With a thousand music and performing arts festivals reportedly taking place in the U.K. every year you would be forgiven if the annual bash at Chalkwell Park, within touching distance of Southend-on-Sea, had passed you by.
But this omission would be a shame, because Chalkwell’s Village Green, celebrating its tenth year, is a hub of the local creative community, and has been granted its own unique place in the festival circuit.
Larger festivals like Glastonbury give visitors a taste of what it’s like to live in utopia – a chance to go away for a few days with like minded people and have tremendous fun. But what about the one day festivals like Village Green?
What, specifically, has The Village Green Festival ever given us in return for our twenty quid?
I mean, there’s the headline bands – Busted and Fun Lovin’ Criminals. They did give us that, that’s true.
It’s a family festival, and FLC’s Huey did make a half-hearted attempt to tone down his language in front of the kids, but this brave effort only lasted as long as his patience at seeing the crowd more enthralled by an inflatable watermelon than his song about saving the environment.
Then there’s the first class DJ-led vibes at the main stage area from local favourites Urban Allstars and Middle Aged Spread (the latter of whose bi-monthly events sell out faster than Glastonbury)…
I’ll grant you the headline acts and the DJ-vibes are two things that the Village Green Festival has done.
And the support of local acts. A proliferation of stages and tents around the cricket pitch (this is a very Victorian park) including the Idea 13 stage, provide a platform for newer sounds.
Obviously the support of local acts. I mean, the support of the local musical community goes without saying, doesn’t it? But apart from the headliners, the DJ vibes and the local support….
Well, there’s a special area for very tiny kids….
There’s a stage for local theatre groups to perform…
The stunt display…
The foxy art displays…
The Decca 90 exhibition…
There’s the festival the day before where four thousand children attend for free to see performers do their thing….
The silent disco…
Yeah, yeah. All right. Fair enough.
There’s a place where you can get your nails done by a trans person. Can you think of a better way to break down barriers than to talk to people? It certainly beats anonymously hammering abuse on a keyboard.
Yeah. Yeah, that’s something we’d really miss, if we didn’t have The Village Green’s Grrrrlzine area.
All right, but apart from the headline acts, the DJ Vibes, support of local acts, areas for kids, the Decca exhibition, the stunt display, the artwork, a free day out for the schools, the silent disco and talking to trans people while getting your nails done…what has the Village Green ever done for us?
Well, there was also the mid afternoon main stage set of Asylums, a power pop / art rock band from Southend, who have released two albums on their own Cool Things Records label, a label which supports a number of other bands in the area.
They’re a great band – listen for yourself here:
They are a force of nature live, led by the effervescent Luke Branch, and ably supported by the facial/body contortions of Jazz Miel on lead guitar.
Has The Village Green Festival brought peace, like the Romans did? Not if Asylums have anything to do with it…