The Archive

created Jan 2002. updated July 2021

Deeply Vale Free Festival . 1978-1979

Press articles.

   What started as a local event with 300 people in 1976 had become in 1979 a festival with an audience of 20,000 from all over the world. Aside from the likes of Steve Hillage, others to play there included Nik Turner from Hawkwind, Guitar George from The Out (who is supposedly namechecked in the Dire Straits song "Sultans of Swing"), The Fall, The Ruts, Durutti Column; Misty in Roots and Mick Hucknall’s first band, the Frantic Elevators. It also offered an early platform for bands from Factory Records, and Tony Wilson was a compere in 1978, Joy Division recorded demo's in the studio above Chris Hewitt's Music Shop with equipment originally financed by John Peels Dandelion Records.
   Those involved tell of the remarkable organisation from a bunch of amateurs. Grant Showbiz, who played at Deeply Vale and later became producer of The Fall, Billy Bragg and the final Smiths album, says: "Deeply Vale was created out of nothing by disaffected and discarded people with no influence. The organisation was brilliant from people who had been thrown away, thrown out of school, told they were shit and could never do anything. Deeply Vale was one of the first punk festivals. You had punk kids with no tents or festival experience collapsing when they could no longer move. On the other hand, there were festival veterans with long hair and their kids and bloody flowers everywhere and this whole thing when punk met hippie turned into crustie".
   Not everyone was happy about the transformation from a strictly hippie and rock event into something multi-tribal. John 'The Hat' from Heywood, a 52-year-old wizened hippie who danced the night away in the Carlton Club, regretted the arrival of a new wave. ' I wasn’t up for punk rock, I liked the first two festivals. I got up on stage in 77 and sang some Enrico Caruso.'
But everyone, hippie and punk alike, talked of the togetherness. The local novelist Nicholas Blincoe remembers thc roar of approval at the Deeply Vale DJ’s mix of "Hurry up Harry"by Sham 69 with George Harrison’s "Hare Krishna".
He recalls the punk band Spizz Energi singing their Top 10 hit "Where’s Captain Kirk?" and his mum singing the chorus of the B-side on the way home, 'Amnesia! Amnesia! Amnesia!'.

The Independent

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OZIT records Chris Hewitt's record label- one of the original organisers of the festival , features recordings of festival artists, home of Tractor and the Deeply Vale Archive .

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History-78-79 Press Aqua photos 1978 Here and Now Photos 1978 Sphynx photos 1978

Free rock festivals of the 70s and 80s

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