Special Post #16: Mash & cider

when I first wrote this post it was very long, so I’ve spit it in two. You’ll get the first part now, and then come back for part two on sunday. Also, to make up for the long gap without a post last week, there will be another post tomorrow entitled “nostalgia ensues”. What can I say, I’ve got lots to say!

Guilfest is an annual festival held in Stoke Park just east of Guildford town centre. It is very much a family festival with camping facilities available. There are two main stages for bands to perform on. This year headliners were the likes of Motorhead, Brian Wilson (former Beach Boys), The Happy Mondays and Will Young.

Every year University of Surrey Stage Crew (USSU) help run the smaller stages. They provide equipment and operators. Overall about 70 stage crew helped out this year, from driving trucks to and from the union, rigging lights and speakers to helping setup bands on stage and operating lights and sound. My job as video equipment officer was pretty moot at Guilfest because there was no video. Instead I spent the weekend rigging lights on several stages, then once the festival had started, I helping with changing over bands on one of the smaller stages (Surrey Advertiser Stage). I also did the sneaky bit of light operating which was good fun because I don’t usually get to operate for bands.

We stated work about a week before the festival testing all the equipment that was going and putting it into piles according to which stage it was going to. Gibbo and I first went down to the union on Tuesday evening to help out. Tested a few cables and got the plan low-down for the week.

On Wednesday it was an 8am start to move all the kit to the smaller stages on site. We then spent the day rigging lights. I got the job of putting lights in the roof which meant using a 2-storey scaff tower, very fun. In the evening we all had Nandos in town and Gibbo showed me that if you lay a ketchup bottle flat horizontally then when you come to use it, the ketchup just falls out. Amazing! If his pulling advice is as good as his ketchup advice, we’re onto a winner! After getting back from Nandos, the cider was out and we stayed up until stupid o’clock chatting about random things.

Thursday was another 8am start. Bad times. But the thought of going up a 3-storey scaff tower soon woke me up. I spent most of the day rigging lights on stage 2, which did take the whole day. Once the sun had gone down, I helped focus some lights on the smaller stages before going home to more cider and another night of endless talking.

Friday was the first day of the festival. It didn’t start until 12pm which was enough time to finish programming the lights and checking the sound worked. What ever would we do if it didn’t work? Luckily we didn’t have to find out and our tent started showcasing bands at 3:45pm. Tonks and I we’re the primary changeover crew for the Surrey Advertiser, which I found worrying since neither of us had ever done a changeover before. Needless to say that after our first one we were 15 minutes behind schedule :S

We soon got the hang of it though, and with the help of a cancellation we were right back on track. We had to do a changeover every 45 minutes and they we’re supposed to take 15 minutes. That gave us loads of half hour chunks to wander around the festival, eat, watch bands or sit backstage and relax.

more mash & cider coming soon!