Guilfest rocks once again!

Scenes at Guilfest 2003 by Sara Bowrey
Scenes at Guilfest 2003 by Sara Bowrey

The twelfth Guildford festival rocked last weekend, with 45,000 people enjoying some great music and beautiful weather over the three days - it was plain and simply the perfect Glastonbury come-down!

[r-zone1]The festival was supported by Radio 2 with many of their DJ’s presenting the acts on stage and broadcasting live from the event. The music on all four stages was appreciated by young and old alike and this year’s fashion accessory had to be a child on one’s shoulders! Guilfest has to be the most child-friendly festival in the UK.

Friday was a day of theatrical flamboyance, headlined by Alice Cooper, and also featuring upstarts The Darkness (replete with leopard-skin catsuit), the god of hellfire himself Arthur Brown, nutter Arthur Lee and samba/ salsa/ jazz/ hip-hop / worldbeat masters Ozomatli.

[l-zone2]Saturday was definitely a feast of fun for the thirty somethings, kicking off with The Vessels, before John Power (formerly of Cast and The La’s) made an enjoyable re-appearance after several years in the wilderness. The Undertones and The Stranglers went down like a (good) school reunion – albeit with some new frontmen, whilst Madness topped off the lot with typical style and finesse.

[r-zone3]The sun was out in force on Sunday, which was mostly one for the kids. The Androids drew a sizeable crowd, with their recent hit ‘Do it with Madonna’ prompting a mass singalong, before Daniel Beddingfield pulled out all the stops in his second gig of the day (the first being a little thing called ‘Party in the Park’). These ‘stops’ included leaping into the crowd and sprinting several circuits around the arena (whilst singing) and ‘monkey climbing’ across the face of the stage via the lighting rig! What that man lacks in musical credibility, he more than makes up for in effort.


[l-zone5]Tom McCrae was filler music, and gave us a great opportunity to check out the Comedy Tent, before The Mavericks delivered some fine Country rock. Then, Atomic Kitten headlined (they had also performed at Party in the Park earlier). What they lacked in songs and performance energy… let’s just say they looked lovely.

[r-zone4]Nothing like as lovely as our friends Drunk in Public (aka The Levellers unplugged), though, with their immacuately sculpted facial hair, glamorous attire and paunches to die for. Probably why they drew a bigger crowd than ‘The Kitten’, over on the second stage. Their songs aren’t that bad, either, and frontman Mark Chadwick certainly impressed all with his one-man-band set up (singing, strumming, smoking and playing a drum with each foot simultaneously).

Even The Dance Tent raved with highlights in the form of Bez and the Scratch Perverts.  When not listening to the music people soaked up the sunshine, enjoyed the market and a variety of foods from around the world. All children amused themselves as always in the kidzone which is a big feature of the festival and The Fezheads led the Sunday procession of dragons, stilt-walkers, mermaids etc.etc.   Festival organiser Tony Scott said he would like to thank everyone who worked at the event ensuring that it ran smoothly and Guildford Borough Council for granting the license.

Guilfest will be back again in 2004 on 2nd, 3rd and 4th July. See you there!

Check out the Guilfest 2003 Gallery!