Valley Fest has become one of the most well-known and highly regarded family-friendly festivals in the south west and, this year, returns on the 4th-7th August.
Often referred to as the best tasting music festival in the south west, the event takes place on the shores of Chew Valley Lake, just outside of Bristol.
This year, it’s been announced that as well as DJ’s, festival goers can expect boundary-pushing fire performances and immersive dancefloors from an exciting new collaboration.
Plus, festival favourites MY BABY will be back for the third time and the Lake Stage will also host Judge Jules (live) for some Ibiza classics.
How did Valley Fest first come about?
Luke Hasell set up Valley Fest in 2014 in honour of his parents who both died within a short time of each other. Having farmed for generations, they cared enormously for the land and community surrounding it. Their spirit and joie de vivre runs deeply through the festival.
Because of his parents, Mr. Hasell wants people to understand the connection between their food choices and the land. Regenerative farming puts soil health first so that tasty and nutritious food is produced whilst locking in carbon to tackle climate change.
Since its founding, Valley Fest has built up a reputation for being a family-friendly festival with a unique atmosphere, and the small summer event has become a favourite within the south west.
What makes it so special?
Well, one reason (of many) that makes the food and music festival so special is that it’s made a name for itself for its fancy dress themes. Now in its eighth year, Valley Fest has developed much support for its fancy-dress theme.
This is always linked to and inspired by the tribute act which, for 2022, is The Dolly Show. The Dolly Parton tribute act will play on Sunday, ahead of the competition for best fancy dress - the competition is usually fierce people, and in 2021 they had to pick joint winners.
The festival is also passionate about the south west’s tongue-tingling produce, and believes that sharing delicious food and brilliant live music is the best way to live it up. This means that you can expect Bristol’s best-known culinary talent. Valley Fest is your chance to see the big names you’d expect at much larger festivals in an intimate setting.
What’s new for 2022?
This year, the festival has excitedly joined forces for a collaboration with another Bristol powerhouse.
Arcadia, the world-renowned performance art collective that combines elements of sculpture, architecture, recycling, circus and music into large-scale dance spaces, animated with controlled flames dancing to the beat, are bringing a new space to the festival. The new Afterburner stage will be in Valley Fest’s second field and Arcadia will be wowing with a light, laser and fire show.
Founded in Bristol in 2008 by Pip Rush and Bertie Cole to bring together the worlds of recycling art and dance music, Arcadia structures are built from repurposed ex-military equipment, as well as farm machinery scrap.
Reusing and repurposing is an integral part of Arcadia’s art and now they’re turning their attention to regeneration. This is because they’ve experienced its magic first hand. Having spent fifteen years living in showman’s vehicles in one of Mr Hasell’s fields, they’ve seen barren land transform into wildlife-rich meadows and woodland.
The company has become renowned for its post-apocalyptic aesthetic and jaw-dropping scene creations and they are best known for their iconic, 50-ft fire-spitting spider at Glastonbury.
Pip Rush, Arcadia co-founder says: “After touring four continents, it feels fantastic to be bringing the party home again. Many of us have moved into the Chew Valley and have our kids in school. During lockdown, it became clear we should be growing deeper roots at home, both from a social and an environmental perspective.”
Acts announced to be playing on Arcadia’s Afterburner stage include: Redlight, Gardna, Eva Lazarus, Junior Jungle, Mr Benn and Queen Bee, Felix Joy, Tropical Tea Party, Audiomission, Fleetmac Wood, Fatboy Jim plus DJ Dunks and Flashman Funk.
“We could not be more excited,” says Mr Hasell. “It’s a true homecoming for the Arcadia team. And a true celebration of Bristol talent.”
And the line-up?
As always, there’s a strong Bristol talent showcase in this year’s line-up, with Dizreali, Dr Meaker, Doreen Doreen, Mr Bruce, Pete Josef, Nuala Honan, Smerins Anti-Social Club and Afon Sistema all confirmed.
We’re being told that Pompadour, a young band selected through the new application process, are ones to watch, plus the drummer is from Chew Valley.
And for the rest of the line-up? The announcement tells us that Travis, Clean Bandit, Faithless (DJ set), Roni Size b2b Nia Archives with Dynamite MC, Kosheen and The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club will headline.
"I’m so excited about 2022,” says Mr Hasell.
“The Arcadia Experience is going to dial up the spectacle and deliver the best party of the summer. From pioneers, luminaries and rising stars, it’s the most diverse lineup we’ve ever seen. I can’t wait for everyone to get on my land!”
Expect hedge-to-hedge Somerset sparkle and plenty of nonsense with a spectacular soundtrack. Tickets are £170 (plus booking fee) and can be bought in installments to spread the payment fromwww.valleyfest.co.uk