Golowan Festival

Conor Fletcher

Whether you’re staying with us in the Sail Lofts luxury apartments in St Ives or would like to come down to Cornwall for a much needed summertime break, there are so many events taking place this year to keep you entertained from sunrise to sunset. Fantastic weather aside so many events in Cornwall take place that let you get that much needed break from the beach and explore a side of Cornwall unseen in daily life, the kind of Cornwall that’s wild, untamed and extravagant. So if you’re looking to experience the Cornwall you know and love, but have the need to experience something new and exciting, look no further.

There are some dates in the Cornish calendar (if there were one, but let’s say there is for sake of argument) that are forever marked throughout the years as being a certain week or a certain day. Tradition or not there are some events that take place in Cornwall which have become ingrained into our culture, for better or worse they are indicative of what we are and what we have been. Okay I’ll jump the preamble and better explain what I’m talking about.

In a few weeks, on the weekend of June 16th to the 25th, my hometown of Penzance, which is only a short drive from the Sail Lofts luxury apartments, is undergoing a change over night. The streets are no longer streets; the roads become enveloped in colour and festivity and for the week culminating in a final weekend of phantasmagorical extravagance. For this short time, Penzance isn’t Penzance as we know it.

The Golowan Festival

So what am I talking about? Well it’s known as Golowan, Mazey Day or the Midsummer Festival, many names that all wrap together in one event. Golowan without question is a reinvention of past tradition, amalgamated with modernity and cultural events, the modern day Golowan grips to its heritage within the onset of the changing landscape.

I’m sure you’re wondering why Golowan is such a big deal to everyone? Just the same as Helston’s Flora Day, St Just’s Lafrowda and one of the many other archaic traditions that have been reinvented across Cornwall they all point to one thing - a celebration that ensures it involves everybody.

But ultimately the main that attracts people far and wide to the town for the event is the culmination of it all, the pinnacle of Penzance pride – Mazey Day. Throughout the final weekend, Penzance’s streets become awash with explosive variety and artistic panache, with street parades, music and entertainment at every hour there is no better place to put yourself if you’re in Cornwall for the week.

I won’t shy away from the fact that Mazey Day is loud. It’s wild, untamed and oftentimes won’t make sense. Festivity is ultimate goal, both locals and visitors take the time to let loose and enjoy themselves – hopefully drenched in summer sun. You only have to take a few steps down Causeway Head before you hear the thudding of the drums, the repeated rhythmic trance echoes its way around, people dance, people sing and people drink. Stalls line the streets abundantly each one selling something unique, from handmade Cornish jewellery to wooden art or even cheeses and baked goods there’s always something to try whilst you visit.

Having spent most of my youth either taking part in parades or visiting the town to see what’s happening the one, overall takeaway I have is the smell of caramelised peanuts, yes I know this sounds weird. The point I’m making is, Mazey Day has an eclectic mix of food to try from all over the world fried, baked, roasted and boiled there is probably food cooking in every way conceivable. It’s incredible how much is really on offer, Penzance isn’t the largest town around here, and I suppose this only makes Golowan (or Mazey Day, it helps to know that these are interchangeable) more special, it’s compact but widespread - as oxymoronic as this sounds it’s true.

A main pull for people is not only the unbridled enjoyment but the chance to see what the local schools and colleges have created, sometimes these all adhere to one particular theme, other times they are completely random and wild but at the end of it all they’re a sight to behold. Coupling this alongside the variety of entertainment on offer wouldn’t give it justice but without question the processional parades that wind their way down through Market Jew Street and stretch back all the way back to St John’s Hall are well worth seeing if you’re staying in St Ives and want to take a look at something a bit different and I use the word in the nicest sense possible.

Okay so on to the music. Throughout the entire week of Golowan there are performances, open-mic sessions and so much more on offer to keep you entertained, you can literally step into any pub in the town and find something taking place related to Golowan, the entire town seems to come together for this week and it’s bound to be busy so to not miss out on anything be sure to have a look around online at the many things taking place.

Book luxury accommodation in St Ives

So if you’re staying with us in the Sail Lofts luxury self catering apartments in St Ives in the coming weeks, or would like to - there’s still time to book a break and enjoy one of Cornwall’s most unique occasions. If you would like to book a stay in one of our luxury apartments in St Ives, get in touch with the office on 01736 799175 and one of the team will be able to talk more about the wonderful things happening in Cornwall this summer and ensure that you’re here to enjoy it all.

Photo credit: John Steadman