GIGsoup went to check out Guildford’s Always the Sun debut festival last weekend. Hosted by the Boileroom, named one of the top 50 independent music venues, it was their 10th year anniversary. There was a refreshing line up of new local and national talent, as well as some music veterans including Mystery Jets and Dub Pistols.
This small weekend festival had no camping, but an inviting conga line formed during Spring King, Prosecco was made available on tap and there were compost toilets.
Some of the standout acts include Blaenavon, The Big Moon and October Drift. This is just snapshot of the musical wizardry GIGsoup was blown away by. Read on to see how each of the stages fare.
The Park Stage
The stage for the headline acts, as well as lesser-known bands that most are set to get big-name profiles. Saturday brought Daughter-like ephemeral Tusks, slow-tempo indie band Native People and a quirkily dressed Big Zero during the daytime. Up and coming indie October Drift wowed the crowds as well.
Mystery Jets were the headline act on Saturday, performing tracks from their upcoming album ‘Curve of the Earth’, which is a beautiful spacey masterpiece. Some of there golden oldies ‘Two Doors Down’ and ‘Young Love’ were welcomed warmly from a large crowd too.
The folky indie rock band Turin Brakes headlined on Sunday and rounded off a successful ATS festival debut. A strong crowd were jiving to tracks from their recent album ‘Lost Property’.
A great performance by The Allergies, as the sun was setting, providing a great warm up to the skanking Dub Pistols.
The Andertons Stage
A particularly popular place for the ever-increasing rain on Saturday, this tented venue with hay stack seating brought together bands from across the UK as well as local musicians, ticking all the boxes for the Boileroom repertoire.
Fresh new teenage talent Keep Kats impressed a morning slot with their indie-rock songs. Some serious groupies appeared in hoards whilst Darko and Geistfight rocked around on stage. Indie rock band Atiptoe and crafty pop four piece Sulky Boy also kept the crowds huddled in the tent.
The weekend ended nicely with the Modbeat music collective Modernism’s array of bands playing back to back, which included jazz-infused New Street Adventure and the funky trio Birdsworth.
The Buskers Stage
Lark Recordings, a local record label, brought together some of their best acts they’ve signed. Set in a cozy tent with a stage strewn with atmospheric lighting and bunting, this was the place to relax and muse to acoustic talent.
There were some over-powering sounds from other stages, but that intimate crowd were still mesmerized by the soothing lyrics of Sophie & the Giants, Portland and Dean Dyson, to name but a few. Check out their ATS Festival Spotify playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/user/larkrecordings/playlist/5w9A9ZNQvwhKTQo7A7siOY.
The Tropica Stage
What’s not a summer festival without a dance tent? In line with this summer’s Tropical House trend, this place pumped out Balearic deep house grooves in a sand-strewn floor (popular also with little kids who wanted to build sand castles). DJs from local radio station Kane FM including Laki were rocking the boat. Seriously, the deck was actually in a boat.
Always the Sun is like a really massive family. Quite literally, loads of families- old and young- congregated in Guildford’s Stoke Park. But also metaphorically, you have some great times, as well as a few teething moments. The teething moments mainly being the bad weather on the first day. Understandably, not in Always the Sun’s power. Sunday was graced with a sunny blue sky in the 20 degrees Celsius range.
Overall ATS Festival pulled through such an extensive variety of genres, from jazz, funk, indie, ska, punk to acoustic, whilst still retaining a lot of depth as well as breadth. In addition there were smashing cooking and yoga workshops, as well as local craft stalls and foodie trucks. Let’s hope the Boileroom will celebrate their birthday in style like this every year from now on. The independent venue has a lot to celebrate for.
This Always the Sun article was written by Fina Charleson Photo credit : Gregory De Wode – www.gregorydewode.com (Mystery Jets) and hollieshepherdphotography.weebly.com (The Big Moon and The Amazons)