Posts Tagged ‘Guildford Summer Festival’

Afternoon in Guildford

July 5, 2013

Lit a candle in Holy Trinity

I was going to eat at the Guildford Institute, but having trekked all the way up to the top of the High Street, I decided no, as it was a pleasant day I would eat at The Keystone, and so it was trek all the way back down again.

Lunch at The Keystone was good, but sadly the place seems to be going to the dogs.

The plan had been, lunch at Guildford Institute, then have a coffee late afternoon at Harris + Hoole, then maybe go for a walk along the River Wey. But as I was now near the river, I decided to go for a walk along the river.

My reason for going for a walk along the river apart from the fact it is a pleasant walk, was that Saturday Guildford has a river festival, part of the summer festival, and I though there would already be a gathering of boats.

I walked all the way to St Catherine’s Lock.

I decided on my return, to pop in Harris + Hoole. I had looked in at lunchtime, to find it was packed. I was not sure if it would still be open as it was gone six o’clock. The door was open. I walked in, only to be told it was closed. It was 6-20. I asked when they closed. I was told seven o’clock, but as this was their first day, they had closed at five o’clock.

Not a good start. The door clearly said seven o’clock. I was appalled. If it is your first day you stay open later, not close two hours early.

I looked in The Star Inn. They are running a Festival Fringe. I asked how was it going. They said great. I wanted to know were they interested in a running a Fringe Book Festival, as the Guildford Book Festival the last few years has been a disaster. A new director has been appointed, but looking at their sycophantic gushing tweets, not a lot has improved. Yes, they liked the idea. I will put them in touch with a few writers and poets.

I wandered to the Castle Grounds for a performance of A Walk with Alice in Looking-Glass Land. For Alice and Lewis Carroll fans an absolute must.

Guildford Craft Festival and Farmers Market

July 3, 2012
wooden ducks in a basket

wooden ducks in a basket

Guildford Craft Festival in the High Street in Guildford is part of the Guildford Summer Festival.

Today is the first Tuesday of the month, and the Guildford Craft Festival was joined by the Guildford Farmers Market.

The market stalls far outnumbered the craft stalls. On Friday, when the Guildford Craft Festival opened (the dates in the festival programme are incorrect) there was far more stalls. Whether they have given up as a bad job, or do not like the weather, I do not know. I should have asked.

On Friday there was one or two stalls worth looking at, and that was it. I would not go as far as calling it tat, but not worth spending money on either.

One stall had lovely carved wood, another wooden ducks in a basket. Not there today or if they were, I did not see.

I do not think any of the stall holders were helped by being relocated to different pitches than they had on Friday.

The farmers market used to be forced to a different day when the craft market was on. This was ludicrous as they simply lost business as everyone knows the farmers market is always the first Tuesday of the month.

This is the best time of the year for the farmers market, now and into the autumn, as plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Plus it is no fun wandering around the market in the winter when it is cold and wet.

June 2012, the wettest June since records began in 1910. The second dullest June.

July seems no exception. Today 3 July and it has been raining since the month began.

I had a choice of two venues this evening. Annoying that they clashed. Art @ Costa or Eden People at The Keystone. Assuming they were on as nothing on twitter, I ended up going to neither, as I did not fancy hanging around in the rain for a couple of hours.

Talking to friends in the Tourist Information in the Guildford House Art Gallery, I learnt of a third venue that I was not aware of. On the main road opposite the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (past Debenhams) what used to be dance studio and for a brief period a night club, a new venue has opened Bar des Arts. This evening poetry, a Spanish-Colombian quintet Muerto de Amor and rap (the thought of rap immediately put me off).

Pop Up Poetry is a group of poets and poetry lovers. All events are free. I hope that in future they arrange their night not to clash with Art @ Costa (always first Tuesday of the month, Costa, Swan Lane).

Friday at Bar des Arts Latin Caribbean evening with music and dance sounds good. But Friday night not a good night to be on the streets in Guildford. The town centre becomes a no go area of drunken thugs looking for trouble.

The website for Bar des Arts is poorly designed, light grey on dark grey background, virtually illegible. No information on forthcoming events. The pull down menu for contacts drops off the bottom of the screen.

Looking through the festival programme (obtain from Tourist Information Office) I could find nothing I fancied, though at least they do host a festival. It runs from 1 June until 1 July 2012.

One of the ‘highlights’ will be the Olympic Torch passing through Guildford, sponsored by Coca-Cola!

There is an extra farmers market on Saturday 28 July 2012. Only a few days before the next one on Tuesday 1 August 2012. They have been repeatedly told if you are to hold an extra market then make it mid-month, midway between the monthly Tuesday markets, not hold them a few days apart, but sadly no one is listening.

The highlight of the summer festival was the Ambient Picnic, a free alternative music festival. It went downhill and seems to have died. The last one at Celebrating Surrey at Loseley Park a couple of years ago was not worth the effort of attending. A crying shame as it was a very good festival.

Top Story in The Digital Mission Daily (Saturday 7 July 2012).

No 1 Top Story in The Digital Mission Daily (Monday 9 July 2012).

Celebrating Surrey Festival 2010

June 29, 2010
Celebrating Surrey Festival at Loseley Park

Celebrating Surrey Festival at Loseley Park

This was the first of this event, a county-wide initiative celebrating culture in Surrey. It was held at Loseley Park, in the grounds of an Elizabethan manor house built from stones looted from Waverley Abbey.

Loseley Park is located halfway between Compton and Guildford. Out of the way if you lack a car. I got there by walking along the River Way, along the North Downs Way, then dropping down to Losely Park. Quite a trek, but a very pleasant walk.

I was actually there for the Ambient Picnic, normally held in Shalford Park in Guildford.

The Ambient Green Picnic in Guildford was once a fantastic free festival, well worth attending. And attend they did, down from London, up from Brighton. Then the last few years has seen a sorry decline, entrance fee for what was a free festival, security fencing, over-the-top heavy-handed security, smelly burger vans, local brewery beer tent, too commercialised. Last year was an unmitigated disaster, a small fenced-off corner of Shalford Park. It lacked atmosphere. The festival had lost its way, if not its soul, necessitating a complete rethink. At least that is what should have happened

This year they occupied a small sliver on the edge of the site, and that was it. Eden People were there, but where were all the stalls? I did not think it could get any worse than last year, but sadly it had got a whole lot worse.

But it was just a small part of the Celebrating Surrey Festival. The overall impression I got was a festival organized by the local Womens Institute, though no jam. The surrey Middle Class having a day out. Nothing wrong with that, but it lacked the atmosphere of past Ambient Picnics.

Highlight of the day was in the evening Big Bands playing at two of the stages.

It was quite a mixed bag. Brass bands playing, dance and theatre, Mongolian wrestling and a Mongolian Ger. I loved the Mongolian book of calligraphy and poetry. I was reminded of Zen poetry. I liked the wood turner using a foot-powered lathe. The Chinese Loving Hut vegan food stall was very good, especially their spring rolls. They told me they have a vegetarian restaurant in Brighton, but in an area of Brighton with which I was not familiar. They were giving away free DVDs on going green. At the top of the site a labyrinth had been cut into the grass.

It was a very hot day, possibly 30C or higher. I spent most of the day in the shade of the trees at the edge of the site. It was good to be able to wander around the site barefoot all day. Water pipes around the site were welcome.

Celebrating Surrey Festival was billed as a celebration of local food and drink. I saw nothing. At the very least I would have expected to see Hunts Hill Farm who run an excellent barbecue at the Guildford Farmers Market (Guildford High Street first Tuesday of the month), Matt from The Deli in North Camp with his Hog Roast.

Loseley Park, or at least the house, is an Elizabethan Manor House built from stone looted from the ruins of Waverley Abbey. It is where the somewhat overrated and overpriced Loseley ice cream come from. It is located half way between Compton and Guildford, just south of the North Downs Way, and if you are going there on foot, that is the best way, along the North Downs Way, then drop down to Loseley Park.

Celebrating Surrey is a county-wide celebration of the best in art, music, culture, food and drink.

Celebrating Surrey Festival was part of the Guildford Summer Festival running from 18 June to 1 August 2010.

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