from pop kids, to punk, there's a wealth of diversity at GuilFest on Saturday

GuilFest 2012 review

published: Tue 17th Jul 2012

Olly Murs

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th July 2012
Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey., England MAP
£115 adult weekend, or £130 with camping
daily capacity: 25000
last updated: Fri 3rd Jan 2014

Leafing through the programme on Saturday morning, I'm amazed at the diversity and lack of musical snobbery of the GuilFest line-up. From old punks to aficionados of classic soul to X Factor fans, literally every possible musical taste is catered for. A lot of festivals are going for the "something for everyone" angle these days, But GuilFest seems to have gone the extra mile and this proves to be one of its great strengths.

Musically, Saturday started for me with a storming set on the main stage by Dub/Punk/Folk/Ska/Garage Rock outfit The Validators. Their line-up includes Pablo Cook, formerly the percussionist in Joe Strummer's band The Mescaleros, and I couldn't help but feel that the great man himself would have approved of both their musical diversity and their energy.

Bjorn Again
With tongues firmly in cheeks, Abba tribute Bjorn Again, and the portly Take Fat both drew big main stage crowds and put smiles on many a face, but I was keener to hear some new music so took a stroll down to the second stage to catch ahab playing a fantastic, harmony laden set of country rock reminiscent of Sweetheart of the Rodeo era Byrds, but also owing a debt of gratitude to UK Alt-Country pioneers The Rockingbirds.

Cher Lloyd
The main stage line-up on Saturday seemed mostly geared towards the pop kids (and adults) with Olly Murs (who took a tumble on stage), and Cher Lloyd drawing massive crowd. But the highlight for me was when the legendary Jimmy Cliff took to the stage. You'd imagine a guy whose career has stretched over 50 years would be mellowing by now, but he takes to the stage with an energy and enthusiasm that would put many a 20 year old to shame. Kicking off with the ska classic 'You Can Get It If You Really Want', he then takes us on a trip through his formidable back catalogue interspersed with a few corkers from his latest album. Wonderful stuff.

Olly Murs
Speaking of energy, Goldblade are one of the wildest, most entertaining acts I've ever seen, And they're whipping up a storm down on the Vive Le Rock Stage. Like a cross between James Brown and Iggy Pop, Frontman John Robb stalks the stage like a psychotic preacher in brothel creepers on a mission to spread the punk rock gospel, while band members with names like Johnny Skullknuckles fire up a Glam-Punk stomp behind him. By the time they've finished their set only a fool could fail to believe in the power of Rock 'n' Roll.

All this energy has clearly rubbed off on the crowd who despite having spent the day wading through mud are determined to party on. And although his set isn't really my thing Olly Murs seems to be an inspired choice of headliner. With a top notch band, Cheeky chappie persona and a crowd pleasing set list, He sends mums and dads and kids alike off to their tents with smiles on their faces, Which at a family orientated fest like this is the whole point really.
review by: Rob Matheson

photos by: Rob Matheson

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th July 2012
Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey., England MAP
£115 adult weekend, or £130 with camping
daily capacity: 25000
last updated: Fri 3rd Jan 2014


latest on this festival

GuilFest
festival home page
last updated: Tue 18th Oct 2016
Guilfest 2004
festival details
last updated: Fri 1st Aug 2014