Redfest 2013 – Day One

Another sunny day. In a field. We have been blessed.

This time it’s the highlight of the AD PONTES year. Its Redfest time. Set in the pastoral magnificence of the Robins Cook Farm, Surrey – this festival proudly vaunts their staunch independence (receiving no major sponsorships.) They are also (quite rightly) proud of their track record – bringing sensational new music to Surrey ears. They often discover new acts and bands long before other festivals.

Redfest is smallish event. Full of charm, intimacy and friendliness. But it has it’s moments too! We were thrilled, stunned and enchanted by it all. What a weekend!

RedFest Review strip 1There was already quite a crowd that had assembled for the much-loved Kent based Post-Hardcore band ‘Iris’ on the main stage.

The boys had done well to win their slot at Redfest. It was a strenuous race to the stage – competing against a whole load of other very deserving bands. But Iris grabbed it.

Their vocally blazing songs were musically audacious – and as hot and exciting as riot in Pandemonium. Wow! What a show they put on. This was going to be a helluva weekend.

Over on the Hype Stage we were greeted by Of Fire and Fate. They played sounds that were like swirling shapes … hyperbolic arrays of twinkling stars & rumbustious steel daggers.

The music pierced our skins and they played havoc with our sweet temples.

And opening the Boiler Room stage was Bare Jams with their skylarking sweet-toothed acoustic set.

Cool guys Ollie & Sam provided warm, cuddlesome songs with themes like being glad to be home … they sent us all into giddy heaven.

RedFest Review strip 2At just after 2 o’clock – and only three bands into the festival – we witnessed our first wall of death… Yes it is true.

Up on the main stage – the anthemic punk majesty of the Max Raptor sounds were so vividly fervent and so gloriously hot that they caused fans to create the first tornado of fire. Torrid stuff!

Maximum anger and foot-stomping carnage was generated down at the Hype Stage too by the intrepid South Wales Metal/Hardcore act CONTINENTS.

This band were as ballistically exhilarating as being shot in the pants by a six-barrelled Gatling on full auto … and their set was as dangerously adventurous as shoving a dozen marsupials up your jumper.

We were immediately jumping and screaming in exquisite agony. But it was glorious, super-heated fun.

Somewhat quieter – but no less accomplished and thought provoking – was the sublimely delicious band The Hype Theory down at the Boileroom tent.

This gorgeous looking Chelmsford based pop quintet oozed experience and musicianship. We loved their impassioned acoustic set. Full of heartwarming moments and sweltering with longing and sentiment. Lush and magnificent.

Arcane Roots have been causing a stir up-and-down the country this year -playing out packed venues and festivals – and bringing the people their exquisite pop and rock compositions. They didn’t fail to impress at Redfest either. We love these lads. And we are so glad that they have now gained the recognition they so richly deserve.

RedFest Review strip 3The ‘live dubstep’ boys SUBSOURCE were getting a lot of exposure at Redfest this year. Not only were they playing down at the Hype Staqe – but they also got to screen their fantastic “Dubumentary” film each night too.

After some awkward equipment set-backs, the band finally came to the stage to an uproarious applause and played a set so blisteringly hot that it nearly took the skin from our chests.

So we headed back to the main stage to cool down for a while. But Brother & Bones were playing. So there was no chance of a sit down! We knew that we were watching something pretty special when we saw a guy – covered in Biffy Clyro tattoos – dancing like a bear and shouting “God I love this band.”

The Brother & Bones brand of folk rock is so life-affirming that it makes your head feel dizzy and your muscles go limp. What a band. And we seriously think that their show was twice as amazing as anything else that we’ve seen this year.

Live bass collective The Engine Earz was another sensation. Their sizzling rogue status was festering hot and totally addictive.

It was like having molten lava poured into your shoes. If you didn’t start dancing you really thought that your feet might fall off!

And after the dance-assault, we decided that the only way to relieve ourselves was to dance a little/lot more. So off we went to the Boiler Room stage to enjoy the sensational Dance a la Plage.

These Banbury boys are all about summer-day hits and fun-time festivities. They were a perfect choice for Redfest. We luxuriated in their gloriously sunny songs.

Redfest Review strip 4Finishing off our first day of live music (there was plenty to see-and-do after the stages had closed) was the first of three big shows to be enjoyed. First of these much anticipated headline acts was Dog is Dead – playing all their favourite stories. This astonishing Nottingham band made Redfest revellers sit up and take note. Their extraordinary musicianship and amazing compositions simply took our breaths away.

Grand and majestic rock doesn’t come any more exalted or gallant than Dry the River. This band played some exorbitantly rich and fantastically luxuriant sounds to the swaying crowds.

They made everyone’s day. They made everyone’s festival. Dammit … They made everyone’s week. What a show!

And we just had time to nip back into the Boiler Room for a sensational live act from those irresistible Bristol mobsters The Other Tribe. Their ancestral rhythms, with their Apache war dances and preposterously infectious tunes were one of the highlights of our festival.

“We Should Be Dancing” is like listening to a Spandau Ballet song – played by a sneaky crow-hop band at a grand pow-wow.

Fascinating and totally addictive.

After the ridiculous fun of the silent disco and far too many cocktails – we ended up retreating to our beds at about 2am.

The sleep of angels. Well, almost.

– © Neil_Mach July 2013 –



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