Okay, so this post is completely off topic, but hey, it’s not every day that I go to a music festival and see the fabulous Bryan Adams. Years ago a friend of mine said that in order to write, and write well, you had to experience life at all levels; physical, mental and emotional.
Well, I’d say that Magic Summer Live in Guildford on Sunday 14th July covered all the bases.
To be honest my two male companions and I started the day with a fair amount of trepidation. The organisers of Guilfest who previously ran music festivals at the same location had gone bust, and these new people appeared to have lots of restrictions, especially on what camera gear anyone could take in…and I wanted to take photos…so I ended up only taking my little point and shoot Canon S95. Then there was the weather. Yes, I live in England and we always talk about the weather. A blistering 33 degrees! It was HOT! We’re in the middle of a heatwave!
So there we are, in a sun parched field, with no shade, and eight hours to go before the main man takes to the stage. We took in loads of bottled water, but maybe we didn’t need to, because bless their cotton socks Magic Summer Live had FREE drinking water on tap at various locations around the venue and free sun-tan lotion at the medic tent if you got into trouble. You’ve got to give them credit for looking after us.
There were three stages for performers, so we wandered around taking our pick of who to listen to. First up we chose Level 42, which I’m not personally a great fan of, but David has most of their music on CD and enjoyed every moment.
Starting to get into the mood for more music we meandered over to the Surrey Sessions Stage where we thought we’d have a listen to some local talent. Oh wow, our timing was perfect and we struck gold with Charley Farley Sunday Four.
I think you’d describe their musical style as jazz swing with a spoonful of humour and lots of happy vibes all round. They were terrific. If you pop along to their website you can hear them in action, and trust me, they are well worth a listen. Charley Farley Sunday Four
By now we’d spent over five hours in the sweltering heat so sat down by the More Music Stage thinking we’d spend a quiet half an hour listening to the soul band The Real Thing. We were muttering words to each other such as, “Do you know what they sound like?” when they appeared on stage. Huh! Within seconds of them starting we were all saying, “OMG it’s the band who sang Can’t Get By Without You,” and leaping to our feet for a bit of a boogie. Isn’t the power of music amazing. One minute we’re exhausted and the next we discover hidden reserves of energy to sing along, wave our hands and grin stupidly at everyone within ten yards while mouthing, “Oh wow, you love this song too.” Yes, we did all four at once, sing, wave, grin and talk…which is quite a feat considering that two of us are tee-total and not a drop of alcohol had been consumed between us.
Okay, so now the big buzz is that we only have half an hour before Bryan Adam appears on stage in Guildford, and it’s time to break the resolution we made earlier in the day not to be silly children and push to the front on such a hot day. We didn’t push, merely strolled lazily past a few unsuspecting people who thought they could hog the ten paces ahead of them and were secure in their position. We didn’t make it to the front but were pretty close. What can I say, Bryan Adams appears on stage and the screams, cheers and whistles are deafening. The atmosphere was electric, everyone happy, everyone bonded as one huge family, singing along, loving the show.
We were treated to some of his classics and then Bryan calls out, “I’d like to invite a member of the audience up on stage to sing a duet with me.” He strums a few chords and says, “Anyone know the words to this song?” A couple of people wave their hands. It’s tricky, we’ve only had about 5 seconds of music to guess the song from. “You, you know the words?” he asks, someone nods and is called up on stage.
“I’ve never sung a duet with a man before!” Bryan says and everyone goes wild with anticipation.
“What’s your name?” Bryan asks the young man.
“Joe,” he replies.
“Where do you live?”
Hey, he’s a local guy and the crowd whoop and whistle their approval.
“What work do you do?” Bryan asks.
“I sell cameras, I work at the London Camera Exchange in Guildford.”
My two friends and I let out a spontaneous cheer. That is the shop where we buy our camera gear…we know this guy!
I can’t get my camera out of my bag and set it to video mode quick enough.
So, this is it, the video, this is Joe Strudwick, singing ‘When you’re gone,’ live at Guildford with Bryan Adams. A star is born.
Joe has since leapt to celebrity status and appeared on local radio and newspapers. I’ve given Joe a copy of my YouTube video and by return he’s pointed me towards his own photos, which are superb. He performs in a band himself and if you go through to his website at JPSImages and look at his photographs of musicians in action you’ll see how he really connects with the subject.
If you’d like to look at some more of my photographs you’ll find my portfolio at http://toniallen.zenfolio.com/