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Hear Here

Hear here is the spoken word and poetry tent by day and by night turns into a haven for intimate acoustic music. You can find it in the Gathering Place.

Served fresh by our favourite spoken word folk, Milk Poetry and intimate concert pioneers Ear Trumpet Music.

There is tell in these parts of a gathering place. A cosy den filled with poetry, storytelling, acoustic music, workshops and talks, where curious adventurers can rest their legs and warm their hearts together. Let’s see what’s in store for us…

Friday 

3.00pm – 4.30pm – Haiku Postcards (drop-in session) plus The Poetry Machine 

Whether you dream in 5-7-5 or you’ve never even heard of a haiku, this is the drop-in session for you. Learn how to craft exquisite haikus for a magical purpose. “What purpose?” we hear you ask. That’s a secret – you’ll just have to come and see for yourselves…

Meanwhile, The Poetry Machine will be creating free typewritten poems especially for you. Just speak to Beth, the magical poet, and you’ll receive a beautiful poem crafted before your very eyes. What better way to start your weekend at Valley Festival?


4.45pm – 5.45pm – Teatime Tales (3-8 yrs)

Do your young ‘uns love to make-believe? If so, treat them to Teatime Tales – a poetry and storytelling show for small people! Like penguins and icebergs, like Batman and Robin, like you and your best friend, poems and stories belong together. Bring your hot chocolate, grab a blanket, and snuggle up for some adventures. Brought to you by Sharp Teeth Theatre.


6.00 – 6.45pm – Ketibou

Folky fun ukulele ditties of intergalactic and worldly tales of adventures, love and woes. Stripped back, bare and honest music from the little ukulele lady Jaz Ketibu.

7.15 – 8.00pm – Lady Nade

Experimental rootsy-songstress mixing of soul, jazz and folk-pop.. Likened to a rich fusion of musical greats, bearing velvet tones of Nina Simone adding a heady, jazz splash of John Martyn and Jeff Buckley thrown in.

8.30 – 9.15pm – Pete Josef

Pete has always been a soul singer at heart, but his Multi-instrumental skill’s have led him into some interesting situations.  He has for years been recording and playing live with Roni Size and Reprazent, and fronts and co-produces the lo-fi house duo White Lamp with Darren Emerson (underworld). His debut album ‘Colour’ was featured at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards. 

9.45-10.30pm – Hands of The Heron

With tight vocal harmonies at the core, Hands of the Heron weave song-stories of love, loss and magical happenings accompanied by mandolin, flute, accordion, clarinet and anything else they can get their hands on. 

11.00pm-12.00am – Oakes, Bews, Thorpe – OBT

When ‘BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2010’ winning fiddler Daniel Thorpe and contemporary fiddle visionary Jon Bews met metronomic, guitarist + flautist Tom Oakes (Album of the year 2017 nominee for ‘Fiddle +Guitar’ with Ross Couper) OBT was born and a no holds barred approach to music was the key. Tradition underpins OBT but with an understanding that no contemporary influence be left behind. Bass heavy riffs, chamber like strings and award winning traditional playing make OBT a journey from Strathspey to Space and back.

12.00 – 2.00am – Folk Jam / Open Session

Gather round and play a tune – a space to sing a song or strike a session!

Saturday 

10.00 – 11.00am – Shake-a-lele with Chris Vox (5+ yrs)

Are your kids jumping on the air bed and bouncing off the tent walls? Bring them along to The Gathering Place tent for some ukulele-fuelled fun. Last year, we had a great time singing songs, making up fun lyrics and getting into the festival vibe from breakfast time. This year, we’re bringing more laughs with music-related games, song-building and a few classics. Come along to start your day on the perfect note.


11.30am – 12.15pm – A Worm’s Home Storytelling Play (4-11 yrs)

An interactive storytelling workshop about insects making new friends!

Come and join The Little Things Theatre as we tell Worm’s story… What’s your favourite insect? During the play we’ll meet some roly poly Woodlice, an excellently camouflaged Stick Insect and an excitable Greenfly, and learn how each character has different skills, hopes and dreams. You can get involved too! With actions, songs & dances, help the little Worm find a new home, overcome difficulties and make new friends.


1.00 – 2.00pm – Help create The Great Big Valley Fest Poem 2019 with Jonny Fluffypunk! (fun for the whole family)

Nothing says “quality family time” like a fun-filled hour of poetry! Acclaimed stand-up poet Jonny Fluffypunk will take you on a journey through the weekend’s adventures and help you write the world’s most spectacular poem about Valley Festival. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you might even rhyme. Kids – please make sure to bring a grown up with you. (Children must be accompanied by an adult)


2.30pm – 4.30pm – A feast of spoken word (16+ yrs)  

Milk Poetry is a warm and nurturing platform for performers and audience alike, featuring the best spoken word poetry from all over the world. They bring you a delectable selection of spoken word poets that will get your ears dancing (to give your feet a rest!) Headlined by Jonny Fluffypunk, whose work has been described as “Acute social observation, intricate humour, surreal fantasy, sharp irony and wit…and England’s most pretentious moustache” by The Independent.


4.45pm – 5.45pm – Teatime Tales (3-8 yrs)

Do your young ‘uns love to make-believe? If so, treat them to Teatime Tales – a poetry and storytelling show for small people! Like penguins and icebergs, like Batman and Robin, like you and your best friend, poems and stories belong together. Bring your hot chocolate, grab a blanket, and snuggle up for some adventures. Brought to you by Sharp Teeth Theatre and Milk Poetry.


6.00 – 6.45pm – Phil King

As a singer-songwriter Phil King has the whole trinity: a beautiful, soulful singing voice; deft skills at playing the guitar and the capacity to write elegantly worded and powerful songs. His album The Wreckage has already caught excellent media attention with Radio 2’s Bob Harris describing him as “Absolutely Brilliant” and a “Song Weaver”.

7.15 – 8.00pm – Lauren Bradford

Lauren explores life the way her melodies explore notes, she is a lover of travel and movement and has lived in Liverpool, Leeds and Bristol since arriving in the UK in 2010, soaking up their music along the way. Her story-rich lyrics draw you in close to her warm and inquisitive worldview, while her hypnotic guitar patterns create a bed on which her voice sets sail. Listening to Lauren provides you with one of your musical 5 a day, she brings you down to earth, while her playful sweetness is sure to entertain and charm.

8.30 – 9.15pm – Thom Ashworth

An acoustic bass guitar may not seem like an obvious choice as an accompaniment instrument, but Thom shows that this distinctive instrumental voice can find a home in folk music, and that 4 strings are enough to delve into the canon of British folk music. Equal parts interpreter of traditional song and insightful political songwriter, the press has repeatedly compared him to Martin Carthy, Chris Wood, and Billy Bragg. This selection of luminaries doesn’t tell the whole story though – from the sparse lament of The City and The Tower to his muscular arrangement of High Germany , Thom’s inventive musicality and powerful tenor voice shine through. 

9.45-10.30pm – Hodmadoddery

This beguiling duo of first generation folk-hippies play acoustic guitars with highly skilled fingers and sing traditional and contemporary folk songs with rather nice harmony vocals. There’s a nod to the Incredible String Band, of course, and even the odd Grateful Dead number among the truly ancient stuff.

11.00pm – 12.00am – Soufian Saihi 

If one instrument evokes the enticing mystery of the North African desert it must be the oud, the Arabic cousin of the lute played in bursts of improvisational runs between the languid and elegant melody. Moroccan oud-player Soufian Saihi brought his skills to the UK where he has progressed from street busking to the concert hall thanks to his remarkable musicianship.

12.00 – 2.00am – Folk Jam / Open Session

Gather round and play a tune – a space to sing a song or strike a session!

 

Sunday

10.00 – 11am – Sunday Sing-along with Rachel Branston (7-80 yrs – all abilities welcome)

As the morning sun glances off the glimmering lake, we’ll be greeting Sunday with a beautiful singing workshop. Rachel Branson specialises in bringing the wellbeing benefits of singing to all ages and abilities. Making music is shown to be good for your blood pressure, your immune system and mental health. Apart from that, it’s just good fun! 


11.15am – 12.45pm – Foodie Stories – transform your own food stories into mouth-watering performances (16+ yrs)

Some cook it, some battle with it, some serve it, some grow it, some campaign about it. We all eat it. There’s nothing to stop us getting a thrill when we all close our eyes and imagine food, food glorious food! Whatever your connection with food – you’ve got food stories and we’d love to hear them. Join this fun workshop to whip up your story with some crafting techniques. And, if you want to serve it fresh, there’ll be an opportunity to share your story at the Valley Fest Food Stories showcase, straight after the workshop.


1.00 – 2.00pm – Foodie Stories Showcase (16+ yrs)

Over the past hour and a half, Valley Fest guests have been taking part in a workshop to whip up their own a delicious story about food. Now they are going to serve it fresh in our Foodie Stories Showcase. Come and sample their newfound stagecraft!


2.20pm – 2.55pm – Performance by Craft-D + Chris Vox (12+ yrs)

The fire-cracker lyrics of rapper and spoken word artist Craft-D meet the classically-trained vocals and looped soundtrack of Chris Vox. Expect twisted covers and soulful originals from this dynamic duo.


3.15pm-4.15pm – Lip to Lung: A Global Glottal Adventure: Beatbox and Beyond (all welcome) (with Mal Webb & Kylie Morrigan)

Lip to Lung, Larynx and Tongue. A Global Glottal Adventure: Bandmouth, Beatbox and Beyond. Around the world and into your gob, vocal explorer and songwriter Mal Webb (ably assisted by Kylie Morrigan) takes you through the physics, physiology and phrivolity of all the sounds a face can make. Sideways yodelling, beatbox/mouthdrums/vocal percussion, harmonics/throat singing, mic technique, looping, advanced clapping and vocal distortion (without hurting) are all explored on the way to being a band with your voice and the lead singer too.


4.45pm – 5.45pm – Teatime Tales (3-8 yrs)

Do your young ‘uns love to make-believe? If so, treat them to Teatime Tales – a poetry and storytelling show for small people! Like penguins and icebergs, like Batman and Robin, like you and your best friend, poems and stories belong together. Bring your hot chocolate, grab a blanket, and snuggle up for some adventures. Brought to you by Sharp Teeth Theatre and Milk Poetry.


6.00 – 6.45pm – Circe’s Diner

Dedicated to self-penned, honest, rootsy tunes the music from the Diner touches base with Country, Americana, Folk and Pop traditions yet the presentation and lyrical content comments on modern life through wondrous tales of love, loss, friendship and tigers!

8.30-9.15pm – Mal Webb and Kylie Morrigan

Vocal adventurer, multi-instrumentist and looping beatboxing songwriter Mal sings his brain provoking songs using all sorts of vocal techniques, guitar, mbira, slide trumpet, trombone, chromatic harmonica and a loop recording pedal called Derek. And Kylie (who’s played with Orchestra Victoria and the likes of Stevie Wonder and Barry White!) provides violin and voice in a perfect balance to Mal’s nutsness. Their arrangements are intricate and playful. Imagine Einstein, Dr Seuss and Paganini making pancakes. Ebulliently eclectic. Nefariously varied. Family fun free from facile frippery.

9.45 – 10.45pm – Mama’s Broke 

A powerful folk duo that deliver a compelling performance with heart and raw energy. Although highly influenced by their Canadian roots, Lisa and Amy are based out of nowhere and everywhere. Their two strong voices blend to create haunting harmonies, while they artfully juggle fiddle, banjo, guitar and mandolin, and incorporate traditional dance and foot percussion into their performance. Their original – and often dark – compositions push the boundaries of tradition and the constraints of genre. Drawing from old-time, Quebecois, blues, punk, Celtic, Balkan and doom metal, they create a soundscape that is both familiar and new. 

11.00pm – 1.00am – Folk Jam / Open Session

Gather round and play a tune – a space to sing a song or strike a session!

Hosts

Beth Calverley

Beth Calverley is a poet, creative coach and founder of The Poetry Machine. She will be crafting free poems for you on Friday afternoon in The Gathering Place, as well as hosting and performing all weekend. Beth’s poetry is hopeful and true, finding words for human moments and unspoken emotions. Through living, breathing imagery, she invites her audience through the magic wardrobe, into the stories of real people and places.

In 2018, she won the Gloucester heat of the Roundhouse Slam and was published on Rife Magazine’s list of influential young Bristolians. She has worked with Apples & Snakes and performed at iconic venues,such as London Roundhouse and Bristol Old Vic.

Beth works as Poet in Residence at South Bristol Community Hospital and co-produces Milk Poetry. She collaborates with companies, charities and education/healthcare settings across the country. “Amazing writing and a compelling style.” Joelle Taylor

Valley Festival Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q81fW6zv-98


Sam Grudgings

The wonderful Sam Grudgings will be co-hosting our stage, as well as performing his own poems. Sam is a poet and storyteller from Bristol, longlisted for the outspoken poetry prize 2019 and winner of slams across the country. Known for his whirlwind approach and frenetic delivery, Sam yells stories about time travel, pirates 50 foot monsters and cities made of teeth. He is one quarter of Milk Poetry and campaigns for sustainable housing and the recognition of lived experience in academic and professional circles

Videos:

https://youtu.be/gJiFpjU7BgQ

https://youtu.be/tZ4oTbBg-mY

 

Artists and workshop leaders

Jonny Fluffypunk

Stand-up poet and no-fi theatre-maker Jonny Fluffypunk is an economic refugee from the Home Counties who has been dragging his art around the UK scene for over 20 years. A serial slam champion who manages to hate both competition and hypocrisy, he has authored two books -‘The Sustainable Nihilists’ Handbook’ and ‘Poundland Rimbaud’- both published by Burning Eye, and both stuffed with poems, micro-fictions and threadbare philosophy. 

Jonny’s solo spoken word theatre show ‘Man Up, Jonny Fluffypunk- One Man’s Struggle with Late-Onset Responsibility’ spent 2015/16 touring around theatres, garden sheds, summer houses, empty shops and Britain’s other ad-hoc performance spaces in a blatant championing of homespun DIY culture. His current show, ‘How I Came To Be Where I Never Was,’ is doing the same. There’s new shows in the pipeline, including one for children featuring a lighthouse keeper and a refugee mermaid, and one for adults about Hope. Both seem tragically relevant. 

By turns funny, absurd and oddly moving, Jonny’s work is both a celebration of the beauty in the mundane and an elaborate cry for help.

“Acute social observation, intricate humour, surreal fantasy, sharp irony and wit…and England’s most pretentious moustache.” The Independent


Polly Tisdall

From mysterious kingdoms under the sea to star-studded journeys across the sky, Polly Tisdall tells wonder tales from across the world to delight and astound.

Named Young Storyteller of the Year in 2011, Polly has since told tales nationally and internationally as a performer, director and story consultant. She has performed on bandstands, barstools and beaches; for festivals, theatres, schools and cultural centres. Polly is delighted to be joining the folk and the fun at ValleyFest!  

www.pollytisdall.com


Conor Whelan

Conor Whelan is the current Bard of Bath, where he tells stories at the Raven, as well as Sharp Teeth and Greenbank Hags in Bristol.  He trained in physical theatre at London International School of Performing Arts and so enjoys a nice bit of gesture. He is also a poet who loves words that sound good, such as ‘galosh’.  He enjoys walking and telling stories in wild places, and can sometimes be found laying story trails through the woods. This is a happy coincidence, as he likes tales with a touch of wildness about them.


Anneliese Paul

We’re delighted that Anneliese will be hosting our Foodie Stories workshop and showcase on Sunday. Anneliese Paul is a storyteller and story facilitator specialising in personal narrative. She runs story-making workshops for team communication and helps individuals and partnerships with their origin stories. She also organises events for new storytellers to practice their craft in Bristol.

We asked Anneliese why she’s interested in Food Stories?

Because I love food of course! For three years I ran food stories events for Food Connections Festival. More recently I took my whole family to Lisbon, just to try Pastel de nata from the original bakery. Even though I can walk five minutes down the road to my nearest bakery, Lisbon was a pilgrimage worthy of the crisp, soft, warm, heavenly bites of comfort called Pastel de nata. Yes, I definitely love food. 

www.extraordinarystory.co.uk


Chris Vox

Chris Vox is a Bristol-based singer-songwriter and poet with a penchant for comedy, storytelling and truth.With his roots in the classical music tradition, Chris now sets that training to pop and blues using loop station harmonies and his trusty ukulele, Joe. He has been a section leader with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, composed for video games and arranged music for Mencap’s 2018 campaign. He is also founder and co-host of Bristol’s Music and Poetry Party, Tonic. Chris will be hosting our “Shake-a-lele!” session for little ‘uns on Saturday morning so head over to The Gathering Place and say hello.


Craft-D

Craft-D is a spoken word poet, writer, musician, rapper and battle MC from London, and former Resident Artist at the Roundhouse in London. He has performed his work at venues and festivals such as Ministry of Sound, 02 Academy Bristol, Roundhouse London, Camp Bestival, Blissfields, Cheltenham Literature Festival, Ledbury Poetry Festival and more, and has featured on numerous radio stations including BBC 1Xtra and BBC Radio Bristol.

“Amazing. His lyrics are fantastic.” – Lowkey


Kat Lyons

Kat is a Bristol-based poet and performance storyteller. She brings her storytelling experience to her poetry and mixes serious subjects with a light touch, exploring themes as diverse as mass extinction, ageing, the #metoo movement, and grief-induced bad haircuts.

Kat won the 2017 Bristol Storyfest Story Slam, was a regional finalist in the 2018 Hammer and Tongue slam and this year has won both the 2019 Milk Poetry Superslam and the 2019 Lyra: Bristol Poetry Festival Slam.

She’s currently working with Bristol spoken word promoter Raise the Bar putting on events in the Bristol area while also developing her first one-woman show. She will be artist in residence at the Artspace Lifespace Arts Mansion this summer, as well as performing at gigs and events including WOMAD and Shambala. She was once paid to ride around Bath harassing the public from the back of an electric stegosaurus. This remains the highlight of her career.

Kat sees spoken word performance as the original DIY entertainment, and believe it has the power to engage all ages and demographics in creatively interpreting their experiences. She believes that poetry is relevant to everyone, and that everyone has a story to tell, and a voice worth hearing.


Birdspeed

Born in London, raised in Barbados, Birdspeed is a rising star in the spoken word scene, known for her unique style of  poetry and storytelling which often includes movement. Her work is often a combination of social commentary and auto- biographical tales including themes on Afrofuturism, Caribbean folklore and feminism. 

Her most notable headlines include performing at the Bowery Poetry Club, NYC, The African American Center, Philadelphia  and WOMAD Festival on the Hip Yak Poetry Stage. She has won many poetry slam titles in New York and the UK and is now the 2019 Manhattan Arts Festival Laureate. She is currently a finalist for the New York Slam Championships and Hammer and Tongue Slam Championships 2019.  

Dedicated to uplifting, empowering and inspiring people through cultural integrity Birdspeed wrote, performed and filmed a poem a day for Black History Month in 2018. Birdspeed is also a playwright, choreographer and dancer and debuted her first full length show The Firebird at the Salisbury Theatre Playhouse, 2019. 

www.birdspeed.org


Claire Guest

Former Birmingham Young Poet Laureate Claire Guest has performed at events around the UK, including Bath and Cheltenham Literature Festivals, UniSlam and Edinburgh Fringe. “Parallel Lives”, her first collection, in collaboration with photographer Dan Innes, explores modern isolation, with profits going to Marmalade Trust.

Calm but strong, Claire’s poetry invites you to join her in trying to untangle the life threads she’s being picking at recently, everything from wedding speeches to body image.


Josie Alford

Enigmatic. Mysterious. Drenched in Shadow. Josie Alford, is none of these things. Her stage presence is sequinned, Spice Girl inspired, pop culture referencing, infectious, & welcoming. Her work ranges from the subtle nuance of dealing with loss to meeting your partner whilst dressed up as Justin Beiber.


The Little Things Theatre Company

Once Upon a Time (in the summer of 2017), Josie and Imogen lay in a field at Valley Fest, just outside of Bristol. In that moment, they were both blissfully happy. They squinted through the warm sunshine, a cool drink in their hand, live music filling their ears and the gorgeous view of Chew Valley Lake stretched out in front of them.

One of them turned to the other (they forget who) and said, ‘you know, it’s the little things in life that make me really happy’. The other nodded in agreement, and said something like, ‘that should be the name of our theatre company’. And just like that, The Little Things Theatre was born.

The Little Things are a collective of creatives living and working in Bristol. They are predominantly made up of Theatre & Film graduates from the University of Bristol. Their existence has sprung from a common goal of wanting to create theatre that is fresh, imaginative and unique, with a particular focus on engaging children in current topics.

“Nourishing and empowering theatre for all ages” – How Many Stars

https://www.thelittlethingstheatre.co.uk/


Mal Webb and Kylie Morrigan

Vocal adventurer, multi-instrumentist and looping beatboxing songwriter Mal sings his brain provoking songs using all sorts of vocal techniques, guitar, mbira, slide trumpet, trombone, chromatic harmonica and a loop recording pedal called Derek. And Kylie (who’s played with Orchestra Victoria and the likes of Stevie Wonder and Barry White!) provides violin and voice in a perfect balance to Mal’s nutsness. Their arrangements are intricate and playful. Imagine Einstein, Dr Seuss and Paganini making pancakes. Ebulliently eclectic. Nefariously varied. Family fun free from facile frippery. And they won’t repeat a song all festival! 

Their music stomps all over stylistic boundaries. It’s as grittily human as it is other worldly, as clever as it is stupid, as playful as it is ponderous. Ballads, beatbox and beyond. Eclectic, ebullient and even educational. Mal’s a founding member of the Oxo Cubans, Sock and Totally Gourdgeous and did all the music for the Lano and Woodley TV show and Wogs Out of Work, played mbira and sang “Eagle Rock” with Ross Wilson on John Safran’s Music Jamboree on SBS and has done a few spots on Spicks and Specks (ABCTV).

“You’re a freak”-Ani DiFranco. 

“That’s brilliant arranging!”-Simon Jeffes (Penguin Cafe).

http://malwebb.com/MalAndKy.html


Rachel Branston

Rachel trained at Trinity College of Music, London as a violinist with Vera Kantrovich but at the beginning of her teaching career she ‘fell’ in to directing choirs and forty years later has covered a multitude of different styles of music from a cappella madrigal choirs through to very large community choirs, including for the NHS, as well as acting as Musical Director for many musicals.

She moved down to this area three years ago from Cambridge and, after returning to university for a year to study for an MA in composition at Bristol, she became Director of Music at St Mary’s Church, Yatton. She currently runs five choirs and a band in the area and still achieves a huge amount of enjoyment and fun from every practice.

She is a firm believer that making music is good for the mind, body and soul and it’s also fun and singing is certainly something that everyone can do. Over her career, she has seen, over and over again the health benefits that singing give to everyone, whatever their age or ability. “Just the need to breathe slowly together, as a group, is a wonderful way of lowering blood pressure and releasing endorphins” she says, “and of course it raises morale, making everyone feel better about themselves and the world around them”.

In her workshops at ValleyFest, she aims to encourage you to explore how easy it is to start making music or to pick up singing again if you have not tried it since your schooldays. 

Rachel runs a charity called “The Nicholas Branston Foundation” named after her musician son who died in a road accident eleven years ago. Its aims are to spread the benefits of music making to children and adults alike. Each summer they run the NB Music Course for children in Bristol; an intensive week of instrumental, vocal and musical theatre performance. They also run the National Youth Percussion Orchestra..

“Making music helps you feel better about yourself and the world around you”, says Rachel. “It’s shown to be good for your blood pressure, your immune system (deep breathing) and mental health. Apart from that, it’s just good fun and suitable for people of all ages and abilities. If you can call ‘you-hoo’, you can sing”.