Last weekend was the 5th(?) Village Green music festival that took place in Chalkwell Park near Southend organised by local cultural and arts organisation Metal:Southend. In previous years the event has been free however this year a charge of £10 per adult was levied and tickets were needed. I had wondered in the months and weeks leading up to it whether it would a different sort of event with fewer people attending as a result but those fears were not realised and it was really great.
There were loads of bands on the schedule on the various stages so it was hard to chose who to try and see. In the end I decided to go with Mikey Glenister’s (@mikeyglenister) recommendations from the blog he wrote previewing the event. I stuck to it reasonably well and I’m glad I did as all the bands I saw were excellent. Annoyingly I did miss Youth Club as I had to nip out and run an errand and I didn’t fancy Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip so missed them out too.
I was there as much to listen to some great music as I was to try and get some decent photographs. With the exception of the rain at the end of the day the weather and conditions for photography was excellent. I was glad too I have now got a decent flash for the indoor venues. Great to go to an event where you can get up close and personal with a decent camera and I was really pleased with the photos I got.
I’ve included below a selection of my photos plus links to the albums for each of the artists / bands I got to see. I hope you like them. If on the off-chance you want copies of any of them then email me at email@example.com and I’m sure we can sort something out.
Oh – and if you want to read my blog about last years Village Green – you can find it here.
First band up were Kiss Me Quick in the Village Hall (a venue I took a while to find). A great fresh swing sound from this 5 piece band. I was that impressed I bought a CD off the nice lady who also gave me a badge. Turned out that the flute player was my daughter’s English GCSE tutoring teacher!
Kiss Me Quick were a bit late starting and hence finishing so I was late getting to the Village School stage to see Futurages so I only caught the end of their set. I liked what I heard though.
From there I hot footed over to the cricket pitches at Chalkwell Park to the Youth Stage to see Kaylen Castle. Kaylen is a seriously talented young (17) guitarist playing all parts of the guitar to great effect.
After Kaylen I was going to see a band on the Village Green stage and I did stop by but didn’t much like who was there playing so I carried on back to the Village School stage to see Longy who were due to play there. This was fortuitous as this mean I caught the end of the set by The Hosts which was excellent and I wished I’d seen more. A very smartly dressed Sheffield band..
Next up then were Longy who were okay.
On the same stage after Longy was an artist who I didn’t think I’d like to much but who turned out to be really excellent. Shlomo is a beatbox performer and a blooming good one at that. Really enjoyed his set and took some great photos – some of which he has used himself 🙂
Time to leave the Village School stage after Shlomo and head to the Perform Stage to see Whom by Fire. Being an indoor venue I needed to use the flash but still got some great shots and I really like the music too – so much I again bought a CD. This CD being an unmarked CD-R! It’s tough being a band trying to break in the the business I guess 🙂
Straight afterwards on the same stage were Asylums and I thought I’d hang around and watch some of their set. The lead singer looked familiar and turned out that he was here at Village Green last year with a different band Hoodlums. Bit of a theme in the name methinks.
I then decided to have a wander and see who else I could see so ambled over to the Village Green stage to see who it was who was setting up. Looked a bit folky and I wasn’t sure who it was but there was plenty of space to get up to the stage so I thought I’d hand around. Eventually some older lady ambled across the back of the stage who I thought looked lost but she came over to the front and joined the band. Turned out it was Eddi Reader so I hung around for a bit. Was pretty good actually.
Which leads me to the last act of the evening that I watched which was the headline act of the event on the Village School stage – Beth Orton. I was there fairly early and was having the craic with a lady beside me with a huuuge lens and one of the official photographers in the pit with an equally large 150-500mm zoom lens. In time Beth and her band came on to great applause and proceeded to play a great set. Unfortunately the rain started after 4 or 5 songs which was light to start with but heavier later so – without any real way of keeping my camera dry – I decided to call it a night and head home.
All in all it was a very good Village Green this year – better than I expected – which gives me reassurance for its continued existence. Roll on next year.