James Blunt exclusive interview

GuilFest headliner talks to eFestivals

published: Fri 27th May 2011

around the festival site (02)

Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2011
Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey., England MAP
£110 adult weekend, or £120 with camping
last updated: Thu 14th Jul 2011

eFestivals had a chance to speak to James Blunt is in Adelaide when eFestivals phones him for a quick chat about his forthcoming GuilFest appearance. James Blunt will appear as headliner at this year's GuilFest appearing on the Main Stage on Sunday 17th July.

around the festival site (02)
I was surprised last time I visited the southern hemisphere, just how much your songs get airplay over there...
Yeah, you know, I get incredible support around the world. It always surprises me to go to a new place and find that kind of support. It's been really interesting down here, to be looked after, and have so much fun because of that.

Have you just finished a gig tonight?
I'm just about to do a gig. I'm on this Australian tour at the moment, for three weeks, and I have a gig in about an hour and a half.

Are you looking forward to headlining GuilFest?
Oh yes, I really am. Headlining's always a bit of a weird thing because there's some phenomenal bands there who probably should be at the top of the bill. But, as festivals go, it's a really nice one. It's the first festival I ever played. A long time ago, I think it was 2005, and so for me, it's really nice to be coming back there. It's just got a great vibe to it, and it's a really nice part of the world. I knew of it, because I used to live in Hampshire, and of course I was at Sandhurst which is just down the road, and it just have a really nice mix.

What are your memories of it, from last time you played there?
I remember it feeling like being in the countryside. If you're heading out west from London, it's the first part of the country where you hit proper countryside. I was lucky, when I was playing the sun was shining, and it was my first experience of playing outdoors. There's something very special about playing outdoors, nothing beats being out in the British countryside.

What stage were you on?
I can't remember actually, I wouldn't even know how to find it, it was a long time ago.

When you play there, will you be able to take the time to have a look around the festival?
I'm on a pretty tour, and I'm doing a show the day before, and another a day after. So, I'll only have that day. But I'll definitely come in and get a chance to get around the festival itself. Whenever I'm at festivals I try to have a quick look around, because it would be a shame to just turn up do my slot and disappear.

If I wasn't playing somewhere else, I would stay. I usually stay at festivals, and I usually camp out in a tent, and live the festival experience.

When was the last time you did 'the festival experience'?
It was the last Glastonbury, when I played the main stage there, and had two great nights at it. It was just such fun, a great down to earth fun experience.

Is there anyone on the bill that you'd like to go and see as well?
I think Erasure are playing and that will be great, I know the boys from Razorlight, and it would be fun to get the chance to say hello to them. Roger Daltry is also playing, and he's a really nice man.

Do you like playing festivals? How does it differ to playing a gig?
I love them. I think there probably the most fun you can have as a musician.

Do you find it more difficult, because the crowd haven't necessarily come to see you?
I think that's the fun of it really. It's an interesting mixed up audience, and that's the fun of it. Normally, people are there, and they want to be entertained. They're up for some fun, they've travelled some distance and made the effort, and for me I enjoy that.

Have you got any other UK festivals lined-up?
Well, I don't think they're what you'd call proper festivals, like Hampdon Court, it's called a festival, but it's a different kind of thing. I am doing the Cornbury festival. I'm on this tour and it's quite hard to know what I'm doing, unless I check my own website, or have a tour manager nearby me. But, I am doing loads and loads of European festivals, and I'll be doing a tour where I play every single day somewhere.

Do you find that exhausting?
No, I enjoy it. It's a thirteen month tour, I started in January and I finish in March 2012, and I've done over a hundred town and cities this year already, and I carry on until March 2012, I really enjoy that.

Does it become a bit of a blur, or are you able to remember it all?
It does, a little bit, that's perhaps why festivals are more a thing you remember, because of it being out in the open air, and you get more of a feel for where it is, rather than just being indoors.

Was GuilFest also the first festival you went to as a punter?
No, I don't think I've ever gone to a festival as a punter. I've only ever gone as a musician, but then having gone I then just go and hang out. I've played Glastonbury three times.

What's been your personal favourite festival appearance?
Glastonbury for me, playing on the Pyramid Stage was something I never thought would happen in my life. I've played it twice now, and I played the New Bands stage before that, and, yeah, it was just amazing. Having toured the world, I'd say there's nothing else like the English countryside.

As this interview is for a festival website, if you ran a stall at a festival what would you sell?
Ha ha ha. Yeah, it depends what the police presence would be around me. Probably something simple, like a fancy dress stall would be good. Something like Lost Vagueness in Glastonbury, which was a fun little area, and all the stalls around there were probably my favourites. There was some great little stalls around there where you can hand in your own clothes, and take a fancy dress outfit, and that was really fun.

Do you ever visit the eFestivals website?
Yes, many times. I often visit your website, I'm a regular, and think it's great.

Thanks very much. Lastly, there's a lot of new bands that get their first break at GuilFest, like you did. What advice would you offer to a band who are about to play their first festival?
I think the main thing is to just have fun. There's nothing more to think about, or worry about. It's a place where the audience will look after people, and the audience are there to have fun, and all they want is the people on stage to have fun too.

Thank you James, for your time, enjoy your gig tonight, your appearance at GuilFest, and your summer tour.
Thanks very much. Thanks for calling, cheerio, bye.

The award winning, family friendly, 3 day camping festival GuilFest takes place in Stoke Park, Guildford from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2011.

Unlike some other festivals, you can immediately feel that this festival with a capacity of 25,000 is being run to give everyone a great time, rather than to get rich quick!

Roger Daltry headlines Friday, Razorlight will headline on Saturday and James Blunt headlines on Sunday. Adam Ant And The Good The Mad And The Lovely Posse, Public Image Ltd. and Peter Andre have been announced as Good Time Guide Stage headliners. Nero and Pendulum (DJ Set) headline the Funky End, with Noisettes, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Saw Doctors, Erasure, N-Dubz, Gallows, Ziggy Marley, Modestep (DJ Set), Chipmunk, Steve Harley, Hugh Cornwell, The Rifles, The Blow Monkeys, 999, The Lurkers, Neville Staple, UK Subs, and more announced. With many more announcements still to be made. For the line-up details, stage and day splits as available please click here.

The line-up is always quality, so there's more enjoyment to be got from the bands than you might expect and there's also late night entertainment.

An adult weekend camping ticket is priced at £120, adult weekend tickets without camping are priced at £110, child (aged 12-15 years old) weekend with camping £70 and child weekend tickets without camping are priced at £60. Children aged under 12 have free entry with a ticket holding adult. A campervan ticket is priced at £60.

To buy tickets, click here.

There's live music over seven stages, comedy in the eFestivals Cosmic Comedy tent, The Man In The Moon Theatre Tent, Farmer Giles' barn dance, children's entertainment, street theatre, art and crafts, and delicious food from around the world. There will also be a late licensed 150 foot beer tent bar which means nobody has to wait very long for refreshment, cocktail bars, and lots of clean toilets throughout the site and camping areas.

The extensive Kidzone features fun, games, theatre and activities, with circus performances, face painting, and fun rides. On the Sunday it's over to the children for the annual Kids Parade, where the children get to show the rest of the festival what they have made over their weekend.

Facilities adjacent to Stoke Park include The Guildford Lido which is only 2 minutes walk and The Spectrum Leisure Centre, great for hot showers, a sauna or a swim. The historic town is itself only 10 minutes walk away and has shops, cafes restaurants, bars and pubs galore; Guildford even has its own castle!

eFestivals is again proud to be a sponsor of GuilFest in 2011, as part of our commitment to put 10% of our turnover back into festivals.
interview by: Scott Williams

Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2011
Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey., England MAP
£110 adult weekend, or £120 with camping
last updated: Thu 14th Jul 2011


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