Magic Summer Live

Stoke Park, Guildford
July 13-14, 2013

by Bryony Bennett

Magic Summer Live – a sort of new incarnation of Guilfest – took place in Guildford’s Stoke Park, and was a small affair with only two stages. The line-up made up for the lack of variety in other activities, and the atmosphere was certainly family-friendly.

Soul II Soul kicked off Saturday with some 80’s hits, although a gentle sway from the audience was all that was possible (or recommended) in the 30 degree heat. After three ice creams, we were finally cooled down enough to enjoy Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, who performed a non-stop medley of funky music which pleased the crowd. One girl was having a bit too much fun, and provided a solid 20 minutes of entertaining staggering, off-beat air jabbing, and even threw in a fall face-first into the dry spiky grass. It couldn’t have been a soft landing, but she soldiered on and was spotted upright well into the evening – impressive.

Ocean Colour Scene, despite the chart toppers in their repertoire, sadly failed to whip the crowd into a Britpop frenzy, and definitely could have done with a sound check. Joss Stone filled 45 minutes with pleasant background music, although it was felt that perhaps she could have turned it down a bit so that we could enjoy a good chat. Joss did her best beauty queen speech between songs, enlightening us all with her hopes to ‘sew together all the continents so we all live together, and end all the fighting.’ Umm…

The headliner for Saturday night was Jamiroquai, and despite Jay Kay admitting he was ‘shattered’ half way through the performance, he certainly gave us all a good musical seeing to. Dressed as a kind of sporty Crocodile Dundee – cowboy hat coupled with green and white tracksuit – he leapt about the stage for well over his allotted set and had young and old bopping away into the night.

The heat didn’t falter the following day and many of the crowd were sporting various shades of burnt skin, revealing a sharp outline of their previous outfits. Kim Wilde was up first, although we only managed to catch a few notes of ‘Kids of America’ over the limited breeze as we arrived late at a leisurely pace into the park.

Level 42 stormed on stage with what appeared to be the bass turned up level 42 – not much else could be heard over the low drone. Having said that, those nearby appeared not to mind and many were merrily dancing away, reliving the days when ‘Lessons in Love’ was in the charts. Squeeze had a similar effect, creating a mass karaoke sing along to ‘Up the Junction’.

But the act everyone was waiting for was superstar Bryan Adams – and he didn’t disappoint. After a modest arrival on stage, he went straight into the classic songs that we all know and love, but had forgotten were by Bryan Adams. A very entertaining ‘nose cam’ attached to his microphone treated us to a close up of his well-manicured nostrils, and the comic effect wasn’t lost on Mr Adams who played up to it by inviting another guitarist to get in on the action. A new star was also born, plucked from obscurity straight into notoriety across Guildford, perhaps even Surrey! Joe, who works in the Guildford Camera Exchange, volunteered to duet with Bryan as Mel C on their single ‘When You’re Gone’ and he wasn’t half bad. Everyone particularly enjoyed the thrusting dance moves he performed within very close proximity to the guitarist’s backside, who either didn’t notice or didn’t care. I’m plumping for the latter.

All in all, Magic Summer Live was a pleasant outdoor music event – but whether it could be classed as a ‘festival’ is questionable. One thing’s for sure – the selection of food stalls was excellent, and I’m sure we all went home with a little extra weight to go with our burnt, happy faces.

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