Went to a new festival last weekend down in Chalkwell (near Southend) called The Village Green Festival. I was working at one of the events (Dragnet) and didn’t know what to expect, “How big can a village green be?” I thought to myself.

To say I was staggered by the size of the festival would be an understatement… it was huge! Nearly twenty different zones with stages, marquees and performance areas with lots of big names appearing. I’d have a walk around later in the day, but I had to get over to where I was going to be taking photographs for the day.

The Dragnet Event was organised by Travis Elborough, Syd Moore and Cathi Unsworth (the three in the banner) and was described as 1940s Noir-Crime, Mystery, Music, Literature, Theatre and Dressing Up. I’ve worked with Cathi before and knew Travis so I was really looking forward to a great day of events and talks to photograph.

It started off with Cathi and Travis talking about crime fiction and the dark currents that run between it and the coast, then on to Benedict Newbury a poet and a really nice guy. You should check out his website.

Followed by the lovely Ann Scanlon interviewing Anna Whitwham about her book Boxer Handsome and talking about crime, working in the corrupted crime worlds of sport and her grandfather. Max Décharné then gave us a talk on slang and the evolving nature of language in pulp fiction and movies. Lilian Pizzichini was up next and spoke to Travis about Southend, her family and her book “Music Night at the Apollo”.

After a short break and a chance to rehydrate as it was very warm in the Marquee, the Sohemian Society Players staged a production of “A Drop of Tea with Acid”, with violin accompaniment by Sophie Loyer. A radio play written by Marc Glendening based on the true life “Acid Bath” murders of John George Haigh. It was hilarious and I wished I could have recorded it, but I was too busy photographing them and laughing!

The stage was then reset and on came Syd Moore and Mark Pilkington to talk about local Fortean curiosities, witches, smugglers and highwaymen. After that Cathi interviewed Iain Sinclair about the life and work of Derek Raymond. This was quite a moving interview and Raymond’s history was really interesting, I’ll be reading more about him.

Lastly there was a fantastic stage performance by the incredible Cesarians, a seven-piece band that explodes on the stage. I saw them a couple of years ago at the Purple Turtle (Camden) and was really looking forward to seeing them again and getting photographs. They virtually blew the roof of the marquee, their lead singer (Charlie Finke) bounds around like a six year old on a sugar rush and the rest of the band aren’t that far behind him!

I got home about 23:30hrs, exhausted, aching, happy and still singing. Definitely hoping that Dragnet will be part of next years Village Green Festival.

The photographs have all been edited and uploaded to my galleries (Menu > Galleries > Events > Dragnet) and you can find them here – Dragnet Photographs.
Here are a few teasers from the day to whet your appetite…