The brilliant mix of local and international talent, of literature, art and music, all presented in an urban park in Chalkwell, is one of the key events on the Southend cultural calendar. This year’s festival is set to attract a diverse audience of people of all ages and from all walks of life.
Billy Bragg, will headline the Riverside Stage with a stunning festival set. Billy’s credits include: a number one hit single; having a street named after him; being the subject of a South Bank Show; appearing onstage at Wembley Stadium; curating Leftfield at Glastonbury; sharing spotted dick with a Cabinet minister in the House of Commons cafeteria; being mentioned in Bob Dylan’s memoir and; meeting the Queen. As described by The Guardian, at their best, Billy’s songs present ‘the perfect Venn diagram between the political and the personal’.
Stereo MCs who will be remembered for floor-fillers such as ‘Connected’ and ‘Step it Up’ will also appear on the Riverside Stage in the late afternoon. They have toured extensively and performed with bands such as U2, De La Soul and The Happy Mondays. 2014 saw them return to their roots releasing underground dance music and collaborating with the likes of Adam Port and Terranova.
With band members hailing from Turkey. Bulgaria, Israel, Iran, Italy, Greece and England, the electic sound of The Turbans is an exciting mix of influences from all these regions with an anarchic punk energy mixed in. They will join us on the Riverside Stage in the early evening as the sun goes down over the Estuary. The band has grown from humble beginnings into a big name on the national and international music scene and the energy they bring to their performance is not to be missed.
Bringing a bit of cabaret to proceedings are the hilarious Dream Themes with their smorgasboard of terrestrial TV nostalgia. Rhodri Marsden of the band said, ‘In keeping with the “Village” theme, we're planning a full scale re-creation of the kids TV show Camberwick Green, with Paul (bass) playing the part of Windy Miller, me (keys) playing Dr Mopp, Rob (drums) playing Roger Varley The Sweep and Southend born Dicky (guitar) playing Captain Snort. If you're over the age of 40, it's going to provoke such massive nostalgia that you'll immediately burst into tears. ‘
Rising star, singer-songwriter, Sharon Rose from Southend will bring her soulful gospel voice to the Village Green Stage. Since winning Essex Undiscovered in 2015 with The Arcaves, Sharon has appeared on the X-Factor and is currently in the West End musical, Beautiful the story of Carole King.
For the first time this year our Village Green Artists Village will consist of eight visual artists from around the UK living and creating on site at Chalkwell Park in the weeks leading up to the festival. Expect an array of visual art installations, performances and ‘interruptions’ across the site – curated and led by Southend artist, Jon Kipps. To take part in the Artists Village, apply here by 8 April.
Sean McLoughlin, the Village Green festival director said, ‘This year’s festival is set to highlight some of the most eclectic international, national and regional talent. We are absolutely delighted to welcome back Mr Bragg to headline, a man who is regarded with both admiration and affection in this neck of the woods. There’s a huge amount more in the pipeline to announce in the coming weeks too.’
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