Reeds Road, Tilford, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 2DL (Map here)
The origins of WEYFEST date back to 1988, and the short-lived initiative instigated by the unlikely alliance of Mick Jagger and the UK government that was "National Music Day"
Local musicians Colin Webb and Pete Morrison took up the challenge and held the first charity gig at The Cricketers in Farnham.
Although the 'National Music Day' fizzled out after the first year, Colin and friends continued to organize annual free entry charity gigs in various pub venues in the Farnham area, featuring local bands who all gave their time and talent for free.
In 2004 Colin asked Dave Rees, editor of "A New Day" magazine and MD of the offshoot Farnborough based company A New Day Records to get involved, along with his associate Keith Burchett. Initially their role was to supply top quality bands both local and from further afield, but in subsequent years they have become fully active members of the Weyfest organisation.
The following year the gig, now christened WEYFEST, took the first step towards expansion, with a host of quality bands such as Banbury favourites Spank The Monkey and Freeway Jam, Hastings folk-rockers The Tabs, local legend Jackie Lynton, and well known names such as Mike Sanchez and Dr Feelgood.
In 2007 the addition to the team of creative wizard Ali Edwards and fellow musician and business development expert Richie Ellmer, and the subsequent creation of a registered company Weyfest Ltd, moved WEYFEST away from the early origins of pub gigs and into the uniquely wonderful setting of The Rural Life Centre in Tilford.
The unusual yet ideal festival setting was an immediate hit with the punters, as was the adventurous line-up which featured the likes of the godfathers of world music Osibisa, veteran rocker Steve Gibbons, The Nashville Teens, King Earl Boogie Band, Fairport Convention's Ric Sanders, alongside some fine local bands and up-and-coming bands from all over the UK.
The following year the Weyfest team pushed the boat out even further, with internationally famous headliners Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel and Dave Edmunds' Rockpile, with more big guns in support like The Pirates, John Otway, The Beat, The Wildcards etc. Musically the event was a spectacular success, even though Weyfest fell foul of the worst weather in living memory. It was a remarkable achievement just to keep the gig on track as other festivals up and down the country were forced to cancel. Despite the atrocious weather, the brave souls who managed to attend were unanimous in their praise of the event, and Weyfest 2008 was short-listed for Best Family Event by the National Festival Awards committee.
Since then Weyfest has gone from strength to strength, with a growing reputation both nationally and internationally sufficient to attract the likes of Seth Lakeman, The Stranglers and rock giants Jethro Tull.
So what is it that has captured the imagination of festival goers from across the world, particularly at a time when music festivals in particular are feeling the bite of the economic downturn?
Primarily of course, it's the music. All the artists are hand-picked for quality, be they world superstars or up and coming unsigned bands. No fillers, No bands there just to make some noise. The quality of the music, from the opening bands to the headliners, has always been appreciated by the delighted punters who go away determined to return next year, with more friends each time.
Just as important though is the overall feel of the festival. The friendly atmosphere, friendly staff, smiling security! Weyfest is first and foremost a family festival, and each year more is done to cater for children (and young-at-heart adults), with an ever expanding Kids Zone, more kids' events, fascinating workshops, and always plenty of Daleks and Stormtroopers mingling with the audience.
The venue itself is also a major reason for the increasing popularity. The Rural Life Centre is a working museum, littered with artefacts of bygone country life, and craft displays throughout the venue. And is there another festival in the world with a working light railway, running both steam and diesel trains around the perimeter of the venue? And because the venue is so compact everything is within easy reach. No trudging for miles from the car park or campsite, no long walks between stages. And, most importantly, no major journey to reach the excellent bars!
In a nutshell - Weyfest is more like a mini-holiday than a music festival. A stress-free weekend in the country, with the finest music to be had at any festival, plenty to occupy the kids, a great selection of food from the in-house café and the plentiful food stalls, a wonderful fully stocked bar, a fascinating museum, and the friendliest staff and punters you will ever encounter at a festival.
We look forward to greeting you this year - and every year.