I’ll admit, before this weekend I had never heard of Redfest before. However, this tiny festival in Robin’s Cook Farm, Redhill, Surrey should not be overlooked. It may be small but it can definitely pack a punch. This year’s lineup included headliners, Dry The River, Bastille, Southampton boys Bury Tomorrow and Bleed From Within. Despite its size, Redfest manages to cater to a variety of different musical needs. From the acoustic to the hardcore there is definitely something for everyone.
The music kicked off on The Blackstar Amplification stage with Iris. Despite a dismally small crowd they soldiered on to provide an energetic performance. Maybe it was the heat, or perhaps it was just too early but unfortunately they failed to grab my attention. However they were swiftly followed by Park Bench Society. As soon as these guys stepped on stage I was completely shocked at just how young they were. The singer confessed he was a mere 17 years of age suddenly making me feel very old. They were clearly having the time of their lives and their enthusiasm was infectious. Already equipped with a small army of teenage girls and a sound that is reminiscient of Dog is Dead and Two Door Cinema Club I’m sure these boys will go from strength to strength.
The Boileroom Stage held the most surprises for me. The highlight of Friday was a set by acoustic artist Martha Paton. Her sweet vocals were completely engaging and she had such a lovely stage presence that it was almost impossible not to enjoy her set.
Brother and Bones were also an act that completely blew me away. The crowd were captivated from the moment Brother and Bones walked on. Richard’s vocals were as powerful as ever. The guys appeared genuinely shocked at the crowd’s reaction. I urge you all to keep an eye
Another pleasant surprise was the set by Dog is Dead. They have matured considerably since I last saw them play in Brighton late last year. Announcing they were hoping to get back in the studio soon Dog is Dead appear to be going from strength to strength.
However, the main event of the day was Dry The River. They performed a stellar set, despite a brief moment where it all seemed a bit touch and go when Matt broke his guitar. Narrowly avoiding disaster. Dry The River performed an uplifting set that was the perfect backdrop to a beautiful summer evening.
Saturday at Redfest was noticeably busier than the Friday. The one band on everyone’s lips was Bastille. Throughout the day people were singing snippets of their various hits, the most prevalent being the ‘eh eh oh eh oh’ of Pompeii.
Bastille also made a guest appearance during To Kill A King’s set to join in with ‘Choices’ much to the crowd’s delight. This was the first time I managed to see To Kill A King live. Ralph’s voice did not falter once and they were all clearly taken aback by the crowd’s reaction to their set.
Little Comets were also greeted with a warm reception. Their characteristically upbeat tracks managed to raise the crowd’s spirits despite the torrential downpour that accompanied their set. They were followed by the beautiful Lucy Rose, who as per put on an engaging set. Her voice translates so well to live performances. She played a few new tracks, explaining she’d been working on some new material for another record. Judging by her performance her new album is going to be absolutely stunning.
Then it was finally time for the main event. Bastille easily attracted the biggest crowd of the entire festival. Surprisingly the crowd managed to remain unbelievably patient while the stage was being prepared. Bastille really put the effort in for this headline set by including a string quartet, which made a wonderful addition to their set as they smashed out hit after hit. I have managed to see Bastille play live a number of times now and their headline set was by far the most polished performance I have seen and certainly justified their dramatic rise in popularity.
Judging by this weekend I sincerely hope that Redfest continues to grow in popularity. Its small and compact venue offers festival goers a more intimate festival experience, acting as a great alternative for people who can perhaps feel overwhelmed by the crowds at bigger festivals. With any luck Redfest will continue to grow and offer a wide variety of acts for festival goers for years to come.