Three-day live music festival rocks on to 30,000 crowd in Stoke Park
Early indications show Guilfest 2002 will be the most successful show in the event’s 11-year history with crime at an all time low.
And organisers are making tentative suggestions of a minor financial success in the wake of last year’s catastrophic loss.
Event organiser Tony Scott said: “It’s difficult to tell but at the moment it looks like we’re going to break even.”
Crowds were enthralled by this year’s headline acts including Jools Holland, the Fun Lovin’ Criminals and The Pretenders.
Friday night kicked off on the main stage with Lonnie Donegan and was followed by Jools Holland, accompanied by the soulful Sam Brown and the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. Crowds were admittedly thin, but those present still created a festival feeling.
Despite a quiet start, Saturday saw the crowds pack in as people of all ages enjoyed the quirky humour of Rolf Harris and his wobble board, the political ramblings of Billy Bragg and the dramatic melodies of American alternative outfit Mercury Rev.
The main arena was later filled to capacity as headliners the Fun Lovin’ Criminals entertained in their own unique style.
Sunday saw a more relaxed atmosphere with former Squeeze frontman Glen Tilbrook, The Stranglers and The Pretenders – complete with string quartet.
But the festival was not just a success in terms of household names. A host of local performers and bands made the most of their time on the Unsung Heroes Stage.
Mr Scott added: “All the performers love playing Guildford because of the huge variety of people.
“The only problem we encountered was losing a generator for over an hour on Sunday, but there isn’t much you can do about things like that.”
A group of local activists also managed to get in on the act with a performance of We are the Voice inspired by the success of the GAIN campaign and written by Dr Niamh Clune from Jacobs Well.
The song, which will also be performed at this year’s world summit, was given its Guildford debut on the main stage on Sunday afternoon when Dr Clune was joined by her daughter Aleisha, children from Burpham Primary School, and five singers from Guildford’s Academy of Contemporary Music.
Chiara Guardascione, a former student and current part time teacher at the ACM was delighted to have taken part in the performance.
She said: “It was brilliant. It wasn’t as busy as I expected it to be but the whole thing had a really good vibe. All five of us just smiled our way through it because it’s such a good song.”
An extended comedy tent provided some of the more surreal moments of the weekend with a joke about the Spiderman movie becoming an audience member’s mission to defend the “spider nation”.
Mr Scott added that the general consensus of opinion from both performers and visitors was that “Guildford is a great place to play”