Vale Festival

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Vale Festival
Festivale05 6.jpg
Genre Music Festival, Charity Event
Dates 7th June 2014
Location(s) University of Birmingham,
United Kingdom
Years active 2005 - present

The Vale Festival, commonly abbreviated to Valefest, is a music festival that takes place on the campus of University of Birmingham, in Birmingham, England. Unusually, it is planned, organised and largely staffed by volunteer students - it is believed to be the largest solely student-organised event in the UK. All proceeds go to charitable causes.

The 2013 event took place on 1 June, and with the help of the sunshine drew in a crowd of around 4,500 made up primarily of students. The theme for the year's festival was 'Music for the Mind' - with a specific focus on student depression and adolescent mental health. All proceeds from ticket sales, which was £15,000 in 2013, were donated to two charities: Students Against Depression and YoungMinds. The festival was preceded by some very successful promotional events,[1] and on the day boasted five stages, over forty bands, stand-up comedy performances, society events, workshops, an official after-party and a wide variety of other features. The main-stage headliner was The Magnus Puto.


With the aim of both raising money and awareness for AIDS-related causes and addressing a death in live music on campus, the Birmingham University Stop AIDS Society tried to arrange a large festival at the Guild Building. The Guild of Students pulled out, deeming the event unfeasible. Simultaneously a much larger event was being planned on University (rather than guild) property: The Vale Festival. The Vale Festival team, an independent group of students and the Student Stop Aids committee joined forces. Local bands, student societies and the large team of volunteer organisers worked to make the event, held in the Vale student village, a substantial success. The chosen focus was the crisis in Sudan. £12,000 was raised, and the event was widely viewed as a major success.


The Vale Festival 2006 took place on the 6th June. Attended by over 3,900 students, and raising approximately £25,000 for two charities - UNICEF and SPW, for their HIV/AIDS projects in Kenya and Zimbabwe respectively - the event was hailed as probably the biggest and best event ever to be staged at The University of Birmingham .[2]

Highlights of the day included performances from numerous bands, singers and DJs - Old School Tie, The Anomalies, First Rate, Vijay Kashore and the fantastic 360 headlined once again, pulling in a crowd of over 200 students which created an amazing end to a great line up of live bands. DJ, drumming and singing workshops also went on throughout the day, as did drama performances, healing spaces and many, many stalls run by student societies. The day culminated in an outdoor cinema screening of 'The Constant Gardener', and three different rooms for the club night inside Shackleton Hall.


The 2007 festival was held on the 12th June, with just over 5,000 students on the day. The event aimed to raise awareness of the humanitarian effects of climate change on people in poorer nations. Vale Festival '07 supported two charities, Kids for Kids and Action Aid, and raised over £30,000.

The line-up was as follows:

Main Stage: The Anomalies, The Tommys, Laid Blak, Floors and Walls, Hobbit, Zombies of Ska (replaced Lazy J), Old School Tie, Friendly Fire, Stanley's Choice, University Gospel Choir Kids for Kids Chillout Tent: Transient Dreams, Two Spot Gobi, Yamit Mamo, Swing Manouche, Tanante, The Old Dance School, KTB, Kid-iD, Hannah Rhodes ActionAid Dance Arena: Deepgroove, Will Bailey, Aries, Far Too Loud, Joebot, Mikee Lazy, Hobbit & Bass6, Fat Gold Chain, DJ Shei[3]


Vale Festival 2008 took place on the 10th of June and had near the full capacity of 5500. The theme for the year was 'Water for Life', with the festival focussed on the issue of sustainable access to clean water in the developing world and raised £30,000 for WaterAid, Play Pumps and Pump Aid.

The main stage, dance tent and Hilltop Tent were headlined by Misty's Big Adventure, Andy Morris and Watch this Fire Spread respectively. There was a generous mix of entertainment throughout the festival, including African drumming, wood carving and capoeria. The open air cinema screening was of 'Shooting Dogs' and the after party took place on The Vale within the University.


Vale Festival 2009 took place on the 9th June, with the charitable causes being chosen as Self Help Africa and FareShare.[4] The ethic proposed was to 'Unite Against Hunger'.

The Main Stage, Hill-Top Tent and Forest Edge Stage were headlined by 360, Picture Book and Rafiki and Tangawizi respectively. With the growth of the festival since its introduction in 2005, more stages were added as well as workshop spaces, societies and stalls among others. The Jungle Jam was also introduced- encouraging students to create their own unique musical experience.

Once again the festival was committed to raising awareness for ethical causes. The ideals promoted were to "Think Globally, Act locally" and "We must be the change we want to see in the world". The chosen causes were a direct result of these ideals, with both charities working towards the sustainable use of natural resources, reducing the vulnerability to Aids and the redistribution of food aid to areas of intense poverty.


Vale Festival 2010 took place on the 8th June, with the charitable causes being chosen as Oxfam, Procedo Foundation and the Malaria Consortium. The focus was on raising money and awareness for projects supporting sufferers of malaria. The 2010 programme also stated that since its formulation over £115,000 had been donated to charitable causes.

The Main Stage, Hill Top Tent, Forest Edge and Jungle Jam were headlined by Scarlet Harlots, Lucy Ward, Bigger Than Barry and Uprizing respectively. Once again the range of live performance, interactive workshops and stalls was widened. These included bicycle-powered smoothies, a vintage clothes stall and live graffiti and art battles. There was also an outdoor screening of The Hurt Locker, as well as the official after party.

The ethical causes were chosen to raise the awareness of those who suffer with malaria in the face of extreme poverty. The money raised by ValeFest was donated directly to training for health workers, education and the treatment and diagnosis for the prevention of malaria. As well as this, money was donated toward the construction of sanitation systems in Kirakhadi, with the long term goal being the prevention of disease.


Vale Festival 2011 took place on the 15th June, with the Helen Bamber Foundation and the Calla Trust being chosen as the causes.

The Main Stage, Hill Top Tent and Dance Tent were headlined by 360, Rachel Harlow and Tom Leech Trio, and Seedy Sonics respectively. The range of workshops included (in part) Dancing, Circus skills, Fire spinning and Yoga. Creative workshops and stalls were also running throughout the day simultaneously with the musical entertainment. Valefest 2011 also presented a live performance of 'X', which was commissioned specifically for the festival with the aim of focusing upon human trafficking.

The causes were chosen to address the issue of human trafficking in part as a response to work within the Midlands. The money raised by Valefest for The Calla Trust and Helen Bamber Foundation would aim to provide training and counselling directly to those involved, as well as working toward durable solutions.


The festival takes months of planning, with a committee team being assembled at the start of the academic year. The event is organised by a central committee of about twenty students. The committee is non-hierarchical, meaning there is no single individual who is in charge of the event. The central committee is divided into sub-committees which take responsibility for different aspects of the festival, such as entertainments, student societies, promotions, decorations etc.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Review of 2013 Battle of the Bands in Redbrick newspaper
  2. ^ History section of "About Us" page of Vale Festival 2007 website
  3. ^ "Program" page of Vale Festival 2007 website
  4. ^ "Students to Give Charity its 'Fare' Share". News. Midland Heart. 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 

External links[edit]