I'm by no means a festival veteran, but with an attended list comfortably in double figures I certainly know that no matter how badly cooked the burger is it won't kill you, and that it is possible to find the toilet from several hundred metres away in the dark using just your sense of smell.

Although I've been to numerous outdoor music events, they're usually at the same small group of venues year after year. There are definite advantages to this, like knowing where the pub/cafe just off site is that will sell you reasonably priced food and let you have a poo in luxury otherwise known as not getting your feet wet. However you can't beat the journey into the unknown: going to a festival you've never been to before.

Guilfest has a reputation for being very chilled out, and that it certainly is. There is a relaxed, family orientated atmosphere which is unlike most other festivals. Kids that come up to your kneecaps wander freely round the campsite and there isn't a hint of aggression in the air at any point. For those who've been to Download, Reading or Leeds, a trip to Guilfest is a much different experience. At night the campsite is so quiet it's almost off putting. At most other big events the place is still very much alive at four in the morning. Here, other than a drunk bloke wandering around shouting "Bollocks!" at the top of his voice at around 3 AM on Saturday night, the dark hours passed extraordinarily peacefully.

Guilfest is a festival where the non festival goer can fit in without standing out like a homeless man at a dinner dance. Families bring all kinds of home comforts along with them, special mention must go to the group who had a table and chairs outside their tent with a vase of flowers on it. If you took that anywhere else it would be trashed in seconds!

The music part of the weekend is a strange mix, with some real full on metal acts appearing in one tent, random dance in another, and as you might imagine by the fact it's sponsored by Radio 2, music for the middle aged tends to dominate the Main Stage.

A theme with many of the star attractions this year was that there were a lot of nostalgia acts and two hit wonder bands. Most people would know at least one song by the majority of the Main Stage performers but all too often unless you were a real die-hard, a lot of the time the gaps in between the crowd pleasers was full of stuff you'd never heard before, even for headliners!

A-Ha for one were mind crushingly dull as they decided to leave their three famous hits to the very end, and nearly didn't play 'Sun Always Shines on TV' as they'd gone past the curfew. Other headliners like Billy Idol and Waterboys may well have had similar headaches, knowing that many watching them wer there for one or two songs only.

It wasn't all frustration though as Embrace rose to the challenge of their first ever main stage headline spot in their ten-year career and pulled a typically strong set out of the bag. They rounded off day 1, which had easily the best line-up across the three days for the Radio 2 stage.

Nislopi opened the day, which started at 5 PM to allow for people to do a full days work, another indicator of the kind of market this festival is pitched at. They weren't exactly stunning, and were followed by Morning Runner and the Wonderstuff, both of whom were very entertaining.

One of the real highpoints of the whole weekend was right in the middle of day 1. It's unlikely we'll see the Lightning Seeds on the road again after this summer, and they gave all their anthems one more blast, even 'Football's Coming Home' with a slight lyric change to acknowledge that it's now Forty years since England's greatest footballing triumph.

The rest of the Radio 2 stage line-up this weekend had occasional flashes of brilliance, especially in the case of Kosheen, but was largely pitched at parents. Acts included Gary Numan, Donavon, Sparks and most oddly Sophie B Hawkins who to my knowledge hasn't had any hits in the UK for a decade, although I'm happy to stand corrected on that point.

Those who sort to seek out interesting acts on smaller stages would be rewarded for their curiosity. Due to a collarbone breaking incident Inme had to pull out of their headline slot in the Rock Sound Cave on Saturday night. A bit of set extending throughout the day left the excellent 65Daysofstatic in the position of headliners and they were more than worthy of such a title.

Other stand out performances on that stage included Therapy, Mohair, Breed 77, Winnebago Deal and the Hedrons.

At times for some of the rock acts Guilfest appears to be a tricky gig, with some bands having to make do with a crowd that just sits on the grass and looks at them.

"Come on you fucking hippies, dance like it's gonna save the whale!" was the way Bring Me the Horizon attempted to negotiate this problem.

If you really fancied seeking out something you'd never heard of before there were more than enough opportunities to do so, as Guilfest has a total of seven stages, many catering for local bands. A random selection of interesting names I may never come across again included a techno outfit called Ms Tyson and a bunch of kids called Neclar who had a very entertaining crowd made up of their school mates learning how to mosh.

As well as attracting families and people of all ages, Guilfest like any other festival has a great ability to draw in the wierdos. There were an alarming amount of blokes who seemed to have borrowed clothes from female friends. Take for example exhibit 1, man wandering about in dress with parasol and talking into a banana as if it were a mobile phone. Then there's exhibit 2, man with long hair and biers, wearing biker boots and dress complete with fairy wings attached.

The range of things on offer is completed by a comedy tent, free heeling tent, kids zone and countless stalls selling all manner of crap which at the time can seem like a great bargain.

If you plan to use Guilfest as a gentle introduction to the festival phenomenon, may I suggest the next stage up might be V or the Isle of Wight, before maybe graduating to Glastonbury or The Carling Weekend in a couple of years time.

If you're a harden festival regular then Guilfest makes for a very nice change. Food and beer are just as expensive, but the variety of feeding options can leave the indecisive person feeling somewhat dazzled. The toilet experience is very unusual as not only are they clean and don't ming for miles around, but it's not uncommon to find toilet paper being regularly topped up, oh and nobody is standing by on the last night ready to burn the things to the ground!

In a time when the festival market is in danger of passing saturation point, it is important for events such as Guilfest to make sure they're offering something fresh to the party. The friendly, relaxed atmosphere and variety of bands you really wouldn't imagine could be playing in the same field over a weekend means that there's every reason for Guilfest to hold it's own. With around twenty four thousand visitors each day this year, making it the biggest ever in terms of attendance, there's no reason why Guilfest can't grow stronger over the next few years and become one of the many corner stones of the summer.