Getting into GuilFest



Apologies for the lack of substance to this blog recently. This is a blog and I should be blogging more so blog is what I shall do. Is blog a verb?


Anyway, I thought now would be a good time to write something as I am busy preparing for GuilFest, a medium-sized music festival that takes place in Guildford, Surrey for one weekend every summer.

The newspaper that I work for, the Surrey Advertiser, is an official sponsor of the festival and more specifically the website that I work on, Get Surrey, is once again going to be providing comprehensive coverage of this year’s festival. Hopefully.

Last year, our first attempt just two months after launching Get Surrey, was a manic three days in which we ran around Stoke Park interviewing everyone from The Levellers and Cerys Matthews to Seth Lakeman and the drummer from Blondie.

It was a weekend of computer meltdowns, nervous breakdowns, sunburn, rain, overpriced cider and an excruciating encounter with British Sea Power that may still exist on a tape somewhere but will never be erased from our minds.

Looking back it all turned out ok – we managed to speak to quite a few of the big bands and provide regular, if slightly wobbly, videos on each day of the festival.

This time round though I have been left in charge while my editor takes a well-earned holiday. I told myself I wouldn’t panic and I wouldn’t get stressed. With enough planning and an acceptance that all the planning will most likely go to shit as soon as we set foot in the park, I would be fine.

Well it’s less than a week until the festival kicks off and the panic is beginning to set in. I have spent the last fortnight emailing back and forth with managers of bands and artists trying to set up interviews, which is like trying to make an angry horse wear trousers.

Ok so I’m not so good with the horse metaphors.

Anyway, being the perfectionist I am I have been watching the BBC and Guardian’s incredible coverage of Glastonbury – not a good idea. Apparently the beeb sent 400 people to cover Glasto. I have a team of two cameramen and about 10 reporters, any combination of whom may or may not be around at any stage during the GuilFest weekend.

But I’m rambling. The point of this piece was to publicise our coverage of the festival.

Along with video interviews with bands and artists, we will be trying to provide a bit more coverage of the festival as a whole, which is remarkably varied for such a small event.

The comedy tent, the kids zone, the Funky End tent and the Farmer Giles Barn Dance are just some of the weird and wonderful aspects of GuilFest that we didn’t even get near last year, so busy were we trying to speak to the guys from the Jam who aren’t Paul Weller and the guitarist in a Pink Floyd tribute band.

The main difference this year from last is that we will have our own ‘digital base’ – a fancy name for a little tent with a laptop in so we can upload videos, stories and pictures to the website live from the park rather than trudging back to the office every few hours.

We will also – well-defined fingers and thumbs crossed – be getting reporters from Get Surrey and Get Hampshire to Tweet from the festival, along with a handful of bands who will be sharing their festival experiences, warts and all, on our live Get Surrey Twitter feed.

So there you go. I’m off to buy some wellies, dig out my tent and think of some questions to ask someone called Ironik.

But first I think I need a lie down.


S x

Stay tuned to Get Surrey for GuilFest previews throughout the week and during the festival from Friday, July 10. Follow us on Twitter – @getsurrey and @samblackledge.


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