Guilfest 2008: Rated!

United Kingdom United Kingdom | | 08 July 2008

Guilfest 2008, Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey. 4-6 July.

Overall - 8/10
There were doubts about the strength of the line-up before the festival, but after some terrific performances, mainly by Blondie and From The Jam, Guilfest has cemented its fine reputation as a portrayer of a superb eclectic range of music. Royworld, Seth Lakeman and Two Fingers Of Firewater all provided highlights over the weekend, proving that Guilfest really does cater for everybody. Despite rain on Sunday, Guilfest was, as always, a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Getting There And Back - 7/10
The car park was arguably bigger than the festival site itself, but for those wanted to go green there were regular buses from the centre of Guildford to the nearby leisure centre. It's only a 20-minute walk from the town centre to the festival site, hence why the majority of attendees came from the local area. Guildford also has two train stations including a mainline to London and Portsmouth, which makes it easy to get to from the South and beyond.

The Site - 8/10
Set in a beautiful public park, the site packed in seven stages, plus a comedy tent (which comes highly-recommended) as well as the famed Kid's Zone and this year's new addition – a David Beckham Soccer Academy. The main stage and the second stage were pitched very close to one another, which made hopping between acts easy. The onsite food was as diverse as the music, with such a wide and varied choice that most of your appetite is built up deciding what to eat. The recently added Farmer Giles Barn Dance offered a late night treat and the massive beer bar was as popular as ever.

Atmosphere - 7/10
The atmosphere only really livened up when the main acts took to the stage, otherwise most were happy to sit in their collapsible chairs and listen to the music, whilst their children played in the kid's area. Acts such as Les McKeowns' Bay City Rollers, From The Jam and Blondie got the crowd out of their chairs, but generally it was a very relaxed affair. However there were chances for a dance and a jump around with the Rocksound Cave showcasing some excellent rock talent over the weekend and the Funky End Stage acts mixed club music until the early hours.

Music:

Uppers

Royworld - 9/10
Royworld deserve high marks after their fantastic performance on the second stage. It's easy to see why they so much hype surrounding them at the moment, with tunes that continue to spin around your head hours after they've finished. It's just a shame they didn’t have longer on stage as they had practically no time for the introductions and the like.

Hoodoo Gurus – 8/10
Fresh from performing at Glastonbury, the Australian rockers graced the main stage crowd with an exuberant high-energy showing of their college-style rock. 'Miss Freelove' was the standout track showcasing exceptional guitar skills with guile, attitude and passion.

Blondie – 9/10
Blondie deserved the massive crowd they drew for their headline performance. Delivering a show-stopping show, the charismatic Debbie Harry showed others how to really work a festival crowd with energy and zeal.

From The Jam - 9/10
From The Jam may be missing original frontman Paul Weller, but the enigmatic replacement Russell Hastings stole the show as the trio thunder out the best The Jam ever had to offer. 'Going Underground' was a real highlight, but encore 'A Town Called Malice' was an absolute gem.

Seth Lakeman - 9/10
The sun-setter slot on Sunday night was ideal for Seth Lakeman, who provided the crowd with a show of real class. It's truly amazing how he managed to squeeze out his harmonic voice with a violin tucked underneath his chin, with the crowd are drawn in by his fervent fiddle speed.

Downers


Jim Diamond - 4/10
It's a shame to see a man who has achieved so much, receive such a poor reaction from the crowd. Only a handful of fans were stood at the front, while the remainder slouched in chairs and perused the Times crossword. Diamond battled on regardless but his attempt for a sing-a-long to 'Hi Ho Silver' was very much in vein.

Lisa Theunissen - 2/10
With a ear-piercingly loud falsetto, the South African's set was so uncomfortable at times that it was hard to appreciate her music.

Random events

Shihad's Microphone Dilemma
Jon Toogood, lead singer of the New Zealand heavy metal band Shihad decided to kick his microphone into the pit before realising there was still half the song left to play. A Steward sprinted his heart out to rescue the fallen microphone and did a great job of hoisting it up to the front man's level everytime he needed to scream another sentence of his song - brilliant.

By Greg Lewry

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MusicJunkie101
wrote on Friday 11 July :
Wholeheartedly agree, Guilfest 2008 was exceptional this year, firmly placing itself on the recommended list for next year full marks to Tony Scott and the team for providing a great value, friendly and well run Festi. However, I must say I would totally disagree with the downers - what is this a shot at writing for NME? Jim Diamond's performance was solid, really it was the time of day thing and people chilling in the sunshine while he played, but people I was with at the main stage and those around thoroughly enjoyed it. As for Lisa Theunissen what an incredible voice! Which gig were you at Greg, were you in a speaker cab? I for one certainly enjoyed her Saturday performance at the Surrey Ad stage as did many others and her acoustic set later on in the afternoon was inspired, she was one of the few performers to really engage with her audience, spending time with new fans after her sets, signing CDs, etc. Her music certainly stood out for me as a highlight to Guilfest '08, this is a lady with a bright future. I'm gobsmacked you didn't mention the legend that is Richie Havens! Dude the guy played Woodstock FFS! But no mention?!? For those reading, be jealous, he was very good and yes he played Dylan's All Along The Watchtower!


MusicJunkie101
wrote on Friday 11 July :
Wholeheartedly agree, Guilfest 2008 was exceptional this year, firmly placing itself on the recommended list for next year full marks to Tony Scott and the team for providing a great value, friendly and well run Festi. However, I must say I would totally disagree with the downers - what is this a shot at writing for NME? Jim Diamond's performance was solid, really it was the time of day thing and people chilling in the sunshine while he played, but people I was with at the main stage and those around thoroughly enjoyed it. As for Lisa Theunissen what an incredible voice! Which gig were you at Greg, were you in a speaker cab? I for one certainly enjoyed her Saturday performance at the Surrey Ad stage as did many others and her acoustic set later on in the afternoon was inspired, she was one of the few performers to really engage with her audience, spending time with new fans after her sets, signing CDs, etc. Her music certainly stood out for me as a highlight to Guilfest '08, this is a lady with a bright future. I'm gobsmacked you didn't mention the legend that is Richie Havens! Dude the guy played Woodstock FFS! But no mention?!? For those reading, be jealous, he was very good and yes he played Dylan's All Along The Watchtower!


MusicJunkie101
wrote on Friday 11 July :
Wholeheartedly agree, Guilfest 2008 was exceptional this year, firmly placing itself on the recommended list for next year full marks to Tony Scott and the team for providing a great value, friendly and well run Festi. However, I must say I would totally disagree with the downers - what is this a shot at writing for NME? Jim Diamond's performance was solid, really it was the time of day thing and people chilling in the sunshine while he played, but people I was with at the main stage and those around thoroughly enjoyed it. As for Lisa Theunissen what an incredible voice! Which gig were you at Greg, were you in a speaker cab? I for one certainly enjoyed her Saturday performance at the Surrey Ad stage as did many others and her acoustic set later on in the afternoon was inspired, she was one of the few performers to really engage with her audience, spending time with new fans after her sets, signing CDs, etc. Her music certainly stood out for me as a highlight to Guilfest '08, this is a lady with a bright future. I'm gobsmacked you didn't mention the legend that is Richie Havens! Dude the guy played Woodstock FFS! But no mention?!? For those reading, be jealous, he was very good and yes he played Dylan's All Along The Watchtower!


guildboy
wrote on Friday 18 July :
i am shocked that you felt lisa's voice was that of falsetto. i have been fortunate enough to see four of her gigs and have always been left spell-bound by her dynamic range of vocal ability and passion. i can only assume that you spent too much time near the speakers and the days music has left you with a case of tinnitus. can i suggest you visit her next gig and reassess your comments - i feel you will be pleasantly surprised about what talent she has to offer.


shabba69
wrote on Friday 18 July :
Royworld 9/10. I'm not to sure about that! Didn't really maintain my interest for too long! I would have said a 6.5/10 was more like it.


MissLucifer77
wrote on Friday 18 July :
Er... Seems you were all asleep during The Levellers (probably in the Efestivals Comedy Tent). The Levs were the best set of the weekend by a long way, apart from the sound problems during the first song. ****ing hilarious for a headline act to go on-stage without their bassist (anyone know where he was for the first half of the first song?!). Classic. Their duet with 3 Daft Monkeys at the end was pretty special too. God bless 'em.

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