The oldest rockers in town

Tommy Banner from The Wurzels and his accordian.

Guilfest 2012 … 21st birthday of the festival and oh what fun we had :).

We were unable to go Friday and Saturday but yesterday’s line-up looked great anyway and the rain had stopped!

Stoke Park in Guildford, where the event is held, was still a quagmire … there is absolutely no way they are going to be able to get it cleaned up before the Olympic torch relay goes through the town on Friday.

But, hey, what’s a bit of mud between friends?

Alvin Stardust.

Suitably kitted out with walking boots (I don’t possess a pair of wellies) we trudged through the mud to get as close to the front for ageing rocker Alvin Stardust.

Now the man previously known as Shane Fenton and famous for such songs as My Coo Ca Choo, turns 70 later this year but graced the main stage with a load of energy.

A couple of years ago he only made second stage and Man reckons his elevation to main stage this year is thanks to his (very small) Twitter campaign (delusional Man lol).

Whatever did it, he was great fun.

I absolutely love the eclectic line up at Guilfest. Tony Scott, who has organised the event since the beginning, is roughly my age and so the line up always features a good few blasts from the past as well as the up and coming bands and artists.

John Morgan, the oldest drummer in town.

I like the blasts from the past best.

Like this lot.

Ever heard of The Wurzels? They are an irreverent West Country band famous for such songs as I’ve Got a Brand New Combine Harvester and I am a Cider Drinker.

The drummer is 71 and they have to have a combined age of a couple of hundred … but they can get a crowd singing Blackbird I’ll ‘Ave He.

Candi Staton

And their version of the Kaiser Chiefs’ Ruby, Ruby, Ruby (ooooo arrrrr, ooooo arrrr, ooooo arrrrr) has to be heard to be believed. The guy pictured at the top stripped off his shirt and then mooned the audience (he kept his thong on though lol). Very entertaining stuff.

American singer Candi Staton is even older. She turned 72 this year. She could still put on a show but, to be honest, she wasn’t nearly as entertaining as The Wurzels or a new musical discovery for me, a guy called Mr B, The Gentleman Rhymer.


Mr B the gentleman rhymer.

Now, if you are a true rapper you probably won’t like this much but for everyone else, hearing the articulate Surrey-bred Mr B beautifully enunciate the (slightly bastardised) words of an Eminem song in lovely Queen’s English is absolutely hilarious.

The lyrics to his own ditties include stuff like this … taken from the heartfelt song Let Me Smoke My Pipe.

Well I’m the Gentleman Rhymer named Mr.B
I like to smoke my pipe with a cup of tea
Lapsang Suchong and devilled kidneys
Why would anybody want to stop me?
I’m a man of taste, a man of finesse
But I must get something off my chest
I’ll abide by the laws of your watering holes
But I won’t stand in the rain with a pack of ruddy proles

Check out his website or his YouTube videos. Talk about quirky (and we all know I am a big fan of quirky).

Chic were amazing.

Stealing the show for me was Chic.

Now this really is a throwback to my school disco days but they looked and sounded amazing and I had absolutely no idea that Nile Rodgers had written such an amazing collection of music.

Upside Down (Diana Ross), We Are Family (Sister Sledge), Let’s Dance (David Bowie), Notorious (Duran Duran).

Nile Rodgers … amazing set.

When they performed Like a Virgin there was a young lad in the crowd waving around a large inflatable penis.

Nile spotted him, fell about laughing, pointed him out to the rest of the band and went and had his photograph taken with him by one of his roadies after the set.

The looked and sounded amazing and the rapport with the crowd was great.

Festival goers are a funny bunch. We include a mix of all ages, all backgrounds, a variety of beliefs but most have a great laid-back attitude and we want to feel the love.

Not just the drug or alcohol induced love (I never touch the first and rarely touch the second) but we want a bit of love from fellow festival goers and the artists too.

Give us a bit of banter, a bit of recognition that we are standing thigh high in mud in the middle of a field often in the rain, just to see you perform.

We got that and more from Chic.

What a performance.

They really seemed like they were having a great time too.

There was loads of interaction and an appreciation of the audience as well as audience appreciation of the act. See, it’s all about feeling the love. I didn’t care that from the knee down I felt like I was standing in a cow pat because they were having fun, I was having fun, everybody was having fun.

At the end of their set, they got about 30 kids from a dance school up on stage with them.

Now these kids had spent the weekend filling in various gaps on the various stages.

You know the bit where the acts are changing, nothing is going to happen for half an hour or so and the audience walks away to find something more interesting on another stage? Yep, that’s what these kids had been doing. Playing to a field of people who were walking away to grab a beer between acts.

So they were chuffed to pieces to be on main stage with an audience of thousands. It was a nice touch.

Bryan Ferry looking like he is swearing at the crowd, but actually he could barely be bothered to speak to us.

The same, however, could not be said for the leg-end that is Bryan Ferry.

I had such a crush on the lovely Mr Ferry when I was younger. He really was the epitome of cool in his suits and ties and with his suave and aloof attitude.

But that was then and this is now.

And, although he sounded brilliant and doesn’t look that much older than in his heyday, a bit of audience banter would have been nice.

He may have said ‘Thanks’ a couple of times but that was about it.

Mr Ferry, I am knee deep in smelly, slimy mud, it’s the end of the day and it’s getting cold, I need the toilet but I’m not using the cess-pits that are festival toilets – recognise the sacrifices I am making to see you perform or I’m going home.

No? Fine, well I’m off then.

Guilfest, great fun as always.


  1. Great photos and commentary, although I’ve gotta say from my point of view as a fellow artist and ardent follower of yours… “Old is just a pigment of my imagination! :)

  2. Thanks … and yes, I completely agree with you, age is just a state of mind :)

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