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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 June 2008, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
'Students-only' festival expands
By Kev Geoghegan
Radio 1 music reporter at Polzeath beach

Beach Break Live takes place during the week to attract students

A students-only festival in north Cornwall is growing despite organisers turning down cash from the Dragon's Den.

Beach Break Live was at the centre of a bidding war on the BBC TV show in December.

Co-founder Celia Norowzian turned down a 50,000 offer from entrepreneur Peter Jones for a 10% share in the festival.

But she has told Newsbeat that it was an amicable split with the dragon.

She said: "He did actually take it really well, I think that he realised that we were being offered another opportunity that could really help us grow.

"In the end, he was just like 'Go for it'."

Major sponsorship

Norowzian ended up with the backing of a major student travel company.

22-year-old Carly Kleinberg from Bournemouth University is helping out at the festival.

She said: "We've been here for four days already in production and it's been really nice seeing everybody pouring in.

"I think it's going to be a really good festival this year."

21-year-old Aisha Islam from Bournemouth agreed: "I think the great thing is that it's quite personal.

"We've done everything ourselves, like painted the stages and stuff.

"Plus we've finished exams and finished university and it just feels like a break."

In 2007, the festival catered for just under 1,000 students.

This year they have sold 5,000 tickets.

Organiser Celia Norowzian
Beach Break Live lasts until 12 June and costs 79 to attend

The headliners include The Enemy, The Cribs and The Wombats.

Wombats drummer Dan Haggis said: "It's brilliant and it's great to be a part of, and it seems like they have pulled it off in style.

"We've done student balls and stuff, we did one in Canterbury and it was great.

"Students definitely know how to have a drink, there were half bottles of wine hoisted in the air and people drinking them on their mates' shoulders."

Alongside signed artists like The Wombats, Does It Offend You, Yeah? and Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, the festival is an opportunity for unsigned bands to reach a new audience.

Grammatics kicked off Monday's main stage and are joined on the bill by Team Water Polo.

Grammatics singer Owen joked: "It's a bit student-ey for my liking.

"No, it was great, but it was a bit odd to playing to a bunch of people flat out on their backs sunbathing but we enjoyed it."

Big competition

2008 is a bumper year for European festivals, reportedly at an all time high of around 1,500.

It's a lot of competition for the organisers of Beach Break but Norowzian is convinced the festival will survive.

She said: "Because Beach Break is totally aimed at students, because it's marketed by students for students, I think it stands alone so it's not as affected by competition."

But with expansion at the forefront of their minds for next year, there is a danger that corporate sponsorship will be necessary and all the branding that comes with it.

At the moment, most of the stalls sell fair trade products.

But Norowzian insisted: "We're keen on keeping it quite boutique but in saying that, festivals are really expensive so there is a compromise.

"As long as we keep to our ethics."

19-year-old Lindsey from Bath Spa University said: "I think it needs to stay small with just students because otherwise it just becomes another festival like Glastonbury."

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