The Met Office predicted biblical rain for the Festival, drenched listening in a sea of mud. I brought along my sailing ‘foulies, just in case, but the storms never materialized and the food and bands could not have been better for GuilFest: the Guilford Music Festival 2014.
I’d never actually attended a UK out-in-the-fields art and music festival, and this was a good place to start: 9 stages, lots of musical styles (but less stylistic flair among the attendees), and a wide age group mingling in a comfortable retro atmosphere. The w.wezen planned everything, looking forward to seeing the Irish group the Fureys, while I wanted time with Roni Size (electronic and jazz). Kool and the Gang were scheduled headliners, and it was fun seeing the Buzzcocks (if only because I loved the eponymous BBC2 quiz show).
One patron mis-identified me as ex-Boomtown Rat, Sir Bob Geldof – I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or appalled (I also was hoping not to have to sign anything, as I couldn’t spell ‘Geldof’ without the wezen’s help).
Jedward, twins John and Edward Grimes discovered on X Factor in 2009, sang (energetically, off key) an hour’s set, including their Eurovision 2011 and 2012 hits. Their 12-year old followers sat on their fathers shoulders, waving and singing along.
The sound systems were excellent considering the outdoor setting (although the lighting was completely random and unrelated to anything happening on stage). The burgers and sliced smoked beef sandwiches were very good and the Pimms flowed freely: my only suggestions are that a little trash collection would improve the seating, and the student security need a bit more HR training along with their shirts and walkie-talkies.
And the people-watching was marvelous…the whole event was a lot of fun. (early) start to (late) finish.
In the end, I forsook the traditional GuilFest shirt for something a bit more of a fit with the Lilac Room. ‘And hoped that the house has a sense of humor (they all did).