The Version Interview... Ryan Matthews from Boardmasters

Boardmasters festival returns to the Cornish coast this Summer and it promises to be an unforgettable event with the likes of Stormzy, Pete Tong and Alt-J all on the line-up.

 The Version caught up with the main man behind the festival Ryan Matthews from Vision Nine Group to find out more...

It’s incredible to think Boardmasters has been going since the 80’s! Which performances do you personally have the fondest memories of and why?

My first Boardmasters was back in 2010 where Leftfield and Newton Faulkner headlined so this year will be my 8th Boardmasters. For me, I have incredible memories of first meeting friends I now see every year at the festival since then. 


A stand out memory would be from 2012, when we had an unknown Rudimental perform on the Point stage (a new stage for that year) and I’ve never seen such a rush of people to try to get into one of our smallest stages. 


In 2013, we had the 1975 perform one of our Beach sessions – an intimate gig with a few hundred-people watching. Outside there were girls crying as it was sold out capacity gig and they were just desperate to see the band. 


There are so many festivals in the UK now and clearly the amazing location sets Boardmasters apart from the rest. What else makes it so special?

Photo’s don’t really do this justice but the view at Boardmasters is one like no other... Watching the sunset, having a couple of drinks and listening to your favourite acts. Life really doesn't get much better than that. The fact that after a long weekend of dancing and meeting new friends, it’s still a holiday in Cornwall right by the beach. Having the chance to check out some of the world’s best surfers, learn to surf yourself or just get away for a couple of hours from the music to chill by a campfire makes Boardmasters a festival like no other.


Can you choose a couple of artists from this years line-up and explain what excites you about having them at Boardmasters?

One of the standouts for me is the man of the moment, Stormzy. The guy is on fire right now and to have him come play will be a treat for our fans. I’m also a huge fan of our Dance stage, The Point. Nowhere else in the UK can you create such Ibiza vibes with such a view and list of artists right by the sea.



You’ve got Stormzy, Pete Tong, Flaming Lips and SO many amazing artists this year. Tell us how you go about putting the line-up together!

The leg work is put in well in advance and it proves testament to how hard the team works as to the level of artists we’re attracting to play this year. The one thing that connects everyone we book is that we’re personally passionate about them. If we’re not excited then we can’t expect anyone else to be, and this year we’re more excited than we’ve ever been.


Can you tell us what else your job involves?

During the live event days are when I most enjoy my job. Out of the office and working with people and meeting new faces. You can find us with our army of event photographers and videographers, working with our PR team to get the best on site interviews for major press and of course checking out as many acts as we can, including discovering new local Cornish talent.


For us, the best festivals are the ones where there is so much more going on that just the music and that is very true of Boardmasters. Can you tell us what else attendees can expect?

A tagline often used for Boardmasters is “so much more to discover” because even if you were to look past the incredible line up for this year, there is so much more on offer. From celebrating Cornish food and drink with our new on site restaurant, intimate gigs taking place right by the beach, late night after parties going on until the early hours, some of the world’s best surfers and of course the most glorious Cornish gold sunsets you will ever see.


Can you think of any examples you can tell us about whereby you have seen things done at other festivals and you’ve either thought it’s been so good you want to replicate it or it’s so bad, you’d never do it?

I’ve always wanted to break a World Record at an event – whether that’s the most people dressed up as pirates on a beach or most people on a surfboard catching a wave – Boardmasters will be in the record books one day. And in terms of a bad example – just search ‘Fyre Festival’

Ryan Matthews, Vision Nine 

Ryan Matthews, Vision Nine 

All good festivals have a VIP option. What does yours include?


Honestly, we just want to give people the best experience on every level. From a business point of view, some might say this is our downfall, as we could cut corners and save money, but that’s not really what we’re about. We’re all very passionate about food & drink and Boardmasters VIP gives us the chance to demonstrate that. The VIP experience also has its own line up of artists across the weekend and all the upgrade perks that make it well worth the money.  


We’ve never been to Boardmasters but are keen to cover it this year. How would you describe it to us in three words?

That’s always hard – but if you’ve never been. You will love it. ULTIMATE CORNISH SUMMER.


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