By Cristina Aragon
Guilfest this year had great weather and atmosphere to match. The overall experience was very good, with plenty of activities for all – classic bands, comedians and booze for the grown ups as well as new bands, arts and crafts and games for the kids. An added bonus was the availability of very varied food that seemed unusual for festivals. Churros and Tagine stalls mixed with the traditional burgers and hotdogs carts.
On Saturday afternoon we were welcomed by the reggae tunes of Ali Campbell’s UB40 that had everyone dancing with classics like ‘Red Wine’ and ‘Can’t help falling in love’. Two big thumbs up to them for their excellent performance that the years have only improved.
Unfortunately we can’t say the same for ‘The Human League’. Their singing is definitely not what it used to be. Perhaps bad monitoring was to blame, but I wonder what can be blamed for the bad backing singers’ dancing…
The younger generations enjoyed the energetic performance of N-Dubz, however, they do have a lot to learn from the older, more experienced bands. Their performance didn’t feel as confident and as easy after UB40.
Our great discovery of the festival was ‘Wobbly Squadron’. A great ensemble from Guilford/Horsham of drums, percussion, guitar, bass and various wind instruments.
Interesting and engaging, Wobbly Squadron don’t have a singer. They have great instrumental tunes that are both catchy and dancy. Worth checking out on myspace – www.myspace.com/wobblysquadron
Another great act was Parma International with their dub sounds. They bring back 60’s soul and 70’s reggae to the 21st century. It’s definitely one to keep an eye on in the future.
The cherry on top was ‘Status Quo’ that, as expected, rocked. They are fantastic musicians, performers and entertainers. There is definitely a lot of candy left in that piñata!
Guilfest is one to check out again next year. Great festival atmosphere, not too bad loos with the added bonus of being family friendly – a match made in heaven!
By Nwebo Niermann
My Kid asked me if this was Woodstock! I guess a reaction to the colourful environment that welcomed us, and one movie too many. Guilfest was not exactly hippie although it had a nostalgic feel to it – It was a hip family fest. A relaxed and not overcrowded atmosphere where families as well as outright fans could enjoy their while.
There was lots and lots to do and see and a bountiful variety of foods to eat spreading across many continents which that was great. The price was right and the vibe was right. One had to choose carefully though, with what one wanted to see or do and so there was quite a bit of compromising. If one did do and see everything it would have been a fest from hell and a 3 month much needed holiday thereafter. Yes there was soooo much to see and do!!
Walking around, one could hear oozing out of the tents fine poetry, folk songs, chants, hip hop , rock and dance music and of course laughter and more. One was ever often tempted to explore the exciting sound collage.
The highlights of the fest were of course old favourites like UB40, Status Quo, 10CC , Level 42 and the Human League among others. Unfortunately not all favourites were at the standard they were 20 years ago. This was a bit disappointing but some were great!! The crowd seemed to enjoy every moment though. People were friendly and at the end there was a sense of familiarity amongst visitors all ending with warm goodbyes.
Guilfest on the whole is a fest that one could go to year to year. It is some camping fun, loads of music, colourful and somewhat crazy stalls and an ace kids zone that makes it a cool family fest and outing.