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Since 2007, Beach Break Live has been creating an exciting buzz around the festival scene and thanks to a little help from BBC TV show Dragons Den, the festival is now one of the biggest in the UK. Held at Pembrey County Park in South Wales, it has seen the likes of Ellie Goulding, Vampire Weekend, Tinie Tempah and Calvin Harris take to its stages.

Thousands of people arrived early at the festival on Thursday to pitch up their tents ahead of a weekend that would see the worst storm in 50 years on its way (the idea of pitching a tent in gale force winds and trudging around a muddy field didn’t exactly sound like the ideal weekend), however, with artists such as Chase and Status, Dizzie Rascal, Friendly Fires, Ben Howard, Wretch 32, DJ Fresh and many more scheduled to perform at the festival the 17,000 student population of the festival battled on.

Friday saw the launch of Dell’s main stage and some predictable Welsh weather caused people to avoid both the beach and early mains stage acts, instead hiding at sheltered areas such as Chai Wallah’s and the new Southern Comfort Bar, giving smaller acts a better chance to shine. The first impressive crowd gathering at the main stage was drawn by Delilah, who performed a small but impressive set which included her storming single ‘I can feel you’. Crowds and high-pitched screams came next for an artist who is only destined for big things – Maverick Sabre – who performed a variety of tracks including ‘Fire in Your Eyes’ and the huge sounding ‘Let Me Go’.

The first headliner of this weekend – Chase and Status – who got the crowd in a frenzy with opening hit ‘No Problem’. The duo, fresh from performing at Download festival last weekend, had the audience in the palms of their hand and brought the much needed party and festival feel to Beach Break Live for the first time of the weekend. They performed a number of hits including ‘Let You Go’ and ‘Blind Faith’, before concluding their set with a unique rendition of ‘Killing in the Name Of’ by Rage Against The Machine, causing the temptation to mosh amongst the crowd. However, this wasn’t the end of Friday night by no means, crowds rushed to catch Mistajam over at Merlins Forest to spin tunes till the early morning.

Kicking off Saturday’s main stage was a man more commonly known for his Reggae Reggae sauce -Levi Roots who opened the main stage on Saturday singing a mix of reggae songs and even got his daughter involved to belt out another track. While others waited around the main arena to catch Scroobius Pip and his political rapping, a favourite with the student based audience. Scroobius was followed by Labrinth who had a rush of bodies head to the arena to see. Bursting on stage with the light hearted ‘Express Yourself’ Labrinth successfully brought a smile to the audience’s faces. Performing a number of hits including ‘Let the Sun Shine’, Tinie Tempah’s ‘Pass Out’ and the crowd jumping ‘Earthquake’.

Following Labrinth, was Wretch 32 who came packed with energy for the Beach Break audience, the rapper who was joined with a full band helped his songs reach a new high and certainly gave an extra kick to the chart storming hit ‘Unorthodox’. Wretch 32’s appeal is consistently growing and as he knocks out hit after hit you can see why. Concluding his short set with ‘Tractor’ the crowd was certainly left wanting more from the London Rapper. DJ Fresh who had the job of getting the crowd ready for the much awaited headliner Dizziee Rascal, however this didn’t prove a problem for DJ Fresh who brought a number of surprise covers to his set including Dead Prez’s ‘Hip Hop’ and a cover of Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’ into the mix.

Arriving onstage to Thousands of screams, Dizziee Rascal performed a set that featured a variety of new and crowd favourite hits including ‘Just a rascal’ ’Disco’ and ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’ getting the entire Beach Break audience under his worship. Dizziee was backed with a minimal set up with just a DJ and hype man presumably meant more in the budget for the smoke cannons, lasers and fireworks that made his a spectacular view for the audience. Dizziee’s songs drive his operation, helped by the biggest crowd this weekend has seen at the main arena. As the darkness descends around the arena Dizzie Rascal left the biggest hits til the end performing ‘Dance With Me’ and ‘Bonkers’ not once but twice, ending the night on an unforgettable high.

With the sun glazing, Sunday turned into a tops off party! Crowds headed to sun bathe and participate in sports at the beach while the main stage was hosting an indie filled day. Ben Howard who has seen a recent increase in popularity immediately received a great response from the crowd. Unfortunately, due to arriving onstage late and a number of sound glitches during his performance, left his much awaited set cut short after only five songs. Howard was followed by this year’s special guests, The Maccabees who performed a set worthy of headlining. Playing songs from all three albums, the set seemed like a greatest hits run from The Maccabees from a tetchy ‘Feel To Follow’, a jolly ‘Can You Give It’ and a menacing ‘No Kind Words’.

Beach Break festival proved once again that its one of the most exciting and fresh festivals that the UK has to offer. There is just not enough time to soak up the variety of games, music and activities that the festival has to offer. Even with a downpour of torrential weather during the first few days, crowd spirits could not be damaged and the consistent weekend party did not stop.

With this festival’s growing population, I can’t wait to see what Beach Break brings out of the bag for next year, Glastonbury had better watch out!

Words and photo: Mike Lewis