It was great to see Guilfest back in 2014, the crowd and performers seemed to be so ready for it, I had never attended but had heard how much fun the Festival was so I was looking forward to be there. As soon as I arrived I felt welcomed and everything was running smoothly and organised. I got my photo pass and knew it would be a special three days running around with my camera photographing great bands.
The weather was like we were in Greece or Spain…blue skies and the sun kept shining for almost the whole weekend The people were so friendly and happy, everyone seemed to be having a fantastic time…I understand why, in the past, it has been voted the best small Family Festival, it certainly felt like a perfect community celebration with people of all ages and background gathering together to enjoy a variety of music and activities. The people of Surrey seem to like Guilfest with over 45,000 coming through the gates over the weekend.
There were so many stages with a mix of rock, punk and main stream music for everyone around Stoke Park, not only music but a variety of acts, and a extensive choice of eating stalls and shopping for fun stuff as well. On Friday the main stage was set to keep the festival goers entertained bringing The Hoosiers, Doors Alive, Fun Lovin’ Criminals but undoubtedly headliner The Boom Town Rats made the biggest impression with so much energy and Sir Bob Geldorf was a true legend on stage. Finishing the night I went see Sham 69 and they really made it a special occasion in the hot sweaty tent , it felt like the place was on fire.
Saturday was another hot day and it was by far the the busiest one, the field started packing up early with people dressed up, dancing around, drinking socializing, perfect to see the older generation and the kids having a good time. The main stage there was a fantastic line up, so varied and full of great performers starting with Loyd Grosman with his band The New Forbidden , what a surprise for me, all I knew was about his recipes and pasta jars, but he rocked hard with a guitar as well. The top act of the night Kool And The Gang didn’t disappoint and had enough hits to get people partying definitely a Celebration.
The second stage the great attraction was Jedward with a very enthusiastic crowd and how much fun the young men were. I never thought I’d ever see them live and it was quite special experiencing the moment with their fans. The headliner was a heavily pregnant Sam Bailey (X factor winner) , a very family friendly end of the night.
The Big Cheese stage features newer bands with a hard rock feel and what a grand line up as well. I didn’t manage to catch many bands but Black Futures were on my list and I would recommend you get over to see those guys, great show. On the Vive Le Rock stage my favourite act was The Buzzcocks, truly legends and fantastic to be there.
Sunday started a bit on the cool side but not for long. Starting was Katrina (Ex and the Waves) , Shane Richie and his band The Prelude were such a revelation, for me anyway…he promised the crowd if they were good he would tell some Eastenders secrets. And the fun continued with Blobbie Williams, Kingsland Road, Norman Jay who got the festival goers on their feet with so many top tunes. The Sugar Hill Gang following on from where Candi Staton and Chic left off a few years ago getting the whole festival on their feet for feast of righteous rap.
Other great acts on that day were Ward Thomas, a British country music duo and The Enemy a feisty indie rock 3 piece from Coventry. The night ended with the Human League taking charge of the main stage playing so many great songs from the past…for me it was perfect. The smaller tents had so much to offer too, two of my favourite bands playing there, you can never fail to feel alive watching Feed The Rhino and Gallows.
In all it was a perfect weekend a truly special festival with so much to offer. Director of GuilFest, Tony Scott was delighted by this year’s event, saying “We’re so pleased that it happened, I have to say a huge thanks to all those who came, but also to all those who petitioned for us back in October to bring the festival back. There were lots of moments where we thought this wasn’t going to happen at all – so it really is truly amazing that it has turned out to be the best one we’ve ever put on! We really can’t wait for next year!!”
Solange Moreira-Yeoell was at Guilfest along with Simon Jay Price. A weekend festival in Guildford 16-19th July 2014.