Guildford 2001 Review – Sunday

The sun blesses the last day of this most excellent festival. As we enter the site, in contrast to the frantic activity of the past 2 days, the atmosphere is very much more relaxed and laid back. With Ed Hardcourt’s, hangover soothing melodies wafting over from the mainstage we decide to get a couple of beers and join the sunning slackers draped across the arena.

As we take a wander around the site we realise that it has come to resemble a country garden party awash with cool boxes, hampers, wine boxes and collapsible garden furniture, and just to complete this picture a herb stall is positioned centre back of the mainstage (what has it come to when the only herbs available at a festival are basil, dill and marjoram?!).

The Hamsters must come from somewhere in Essex where there is a border crossing betwixt Gerry Rafferty and ZZ Top. Never have there been so many naf Essex girls jokes told in such a short space of time under one tarpaulin.

Next up are the Blockheads with a medley of energetic ditties to please young and old alike. A jazzy version of ‘Summertime’ segues smoothly into the percussive rhapsody of ‘Reasons to be Cheerful (Part III)’, and I realise that the whole audience is grinning like idiots. Although most of the blockheads are probably pushing forty (from the wrong side…), they romp about on stage like a bunch of teenagers on tartrazine. ‘Abracadabra’ and the salsa beat of ‘One Love’ leave Norman a sweaty old boyÿSMB   €                Id    n, we head for the dance tent to check out Banco De Gaia. The tent is packed with happy sweaty people who seem to be thoroughly enjoying Toby Mark’s richly layered assortment of electronica – even the dancing pineapple (don’t ask – we didn’t) was quite taken with Mark’s surreal offerings. Definitely a little out of the ordinary, but well worth a listen, but then what else could you expect from the man who named his phenomenon after a Mexican poet who wrote a poem about an American president who was eaten by a giant chinchilla!


With Roland Gift about to come on to the Mainstage we reluctantly left as Banco De Gaia, were persuaded by an enthusiastic audience to return for an encore. Suited and booted, Roland announced that if we were wondering why he was quite so smartly dressed, it was because he was doing a funeral later – and the hushed crowd made it seem like he was already there. Most of the crowd, I’m sure, were drawn to the Mainstage only out of some morbid sense of curiosity. But once they heard Roland’s instantly recognisable voice then any misgivings lifted and the previously calm waters of the main arena began to ripple with something not a million miles from enthusiasm. Not looking a day older then he did during the early days of FYC’s, Roland quickly got some of the main hits, like ‘Johnny come home’ out of the way before moving on to pastures new. With his rich and beautiful voice soaring across the crowd and exuding serenity, Roland warmed the crowd to his songs, new and old alike.

Last up on the mainstage were Reef who had stepped in at the last minute in place of Catatonia, who had to pull out because of illness. The crowd went wild as Gary Stringer, grinning from ear to ear, walked on stage. The band seemed delighted at the chance to take a break from recording their sixth album and perform live. Bursting with energy and enthusiasm they offered up a selection of rabble-rousing rhythms of anthemic proportions like ‘Place your Hands’ (better known by many as ‘It’s Your Letters’) to ensure that the mainstage of Guildford 2001 ended on a high note.

To round off our own Guildford we made a rapid departure to Alladin’s Cave, to see Dead Men Walking – aka Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols), Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny), Pete Wylie (The Mighty Wah) and Mike Peters (The Alarm). What an awesome line up and what a stupendous set! A sort of ‘elder statesman of post punk hardcore anthems do drunk in public stylee acoustic set’, the highlight for me has to be the truly gritty and heartfelt rendition of ‘Westworld’.

Sadly we had to leave this before the end to chauffeur to the station probably the most contented festival-goer of the weekend. Henry the festival spaniel – with an access all areas pass, a make shift chew in the form of a Carlsberg bottle and his own pint of lager (well, mine actually, I was too slow, and he was too quick). He had a wonderful time and probably (nay, hopefully!) a stonking hangover in the making.

Guildford 2001 will be remembered by everyone who was there as a resounding success and I think that the only thing left to be said is a huge great thank you to Tony Scott for yet another wonderful party – just keep ’em coming Tony!