Chilfest brought the sunshine on a rainy day for music lovers with a red-hot lineup that defied the elements.

Despite the unseasonably cold and wet weather, the Chilfest faithful donned their raincoats over their 80s leggings, and partied on, giving a warm welcome to acts from the 80s, 90s and noughties.

The England football team also brought some added excitement, with the big Euros game being screened halfway down the Tring field, with the victory bringing loud cheers amidst the music.

Headlining this year’s Chilfest was Soft Cell legend Marc Almond who brought his theatrical showmanship to a set jam packed with old and new hits.

From his recent single Gone with Wind (which the audience could identify with!), to the much-loved Gene Pitney collaboration, Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart, Marc got the audience dancing and singing along.

The number one best seller Tainted Love, as always went down a treat, as did Say Hello, Wave Goodbye which had the audience waving their inflatable pink flamingos, in what has become a Marc Almond festival tradition. He seemed on great form, bantering with the crowd and his band throughout, claiming it was “past his bedtime” and would be the last time he did a gig so late.

He finished his set with a crowd-pleasing T-Rex medley, bringing the Chilfest party to a satisfying crescendo.
The Chilfest weekend had started on the Friday night with an array of tribute bands from The Smiths Utd, Rogue Minogue, and I’m Every Whitney to Noasis, Badness, and Rule The World.

This vast range of musical genres was also catered for on the Saturday with a mixture of pop, ska, dance and indie, something for everyone in the audience.

Opened by Chilfactor talent winners The Very Lazy Sundays, the festival was blessed with some of the 80s greats including Nik Kershaw who performed hits including Wouldn’t It Be Good and The Riddle, before shooting off up north to play at another festival.

Crowd favourites Go West brought a sunshine set, despite a torrential downpour of hailstones and also having to contend with the England football quarter final being played out further down the field.

But true to the lyrics of We Close Our Eyes (we never lose a game), it must have been a lucky omen for the England team on this occasion. Note to Gareth Southgate: maybe Go West should play live at each tournament!

Other big hits included King of Wishful Thinking and Call Me, which always spark the crowd into a giant singalong.

Heaven 17, another class 80s act, were really on form at this gig, dressed to impress with music and attitude to match. They looked like a band truly enjoying every moment on stage, which spread to the audience who joined them in full party mode.

Crushed By The Wheels of Industry, Penthouse and Pavement and of course, the classic Temptation were brilliantly executed. A big shout out must go to singers Kelly and Rachel whose vocals are incredible.

Heaven 17’s cover of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance is always a crowd pleaser and really suits Glenn Gregory’s vocals.

It was a great but poignant set by The Selecter, whose ska-tastic classics such as On My Radio and Too Much Pressure/Pressure Drop got the audience skanking. It was one of the first gigs since the passing of much-loved bandmember Gaps, who sadly died last month. Speaking to lead singer Pauline Black backstage, she said it had been difficult to carry on without her right-hand man beside her but it was what Gaps would have wanted, and important to carry on his legacy.

Heralding the club vibe of the 90s was Baby D whose dynamite song Let Me Be Your Fantasy ignited memories of clubbing days for the Chilfest crowd, with lead singer Dee’s husband, Phil Fearon of 80s band Galaxy, watching on. What a voice and what a song.

Note to Chilfest, it would be great to see Phil Fearon and Galaxy performing all those great 80s hits one year!

Indie band The Farm brought their Liverpudlian warmth to Hertfordshire with as always, a friendly rapport with the crowd and a string of anthemic hits including Groovy Train and All Together Now, along with a fantastic new single that already sounds like a classic – Let The Music (Take Control).

East 17, with original member Terry Coldwell, made their Chilfest debut with an all singing, dancing and acrobatic spectacle, which included hits like Steam, It’s Alright, House of Love, Around the World and If You Ever. Joking with the crowd that it wasn’t cold enough for their iconic white coats, they launched into Christmas classic Stay Another Day to the delight of the audience.

Quintessential British pop favourites Scouting for Girls brought a contemporary vibe to the Chilfest audience. Their music has a rare quality of bringing a classic feel to fresh and modern hits.

They really had the audience on side, as they joined in with tracks including Posh Girls, James Bond, She’s So Lovely and HeartBeat.

A great moment on stage was when lead singer Roy got the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to his childhood friend and drummer bandmate Peter, before he was presented with a birthday cake and a present he wasn’t expecting – a custard pie in the face!

This year’s Chilfest proved to be a hit from start to finish, with an impressive line-up that proves that great British music will always get people rocking and partying, whatever the weather. Can’t wait for next year!