Guilfest 2005

by Isla MC

This festival had two sides to it. 1. The music. 2. The people. The music side of it was quite a positive experience. So let’s start with the people.

Every festival attracts its own particular type of person. Glastonbury is for the crusties, Roskilde the crazy alcoholic metal-heads, V the young advertising executives. Guilfest is the festival of the middle-aged IT consultant, his wife and kids. Located in Stoke Park, just outside of the centre of Guildford, its easy access makes it a prime destination for a day out with the family. And this is fine – I’m all for kids, I’m all for IT consultants (just as long as I don’t have be one) – but my god, some of the conversations I overheard this weekend were MINDNUMBINGLY BORING.

Seriously, where’s the soul? Where’s the spirit? Were these people born this way? Or have the years communicating solely with the inner workings of a computer hard drive simply drained all the life out of them, leaving them empty human shells partial to a bit of Daniel Bedingfield? To be fair, Guilfest did have a good sprinkling of interesting characters, as does every festival, but the majority of people were bloody dull. It took them the whole of Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band to start looking like they were alive, for goodness sake. And lots of them were very fat. And quite chavvy.

Having said all this, I did have a lovely time. The weekend was gorgeous – sun, blue skies and bloody roasting hot. The line-up was eclectic to say the least. I’ve never come across a festival that so persists in refusing to decide on a target audience. The Pogues, Thunder, Daniel Bedingfield, Lulu, Paul Weller, The Others, The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain (our personal favourites), Hayseed Dixie, Echo & The Bunnymen, Chas and Dave, Raging Speedhorn – see what we mean? Random… but kinda cool. Apart from the Bedingfield.

So who did we enjoy most? The Ukulele Orchestra were amazing, combining musical excellence and vocal ability, with a refined sense of humour. Among others they covered ‘Psycho Killer’ by Talking Heads, ‘Natural Woman’ By Aretha (sung by a bloke) and Ennio Morricone. Our favourite bit was when they introduced Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – “This is a song about many things, but mainly underarm deodorant”.

Hayseed Dixie were loads of fun as always, but were especially good this time because of the crazy eight-year old kid with a green face, who ran up and down the stage waving his arms throughout the WHOLE set. And of course, the crazy random dancing man in a pink tutu and fairy wand.

The Others were cool, and looked like they were really enjoying themselves, communicating with the crowd and smiling lots. Thunder were wicked. Give me a guitar solo and I’m happy. The Subways were full of youthful enthusiasm (read our interview in the INTERVIEWS section). The Proclaimers’ drummer wore a t-shirt that read ‘I’m Gigantic’. Hal’s harmonies were lovely, very summery and Beach Boys-esque (read our interview in the INTERIEWS section). Actually, it was all pretty good. Apart from the Bedingfield.

So, a lovely festival with a nice, chilled family vibe. But lots of dull people. And, on a final note, the names of the Loose Lips girls will soon be appearing in The Guinness Book Of Records as part of the largest number of people playing air guitar at one time. It was to ‘Sweet Child Of Mine’. Hurrah!

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