ValeFest 2017’s record number of performers entertained several thousand punters on Saturday in what will have been a hugely satisfying day for the student organisers. The festival boasted five venues: the main stage, second stage, dance tent, acoustic tent and arts tents, as well as multiple food, merchandise and charity stalls, and over the course of the day the festival saw over 5500 people pass through its gates.
The first acts appeared near midday, with VEDA, Guyana and Philippa Zawe appearing on the main stage, second stage and acoustic tent respectively, and Dubsoc began their set in the dance tent. Meanwhile the battle-reenactment society were drawing a crowd with a Game of Thrones style tournament (minus the gore), and proved to be a big hit throughout the rest of the day.
The arts tent was the only music free venue, instead entertaining with poetry, theatre and comedy from such Birmingham University societies as 3bugs, Footnotes and Writers Bloc.
By 3pm the crowds were building, and following enjoyable sets from Lycio and Coffee Breath on the main stage, Argle Bargle really stood out with their pop/funk fusion style which got people on their feet. The dance tent was also hugely popular throughout the whole day, being practically full from 2pm onwards, featuring DJ Pete, F.O.D, Styx Recordings and in the evening the very talented Bodalia with Buckfast Boys Club.
Across the whole festival the majority of talent on show was local, and this was particularly on show on the second stage with the members of Odd Soul, Rylands Heath, Bears in Trees, Guyana and others attending the University. And over on the main stage Sam Jackson & the Struggles and Dame – again both local talent – were impressive as we entered the evening.
By 9pm the crowd had swelled to maximum capacity to welcome ValeFest’s headliner: The Mouse Outfit. The nine-piece group played an hour long set of their characteristic reggae/hip-hop mix, and got a great reception from the Vale.
It is worth remembering the good cause profits from this festival are going to, namely the charities RSVP and BasicNeeds. The ValeFest committee say they made close to £37,000 for the two charities, a record amount! You can read more about the charities work here and here.
Speaking after the event both chair Tara Goatley and co-chair Oliver Corrigan of the ValeFest committee expressed their delight at how the festival ran, releasing the following statements:
“What a day. After an entire year of planning, commitment and cooperation our 30-person committee successfully put on a music and arts festival for 5,500 students on the Vale and raised close to £37,000 for our two charities: BasicNeeds and RSVP West Midlands.
From the stand-up comedy acts of the Comedy and Performance Tent to the 9-piece hip-hop/reggae band The Mouse Outfit headlining the Main Stage for our 14th year as a festival, the day fulfilled all of our aspirations as a committee.
Personally, walking out on stage to a sea of cheers from thousands of people showing their appreciation for the countless hours of voluntary work you’ve committed over the past year towards such great charity causes will be one that I’ll never ever forget. On behalf of the ValeFest 2016-17 committee, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all who attended and all who made this ludicrous dream possible.”
“I am completely over-the-moon about how well ValeFest went this year. Of course there were some hiccups, particularly in the week running up to the festival, but they were nothing compared to the huge number of successes we’ve had throughout the year as a committee to pull this festival together.
ValeFest has been improving every year since its foundation, and I am so proud to have been a part of that, and I know every committee member feels the same! It’s been the best thing I’ve been a part of at University, we’ve had an amazing experience making ValeFest happen, and I’m really excited to see where the new committee will take ValeFest 2018!
Thank you for all the support we’ve received especially over the past couple of weeks, we’ve heard nothing but positive feedback, and that makes all the time and effort we put in worth it, and motivates us to raise even more money for our future charities!”