Guilfest: A hidden gem

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In the heart of Surrey, only half an hour outside London, lies a hidden gem of a weekend music festival that is, in comparison to the likes of Reading and Leeds, untapped.

Guilfest caters for those from all walks of life, from the main stage to rock and comedy tents, to an array of stalls, children's areas and a 150 foot long beer tent! From this array of attractions you can see why Guilfest was awarded Family Festival of the Year 2006.

Founded in 1992, acts such as Madness, Status Quo, Tinie Tempah, N-Dubz, The Magic Numbers and many others have graced Stoke Park in previous years. It is somewhat bewildering to think that Guilfest is still classed as a minor music festival, especially as it has also boosted the careers of some of the country's top talent, such as Newton Faulkner, Jamie T and Amy McDonald!

High quality music is heard across the entirety of the festival in its many forms from mainstream pop to soft acoustic and alternative rock, and this year was to be no different.

For the first time in many years, it was the Friday acts which were not to be missed: the early highlight for me was The Rifles, with their infectious indie sound.

However, it was Roger Daltrey (pictured above) blasting out some absolutely classics from The Who who stole the show on day one. The night was finished off in loud fashion by the award winning dubstep duo, Nero, who are playing at the 2011 Grad Ball!

Despite fears of seeing some possibly warn out pop artists, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of Steve Harley and the Cockney Rebel. "Super Saturday" as it is nicknamed, was rounded off in style by the quirky Noisettes, Razorlight and the returning N-Dubz. There was even a simultaneously weakening of the knees by a crowd full of girls screaming as Peter Andre made a cameo on the Good Time Guide Stage!

Sunday has been unfortunately weak over the last few years, could 2011 be any different? The cheesy performances from Chipmunk, James Blunt and Erasure suggested not, but on the other hand, the day was saved by outstanding performances by Gallows and DJ Fresh in the Rock and Dance tents respectively.

Guilfest 2011 seemed a major success, seeing it elevated to a medium sized festival and drawing in 55,000 people over three days!

Highlights for me included the amazing dance influence from Nero, DJ Fresh and Pendulum DJ sets, and the indie revival with The Rifles, Funeral for a Friend and Razorlight. A truly fantastic year and a festival to look out for in the future, whatever your musical taste!

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