Chic bring a weekend of Good Times at GuilFest to a climax on Sunday

GuilFest 2012 review

published: Tue 17th Jul 2012

Chic featuring Nile Rodgers

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

Elvis and Friends
Just when we thought it wouldn't happen, the sun is out! Guilfest was having a party regardless, but the fact that today we can do it without waterproofs gives everyone a boost. After a bit of brekkie I head down to the main stage where Elvis and Friends (the 'friends' being Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis doppelgangers) are having a spirited run through some of the best songs ever written, and making a damn fine job of it too.

The still twinkly eyed Alvin Stardust follows playing a set of crowd pleasing covers interspersed with hits like 'Pretend' and of course 'My Coo Ca Choo'. More cheese than a lorry load of wotsits admittedly, but he's having a whale of a time and so are the crowd.

As befits the family friendly vibe of Guilfest the kids area is top notch, with Face Painting, Clowns Fire Shows, Crazy Bikes, and story sessions among the many activities laid on in order to captivate the young and the young at heart.

Macavitys Cat
I take a walk down to the Acoustic Stage, where the mighty Macavity's Cat are roaring through a mixture of skifflebilly originals and inspired cover versions to a packed house. I used to see them regularly at their infamous Sunday lunchtime sessions at The Mean Fiddler in Harlesden 20 years ago, and they've lost none of their charm.

Candi Staton might be best known for her disco classics, but aficionados of southern soul will know that she recorded some of the genres finest moments at Alabama's legendary Muscle Shoals studio during the 60s and 70s.

Candi Staton
Happily for me, her set draws heavily from this period and it's the kind of stuff that simultaneously breaks your heart and makes you glad to be alive. Her version of 'In The Ghetto' is every bit as good as Elvis Presley's better known take and that's no mean feat. For me her set is the highlight of the weekend. What a woman.

Down at the Vive Le Rock Stage, Stone Foundation play a blistering, brass heavy set which has the whole tent dancing. They're joined midway through by original Northern Soul legend Nolan Porter and provide yet another standout moment.

Chic featuring Nile Rodgers
Heading back to the main stage another legend has the crowd in the palm of his hand. Nile Rogers and Chic are playing through a set which takes in hits like 'Le Freak' and the magnificent 'Good Times' as well as showcasing his work as producer/co–writer of hits for Sister Sledge, David Bowie and Madonna. Every tune is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, and tonight's headliner Bryan Ferry has a tough act to follow. Sadly he doesn't quite pull it off. Despite having a back catalogue full of classic songs and luminaries such as the great Johnny Marr playing in his band, His set is a little too heavy on muso indulgence for many and a large portion of the crowd head elsewhere. I can't help feeling that Chic would have made the better headline act.

Summoning up a final bit of energy, I head for the second stage to catch the last bit of headliners Ash who are thrilling the crowd with their high octane punk flavoured pop songs. Tim Wheeler and co put their hearts into their set and the audience return their energy. A fine end to an absolutely cracking weekend. With a mind bogglingly eclectic line-up, loads for families to do and a laid back, unpretentious vibe, Guilfest have got it right. No wonder its such a well loved part of the festival calendar.

Bryan Ferry
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


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