For one weekend in the year, the picturesque landscape of Robins Cook Farm in Surrey is transformed into one of the most happening, upcoming, festivals in the UK at the moment - Redfest. Providing a wide range of genres, they tiny festival brings together hundreds of music lovers all with the same fiery passion for their musical heroes. 2012 saw the introduction of new features such as a cocktail “bus”, oxygen bar and more. 2012 was going to be a big one.
The festival was just getting into full swing by late afternoon. We Caught The Castle taking to the Gozbie Introducing stage. The female fronted band played an explosive set to a more than merry crowd. Singer Hollie’s powerful voice boosted the band through the set. The obvious highlight of their set was a phenomenal cover of Jessie J’s Do It Like A Dude; they really made it their own. What we love about We Caught The Castle is the passion they put into their set, small bands always give it so much more.
Arrogance, the exact opposite of Mallory Knox; a band so incredible but so unaware of their mind-blowing talent. Frontman Mikey Chapman so humbled by the crowd response he looked as though he might shed a tear. Mallory Knox are going from strength to strength at the moment, with an album out at the end of the year and an acoustic edition of their EP Pilot to mark its year anniversary. The Cambridge boys are keen to prove they’re as good as the rest in fact it’s questionable why they’re always so far down the line up, given that they have yet again demonstrated that they’re one of the most talented and passionate bands in the UK.
Young Guns commanded absolute audience participation. Gustav’s charisma on stage was somewhat infections, despite his voice occasionally sounding sore and strained, as even some of the more reluctant Redfesters got jumping up and down. A set comprised of mostly new material please eager Young Guns fans.
Meanwhile, Shadows Chasing Ghosts played to an appallingly small crowd. A bunch of ludicrously drunk teenagers up for nothing more than a mosh. The band put their heart and soul into their set, cranking up the violence, front man Trey almost flipped over the barrier with enthusiasm. Undisturbed by the crowd, the lads gave a brutal set. The sun set on RedfestÂ Friday to an ecstatic crowd.
Once the sun had disappeared behind Redhill theÂ glow-sticks came out as everyone prepared for Modestep followed by a night of heavy raving. The entire festival turned out to witness Modestep round off the evening. Everyone got involved, moshing, skanking or otherwise. Their set was not boastful or egotistical, but cool and laid-back – whilst being completely intense at the same time. No one could put into words quite how good Modestep were, the atmosphere spoke for itself as the crowd moved in waves. The lads knew it was their job to bring a tight set that united their crowd. Setting up keen Redfesters for an evening of raving, and the biggest hangover of 2012.
Saturday morning saw the sun come up as hundreds of hungover Redfesters woke up for their second day of carnage. The return of good weather allowed everyone to dry out from the day before and promised a good day ahead.
Natives stared their set a little late, turning up in matching blue shirts… We’re not sure if they planned that. Probably still hanging a little, the moderate crowd weren’t moving as much as singer Jim seemed to hope for. Nevertheless he continued to please for more movement. One or two of the band didn’t really look like they wanted to be there, so you can’t really blame the unmotivated audience. The performance was technically spot on, but there was very little heart in it.
Seven pm of the second day was when the real heavyweights began to roll in. Sonic Boom Six were as lively and upbeat as the name might suggest. Both the band and the crowd gave as much as they had and as the drinks went down the crowd got up. Getting insanely rowdy to the entire set, which featured some classic Sonic Boom Six, a few new bits, as well as numerous borrowed song snippets which only made everyone feel more at home and jump around more.
For the first time in a long time. Deaf Havana played a set which both the band and the crowd seemed to really enjoy. It’s taken well over a year but they’ve finally go their bite back. James has now got it in him to lead the band through a whole set, giving it his all, rather than wilting halfway through and relying so heavily on Matt. Wittily kicking the set off “hello, we’re drilling now!” – The text form the charity banner behind him. Thankfully, Deaf Havana have finally dropped Friends Like These from their live set, which can only have been a massive hurdle, but it did so much good. We’re nothing but impressed with how the boys have pulled it together, despite the fact that cries for an encore were not met.
Kids In Glass Houses are a privilege to see live, confident but not boastful, front man Aled pulling out all the stops, the only man brave enough to try and scale the scaffolds at the side of the stage. The crowd was surprisingly large, at least twice that which Modestep had seen the previous day. Even in the pitch black, motion and participation could be seen and heard. The atmosphere was something electric. Kids In Glass Houses are one of the few bands whose live set is a million times more powerful than their recorded material; it would’ve been near impossible not to enjoy their set.
Sunday morning, the day of fancy dress, high spirits remained undisturbed by the putrid smell of the floor in the main area, made worse by the sweltering heat.
Straight Lines played to a very small crowd of very tired people. But that didn’t distract from their set. They’d travelled a long was to play at Redfest and seemed intent to put their set up there with the headliners. They didn’t disappoint, they only went and pulled off a conga line didn’t they?
Yearbook played to a surprisingly full tent given that the end of their set should’ve clashed with the beginning of Don Broco’s. The small town lads bring a real chirpy vibe, perfect for a chilled out Sunday.
Boners for Broco! Is what actually happened as one or two fans got a little over excited. As ever the lads commanded the stage, creating arguably the biggest circle pit that Redfest has ever seen, not to mention countless walls of death and even a couple of cheeky boob flashes from the female audience. We were a little miffed when Si’s mic wasn’t turned up properly, because if he sings like he play guitar we’d have been in for a treat.
The Skints kicked off their set to a somewhat pitiful crowd. But that soon changed as everyone flooded to main stage for their Sunday ska fix. Josh, Jamie and Marcia’s voices harmonised perfectly, as always. And of course the band played a tight set, including all of The Skints classics as well as their Katy B cover and one or two newer songs. You’re never too hungover for a good skank, so the audience were more than happy to get down to one of the best bands out of East London.
Sadly, for reasons beyond our control, the festival had to end there for us. Main stage was yet to see Missing Andy and Foreign Beggars, but we have it on good authority that both were amazing. This year Redfest’s organisers had aimed to do a little more, be a little better – which they certainly did.
Written and Reviewed by Callum Cornwell
Published on 23 August 2012 by callum-jack93