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created Jan 2002. Updated July 2021


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Deeply Vale Free Festival . 1976-1979

Deeply Vale Memories.
    In the middle of the 70's there was a free music festival organised in a small valley near Bury in Lancashire that became known as Deeply Vale. The site of the festival was not easy to find but once found it soon became apparent that it was idyllic for the purposes of a multi-day music festival and it gained enough recognition to attract the likes of Steve Hillage and Here & Now to play there.
    One had to travel along single lane farm roads to reach Deeply Vale and as one reached the venue one could see that it formed a natural arena for performances. The 'Vale' was triangular with most of the tents being set up at the pointed end and the stage at the opposite end. The valley sides were quite steep and there was a small reservoir behind the stage area where the great unwashed could do their laundry, obtain water for cooking or drinks, or have fun splashing about in it. If my memory serves me well the latrines were simple chemically-treated holes in the ground.

Apart from the mystical quality of the music the main things that stick out in my mind are the free availability of drugs, the free food tent and their accursed beanburgers (only a two-man tent) and the sounds of a myriad different musical tastes being exercised when the stage was 'off air'.

    A typical day was;
Up in the late morning and on with the kettle man, can't function without hot liquids to wash away yesterday's excesses. Then perform ones toilet procedures and set about rustling up some lunch. At the same time this task was being performed by a couple of hundred other bleary eyed new age gypsies so you made sure you were at the top end of the stream when it came to having a wash. My goodness whatever happened to those big titted hippy chicks that let it all hang out when it came down to sorting out ones personal hygiene?
   Mid afternoon and things started to happen around the stage area. Equipment arrived, sound systems would crackle briefly to life and the free food kitchen would show signs of another glorious veggie stew starting its creative path to reality. Oh my guts!
Early evening and there would be some groovy music being played over the stage's PA system as things began to happen and before long the first band would take the stage.
Night fell and the music played on. Band after band performed and the dark would ensure that the world disappeared and we would remain encapsulated within this bubble of musical creativity with the sight and smell of camp
fires, food and joints floating in and out of ones perception. Ah those were
the daze!
    I even took my dog along to one years festival. Man he enjoyed it too but I have to admit he wasn't a good traveller and on the first day of his visit he became involved in a little territorial dispute with another four-legged friend which resulted in the demolishing of a neighbouring tent. Oops, peace man?
  Deeply Vale lasted for approximately 4 years before it became defunct. Someone did try to keep it going at another location, Pickup Bank overlooking Darwen and Blackburn, high up on the windy moors, but it just wasn't the same and eventually the police and landowners contrived to make it impossible for them to carry on. So one year we turned up but the festival didn't. My main memory from Pickup Bank must be trying to find the latrines whilst there was a pea souper of a fog and I was in a state of altered reality. These things just don't go together!

 Pete Piwowarski

Cherry Allen and little friend at Deeply Vale 1979 RIP Chezz. photo Andy Hope.

Fun at Eat Alley, looks like Phil the Beer and others sharing some herbs. photo Andy Hope.


I was fortunate enough to be at Deeply Vale two years running back in the late 70's (Can't remember which two though - memory loss for some reason ??) I remember the Mirror Boys playing one year and Steve Hillage another along with the obvious Here & Now. I was camped just off what we termed the high street and shared a fire with someone who claimed to be in Magazine. A few Hells Angels turned up (delivered good gear) and a police road block was set up at the end of the road to prevent access. I drove a beaten up Singer Chamois which was finally impounded by the law for being unroadworthy. People don't believe me when I tell them that this festival actually happened so its great to finally see a website with some pictures. Good work. Who knows why the wind blows ?

Andy Merrett

I've just stumbled across your site..... it's an amazing memory jolt for me.  I'm a big fan of The Fall and came across your site through mention of them at Deeply Vale.
I was there in '79 (I think!) and was playing in a band called A Spell (named after Aspull near Wigan where we came from).  All I remember was we played during the day to a very few people and then again in the evening after the Ruts (was it 79 or 78??)....  the stage was covered in gob and it made walking slightly dodgy (or was that the Moroccan?)  We were a 'prog rock improv' outfit with an amazing drummer (Phil Nightingale, where is he now?) and I played electric violin rather badly... still do....  I also remember staying overnight in a huge T-Pee as it started to rain - I crammed myself into a small sleeping bag cuddled up to my dog by the fire!  And I also remember being really shocked when I saw an early Punk with a condom hanging from his earring!  Really scary at the time... funny now!
Anyhow, I'm not in touch with anyone from that scene anymore - time moves on, I'm 42 this year and now live in Brighton - but I do fondly remember Deeply Vale (and many many Stonehenge's before its inevitable collapse!) and am thrilled by your site.
Thanks for the memories... what's left of them... the drugs were GREAT at the time as was the whole free festival scene. 

Was absolutely thrilled to happen upon your site! I was begining to think I magined Deeply Vale. So it's true then eh? it wasnt a figment of my imagination.
I think I was at all the Vale festivals one way or another, I am from the Wirral and there were hundreds of 'heads' here then. Some of my friends had a magazine called third Stone and one year I remember they had a tent at Deeply Vale and controlled the sounds that were being played in between
I also remember a band called Thandoy one year who were something to do with Here and Now, they had a bongo player who looked like lurch from the adams family, a moment before they began to play I walked on stage with a bong and handed it to him and he duly took a good old toke..I sat with my friend Alan Hanley (sadly no longer with us)and also the synth player from Here and Now
and we watched the poor bugger try to play his bongo's while stoned for England!!!..he kept looking over at us and looking to the heavens, it was hilarious... happy days.
I also remember Steve Hillage playing there, that was special.
Anyway, thanks a lot for doing this site, youve made an old, balding hippy very happy.

          I was just sat behind my computer tonight-bored out of my fucking skull, and for some reason my mind was reflecting back on my childhood days(happer times I suppose)
And as Igrew up living in Bury-on a small road adjoined to Warlmsley RD, I remembered the Deeply vale festival...( I have a distinct memory of bare footed hippies walking past my house). I must have been about 12 or 13 at the time and tried to dress like a pins stuck all my clothes, that kind of thing, yet Ilistened mostly to my brothers GENESIS record, which is a strange mix to say the least. Anyway, I remember going up to the festival with my mates, on the way up Warlmsley Rd. just outside the Newsagents was a large(well it seemed large to me) gang of leather clad Hells Angels sitting menacingly on their motorbikes...As me and my mates were walking past one of the Hells Angels said to me, in a deep threatining voice "Are you a Punk?"...I kinda just rushed past and didn't say a word.
I remember seeing these Hells Angels again at the festival site...and there was an announcement over the tannoy - it went something like  "if these fuckin' Hells Angels give anybody any shit then we'll give  them some real northern stuff too etc.etc" was something like that anyhow.
So it was great to find your site and see the pics of deeply vale they not only reminded me of the festival but of my parts of my childhood up at 'deepy' when the festival wasn't there, time spent picking magic mushrooms,  that kind of thing:)...
The best part of the festival was the people, i remember going up to a beer tent to get some beer...there were 2 guys there, one  said (laughing) you can't sell him ought! the other guy just handed me the cider and said "he'll be reet'!" 
Top Guys ,great days...Within todays money mad music industry...Festivals will never be the same again.
                     Many Thanks

Probably Deeply Vale candle selling photo Andy Hope.


My name is Martin Greenwood and i was in a band that played in 79 called MUDANZAS. We came from Rochdale.I have been trying to find a listing of bands and any info on MUDANZAS or photo`s etc.can you help e-mail addy is,  Thanx.

Misty In Roots were the first roots band I ever saw live. Before mi sight RasTa. I was at a free festival near Manchester UK in a beautiful valley called Deeply Vale. We were camped very near the stage and were woken up at dawn by Misty In Roots. I will neva forget it. Must have been 1978 or 79 cah my youngest dawter was about 3 years old. Could be they started I on this path mi now a trod cah a coupla years after mi sight up, seen.
give thanx and praise for these righteous idren
Jah blessings
mary dread
from London, UK

The Vale unknown year © David Evans

Thanks for the memories! We were there 2 years running, looking at he line ups, I am guessing it was 78 and 79.  The first year there was just me and my guy,  after we got back and told our friends a whole bunch of us went. that was the year the Hells Angels showed upWe had graduated from a bike to a bright yellow ford escort van that we had lined with carpet and curtained with an airbed shoved in for sleeping.  I had put the curtains across the bhind the driving part and in the back windows, I had a call of nature, and rather than crawl out into the night we had a receptacle.  I used that,  started to pull   the curtain back to dispose of the contents through the van window, only to see 2  or 3 Hells Angels peering in and trying the handle. I shot back behind the curtain and sat there poised with my ammo   thinking “if one of those “gentlemen” opens that door he is getting this straight in his face!”   Thankfully they gave up and went looking for easier pickings, because it could have been nasty! Meanwhile my guy was blissfully comatose! When I told him next morning he told me I must have dreamed it!
The year before was the year of the downpour. We had travelled up from the Midlands on our bike with a tiny 2 man tent. We ended up nestled between a teepee and this fantasic  huge igloo type structure . On the last morning we woke   up in a waterbed!   Sewn in groundsheets  are great! The people in the teepee had decided to stay on a while and were busy digging a moat! But now we had to get the bike out through this sea of mud. So my bloke took it up the side of  the  valley, hillclimb   fashion, whilst I prepared to lug our gear through the slime. there were 2 young kids with little 125s or  something looking lost and fretting that they were stuck, so bloke says “I´ll take them out like mine.” One agreed but the other wouldnt risk it so me and him set off up  the slippery slop whilst bloke went up the side again. He was at the front, I was at the back pushing by hanging on to  the grab rail. It started to slide and the silly goose let go, so for a split second I am hanging on like grim death to some strange kids bike, trying to stop it dropping   onto some poor beggars sleeping in tents below.  Funny now, but it was one of those  “Oh Shit!” moments at the time! Fond memories!
Steve Hillage,  Sid Rawl pushing some  singer he didnt like off stage (I think the band  was the Fall, which was hilarious because he took one) I could write a book just on Deeply Vale!

shelagh moore


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