A Master At Work

Guilfest really comes into it's own with the variety of acts on offer. Saturday saw the stage that the previous night had rocked to the hits of Supergrass, host reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, who followed an exceptionally long performance (which I only briefly dipped into) from the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra: I do think more festivals should start their day with 'Land of Hope and Glory'.

Jimmy Cliff is somebody who, if you're not of a certain age, you know the name, but maybe couldn't list his songs. That is until you watch him for this was a set filled with a succession of reggae classics, some originally his own, others as is often the case, handed round from one act to another.

Dressed in what could best be described as pink silk pajamas, Cliff opened his set backed by an army of percussionists, with a version of 'By the Rivers of Babylon'.

This was followed by the fantastic 'You Can Get It If You Really Want' and 'Wild World', the track taken to number 1 by Maxi Priest in the late eighties.

With such a long career behind him this was only ever going to be a snapshot of what Jimmy Cliff has done, but a mighty fine one it was. The weather helped and the combination of sun and funk, Reggae and soul meant the crowd were in party mood.

At times this set had it's poignant moments, with a call to take care of the environment, as well as a strong anti war message ahead of the track 'Vietnam'.

All two quickly Cliff was announcing his final song, the massive mid nineties radio hit 'I Can See Clearly Now', which did so much to introduce him to a younger audience.

This was without question one of the highlights of the festival. If you've never checked out his back catalogue and fancy something a little different, his best of album is certain to be going cheap in a record store near you and is well worth the effort.