|Genre||Rock, alternative rock, indie rock, dance, world music, punk rock, reggae, folk|
|Dates||Weekend in July (3 days)|
|Founded by||Tony Scott|
GuilFest, formerly the Guildford Festival of Folk and Blues, was a music festival held in Stoke Park, Guildford, England, each July. The festival, like the larger Glastonbury Festival, featured a range of genres including rock, folk, blues, and in recent years pop. In 2006 GuilFest was awarded the title of "Best Family Festival" in the UK Festival awards.
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The event was started in 1992 by Tony Scott a Guildford businessman who is a keen festival-goer, the festival grew from an audience size of 500 with two stages in 1992 to 20,000 with 10 stages by 2011. As well as music, the festival also included comedy, theatre and performing arts. From 1992 to 1994 it was a one-day event. In 1995 it became a two-day event with onsite camping and was moved to nearby Loseley Park. GuilFest returned to Stoke Park in 1996 and became a three-day festival in 1997 with headliners Jethro Tull.
The 2005 event, at that point the biggest in the event's history with 15,000 people attending, featured 6 music stages along with a comedy tent. The headline acts were The Pogues, Paul Weller, and Status Quo, other acts included The Storys, Chas and Dave and the Subways.
The 2006 event was headlined by Embrace, a-ha and Billy Idol, and featured Nizlopi, The Wonder Stuff, The Lightning Seeds, The Stranglers, Gary Numan and The Storys. GuilFest won the Best Family Festival Award for 2006.
The 2007 event was held again at Stoke Park on the 13th, 14th, and 15 July 2007 and the BBC Radio 2 main stage was headlined by Supergrass, Squeeze and Madness. The Magic Numbers played before Madness on the Sunday. The second stage (sponsored by Ents24) featured Richard Thompson, The Saw Doctors, and Uriah Heep as the headliners.
The 2008 event was sponsored by the University of Surrey and headlined by The Levellers, Blondie and The Australian Pink Floyd Show. Fightstar, The Ghost of a Thousand and The Blackout played the Rock Sound sponsored Rock Cave in 2008 as well.
2009 performers included: Motörhead, Goldie Lookin Chain, You Me at Six, Nouvelle Vague, Brian Wilson (Beach Boys), Joe Bonamassa, Happy Mondays, The Wailers, The Charlatans, Athlete, Toploader, Will Young, Eureka Machines, DJ Yoda, Rusko, The Love Band, The Fins and Andrew Morris (Singer Songwriter).
After 21 years, Guilfest shut down. Scotty Events Ltd, the company that ran the festival, said matters were in the hands of an insolvency practitioner. Tony Scott, from Scotty Events, said the company had been left with debts of about £300,000. He said the company's debts included payments to cover tax, VAT, PAYE, Surrey Police, Guildford Borough Council and private individuals.
Reasons cited by organisers included the abundance of competing major events in that year, most notably the London Olympics. Poor weather also contributed with the rain turning Stoke Park into a "quagmire by Saturday – and by Sunday it had turned into sticky bog".
To fill the gap, for 2013 the Magic FM Summer Of Love event was held at Stoke Park on the weekend of 13–14 July 2013, headlined by Jamiroquai and Bryan Adams. A rival event, free festival GU1, took place the same weekend at the Holroyd Arms, a Guildford pub, in protest at what organisers saw as the "corporate takeover" of the former Guilfest by Magic FM's promoters Live Nation. The line-up included The Feathers, Louise Distras, Shakespearos, Anarchistwood, The Unbelievable Freeloaders From Mars, P45, Unexpected Item In The Bagging Area, Archive 45, Gobsausage, Black Anchor, Collage of Sound, Snork and Kerb.
Guilfest returned in 2014 after permission was given quite late for an event this size in January of the same year, with conditions imposed by the local council. Unfortunately despite reports of it being one of the best festivals the organisers had run, it went into insolvency again shortly afterwards blaming a bad weather forecast, leading to low ticket sales.
- "UK festival Awards 2006– The Winners". Retrieved 27 June 2007.
- Live, Surrey (15 January 2014). "How GuilFest went from 500 people to 20,000 in two decades". SurreyLive. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
- "Official Guilfest Website-2007 event". Archived from the original on 25 March 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
- "Richard Thompsom, The Saw Doctors, & Uriah Heep for GuilFest". 16 April 2007. Archived from the original on 27 April 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2007.
- "Surrey's Guilfest shuts down after 21 years". NME. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Surrey music event Guilfest ceases trading after poor sales". BBC News. 25 September 2012.
- "Bryan Adams and Jamiroquai for Magic Summer Live 2013 - Guildford set to host Magic Summer Live this July - Festival News". Virtualfestivals.com. 12 March 2013. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "GU1 Free Festival 2013 @ Holroyd Arms on Sat 13 Jul 2013". New Metal Army. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
- "Guilfest return to Stoke Park approved by Guildford council". BBC News. 15 January 2014.
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