Gig review: GUILFEST – 19-20 July 2014

Saturday saw the weather again being kind to Guilfest and a bigger crowd too. Arrived to The Farm doing their hit ‘All Together Now’ on the main stage and they seemed to have gone down well with the crowd.

Next up the dance act Street 13 who did an impressive five minute routine and then off the second stage to see Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer on the second stage – please see separate review here.

Space had a hard act to follow and a couple of songs were enough for me as I was keen to check out the Urban Voodoo Machine having reviewed one of their albums. They went down well in the Vive Le Rock tent although they were beset by sound gremlins. Good live band with an energetic sound and stage presence.

Over on the main stage Kool and the Gang were having the audience eating out of the palm of their hands. They had musical class to spare and their funk/soul sound turned the main arena into a disco arena.

They played the classics including ‘Joanna’, ‘Let’s Go Dancing’ and a storming ‘Jungle Boogie’, popularised by being used in ‘Pulp Fiction’.  Perfect Saturday night headliner for the main stage.

For those older punk rockers and youngsters reared on bands like Blink 182 and Green Day, The Buzzcocks were headlining the Vive Le Rock stage in a packed tent. They took to the stage twenty minutes late, I think due to the sound issues as they had a few issues during the course of their set.

Steve Diggle and Pete Shelley are the main focus of the band, with Shelley’s vocals still spot on as they romped through an energetic set that included ‘Oh S***’, ‘Boredom’ and of course their anthem ‘Ever Fallen In Love’.

Early start on Sunday as I took my two kids along and my son aged six was taken by the Rock Choir as they did a series of songs from Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon and Queen’s ‘Somebody To Love’, a song made for a big choir.

Another dance act, Street Vibes, followed with a five minute routine that was enjoyable although these sorts of acts are becoming ten a penny with ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. Still good experience for the dancers involved.

Over on the second stage the United Stoats of America were joined by a posse of Smurfs, best not to ask why I think… The Wonderyears were back too at Guilfest, being the band that featured a group of rockin’ pensioners who made a decent fist of Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’, although one lady on stage was getting all enthusiastic on Suzi Quatro’s ‘Devil Gate Drive’ and drowning out everyone else in the process.

Back on the main stage Shane Richie & the Prelude were performing a set of mainly rock covers that went down well on a sunny mid-afternoon slot. My son was amazed the man singing did the voice of one of the characters in the excellent ‘Flushed Away’ movie, he’s not heard of ‘Eastenders’ luckily :) They did a good version of the only decent Osmonds song ‘Crazy Horses’.

Blobbie Williams is another good festival act and although he doesn’t sound that much like Robbie Williams, he’s the same ball of energy and knows how to work a crowd. He must have some stage aura as one fan removed her prosthetic leg in honour of him!

The Kids Zone was road tested by my son who declared it great fun and we all enjoyed the acrobatic dancers and the talented youngsters on the hoola hoops and silks in the mini-big top circus. With a craft tent, fun fair rides and face painting it gives a chance for the kids to have fun away from the music.

Headed home as it’s still a school night for us despite some schools being off for the summer holidays. Great to have Guilfest back and hopefully it has been a success to have it back as a permanent fixture again on the summer festivals calendar. Certainly better organised than 2012 and the great weather certainly helped too.

Review by Jason Ritchie

Friday 18 July review

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