It was the highlight of the summer so far for Essentially Pop when we headed down to Guildford, Surrey to Guilfest.
Although the forecast had been for heavy downpours in the early afternoon (and travelling to Guildford it certainly looked like it was going to be a damp day), it turned out to be a scorcher, so, after a trip around the park, we stuck mainly to the second stage.
First act of the day we saw was the Rock Choir, followed in a complete change of direction by local band, Weyward Chile, who got the crowd pumped with their rock/blues sound.
Weyward Chile list their influences as Led Zepplin, Black Crowes, ACDC, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Healey, Aerosmith, Guns nRoses, Chuck Berry – and all this was certainly in evidence in their set!
Following Weyward Chile was Portsmouth band, Bemis, with their brand of acoustic rock. Their Facebook page lists their interests as “biscuits”, but that really downplays quite a lot just how talented this act is. As their bio says:
“Gareth Howells is a singer songwriter and founding member of the band, who writes, plays acoustic guitar and sings in Bemis.
Mark Finn is a versatile lead guitarist with many decades of experience in various different bands.
Dan Ogus is a walking encyclopedia of rock and a great singer/guitarist who is providing harmonies and moments of guitar distraction through the gigs.
Mike Rogers is a multi-instrumentalist who joined the band a couple of years ago but had to leave when he moved away from Southern England for a while. He returned to Portsmouth, and returned to Bemis – he plays guitar, bass, piano, harmonica and drums….and sings.
Nathan Shervill has been drumming almost all of his life and it shows in his playing. Together these 5 people create Bemis.”
Street Vibes Dance School, like the Rock Choir are Guilfest regulars, and have dancers aged from 4 upwards. Based in Woking, and teaching all types of urban dance, street, hip hop, krump, commerical, lyrical and breaking, the group provided a good example of what their students can do.
The group would have sweltered in the summer heat, but like the performers that they are, they soldiered on, smiling.
The crowd filled out, with people coming from all over, with the news that the highlight of the Saturday afternoon, Jedward, was about to arrive. Truth be known, we at Essentially Pop had been looking forward to this all week, and we weren’t disappointed. The twins came on stage ahead of their advertised 2.45 start, and gave nearly an hour of non-stop music, starting with the bouncy Happens in the Dark, leading into their self-penned and produced, Free Spirit. The crowd was a good mix, with Jedward fans flying in from as far as Germany and Finland. There were a good crowd from Ireland as well, with the UK making up the remainder. The age range of the audience seemed to be from toddlers upwards, with the vast majority somewhere in the 20-30 age group.
John and Edward surprised many by coming on, not with sparkly outfits and sky-high quiffs, but sharp suits and styled down hair, giving the UK a taste of the mature, grown up Jedward. It’s hard to believe the Dublin twins will be turning 23 in under 3 months!
The pair brought out a Gibson guitar and sat down to perform two acoustic covers, Little Things, from One Direction, written by the twins’ mate Ed Sheeran, and the classic, Hey There Delilah, originally sung by The Plain White Tees.
Edward later said in an interview how they watched people move over from the main stage to the second stage to watch their performance, and as this photo by James Chapple shows, there were a lot of people there!
John and Edward rounded off their set with their cover of Blink 182’s All the Small Things – a total of 11 songs in all. They were supposed to finish at 3.15 but brought it to a close at 3.30 – much to the joy of the entire audience, who had been abuzz the entire time. We’ve had it on here before, but check out Jedward’s new song, Free Spirit:
Jedward have announced two Irish concert dates so far to promote their new album, which is due out later this year. Tickets are available from this Friday for their Olympia Theatre Dublin date on 24 October. Ticket details for their date on 27 October, at the Royal Theatre, Castlebar, have not yet been released. WATCH THIS SPACE!
Continuing the Irish theme, Folk band The Fureys had the crowd transfixed as they sang all their classics, including their cover of Gerry Rafferty’s “Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway”.
If you’ve never caught The Fureys live, you’ve certainly missed something. Their act is one for all the family, lots of jokes and warmth and fun. They were selling CDs at the show, which are also available to purchase from their website.
After a break for lunch and several bottles of water (it was ridiculously hot…) we caught the set of Brighton Garage rockers, “The Fuses”.
According to their Facebook page, The Fuses have only been gigging for the past four months, but you wouldn’t know it from the performance they gave. Lead singer Danny Kite reminded us a lot of Liam and Noel Gallagher (yes, all rolled up into one), and the whole band certainly gave it their all on stage. Find The Fuses online on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Guilfest, from what we saw of it, is worthy of its title of Best Family Festival. Will we be back again? You bet your life!