PandaFest: A celebration of community
It’s all hands on deck this week as the organisers of PandaFest get ready to open the gates so festival goers can come together, enjoy a wide variety of music and relish in the community spirit.
This Friday and Saturday, music festival PandaFest will be returning to Lanivet to throw a real feel-good community event, welcoming a diverse range of music and artists, local people, community groups and those from further afield to join in the celebrations.
With last-minute preparations and finishing touches to the event getting underway, we caught up with PandaFest’s co-organiser Jordan Collins to find out what people can look forward to this year.
Musician Jordan has helped facilitate PandaFest since it first began back in his student days working part-time at the Lanivet Inn, also known to many locals as the ‘Panda Inn’. With experience in event organising while at Falmouth University, Jordan helped the pub’s landlord Rob with the coordination of the early events before it very quickly outgrew the pub.
With Jordan and Rob agreeing the festival needed to move to a more suitable space, the event was rebranded as ‘PandaFest’ and in 2019 the festival moved to its current location at Manor Mead in
Lanivet, generously provided by the landlord.
With the festival growing over the years, it has also meant a lot more responsibility for the team. Marketing for the next event begins just after the festival finishes, and the planning and preparation is very much a year-long project, all done in whatever spare time they get outside of work and other commitments. PandaFest always supports local charities with its proceeds.
The pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty in the events sector, but the team are looking forward to a year without the weight of lockdowns and social distancing hanging over them. Jordan said: “2021 was very touch and go; I think we rescheduled about three times. We were lucky that PandaFest was the first thing to happen locally after everything reopened, so it was a really nice feeling to give the community something to come back to."
New to PandaFest this year is the addition of an extra day, making the festival a proper weekend event and allowing the diverse range of music and activities to take place over two days. Those with a local postcode, NHS workers and members of the Cornwall RFU are able to grab discounted tickets.
With everything from rap and grime, with Tinchy Strider headlining on the Saturday, all the way through to Cornish folk, Americana Blues and DJ sets, the team at PandaFest really wanted to ensure everyone has something to look forward to this year.
Encouraging people of all ages to come along, PandaFest will have an activities area with yoga, music workshops with Polyrhythm, dance workshops with KBSK, plus life drawing classes and mental health talks with Cornwall Mind.
PandaFest is being supported by a number of local businesses and organisations, including Bodmin Jail, Sharp’s Brewery and 8 Track Spiced Rum. The Masons Arms have also supported the event for years with their bar, staff and drinks supply.
Jordan said: “We have a really supportive group of people and that’s why we do it. We couldn’t put the festival on without them.”
Community is a huge part of PandaFest: “We want all the people involved in the community to be at the festival, and for PandaFest to be that one local event that is in everybody’s calendars,” Jordan added. “We understand that it’s still a very unprecedented time for everyone and that’s why we try to make it as affordable as possible for people to attend. PandaFest is a celebration of community and has a strong focus on Cornwall and locality.”
PandaFest takes place this Friday and Saturday and last-minute tickets are still available to buy. For the full music lineup and to grab your tickets, go to https://www.pandafestofficial.co.uk/
Images: Faye Rason and Alysa O’Connor