If you name a festival something ‘sun’ it’s sort of inevitable that the weather will do its best to provide anything but that…and that’s exactly what happened on Saturday when we headed off to Always the Sun festival in Guildford. Despite the soggy day it didn’t dampen ours (or anyone else’s) spirits and for those that went on Sunday too there was plenty of sunshine to make up for Saturday’s grey skies!
This is the first year of Always the Sun, curated by local people with lots of involvement from the towns famous venue The Boileroom, the 2 day festival aims to involve the community as much as possible from local labels hosting stages to artists running workshops. The festival also aims to be ethical and eco-friendly, taking some inspiration from Glastonbury with its compost toilets!
The first band we catch are Native People, the four piece from Folkestone are on the main stage (Park stage) and despite the raincoats and umbrellas they have the crowd dancing along to their pop/indie sounds, next we popped over to the Andertons stage where local lads Darko are playing – not really my cup of tea but if you like your punky-hardcore stuff these could be for you.
The chilled out sounds of Hannah Lou Clark are followed by the infectious indie singalongs of Kent based Get Inuit, they were the one of the bands I was most excited to see and they didn’t disappoint – singer/guitarist Jamie Glass is also a pro at the ‘in-between’ song chatter too.
Taking a little break from the band watching we took a wander around the site where we came across the Crafty Peacock tent that housed all sorts of different workshops for kids (and creative adults) including Lush soap making, ceramics and painting activities. There was even some civilised wine-tasting over at the Waitrose stand (well, this is a festival in Surrey after all)…while The Outdoor Kitchen featured cooking demos from Masterchef and Great British Bake Off favourites, as well as a handy place to shelter from a downpour! and if you really wanted to chill out, there were free massages on offer and the chance to do a spot of yoga over at the House of Hatha.
The aptly named Kagoule took to the main stage just as the rain made way for an idyllic sunset over Guildford…finally the sun had made an appearance! Kagoule were followed by The Big Moon who won us over with their catchy riffs and effortless live performance.
Catching up with Manchester’s Spring King before their slot on the main stage we chatted about Bestival, which they’d played the day before and they told us they were almost as excited as us to watch headliners Mystery Jets. I’ve seen Spring King more times than any other this year and it’s always nice to see them win over a new festival crowd they even managed to get half of them involved in a conga line during ‘They’re Coming After You’. Just their set I ran across the The Andertons stage to catch a few songs from Palm Honey, they were one of the bands I wanted to see and from the first song I was pretty much won over…it’s always ace to find a new band to obsess over at a festival and Palm Honey could just be the ones <3.
All too soon it was time for headliners Mystery Jets to draw things to a close and being one of my most loved bands I was always going to be happy with them rounding off a great day at Always the Sun, not surprisingly they have the biggest crowd of the day and luckily by then the rain is all but a distant memory. They play a set packed with songs spanning all 5 of their albums including sing/dance-along Two Doors Down as well as new album tracks Bubblegum and one of my faves Blood Red Balloon.
I had such a great day at Always the Sun festival, massively helped by the fact some of my favourite bands had been picked for the line-up but also because it was a lovely little festival site with a chilled out atmosphere, friendly people and plenty of other things going on away from the main music stages. What a good end to this years festival season!