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Valley Fest 2017

The family festival in Somerset is going organic
Valley Fest 2017

This article appears in the spring issue of Magazine, distributed with the Guardian on 07 April 2017. Click here to read the full digital issue online.

Overlooking the stunning Chew Valley Lake just nine miles south of Bristol, Valley Fest (04-06 August) is a feast for the senses – and for 2017 the feast will be organic.

The festival’s music, dancing, arts, games and glitter have always been served up alongside the best local produce – and this year organisers are only inviting traders who offer organic food. If you’re worried about the cost of feeding your family organic meals for a weekend – or even a day – don’t be: stallholders are getting hugely discounted space so they can pass the savings on.

‘It’s important to us that organic food is not elitist’, says Luke Hasell, who runs Valley Fest on his organic farm. ‘As a farmer I care deeply about the land and the provenance of food – and that’s what organic is. We want everyone to enjoy the best food along with the best music.’


Acts confirmed so far include everything from experimental Japanese performance art from ICHI and psychedelic orchestra from The Fantasy Orchestra to slick pop songs from BBC Introducing favourites Goan Dogs. The Phoenix Rose, fronted by P.E.A. Awards founder Jarvis Smith, will rock the Lake Stage on Sunday, fusing pop, reggae, hip hop and Indian ragas.

Friday night will feature the return of legendary London club night ‘White Wedding’. People are invited to don their most garish wedding outfits – as bride, groom, bridesmaid, vicar or crazy old aunt – and join the kitsch reception, where a special guest DJ will spin classic wedding dance tunes. Bristol barn-stormers Fitty Gomash will lead a barn dance on the Saturday; the theme is Glitter & Sawdust and festival-goers are encouraged to go all out with the fancy dress.

There’ll be plenty to keep kids happy, too – from DJ skills, arts and crafts workshops to a junior disco, carnival parade and plenty of space to run free. The Hogsnorts Farming Academy even offers a glimpse of the farming way of life and gives kids a chance to get to know the animals.


Weekend tickets with camping cost £110 (adults), £40 (13- to 17-year olds) or £20 (6- to 12-year-olds). Children aged five and under go free. Day tickets and weekend tickets without camping are also available for locals and anyone who just wants to dip their toe in – though once you’re there you might not want to leave!

Click here for more about Valley Fest and to book your tickets.

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