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Samfest music festival voted 'Surrey and Hampshire's Best Day Out'

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Samfest music festival voted 'Surrey and Hampshire's Best Day Out'

Published at 3:57pm 24th July 2017.

Samfest, a music festival based in Surrey has been voted Surrey and Hampshire's Best Day Out.

After taking nominations from festival attendees, the 'family-themed' day out in Tongham was nominated in the Listener Choice Awards.

The nomination said: “The festival is run by volunteers, in memory of the event organiser’s late wife, 100% of profits go to local charities and good causes with the main beneficiary being Phyllis Tuckwell.

“The family themed festival showcases local artists and bands on 2 stages.

“The date of this year’s festival was June 24th and had an attendance of 2500 people.

“I think the members of the committee especially the EO deserve a well done and recognition!”

We spoke to co-organiser, Michael Wright about his achievement.

festival for Samfest

What inspired you to start 'Samfest'?

"Samfest was an original idea of mine and Les Oakley's, who is the chairman of Tongham Parish Council.

"The original event was going to be called Oakfest because it was going to be for a member of his family who wanted to put on a party for her 50th birthday.

"It started off as a little bit of fun and we just decided why not make this into a larger local festival.

"There was nothing going on locally like that, so it grew from there really."

samfest 3

How has it grown since it first started?

"2010 saw the first Oakfest, but we started planning it back in 2008 because we knew the scale of these things.

"At that time, Sam - my wife was a member of our committee and helped with organising it.

"Unfortunately, we found out in 2009 that Sam had Pancreatic cancer, and she passed away in April 2010 - and wasn't able to make it to our first event.

"The whole time we were sat in the hospital going through therapies and everything, she kept saying that we had to make it happen so that's what we did.

"Obviously the first event was a large success and we decided that it was fitting to rename it in her memory. 

"The hospice that cared for her and continue to care for our family are now the main beneficiaries."

samfest 2

What kind of entertainment does it involve?

"We had 3 music areas this year, we had our main stage, the other stage and also a 'you play' tent which allows people to bring their own instruments in so they feel like they're part of the festival.

"We have a huge art and crafts market and a big funfair - people on stilts, fire eaters, and lots of other entertainment.

"We basically try to look at the biggest festivals and bring it down to a really close, safe, family vibe.

samfest 5

What makes it such a great day out for all the family?

"I think it's the atmosphere which we manage to create.

"All our bands are local bands, we try and keep it that they're not all cover bands and tribute acts.

"We try to give people who are playing their own original music a platform on which to play.

"Its a really fun, family-friendly day."

samfest 1

How does it feel to be voted Surrey and Hampshire's Best Day Out?

"We're absolutely delighted, we've worked so hard."

"We always pride ourselves and we've always been commended on our levels of organisation.

"We've got a fantastic team that meet every single month. 

"To me its very personal, its in the memory of my wife and the mother of our son Charlie, but to everybody else its not quite so personal.

"They give up their free time and work really hard.

"To come away having raised the amount of money that we raised, have record numbers of people coming, and to have all the amazing feedback is superb in itself

"We're really delighted and humbled that people have voted and it really does mean the world to all of us."

This year's Samfest raised £20,200, all of which went to local charities such as Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care and other local organisations.

Michael Wright also thanks the generous sponsors that allow the event to happen.


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