Category Archives: festival

FESTIVAL REVIEW — FOUR PLAY

The FOUR PLAY FESTIVAL is a low profile affair held at the Acoustic Couch in Bracknell and organized by local progressive rock band SPRIGGAN MIST.

Jade Vine at FOUR PLAY… a celebration of folk-prog talent…

It is a celebration of folk-prog talent and attracts an unprecedented array of  free-spirited individuals, including [but not limited to] steampunks, pagans, hippies, fair folk and people of peace.

The unhurried schedule means that bands have enough time on stage to deploy their longest songs and tackle their most extravagant numbers.

The Acoustic Couch is a community project built in the concrete heart of Bracknell town and offers locals a pleasant and welcoming place to come and enjoy live music.

Mila Verney_of Jade Vine – mind-blowing musical content…

First on stage at FOUR PLAY were the five-piece JADE VINE based in London. This band was formed by the brothers Constantine (guitars, vocals) & Marios Magdalinos (guitars, vocals) in 2006.

Constantine & Marios wrote the first songs and gigged extensively as a duet before bringing the band together. At Bracknell we saw Mila Verney (piano & keyboards) and Yannis Paloyannidis (bass) with Babis Margaritidis (drums.)

We enjoyed songs like “Lost it All” that had a shimmering murkiness to them. We loved the repetitive guitar motifs and the slightly off-kilter drum-work. We also appreciated the vocals that we thought were reminiscent of Fish. Their neo-prog achievements soared with mind-blowing musical content, astounding lyrics and expert musicianship. Their 2016 album “MIND OF A MAN” is out now.

Kindred Spirit – tranquilizing yet sinister textures…

We’ve written about Elaine Samuels and her band KINDRED SPIRIT many times before.

It was great to see them onstage at Bracknell bringing their extraordinarily beautiful prog-folk songs to life and creating a series of imaginatively elaborate musical ideas.

Wolves at the Door” had a fretful sax [Catherine Dimmock] and lamenting violin [Martin Ash ]and created ever-developing sensations of enhanced anxiety.

The song formed part of what Elaine described as the “Beast” cycle — consisting of three songs . The cycle was completed by “Run Red.” This had tranquilizing yet sinister textures — peacemaker flute with violin flares.

The bass-play on this song was excellent too [Mike Hislop] as was Catherine’s backing vocals. The remarkable thing about Kindred Spirit was that the band soldiered on without their drummer [he was taken ill at short notice] yet they managed to deliver a very polished and surprisingly tight performance.

Multi Story- dramatic vocal performance…

Cult Welsh prog band MULTI STORY was formed in the 1980s.

Around the dramatic vocal performance of Paul Ford and Rob Wilsher’s wizard keyboards and superlative programming.

At that time [1984] the band was invited to the BBC Maida Vale studio to record a session for Radio One Rock Show with Tommy Vance. The band was signed to Heavy Metal Records [FM label] and recorded a debut album in 1985 at Rockfield Studios.

Paul Ford was replaced by Grant Nicholas [who went on to be the Feeder front-man] and Grant worked on an album with the band in 1986 :Through Your Eyes — though the project broke up shortly afterwards.

The members of Multi Story went on to have successful careers in production and film projects and more recently, the original writing partners Rob Wilsher and Paul Ford starting working again. A new band began playing shows during 2015 in support of their project “Crimson Stone.”

Paul’s delivery at Bracknell was dramatically poignant — bordering on theatrical at times — and included some superior guitar-play. Rob’s keyboards were, as expected, sheer quality of class. A series of oscillations, waves and huge columns of sound. The song-melodies were catchy — with instant appeal. And often reminded us of 1969 era The Who.

Spriggan Mist’s Max Cilia – intoxicating musical layers…

If this event is to become something more ambitious in the future then the organizers will have to watch their ticket sales. [Fifteen pounds is good for a “full day of music” but too much for locals who might want to drop-in to catch just one or two bands.] They should also look at the possibility of wider promotion. It looked as if most of the audience consisted of “Sprigg” fan-club members or supporting musicians.

FOUR PLAY was a completely enjoyable way to spend a day. With hugely talented performers, friendly hosts and good (cheap) beer. What’s not to like?

Thanks to all involved… especially the co-hosts Spriggan Mist & Kindred Spirit and their fantastic crew. Also thanks to the staff at Acoustic Couch who made this special day so friendly.

Words & Pictures : @neilmach 2017 ©
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/www.sprigganmist.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/KindredSpiritBand/
https://www.facebook.com/multistoryband/
https://www.facebook.com/TheJadeVineUK/

Redfest 2013 – Day Two

The weather forecast was for a little ‘splosh’ on Saturday. But, as we blinked and stumbled out of our tents, the grass was warm and succulent under our feet, and the sun was shining in a brilliant blue sky.

So we stepped out valiantly to start a new day in the magnificent surroundings of Robins Cook Farm.

Redfest Review Strip 5Waking us up, first thing on the Hype Stage, was the 5 piece Post-Hardcore band from Sussex ‘A Room Swept White’ with their unstoppable ‘Shadow Walk’ … Crikey – they must really burn up one helluva lot of calories on their stage yomp.

They played the audience a collection of unfettered songs like ‘Unsettled’ – which was a hustle-bustle of scurrilous activity – set against grinding bass notes that bounced around the inside of our morning heads – with clawing vocals that wrapped talons around our sore throats.

Their energetic stage show sent us dizzy. And those vertiginous guitars with those shining melodies really set us up for the day. A Room Swept White are something very special indeed.

We then sauntered over to the Boileroom Stage via some scrumptious breakfast outlets. On stage was Paul Coltofeanu aka Android Angel. His numbers sounded surprisingly familiar, hugely perceptive and richly sung. The songs gradually helped knock the sleep from our veins. And his tunes (together with the warmth of the sun) little-by-little helped our heads to recover.

After some heavy touring, the East London Waylayers trio are back with an EP of 5 songs titled ‘Fault Lines.’ Their new song ‘S.O.S’ is a sparkling number with acute high-pitched vocals and a gently rippling chorus. The band are masters of the anthemic build-up and soon had the Redfest crowd over at the main stage swaying and clapping along to their princely sounds.

The Moulettes create real music. We think music-makers should aim to create strong aural forms, vibrations and textures. Using a variety of tools. To manufacture things that are special and unique. And put all the collected elements within the packaging (of songs) that really work and are fun too. Moulletes produce this kind of music. Strong images, creative compositions and a whole series of memorable moments. And all their songs are provided with a thick slice of dark drama/humour too.

The last few times that we saw the band (at Guildford’s superb venue The Boiler Room and at Playgroup Festival last year) their violinist was either unavailable or unwell. So it was good to see Anisa Arslanagic (from the Evropska Quartet) has settled in well. The extra strings certainly added fire to the overall sound.

After the Moulettes, we headed over to the Hype Stage to see ‘The Call Back Academy.’ This Melodic Hardcore act from Brighton has recently issued a superbly constructed new EP entitled ‘Chapters’ – and the recording has been wowing punters and critics alike. Songs like ‘These Caving Walls’ have a lasting power and a sense of freedom that makes us smile and cry. The choruses are beautiful – with the increase in pressure – then the subsequent release that eventually comes headlong at you like a hydrothermal explosion. At Redfest their music was an eruption of celestially resplendent melodies set against stark landscapes of strong gritty reality.

Redfest Review Strip 6After a long lunch we returned to the Hype tent for one of our favourite bands ‘Zico Chain’. The band are supporting IRON MAIDEN this weekend at the London Greenwich 02 arena. If you miss that show, you can still catch the band when they tour with ‘Lonely the Brave’ this autumn. Their songs are a complex network of brilliant sounds. The vocals [Chris Glithero ] are incredibly rich and the thoroughly immersing guitars will remind you of ‘modern’ classic rock bands like Velvet Revolver.

During the evening, the rain-clouds – which had been threatened all day – suddenly brought forth a huge deluge. The pelting downpour knocked the stuffing out of some of the less intrepid among us. But the wise-headed slipped out into the bracing rains, to make their way to the covered stages..

Frank Hamilton has been doing some extraordinary things recently. Creating ‘One Song a Week’ and recording (with a full band) inside one of the London Eye pods – 440 feet above the ground. Now he’s ruminating on his next #TeamFrank project.

We saw him playing at the little more down-to-earth stage, in the Boileroom tent. Frank packed out the flapping canvas big-top, and managed to get all the revellers singing along in no time. Tender songs like ‘Flaws & Ceilings’ are creative masterpieces. Full of joy. With soft, supple meanderings and cleverly wrought lyrics.

One of our favourite shows of the whole weekend was the torrid and relentless ferocity of those monsters of hardcore-rock ‘Feed the Rhino’ – who were playing the Hype Stage. Their snorting, blazing fury – the jets of fearsome guitarwork – coupled with the rattling, pile-driving rhythms and the bullying vocals- all helped to burn the memory of their show deep down within our cognitive cells.

Vocalist Lee Tobin was on top-form. He was so fearlessly animated – so dangerously vital – that the sweat ran down his gleaming muscles like miniature cyclonic eruptions. It was not surprising that he almost lost his pants – in the middle of things. This was violent, incredibly passionate – and a totally mesmerizing performance.

Redfest Review strip 7Bastille has been working almost every festival on the circuit this summer. Singer-songwriter Dan Smith had already already been seen on the main Redfest stage during the afternoon – to support some of his companions – and a huge crowd clucked and cooed about this. Now an even larger group of people had gathered in the field for the focal point of the entire festival. The headline show. It was the biggest crowd we had seen at Redfest over 4 years.

After supporting Muse on tour, this band are experienced and equipped to play a major show. And they didn’t let anyone down. ‘Pompeii’ has that climactic feel to it. The singsong chorus has a nostalgic ‘Jungle Book’ sense, and the rat-a-tat drums bring a sense of freedom to the Mardi Gras party.

Our abiding memory from Redfest must surely be the magnificent performance of ‘Bleed From Within’ on the Hype Stage scheduled for around about the same time as the Bastille show. The tent was uncomfortably uninhabited – due to the show-time clash. But this did not stop the die-hard fans from launching into a full-on celebration party with their favourite metal masters.

And the show was masterful in every way. The band played a type of metal that managed to combine the best of the ‘old world’ i.e. Black Sabbath and Motörhead– with the best of ‘new world’ of progressive metal. They call their sound “Scottish Metal.”

Their ‘Uprising’ UK Tour 2013 has been a huge success. The title song from that album is a burning, glittering, extremely brutal giant of a number.

Exemplified by sword-sharp guitars, shadowy dark bass notes and puncturing vocals. The entire show was a whirlwind of iron splinters, copper bullets and apocalyptic vision. It was an extraordinary thing to behold. And it was lapped up by the ecto-parasitic crowd – who hung onto every syllable, every word and every note.

We slinked off to our camp-beds very happy indeed.

As usual, the organizers of Redfest had created an energetic, diverse and full rounded festival experience.

We were deliriously cheerful as we emerged from our tents on Sunday morning. We had some wonderful memories spinning around in our heads – and we had a whole host of new friends to connect with.

Thanks again, Redfest.

– © Neil_Mach July 2013 –

Link:

http://www.redfest.co.uk/

SEE REDFEST REVIEW DAY ONE HERE >>

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 –

Link:

http://www.redfest.co.uk/
CHECK REDFEST DAY TWO REVIEW HERE

Summer Vibes in Slough

Slough Festival was back this weekend – after a few years hiatus. The weather surprised as all – blue skies and sun – and there was plenty to see and do.

The Festival is billed as an all day event for all the family. The large area of Upton Park was split into  four zones:

·  Kids Zone: with fun for the little ones
·  Urban Action Zone: with activities for teenagers/young adults such as high ropes and street dance competitions
·  Carnival Zone: with daredevil acts, fun fair, circus fun, bungee & trampoline
·  Market Zone: where there was an opportunity to shop for arts and crafts

One For The Road Image © Neil Mach
One For The Road
Image © Neil Mach

On the main stage, the visitors were treated to a wide range of music and dance – from Glam Rock to Bhangra Music.

Local high energy rock-covers band  !Daft! ran the live music and dance stages. They also performed an entertaining set.

The day went something like this:

Dacoda Image © Neil Mach
Dacoda
Image © Neil Mach

After a demonstration of skill and effervescent artistic precision by the Dhol Drummers, the event was superheated by the superb brit-pop/ska covers band Dacoda. They completed an excellent and highly entertaining set with their singalong interpretation of the famous “Jungle Book” song  ‘I Wanna Be Like You (The Monkey Song)’.

The graceful ‘Apna Virsa Bhangra Dance’ group added alluring radiance to the dance stage. Their demonstration was as serene as it was beautiful.

Over in the big field, the  dangerous circus stunt act – The Vander Wheel of Death –  prepared their thrilling show.  (They balance and perform on a 2 Quad Wheel of Death.)  Their antics thrilled the crowd. Each oscillation and slippage lead to huge gasps and anxious cries.

!Daft! Image © Neil Mach
!Daft!
Image © Neil Mach

The crowd at the live music stage was then treated to some classic rock and vintage Americana from the talented band ‘One For The Road’.  The band played some thrilling covers, taking the audience on a journey across the United States through the famous “Route 66” [Bobby Troup] from “Sweet Home Chicago” [Robert Johnson]  to “Sweet Home Alabama.” [Lynyrd Skynyrd.]   ‘One For The Road’ concluded their entertaining show with “Copperhead Road” [Steve Earle] – and the band had the crowd up and dancing along all the way through their show.

The Mlody Las & Gaiczek Polish Dance Groups provided us all with a splash of fiery vitality and creativity with their superbly choreographed dances and demonstrations.  Then ‘Desperate Measures’ came to the music stage. This highly talented Uxbridge based band brought us some fun packed tunes like the Darkness cover “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.”  Their stage show was dynamic and inspiring.

Desperate Measures Image © Neil Mach
Desperate Measures
Image © Neil Mach

The Bollywood Dance Groups brought a huge crowd over to the main stage to enjoy their much-anticipated show.  The troop wowed the audience – with their creative and incredibly enjoyable dances.

The rock, pop and party covers band ‘!Daft!’ always bring a party atmosphere to any event that they play. And the Slough Festival was no exception.  The band performed a series of atmospheric anthems and indie rock blockbusters. They finished their exciting set on a formidable high point with their wonderful cover of “We Are Young” [Fun.]

After the beauty and precision of Irish Dancers, the musical extravaganza was completed by the amazing band ‘The Glamsters’.

The Glamsters  played a complete collection of 1970’s covers . Everything  from Sweet’s ‘Blockbuster’ all the way through the Slade and T.Rex era – and right up to Norman Greenbaum’s ‘Spirit in The Sky’  (made famous by Doctor and the Medics.)  With songs like Mud’s ‘Tiger Feet’, Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’ and  Showaddywaddy’s ‘Under the Moon of Love’ (originally a hit for Curtis Lee in 1961) the audience was up-and-rocking to all those crazy beats. And loving every minute of it.

Thanks to all the organizers of the Slough Festival for putting so much effort into providing a fun and exciting summer afternoon  – with some sensational musical entertainment.

Vander, Wheel of Death Image © Neil Mach
Vander, Wheel of Death
Image © Neil Mach

RedFest 2013

Imagine this … You are laid on the soft grass, and you are enjoying the beautiful surroundings of  Robins Cook Farm.  Just 30 minutes from London.

You are listening to the soulful vocals of an extraordinary artist like Jazz Morley.  She is playing at the Boileroom Stage on Saturday along with Frank Hamilton and Ryan Keen. The sun is gently tanning your arms. You feel refreshed and comfortable. You are surrounded by the kind of happy, relaxed and sociable people that could easily become friends for life.

Redfest 2011  Image © Neil Mach

Redfest 2011
Image © Neil Mach

Your new best friend cannot stop talking about seeing some high-octane rock act. Turbowolf  for example.   They wll be performing on the Hype Stage along with Zico Chain and Bleed From Within.  Everyone is welcome.

You have both heard so much about bands like Arcane Roots and Little Comets. You have downloaded all their material. And you follow them on social media. They are playing on the Blackstar Stage with Dry The River and Bastille. You have never had the chance to see these bands playing live before. But now you can … in a peaceful and relaxed environment.

Here, at Robins Cook Farm,  you will never feel as if you have been rounded up and herded in. You won’t feel as if you have been treated like cattle.  You won’t feel confined or harassed. There are no huge crowds – or cramped footpaths. You will feel safe and secure, but you won’t feel hounded by security. There are no long queues.

Most importantly, when you see your favourite bands playing live, you can really hear every note … and you can see the smiles on the performer’s faces – they will not be miles away – across a sea of people.

After sunset, you will dance, drink and relax. In the evening you can visit the nightclubs to see luscious burlesque artists, night-time singers and exotic cabaret artists. They will smile, pirouette and twirl for you. And later, if you do not feel too tired, you can take in a movie at the cinema.

With an extraordinary line-up of over 60 amazing acts including:   Bastille, Dry The River, Dog Is Dead and Lucy Rose  – plus Bury Tommorow and Bleed From Within (if you like things a bit heavier) or Ryan Keen and The Other Tribe (if you like to dance) – you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a festival experience that is too good to be true.

REDFEST really is as nice as we have described.

If you want to appreciate all of this – then we invite you give REDFEST a try this year. It’s been going since 2007 –  so the organisers know a thing-or-two about how to put on a great show.  It’s totally independent.  And –  if you live in London or the Home Counties – it is right on your doorstep.

Ticket are priced very sensibly –  from just £36.00 per day (for a non-camping – e-ticket). Or you can get a full 2 Day Weekend Pass that includes camping for about £65.00 (Plus a booking fee) per person.

Check it out now.  We would love to see there … really you enjoying yourself !

For full details visit the Redfest site here: http://www.redfest.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RedfestUK

REDFEST 2012 – JULY 20-23 ROBINS COOK FARM REDHILL SURREY


Just 30 minutes from London and set in the beautiful surroundings of Robins Cook Farm, REDFEST is now a three day music festival and into its fifth edition. REDFEST has earned a reputation for championing new bands, solo artists and DJs. And REDFEST 2012 promises to be the biggest and best weekend yet! Check out this years line-up!

Modestep are a live dubstep/electronic rock band from London that was formed in 2010 by Brothers Tony and Josh Friend who had been individually DJing since 2001, only forming the band in 2010 with Josh’s roommate Matthew Curtis and more recently guitarist Nick Tsang… Their remarkable rock and dance live shows always set audiences alight!

Kids in Glass Houses are a Welsh rock band from Cardiff
In August 2011 the band released their album ‘Gold Blood’. In July 2011 the band performed at Sonisphere Festival, Knebworth on the Saturn stage

The King Blues are a punk rock band from London, credited for fusing ska and folk with punk rock and hardcore
Influences include Public Enemy, The Clash, The Specials, Black Flag and Minor Threat.

REDFEST remains firmly independent, with no major sponsorships and they work hard to keep the tickets as affordable as possible. They are enormously proud of their reputation for championing new and emerging artists….

The 2012 line-up is off the scale so don’t miss out

We’d love to see you there

REDFEST
ROCKING SURREY SINCE 2007

JULY 20-23 ROBINS COOK FARM REDHILL SURREY


redfest.co.uk/

Redfest Festival Report – 22nd-23rd July 2011

Now in its fifth year, Redfest is fast becoming one of the best ‘smaller’ festivals in the UK , and has built up an enviable reputation for bringing breakthrough artists to the fore- last year the headliners were Enter Shikari  and Hadouken – this year The Futures, Modestep, We Are The Ocean , The Qemists and The Skints wowed and wooed the crowds.

I cannot pile on enough praise for the organisers of this superb festival. It is intimate, relaxed and quintessentially, fun. It attracts a lively, youthful and attractive crowd. It is set in a gorgeous location at Robins Hill Farm, near Redhill Surrey. Good healthy food stalls line the event area, and friendly efficient staff / volunteers are helpful and charming. A superb chill-out zone, a great bar, a dance tent and some thrilling  ‘side-shows’ also add to the fun.  I can also confirm that the bookers for this festival are right on the money- this year’s festival sensation was Ed Sheeran – who is currently riding high in the charts – and yet was an early booking for Redfest.

The weather held up for the duration and even became balmy at times.The music and atmosphere was, as usual, perfectly sublime. The smaller venue – the red and white tent ‘introduction’ was hot and hectic … a lot of energy and fizz for all those involved. One of the standout acts at this stage were, for me, the high kicking antics of Lecarla –  tense, tight and trend-setting!

Some great DJ sets were available for the sweet and easy party-goers in the chill-out tent and these included Mike Chadwick and Matt Weeks.

Up on the main stage Modestep on Friday night blew away the reveller’s cobwebs and bounced the bones. Before them Brighton’s ‘Floors and Walls’ played a generous and vibrant set to the jubilant Surrey crowd.

Festival goers were in for more treats on Saturday as Ryan Keen stepped up to the stage- he is supporting Ed Sheeran this season and has been granted a valuable residency at Ronnie Scott’s. Ryan’s rich comortable tones helped warm and wake up the crowd.

Then ‘Hold Your Horse Is’ pounded our eardrums with their fierce yet controlled sound attack  – Redfest was one of three fests for this hugely popular band over the weekend. And milk, honey and mellow fruitfulness were provided by the delightful Pearl and the Puppets.

Qemists - Redfest 2011

Incredibly talented reggae/ska band ‘The Skints’ played a truly awesome set and got the party rolling in the green fields. The pure energy of this band was incredibly contagious as the crowd skanked and ska-voovied to the volatile vibes and those heady beats. Lead man Joshua Waters Rudge complemented the festival crowd for the most magnificent mosh-pit he had witnessed all season.

Heavy hitters Hampshire based band ‘Canterbury’ put on an incredible show, turning up the volume and turning on the audience with a thunderous kapowing, rolling performance.

Then ‘The Qemists’ created chaos in the fields with their happy vortex of musical madness-  as they charged through the kind of set that made everyone wanna boing and pronk like springboks  on the loose. Specializing in heavy chords, majestic and magnificent arrangements, and urban vibes set against a flurry of relentless crusading dance-floor beats on drum and bass. The resulting sounds were over the top- but elegantly powerful in scale and ambition nonethelesss.

All these acts created the buzz and energy necessary for the barn-storming climax of this festival, with carrot-topped  Ed Sheeran, who came onto the stage and almost immediately created a spectacle of fire and daring – and the massed audience went mad-for-it.  ‘Futures’ topped off the weekend with a triumphant and resoundingly successful show…   I literally cannot wait for next Redfest!

© Neil_Mach
July 2011