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Village Green Festival Reviewed

There's a whole lot of community spirit going on in Essex

Village Green Festival is what happens when a community festival grows up into something a little bit more. With an exceptionally excellent line-up of household name headliners (if you are BBC 6 Music family that is) alongside a slew of home-grown talent there was great mix of the familiar and the new. 

Friendly crowds of all ages demonstrated a real sense of community spirit. But at the same time the event is good enough that anyone living within traveling distance should seriously consider it for future years.

The smaller stages provided a truly eclectic mix of artists hand-picked by those in the know - and if music wasn’t your thing there was a heap of other stuff to do for kids and adults alike.

Also, with with a nod to Pride, the Grrrl power movement was out in force hosting a large area and putting on some great entertainment as well as underscoring the inclusive nature of the festival.

Not everything went smoothly however, and the beautiful summer weather elicited a thirst for beer that the multitude of bars struggled before long to quench. Long queues led to some grumpy feedback on message boards, but we understand from organisers this is something they will tackle next year, so don’t let it put you off in 2018.

Around the site we were impressed with what lovely people Village Green attracts – the range of ages and the ability for guests from clearly very different backgrounds to interact and get on was a delight to see. Just exactly what festivals should be about. 

And for those seeking less boisterous music there were places like the miniscule Oak Stage and shady Jazz café to chill out at.

Nothing but Thieves continued their mission to hit the stages of as many festivals as possible this season and headlined the event. Their enthusiasm and passion for their hometown reunion gig was massively evident. It was a family affair, and with gran in the front row of the pit the boys pulled off a blinder in front of an audience who may not necessarily have known much of their material, but who instantly switched on to the excitement of the moment.

Kate Nash generated the to-be-expected complaints from a few parents who felt they had to spend half the set with their hands over their children’s ears due to the expletive-heavy performance. But that as it may be, Kate really knows how to work a festival with a back catalogue of songs that had the crowd regularly singing back to her.

Kate Nash
Kate Nash

And how can we not mention Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly? Having walked all of three streets from home to appear at the festival, Sam Duckworth is back. With 10 years worth of politically charged material that has suddenly become relevant again, expect to hear his political polemic on a festival stage near you soon.

 Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly

Amongst the other bands we saw and rated a few stand out for mention. 

The Trusted are a hot young act who played to an audience that spanned generations and won over everyone in the room with their fizz, passion, and genuine love of being on a stage (or in front of it, or flying over it).

The Trusted
The Trusted

Another happy half-hour was also spent in the pavilion watching Electric Pyramid, a four-piece, two-boy-two-girl team, who staged a fantastic display of true-to-form rock riffage and songs that stayed with you long after the band packed up and left the stage. On the same stage, and leaning heavily on the various influences that go to make up the genre known loosely as Americana, Carousel successfully trod a delicate line between country, folk, roots and blues.

We were lucky to wander in again later on to escape briefly from the sunshine outside as soul met traditional RnB and rock in a tight package which saw LJ Howard win over everyone in the room. 

And around the same time we caught Youth Club, who delighted the crowded tent next door with their ‘almost’ surprise appearance after announcing just the day before that they would be appearing and having their drum kit on stage all day…spot the secret guest in the shape of Too Many Thieves’ bassist…

Youth Club
Youth Club

Darren Jones and the World Music Band is a band name that gives away exactly what you can expect – a world music band fronted by Darren Jones. Heavy on afrobeat, for those who know their world music onions this was a fine show to behold.

Meanwhile Muertos grabbed our attention in the local cricket club, which probably doesn’t often have freakbeat or garage-psyche bands playing at its functions…but why not?

Also in the ‘why not’ pile we found a giant slab of proper old-skool riot grrrl noise in the shape of Petty Phase. With those all important melodic undertones that hold the whole thing beautifully together they played to a packed tent with crowds listening in from outside. These grrrls definitely have the magic.

Ardyn
Ardyn

Ardyn are festival regulars. The brother and sister team never fail to spread happiness wherever they play, and Village Green proved no exception – although perhaps the sound at the back of the main stage could have been a tad louder. However, when the volume goes up and the main stage gets this funky you just have to get your groove on. Primo Nelson packed their trunk of funk well above the standard luggage allowance and the crowd lapped up the vibes.  

Then we spotted a recommendation from a familiar name, and when John Kennedy gives a band a seal of approval it’s time to open your ears and check them out. Packing their set with hardcore industrial punk, Bait didn’t disappoint, and they broke through all the barriers and brought the whole tent to life.

BAIT
BAIT

On the same stage earlier in the day and with a brand new video on release Suspects make more noise than two people should physically be possible to do. They almost literally raised the roof on the Idea 13 stage and deserve to be where we leave this review. If you don’t see a lot more of them we’ll be more than surprised.

 
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Review Info

Author:
John Bownas
Added:
8th July 2017
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Village Green Festival Reviewed
Village Green
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Village Green 2017
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Village Green 2017
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