Electronic music pioneers Utah Saints are set to make a triumphant return to Solfest this year, marking a homecoming gig for one-half of the duo, Jez Willis. 

Originating from Brampton, Jez and his long-term collaborator Tim Garbutt will join the bill as the family-friendly festival looks to mark its 20th anniversary later this year. 

Utah Saints, a 90s dance phenomenon, boasts an impressive career spanning over 33 years, with 2 million tracks sold, 5 UK Top 10s, and 10 Top 40 hits.

Their upcoming appearance at Solfest will mark their seventh performance at the festival. 

"It's always a brilliant crowd and it's Cumbria, so it's a homecoming for me," Jez said. 

For Jez, who attended William Howard School, Cumbria is where the foundations were laid for a long and successful music career. 

"Brampton is where I started DJing, I had a mobile set up and used to do the village hall in Warwick Bridge. I was just playing rock records to everyone who had a motorbike, which was pretty much everyone at the time. 

"I used to have a residency above a restaurant called Citadel in Carlisle, I think it's long gone now but it taught me a lot about music. I was only 14/15 and I had to do all sorts of things such as weddings, and retirement parties in the function room. 

News and Star: Utah Saints bring in the crowd during a 2019 setUtah Saints bring in the crowd during a 2019 set (Image: Newsquest)

"I also remember I used to go and buy all my records from Carlisle's Pink Panther Records," he said. 

After moving to Leeds at around 18, Jez would go on to meet Tim, and they would go on to create a longstanding musical partnership that would transcend decades creating well-known hits such as Something Good and What Can You Do For Me.

"I was looking for a DJ to collaborate with at the time, I did the base for What Can You Do for Me and took it to Tim, and within three months we were on Top of the Pops," he said. 

News and Star: Left to right, electronic music duo Jez Willis and Tim Garbutt. Left to right, electronic music duo Jez Willis and Tim Garbutt. (Image: Supplied)

Utah Saints will be sharing the bill with iconic acts like De La Soul and The Wailers as they are set to headline the main stage on Thursday night (August 22). 

"It's been wonderful to see Solfest grow into what it is. If I still lived in Brampton, I would be there every year.

"It's the strongest line-up I've ever seen at Solfest, it's got a huge variety - there's something for everyone. 

"The organisers understand their crowd is a loyal crowd and they all think the same way in terms of music," he said. 

Located at the North Lakes Country Park in Silloth, Solfest 2024 will take place from August 22 to August 25 later this year.

Tickets and the full-line up details are available via www.solfest.co.uk/