The Beach Blog

An interview with Fretted Knot

If you’ve been into our bar on a Sunday afternoon, you may have noticed some live music being played from one of our very talented resident musicians, Fretted Knot, an acoustic duo made up of Mark Wilson on guitar and Buster Cottam on the bass. The talented pair play a great selection of covers and their own songs in acoustic, folky and reggae styles, the perfect recipe for the ultimate Sunday soundtrack. We had a chat with Mark to find out a little bit more about the band…

Firstly, how did you get into music?

After listening to my older brother’s CD collection of artists such as Jimmy Hendrix, Radiohead, Ash and lots more, I knew that creating music was something I definitely wanted to try. So I started guitar lessons with a few different teachers; some were classical and others more folk or rock influenced, but I loved learning anything I could get my hands on.

What can people expect when they see Fretted Knot perform at The Beach? 

We play a mixture of covers and originals, and the set can vary from John Martyn and The Beatles, to Nirvana and The White Stripes. Most of the covers will have our own twist on a song to make it a little different. For example, we play the White Stripes’ rock song Seven Nation Army in a reggae style, and Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box is played on a lap steel guitar, which gives it a slight country and folky feel.

How did you and Buster meet and why do you think you work so well together as a duo?

We met through a mutual friend when Mark moved to Bude and we work very well together, but we couldn’t say exactly why. Maybe because we both have beards?!

Who, what and where inspires you the most?

The North Cornish coast is a great place to live for inspiration, not to mention the friends and family we have here.  

Do you prefer to write and play your own music or play covers?

If it’s a cover we can relate to and put our own twist on then that’s easily as enjoyable as performing an original song, because you’ve still done something creative and made it your own. 

What would be your ultimate Sunday soundtrack?

(press play and have a listen)

What’s the best and worst gig you’ve ever done?

The worst gig was at a festival where the acoustic stage was next to a fairground waltzer playing very loud Techno, and the best gig was a showcase event at Ronnie Scotts in London. There was an awesome crowd and it’s a great venue.

What are your favourite songs to play?

Master Blaster by Stevie Wonder. It’s got great lyrics that are still very relevant today.

What’s your opinion on the music scene in Cornwall?

There’s some excellent festivals and venues in Cornwall, but it would also be great to see more showcase events for local singer-songwriters and bands.


We have live music in our bar from Fretted Knot and James Dixon on alternating Sundays from 4pm. Call 01288 389800 for confirmation or to book a table.


We are in a great location for the festivals and live music events that take place in both Cornwall and Devon throughout the year, with some incredibly popular events located a very short driving distance from our hotel. Whatever genre of music or type of festival you enjoy the most, you can take your pick from laid-back acoustic music on the beach, lively gigs in a transformed quarry surrounded by tropical plants and DJ sets in a cliff-top field.

Port Eliot Festival – 26 to 29 July


Described as a literary festival, but much more like a garden party, you name it, this festival has it. With live music, fashion shows, yoga sessions, comedy, food, science demonstrations and even rentable hot tubs. The festival is popular with locals, tourists and celebrities alike, drawing a swarm of creative and talented people to one location over the summer. There is also an array of really interesting workshops to get involved in, from mixology and advice on which cheese to pair with which cider, to working with botanical inks and writing beautifully in a calligraphy class.

That’s the most potent medication in its group. You can buy it at only if you have a doctor’s prescription, as the medication has its adverse effects. However, this medication is the best solution to the problem.

26 – 29 July 2018 in St Germans, an hour and fifteen minutes drive from Bude –

Sundowner Sessions at Lusty Glaze – all summer

Held weekly throughout the spring and summer months, the free Woodburner Sessions on Lusty Glaze Beach, Newquay are the perfect way to spend a sunny evening, with great music, food and drink, served in a relaxed beach setting. In the peak summer months, there are also larger scale ‘Headliner Sessions’, with past performers including Ben Howard and Newton Faulkner.

Each year, the North Cornish beach also welcomes the 37 piece Cornish Sinfonia Orchestra for a ‘Symphony By The Sea’, an evening of classical music, performed in Lusty’s very own natural amphitheatre, and the entertainment coming to a close with a spectacular cliff top firework display. Note before, there is only one access point to the beach, and this is via 133 steps, which may be difficult for less able guests.

For line-ups and dates, go to Lusty Glaze is an hour’s drive from Bude.

Eden Sessions – June & July

Picture by Gabriel Szabo/ 15/07/08. Eden Sessions 2008.

Set within the amazing grounds of the Eden Project, amongst the exotic plants and towering biomes, the Eden Sessions bring people from far and wide to see some world famous acts, previously hosting Elton John, Paloma Faith, Spandau Ballet, Ben Howard and Amy Winehouse, to name a few.

This summer welcomes Madness and Bryan Adams to the stage, along with Manic Street Preachers and Jess Glynne, adding to the amazing line-up that the Eden Project has managed to secure every year. More than just a music venue, with yummy food and an incredible atmosphere, the valley in which The Eden Project is nestled truly comes alive.

To purchase tickets and keep an eye on the ever-growing line-up, visit the website – The Eden Project is an hour’s drive from Bude.

Into the Wyldes / Leopallooza


The Wyldes is a festival, event and party venue hosting an array of exciting music and comedy events this year. The prime location near Bude has been home to Leopallooza Festival for the past 10 years, a critically acclaimed and multiple award-winning festival known as ‘The Greatest House Party…in a field’. The music event has drawn numerous international artists including Bastille, Seasick Steve, Crystal Fighters, Kodaline, Jamie Lawson, Izzy Bizu, James Vincent McMorrow and many more. This year the event will be taking place from the 27 – 29 July, and will be celebrating its eleventh year of live music and care-free fun.

The Wyldes, a 25 minute drive from Bude –

Boardmasters – 8 – 12 August

Boardmasters Festival, credit Alex Rawson

This summer welcomes Boardmasters back to Newquay, with some of the biggest names in music gracing the multiple stages throughout the festival, which sit atop Watergate Bay’s cliffs, boasting unspoilt views over the sea.

The festival also hosts multiple skating, surfing and BMX competitions, which are held at another venue, Fistral beach, and are completely free to attend. The festival is hugely popular for locals and visitors alike, and the headline acts get bigger and better every year. This years acts will include James Bay, the Kaiser Chiefs, Foxes, Example and plenty more.

8 – 12 August 2018 in Newquay, an hour’s drive from Bude –

Bude Jazz Festival – 29 August to 1 September

Centred in Bude and with every venue within walking distance from our hotel, the annual festival takes over the town for four whole days, bringing some talented jazz singers, bands and solo musicians together to celebrate everything jazz. This will be the 39th year that the festival has come to Bude, and the line-up is pretty impressive.

28 – 31 August 2018 –

Mackerel with feta, cucumber, apple and shallot salad recipe

Our Head Chef Joe Simmonds will make a special appearance at Padstow Christmas Festival, to demonstrate his fantastic culinary skills on stage this year, sharing the spotlight with Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw and Clare Smyth, along with plenty of other talented chefs.


2 mackerel fillets
30g feta cheese
Half an apple
Quarter of a cucumber
2 shallots
100ml white wine vinegar
100ml water
50g caster sugar
50ml cassis
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons wasabi paste
1 lime zest and juice
A small amount of cress or pea shoots to serve
Salt and pepper
A splash of cooking oil


Make a pickling liquor by heating the white wine vinegar, water, sugar, and cassis in a saucepan. Bring to the boil.

Take the pickling liquor off the heat. Slice the shallots into half cm rings and place in the liquor.

Next, season the mackerel (it’s best to do this five minutes before cooking). Add a splash of oil to a frying pan and place on a low heat to warm up.

Dice the apple neatly and place in a bowl. Squeeze lime juice from half the lime over the apple. Dice the feta and add to the bowl.

Peel the cucumber and dice (or, if you have a melon baller make 10 balls of cucumber). Add to the bowl and season with salt.

Place the mackerel skin down in the pan and hold down for ten seconds so it doesn’t curl.

While the mackerel is cooking, add the wasabi paste to the mayonnaise with a squeeze of lime juice.

Go back to the mackerel. In total, this should be cooked for 4-5 minutes on the skin side only, on a medium heat.

While the mackerel is finishing off, start assembling the ingredients on the plate with a swipe of the wasabi mayonnaise. Dot the apple cucumber and feta around plate, then take the shallot rings out of the liquor and lean a few of them against against the diced salad.

When the mackerel is 90% cooked, flip over, take off the heat and place on your salad. Garnish with lime zest, a pinch of pepper and cress or pea shoots.