We’ve been going to Village Green since the beginning, and have been pretty much every year, so have seen the festival’s ups and downs along the way. The only year I have really disappointed in was 2017, the first year of not being able to bring booze, when all the bars ran out… it wasn’t a great year! However, after a year off and some time to regroup, it sounded like Metal had learnt from its experiences and that Village Green was back and raring to go.
It’s a funny old day for us, as I’m sure it is for many local people. My kids’ school is over the road, we go to Chalkwell Park a few times a week and they know every inch of it, so they are always torn halfway between ‘look at all the cool stuff in my park’ and ‘what do you mean I can’t go in there – it’s MY park!’. Overall though, they love it and think it’s brilliant that something so huge is going on in a place they are so familiar with.
2019 was a great Village Green. We arrived mid-afternoon and met up with friends on the cricket field. Both my sons are members of the Leigh on Sea youth cricket club so we were happy to help support the club by drinking their beer! The kids ran around, ate tonnes of sweets and generally tried to keep as far away from us as we would allow them, with the bigger (nearly year 8, don’tcha know) kids insisting they were old enough now to wander off on their own. The weather could have been nicer, but it didn’t rain, so there were no complaints from us. Beer prices were very reasonable, and it was fun just sitting with friends watching the world go by and enjoying some of the sights on offer.
After a while we decided we should probably have a wander and see what else was going on. It really had a great atmosphere this year – busy and bustling but not so heaving it was too much. We were able to get a good view of the storytelling tent and the kids had a go at some crafts, made flower garlands and continues to eat their weight in sugary treats without having to queue for too long. The loos were a bit of a pain, with long queues, which isn’t ideal when you have six year old who decides he needs to go RIGHT NOW but I’m not sure how this can be worked around as the park is limited in size.
I was keen to see the Fun Loving Criminals, so we headed to the main stage for that, and really enjoyed it – a perfect, laid back vibe for a lovely afternoon. I’m still a little bemused as to why Busted were ahead of them on the bill but given that there were a LOT of screaming fans when they came on, I realise my opinion was not shared by everyone there! The sound was a little off at times, and we couldn’t make out what Busted were singing most of the times but I don’t know if the sound system or the band were to blame!
All in all, we had a brilliant day. It was fun, relaxed and didn’t completely break the bank. I love that even though there are plenty of out-of-towners there (who are of course very welcome!), it’s still very much a local festival, where you will definitely see at least thirty people you know! The kids had a good time, and are keen to go again next year – it really felt like Village Green was done right this year!