The Gypsy Village

History

The Village Green came into being in 2011 after a fallow year for the fair. The concept addressed the need for an area of fun, easy-going space, music and activities for family and community to chance upon. Playing host to Medieval battle re-enactments, dance workshops, paint fights, fancy dress competitions and games, circus performers and an eclectic mix of music including the Fair's Finale, it has become exactly what it needed to be. Something a bit 'other', a bit out of space and time, always for the imagination and diverse in its programming. It weaves its way through genres from EDM at the Kings Head, to punk and ska at the Rebel Arts Bandstand, and even through samba and psychedelic space rock at the Village Green.

Today the Village Green Complex, as it has become known, has developed into a whole area around three now well established stages. It is the Village Green's inherent mischievous nature to wholeheartedly embrace the fair wide theme each year through immersive décor art, characterisation and costumery. This year will be no exception.

 

The family

Jason 'Smyley Jay' Webdale - founder, curator and Area Head since its inception, has been co-ordinating stages and contributing to Strawberry Fair since 1999 when he took on the Dance Stage. He oversees the area as a whole whilst programming and running the Kings Head Stage and the Gypsy Village with Rosie.

Mark Evans and DJ Johnny Cabbage took on the Rebel Arts Bandstand in 2013 to free Jay up to focus on The Kings Head. It started life as a minimal operation, just the two of them, and since then has zepplined into a professionally run DIY stage that provides a platform for the cream of local acts alongside the odd festival favourite or two.

Rosie joined the Village Green family in 2015 to revamp the Finale, and in 2017 she curated the Village Green stage for the first time rebranding it the Gypsy Village as part of the fair wide Fairy-tale theme and playing host to merry bands of musicians, acrobats, dancers and bohemians.

The wider family extends deep within the community though as year after year folks we know lend their time for free to help us make art, build stages, steward, bring ambience, costumes and generally keep each other smiling.

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Strawberry Fair 2018 - Heroes

The year is now 2018, the theme of the Fair is Heroes, the Village Green Complex cauldron of magic is simmering on the back of the stove ...

Cast your gaze into the swirling waters, adjust your eyes and wait long enough that you can make out the stretched canvas of The Kings Head. You hear snatches of old time and vintage sounds and the crackle of a gramophone but there's something else, there are electronic sounds; beats and bass and bleeps and squeaks. There are guys and gals lindy hopping and party goers dancing and in the lights and shadows of the stage glimpse sharply dressed remix merchants pedalling the reimaginings of future-retro audio-heroes against the back drop of a Gothamite city.

See a Dickensian convoy of troubadours, vagabonds and bohemian misfits nestled amongst a colourful gathering of wagons and trucks. Strains of guitars and voices setting the scene, calling to arms and invoking the protest spirit. In the distance a village of tents in the trees - the earth heroes of our time and echoes of eco warriors past living amongst and for the branches. This is the peace convoy, the Gypsy Village, protecting what's ancient and sacred on Earth.

The spirit of protest and subculture - the sound of the underground demands your attention from the unmistakeable silhouette of The Rebel Arts black top hat tent against a denim blue sky. The earth moves as feet stomp and pound the grass down. Our motley crew - purveyors of the crème de la crème of local home-grown musical wonders in homage to their own heroes from near and far.

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