GuilFest offers a musical line-up for all the family

GuilFest 2011 review

By Scott Williams | Published: Wed 20th Jul 2011

GuilFest 2011 - Wretch 32 (crowd)
Photo credit: Sarah Thomas

GuilFest 2011

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

If you want to know which family festival will offer music for both you and the kids, and the grandparents, then look no further than GuilFest, the festival where the music line-up caters for all.

around the festival site
Despite the weather taking a turn for the worst after the first day, the festival presents a great weekend, delivering a selection of music that caters for everyone, and offering a rich choice for those who have a diverse taste in music. The varied line-up doesn't just appeal to audiences on the main two stages but also sees decent crowds gather at all the other stages, around a dozen in total.

Most of the weather happened each morning, meaning that I missed the first few acts on stage, waiting until early afternoon before wandering into the arena. We were camping and having swapped tickets for wristbands, getting in and out of the arena was easy. Requiring us to show our wristbands each time. However on the end of the first night, and again the next day after Wretch 32 getting back into the campsite was a major problem with long queues and stewards only letting one person through at a time, by Sunday they had expanded it to two lanes of access. This year there was only one campsite with campervans and tipis, rather than the two either side of the site. The first night was slighted blighted by loud thumping soundsystems playing turgid beats in the single campsite meaning I had to use ear plugs. The loud noise, and cover of darkness also led to a rash of tent thefts in the night, despite the large numbers of wandering campsite marshals.

Anti-Nowhere League
The easily traversable site and good drainage meant I could easily navigate from stage to stage and using the programme cherry pick the acts I wanted to see each day. This meant as the line-ups changed extensively on each stage, by moving about I was able to sample more of the kind of music or entertainment I liked. GuilFest also offered multiple themed stages, offering more on-site entertainment than ever before I reckon. My favourite new addition the The Viva Rock Stage was always crowded once the acts fired up, and there was a high proportion of aging punks reveling in the bill of legendary acts and oddities on offer from Department S doing 'Is Vic There?', , The Lambrettas' 'Poison Ivy', Anti-Nowhere League's 'So What', and 'I Hate People', to the culinary delights of Levi Roots, and Lloyd Grossman in The New Forbidden, and the energy of New Town Kings, DC Fontana, and Sex Pistols Experience.

Vintage Trouble
Talking of which we had the real thing in Public Image Ltd. (PiL) on the Good Time Guide Stage. This stage too offered a wealth of music that attracted me from old timers The Farm, and Hugh Cornwell, to new acts Alice Gold, and the amazing Vintage Trouble. Many of the main stage's acts seemed to me to appeal to those younger than me, and attracted a decent sized audience each day.

The other tented stages all saw me wander in, sometimes out of the rain, and catch a glimpse of something interesting. There was also the eFestivals comedy tent and I think it's really time it was open more through the evening instead of closing from 7pm until 11pm. As it attracted the crowds and they were great in there, creating a good vibe in the area, but it was a shame when in the early evening it was closed until the late night slot.

There was also a funky little tent (no idea what it's called - it's not on the map) between the Comedy and the Acoustic tents that had got a bit of the old Guilfin Lounge vibe about it, and always got the little gathering around it dancing.

There was also a wealth of options for late night revellers after the curfew from silent discos, to barn dances, comedy, and more. It seems GuilFest has options for everyone to ensure we all have a good time regardless of age or music tastes.

Wretch 32 (crowd)
review by: Scott Williams

photos by: Karen Williams / Sarah Thomas

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