Review: GUEST Viewfield Lane Festival, 16/09

The Viewfield Lane Festival is an annual eco-festival hosted by the Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team’s (GUEST), with the aim to provide an insight into the University’s diverse range of environmentally-focused societies. You get the chance to meet everyone from the Beekeeping Society to the Student Housing Co-op, as well as take part in workshops and learn about the role GUEST plays in campaigning for sustainability on campus.

That being said, it’s also the perfect opportunity to get a taste of what Glasgow’s local music scene has to offer. This year, GUEST chose to host the festival in the cloisters of the University’s main building. Not only does this offer a particularly opulent backdrop for the various clubs and societies in attendance; it also provides a pretty unbeatable stage for the local bands and musicians set to play.

Avocet kick off the festival with their hypnotic, chilled-out folk. Once the harp comes out, it’s pretty hard not to be mesmerised by this Glasgow-based three-piece, the calming sounds echoing through the beautiful, albeit quite chilly, cloisters. Tchai Ovna regulars Flying Penguins, who join us back in Scotland after a tour in New York this summer, follow on with their relaxed indie folk, providing the perfect accompaniment to the autumnal vibes seeping in from the main building’s quads and the browning trees of Kelvingrove Park.

Up next is Josephine Sillars + The Manic Pixie Dream Girls, whose politically-infused pop could be best enjoyed from the mismatched chairs and cushions scattered around the festival. The relaxed and intimate setting make it easy to capture not only Sillars’ skill as a musician, but also her powerful and poetic lyrics. Following on from this, the penultimate band, DopeSickFly, bring their uniquely soulful yet upbeat sound to the University, fusing rock, jazz, and a good dose of funk. Their sound radiates easily throughout the cloisters and beyond, turning the heads of passing students, staff and tourists alike.

The final act of the day is composer and musician Blair Coron. His captivating classical piano pieces are speckled with folk and electronic elements, forming a truly distinctive and ambient sound that, combined with the beauty of the main building’s magnificent architecture, creates an atmosphere that can only be described as magical.

[Katie Fannin – @katfnan]

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