MORE than 4,000 young people from 35 schools, colleges and groups in the borough and beyond poured into Chalkwell Park on Friday, where they got to enjoy the Village Green festival site to themselves.

Village Green Next Generation - a private function for young people - is held the day before every one of the Village Green public events in the park in Chalkwell Avenue, Westcliff.


Day out - Village Green Next Generation is held the day before the Village Green public event


Fun times - Chalkwell Hall School pupils taking part in the event


Bhangra - members of Project49 and primary school teachers let loose to Asian beats


A little girl playing with an instrument thanks to the Music On sea initiative - photo by Kelly Buckley

All the infrastructure is in place and the Village Green main stage compere Daryl Easlea, the sound engineers, lighting crew, staff, volunteers, security and more work to make the day extra special.

The young festival goers also get the coveted opportunity to put on big performances on the Village Green festival main stage.

Numerous workshops are held around the park for all ages, with some of the teachers even enjoying taking part.

A spokesman for Metal, who hosts the mammoth not-for-profit festival, said: “Young people get to use the large-scale festival infrastructure that Metal puts in place for the festival.

"Everything on the stages is performed by young people, with the occasional help from a few very special guests!

"We encourage school bands, dance groups, choirs and orchestras to come along and perform on a professional festival stage, showcasing their talents.

"The audience is exclusively made up of young people too, and is totally free to all that attend and take part.

"This is a unique opportunity for children to immerse themselves in music, art and culture.”

The workshops included a wealth of different activities, from theatre to music, art to dance.

BBC Essex put on a sound effects workshop, where children got the chance to find out how radio plays work, with some children reading from scripts while others found out how to make the effects such as the sound of walking on gravel, or the clip clopping of hooves made by banging coconut shells together.

Music On Sea - an organisation which works with Southend schools with the aim that “every child aged five to 18 has the opportunity to learn a musical instrument” brought along everything from a cello to drums, for children to play with.

TB Songwriting (Thorbe Bay Songwriting) let children use iPads and earphones to get a taste of how music production works, by showing them how to play with software to use electronic beats.

Meanwhile over at Clay Olympics, artist Lydia Harwick divided children into teams, where they had to beat the whistle and compete against each other by building the tallest tower, make the most spheres or roll the longest snake possible!

Of course, the big attraction was the main stage, where young people from schools, groups or colleges took their turn under the spotlight to put on a show in front of an excited and supportive audience of thousands.

The Music Man Project, an award-winning music education service specifically for children and adults with learning disabilities, had written a song especially for the Village Green Next Generation event, and had taken it to many schools in the borough to learn beforehand.

The result was a mass sing-along with the Village Green Next Generation audience.

Other performances on stage varied from dance performances to school bands.

The Northwick Nutterz from Northwick Park Academy School in Third Avenue Canvey Island, enthralled the crowd with their rendition of Seven Nation Army while The South, from Southchurch High School in Southchurch Boulevard, Southchurch, performed a stomping set which included the Talking Heads Psychokiller.

Anyone interested in performing at Village Green Next Generation in the future should contact


Talent - Southchurch High School Band ‘The South’ waiting backstage to go on and rock! Photo by Kelly Buckley