See Sweet Billy Pilgrim and Ed Harcourt at Free Village Green Festival This Weekend

Village Green banner

Life is busy, right? What with the need to prevent bosses and clients banging at the door with pitchforks and flaming torches with the day job, keeping my wife and kids entertained with brilliant jokes, silly walks and bad singing, the ever growing number of DIY tasks that loom like an iceberg in the mid distance, and a growing need to express myself with the barbecue (butterflied leg of lamb at the weekend, spicy chicken thighs yesterday: check. me. out.) there are certain things that can fall by the wayside. Getting comparative quotes for pet insurance. Booking the car in for a service at least once every other year. Coming up with better jokes in my blog.

One thing that I am not great at is planning ahead. My home town of Leigh on Sea has some great events that, like Christmas, crop up every year yet continually catch me by surprise. There’s the Fishing Festival. The Folk Festival. The Art Trail. The Regatta. Most of all, there’s the music festival in Chalkwell Park called Village Green. It’s just over a mile away. It’s (amazingly) free. They have some great bands on, and the sun always shines. People come from miles around.

Wilko Johnson played last year (I arrived late and missed him) and this year highlights of the bill include Sam Duckworth from Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, excellent singer songwriter Ed Harcourt who I last saw playing songs from Beck’s Songreader album, and ERTAS favourite Sweet Billy Pilgrim, who – fresh from a Glastonbury appearance with Duckworth – are hauling their gear from Aylesbury and North London for their Pilgrim-age to Essex (see what I did there?). What’s more, local (internet) radio station Ship Full of Bombs and NME photographer Dean Chalkley are among those DJ-ing through the day.

Organised by Metal, an arts charity with trustees including Sir Ian McKellen and music writer Paul Morley, Village Green is clearly one of the highlights of the local calendar.

Which is why I booked my daughter’s 5th birthday party on the same afternoon…

Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

So whilst the Essex masses will be knee deep in festival cider, sun and good tunes, I will be knee deep in jelly and ice cream making sure my daughter has a special birthday. Ah well: sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

For the rest of you, who may not have such birthday constraints during Sam, Ed and Sweet Billy Pilgrim’s (doubtless) genius sets, (and not forgetting dozens of other acts on the multitude of other stages) here’s some more information on the festival:

SATURDAY 13 JULY 2013. 11AM – 9PM

Chalkwell Park. Southend on Sea. SS0 8NBMetal’s popular music and arts festival Village Green returns with an exciting, eclectic line up of live music, cabaret, spoken word, comedy, street theatre, arts and crafts and much more…

Follow Metal on facebook and twitter for last minute changes to the programme, surprise guests announcements and to share your photos and experience from Village Green.

Download the Village Green MAP here.

Download the PROGRAMME with the line up here.


Every year, months of effort and planning goes into the creation and running of Village Green.

Fully funded through the fundraising efforts of the charity Metal, for the last 5 years the arts organisation has managed to provide the event at no charge to visitors. In order to keep it this way and ensure Village Green remains a regular date on the Southend on Sea cultural calendar for years to come, this year Metal is asking Festival goers for a small donation to its running cost. Just £3 will ensure they ‘keep it free’ in 2014.

It’s easy and quick to donate, just text VGFR33 £3 to 70070.

Your donation will mean Metal will continue to be able to host Village Green; an outstanding day out for all ages. Every £1 donated for 2014 will be matched by Arts Council England through a one-off Catalyst grant awarded to Metal.


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