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Guernsey Festival 2012: Day 2 Roundup

By on Friday, 6th July 2012 at 2:00 pm

Words by Hannah Saul

I woke up on the second day of Guernsey Festival to the soul-destroying sound of rain. My heart sank at the thought of spending my Sunday standing in a muddy, cold field. Nonetheless, I battled on in the thought of seeing the Kaiser Chiefs later on in the day.

I arrived at an empty festival site. It looked as though everyone had the same thought as I had. Forward and onward, I decided. How bad could it be? Everyone else couldn’t have been more wrong. Sunday’s acts had some of the best performances that I had seen the whole weekend.

My day began by watching Remedysounds whilst waiting for local heroes Courage Have Courage to come on the Main Stage. Remedy Sounds drew up a crowd of around 30 or so. So okay, maybe not the largest audience ever, but they were in for a treat. He played a mix of originals and covers, including a medley of different songs from artists such as Jamie T and Ed Sheeran. Using a guitar and a loop for his beat boxing, he managed to create distinctive copies of songs. By the time his set had finished he had successfully managed to draw up an acceptably large crowd.

Courage Have Courage came on with gusto, but sadly, the sound wasn’t up to scratch. I couldn’t help sorry for them as the sound of feedback nearly ruined it for them. But they pulled it back for themselves. Their poppy tunes they began to bring out the sun. ‘Lioness’ is their newest single and was also their finale. The guitar and keyboard complemented each other nicely and paired up with beautiful harmonies; the song seemed to make up for the awkward start.

As soon as they had finished, quickly I made it over to the Centre Circle Stage to go and see Mt. Wolf from London. The dream folk band played songs such as ‘Life Size Ghosts’. Their truly mesmerizing performance took hold of the audience, bringing the summer feel to the festival. Stevie McMinn (guitarist) and Kate Sproule (vocals) are from Guernsey, and the other members are also from seaside towns, and this meant that the ‘beachy’ vibe was definitely there.

The sun was finally shining; all I wanted to do was dance. All I needed now was music. It came in the form of Wrongtom Meets Deemas J, the ultra-cool reggae trio. Freestyling, their frontman greeted the audience by getting off the stage to dance with them. Their enthusiastic performance rang out across the field. Looking around I could not see a single person without a smile on their face or tapping their toes. It was the perfect opportunity to sit on the muddy ground and soak up the rays.

After an incredibly unfortunate drink spillage, I rushed home to change and back in time for Kassidy. The bluesy rock band, comprising of four singers, each of them playing guitar, was electric. Their presence was out of this world. I nearly had a heart attack when they began throwing their guitars to the roadies mid-performance. There was definitely a buzz in the air, and the crowd looked as if they couldn’t hold in their enjoyment. Playing some of their older songs such as ‘Stray Cat’ and their newer tracks such as ‘Waking up Sideways’, I would unquestionably say that Kassidy is a definite band to look out for. Energy and tunes, exactly what any festival needs.

Sadly, for a few hours after Kassidy had finished, it seemed as though the festival had been hit by a male apocalypse, as all of the menfolk seemed to have left their girlfriends, wives, daughters and friends to go and watch the football. The Fusion Dance Tent played host to many of these refugees; there were two projectors for the beer-soaked footy lads. It was lovely to see the very large amount of topless and painted me joining in harmony to watch the game originally rumoured not to be shown anywhere on the grounds.

Despite England’s loss, spirits were not dampened. There was quite literally a stampede to the Main Stage to witness the Kaiser Chiefs’ excellent performance. The Main Stage Tent was the most packed I had seen it all weekend and Ricky Wilson gave them what they wanted, putting his all into his performance. With a mix of old and new, everyone sang along to their favourites. All their greatest hits – ‘Ruby’, ‘I Predict A Riot’ and ‘Oh My God’ – were played, including songs off their new album ‘Souvenir’.

Overall, Guernsey Festival weekend is a great day out or festival break for families, couples and groups of friends. There is loads to do and see, and what better place to do it in warm Guernsey. I have a feeling that we will be hearing more and more about Guernsey Festival in the future. Hopefully this will also mean that it will be back again next year. A few tickets go on sale early every year, so make sure you get yours.


Guernsey Festival 2012: Day 1 Roundup

By on Thursday, 5th July 2012 at 2:00 pm

Words by Hannah Saul

The island of Guernsey is generally a very quiet, historical place, but for one weekend every summer, the tranquil island says goodbye to the monotony of island life and welcomes families and music lovers alike to grab their wellies and head over to the Rabbit Warren, the location of Guernsey Festival. The festival is in its second year and has already played host to bands heavyweights Primal Scream, Frank Turner and The Gaslight Anthem.

While islanders jumped at the chance to have the festival experience on their doorstep and flocked in their hundreds to go and see the acts without having to spend extra money on flights, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t any interest from the mainland. Days before the festival kicks off, local ferry company Condor becomes frantically busy trying to fit all the serious festival-goers onboard and bring them to the sunny island. Whether they appreciate the mud-soaked, beer-swilling return passengers is, well, another matter entirely.

Despite being a native islander, this was my first year going, and I went with high expectations. I was stoked to see great acts like Hadouken, that hairy, hairy King Charles, Macy Gray, Kassidy, The Charlatans and The Kaiser Chiefs. The weekend was looking to be pretty spectacular, and that is exactly what it was.

I started the Saturday by going to see the young talent of local band and also my very good friends China Aster, who played on the stage known as The Other Stage or the Center Circle Stage. China Aster kicked off the festival nicely, singing songs off their newly released, self-titled EP. Although it was still quite early in the morning, they managed to grab quite a lot of interest. Josh Moore’s voice floated in to the (slightly too strong) breeze, allowing the melodic guitars to build that proper boutique festival vibe.

Next, it was time to see I Am Tich. After doing the rounds at Glastonbury, T in the Park, Oxegen and V Festival last year, she was asked to play Guernsey Festival’s Main Stage, performing a mix of covers and original songs. Unfortunately, I missed the beginning of her set but arrived to hear her sing a cover of fun.’s ‘We Are Young’. Her powerful voice made up for the fact that she looked diminutive standing on the stage by herself, and her bubbly character put a smile on everyone’s faces. However, I felt that the constant promotion of herself knocked the performance down a little, but that could just be me.

Next on my festival agenda was to check out Jersey singer Kevin Pallot. He has managed to bring together some of Jersey’s best session artists to create his backing band The Pinnacles and together they played a selection of rich folk music including song ‘The Waving Fields’. Pallot’s deep voice melted into the music, creating a warm sound, which mirrored the already improving weather perfectly.

I felt that after Pallot’s performance, I had a great opportunity to go and check out the VIP tent before King Charles was expected on the Main Stage. I had images of champagne, nice comfy chairs and lovely clean loos. Oh boy, how wrong was I. I pushed through crowds of people trying to spot if there was anyone famous inside the tent, and once inside, my face dropped. The VIP tent looked like something out of a wedding celebration:r bight lights, loud music and loads of very drunk people dancing around. Not only this, but the so-called luxury loos had no running water and there was no sanitizer on offer, unlike the main toilets. My verdict: the VIP tent is not worth nearly £90 extra for a ticket.

Although I had heard of King Charles (pictured at top), I wasn’t too familiar with his work. But my brother and sister had recommended that I go to see him, and I did. Stepping into the audience, I was hit by a mix of furious guitar solos and upbeat keyboard not too dissimilar to that of Vampire Weekend. There was something quite tropical about it, and the audience certainly agreed. As His Majesty played songs of his new album, ‘Love Blood’, he certainly got me grooving.

After a quick chat with Hadouken!, I rushed to the Main Stage to catch them playing. Performing a mix of new and old tracks, the younger audience members found it was their time to shine and came out of their shells (with the help of some illicitly smuggled in booze) and danced to their set. It was loud, it was powerful, let’s face it…it was a festival. It was great and exactly what the day needed to kick it up a gear.

Next it was on to the dance tent. There was a great mix of DJs; Brandon Block was spinning when I went along. I have to say, however, he seems to attract a very young group of teenagers who wanted their first taste of the nightclub experience, so I didn’t hang around for long. Besides, I wanted to drag my boyfriend along to Macy Gray.

The one thing that bothered me about Macy Gray’s performance was why she didn’t headline. Walking up to the Main Stage I could hear her cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ and my mouth went dry. She sounded amazing. Her soulful voice matched her Tina Turner-inspired glittery bright pink dress. So looked fantastic! You could also tell that she put a lot of personal input into her performance; it was raw, rich and really, really brilliant. Everyone was singing along and having a wonderful time.

Although next act Maverick Sabre got a good response from the large audience, I just couldn’t get into his performance. It might have been because my feet were hurting from my wellies, which were 3 sizes too small, or the fact that Macy Gray effectively blew Mr. Sabre out of the water. I think the latter reason was more why. He did, however, grab my full attention with his song ‘Let Me Go’. I have to admit that he does have a pretty unique voice, but he just didn’t really interact with the audience. It was a bit of a shame. But in ‘Let Me Go,’ he has a crowd pleaser to end all crowd pleasers.

After a pretty successful day, I began my 15-minute walk home along the seafront. That’s the beauty about the festival: you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere inside the compound, but as soon as you leave you are in the middle of a busy seaside town. Bliss!


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