Orphest is the 3rd annual music festival staged by Orpheus, and not even periods of bucketing rain could dampen the enjoyment of a few hundred enthusiastic festival goers, and the bands, many of whom were clearly delighted to be back on stage for the first time in nearly 18 months! The festival launched with a powerful and energetic performance by Foshka Gero on the Barn Stage. Outside the day got off to a bright start as Orpheus Got Talent winner Rosie stepped out into the sun in front of the main stage to perform her dance routine to Callum Scotts ‘You are the reason’. Rosie delivered a moving and assured performance. Well done Rosie!

Next on stage were The B Movie Creatures who rocked the Surrey Countryside with fabulous vocals from Jamie and boy can that guy hit those notes! They heralded the summer holidays with Alice Coopers Classic ‘Schools Out for Summer’ segwaying perfectly into Pink Floyd's, 'Another Brick in the Wall'. There was a ‘Whole Lot of Love' for their rendition of the Led Zeppelin classic! 

Meanwhile on the Barn Stage The Sandilands Shanty Crew, produced an atmospheric and authentically salty performance of harmonious historic ballads and sea shanties which belied their landlocked Croydon roots. 

Next on the main stage were the Orpheus Music Majors, and their group, ‘Mixed Personalities.’ Drawn from the current crop of students majoring in music at Orpheus, they soon had the audience punching the air to their pumping renditions of Eye of the Tiger and the classic 'Come Together'. A particular highlight was DJs moving performance of his own song 'Proud to be Black', inspired by and for Black History Month and his reaction to the George Floyd case in America and subsequent global movement for racial equality and his pride of being a black man in today's society.

The students showed real character to continue when the heavens opened, and they finished their set with gusto.

Taking refuge from the rain in the barn the audience were treated to an acoustic set by Simon Denton including songs by the Beatles and a lovely song penned during the lockdown, and inspired by Captain Tom entitled ‘Yesterday is just a day away from Tomorrow’.  

As the sun peeked briefly through the clouds again the main stage returned to action with the very talented The Lost Cavalry returning to Orphest for the third time. The band are currently preparing for their third album (due for release next summer) and they gave us a fabulous set with guitar bass and drums beautifully augmented by haunting cello, squeeze box and ukelele. They sing about travel, love, loss and elephants but fittingly the heavens opened again just before they apologetically sang weather-appropriate songs about floods and dissolving in the rain!

As their set drew to a close Chris Lammin launched into an atmospheric set in the Barn in which he performed a multitude of instruments to create a rich and enthralling multilayered sound.

The high energy 'Voodoo Tweed Cult of your Mum’ provided the penultimate act on the main stage with their unique and quirky mash up of blue grass, ska and punk giving classic hits a very different sound which proved a clear hit with the audience.

An open mic set on the Barn stage saw Alumni Basil recreating moves and sounds of Michael Jackson, his sequinned Jacket and gloves sparkling as fellow students body popped and sang along in appreciation. Alumni Alex also treated the barn audience with his open mic set signing acoustic versions of Pet Shop Boy’s classics, with his perfect pitch.

The Barn set drew to a close with a stripped down performance by The Book Genesis treating us to Peter Gabriel classics, such as Sledgehammer, Sailsbury Hill, and Genesis tracks.

The day drew to a close with a phenomenal performance on the main stage by 'Jackie Moon and the Hell Yeahs’. Orpheus’s very own Jack Betteridge was superb on vocals with a relaxed and assured performance and the whole band nailed tracks like ‘Everybody wants to rule the world, by Tears for Fears, Mr Brightside by The Killers and American Girl by Tom Petty.

Of course Orphest is not just about the music, and surrounding the stage area were lots of stalls helping to keep festival goers and their kids happy and at times, dry! Special call outs must go to Nico who worked tirelessly to keep kids entertained, and of course to the many volunteers on the day manning stalls, box office and car parks. Finally thanks to the fundraising events team who pulled it all together and who, after their fourth event in two weeks, must be looking forward to a well-deserved rest!