily have got away with the whole weekend for under £180 (including the ticket) and still have one of the best festival experiences ever.
All in all the Save the Student team had an incredible time at Beach Break Live.
Now it's time to get excited for the next Beach Break Live, especially if you didn't make it down this year!