ABC emerge from ‘mists of time’ at Guilfest

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Hear those tunes and you’ll be straight back to the early 80s. That’s the great power that music wields.

Martin Fry is delighted to be heading for this year’s GuilFest with ABC, a band that seems to sum up so much of that decade.

“ABC emerged from the mists of time at the beginning of the 80s”, Martin laughs. “I think since then the 80s have become a bit of a Disneyland for people in this country. It used to be just another decade, but now it is a place where people like to go!”

The point is that it was fun and it was flamboyant: “There is a lot of nostalgia even now for the food and for the movies from that time, particularly in the past five years or so.”

And for the music, the nostalgia is even stronger.

“It’s an escapism really, back to a time of big shoulder pads and big hair. I think it represents a bit of a devil-may-care attitude. It was a very original time. There was a freedom that a lot of people feel nostalgic for.”

And it was a time of ambitions. As Martin says, his generation – bands such as Spandau Ballet and Depeche Mode, not to mention ABC themselves – were bands with wide horizons: “We were all internationalists. We all wanted to take music further than it had ever been before.”

It helped that ABC took shape in Sheffield: “And to this day Sheffield is still a brilliant homeland for music. It was a great place because no one stumbled into town. Very few A&R men turned up, and there was a brilliant music scene. That meant that you could develop away from their eyes. We had a real conception when we wanted to make our first album, and it was very audacious really. We were just four or five guys on the dole.”

GuilFest – the award-winning family festival - celebrates its 21st anniversary from July 13-15 ABC are among those performing on the first day, alongside Jools Holland with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, The Straits, The Doors Alive, The South, and cult punk band Buzzcocks.

Tickets prices range from £35-£135, with under-12s going completely free (as long as they are accompanied by an adult) and reduced fares for under-16s. Tickets are available from www.guilfest.co.uk.