Village Green is Metal’s large-scale music and arts festival which takes place in Chalkwell Park, Southend on Sea every year.
In 2014, around 22,000 people enjoyed 10 hours of entertainment across 11 stages of music, literature, cabaret, dance, theatre and film at Village Green 2014. The sun shone and the atmosphere was fantastic. Full programme here.
Among the 22,000 were:
1000’s of under 11s enjoying the mechanical, fire breathing dragon- the smallest nightclub in the world, the Miniscule of Sound, the Insect Circus and loads more attractions on site.
1000’s of teenagers gathered at the new Youth Village stage – designed and curated by Southend school pupils it boasted a packed programme that kept our younger festival goers entertained all day until 8pm.
600 arts, crafts, vintage and food traders.
900 artists performing on 11 stages
100 production crew
With something on site for all ages – families were kept entertained all day.
A really great day!
The fantastic line up of artists and musicians included Beth Orton, Eddi Reader (Fairground Attraction); Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip; New York ska band, The Slackers; from London Man Like Me; Youth Club, Shlomo; Danny and the Champions of the Worlds; Kathryn Williams; Eight Rounds Rapid; and hot tips to go global in the very near future, The Hosts!
Alongside, we had an exciting exchange with four visual artists from Shanghai; a wide range of comedy, cabaret, live art, literature, film and a whole host of extraordinary outdoor arts, installations, workshops and performances.
The Echo’s review (16 July).
Carya Gish blog post about the Dragnet stage.
A short history of Village Green
Following Metal’s arrival in Southend, in 2007, we discovered a vibrant arts scene with an abundance of artists, photographers, musicians and other creatives. There was a huge amount of interesting things going on but in relative isolation to each other. There seemed to be little or no awareness of the scope of others activities going on.
Our solution was to create a festival that could be an annual showcase of the cultural talents of Southend – that could act as a unifier for the artists involved – and that would raise the visibility of all of our activities by pooling resources to create one great day of arts and music.
We used the well-loved and well-used Chalkwell Park as the urban equivalent of a traditional Village Green and called the event by that name to signify the intent behind the atmosphere we wanted to create – a family friendly, creative day that the whole town turned out to take part in.
In the first year (2008) the event attracted an audience of 8000 and linked into the national Cultural Olympiad celebrations. It was awarded one of the first London 2012 Inspire Marks. By 2013, audience numbers had reached 31,500 with more than 500 artists from Southend, the UK and overseas – and over 80 Southend community groups – taking part. Audiences travel to Southend from all over the south east region.
The key to the success of Village Green has been its cultural mix. The partnerships we’ve formed have enabled us to succeed in including great music, literature, theatre and cabaret alongside some fiercely experimental and unusal artworks whilst creating a friendly and inclusive family and community atmosphere.
As curators, we have deliberately ensured that we include great art that appeals to all ages. Acts over the years have included: Shlomo, the beat boxer, with his vocal orchestra, renowned Indian percussionist Kuljit Bhama, Billy Bragg and his Big Busk, Wilko Johnson and Phill Jupitus singing with The Blockheads, alongside knitting projects and the creation of the Worlds Longest Line of Bunting, vintage tea dance, arts & crafts, film, spoken word, poetry bingo, experimental digital arts, the Paper Cinema, the Royal Opera House, Ballet Black, puppetry, cabaret, street theatre, amateur theatre, a young talent stage, mad-cap games and much more.
It is now a much loved and anticipated annual event on Southend’s cultural calendar.
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