Deeply Vale book/box set‏ review

Date published: 29 October 2014

It was my 16th summer 1976 and it was a hot one. The first Deeply Vale event happened, which I missed and now in my fifty-something summer having this boxed set provides a treasure of sights, sounds, smells, insights and honest commentary into the birth and death of the free festivals and the tepee Shangri-La spawned in the moors above Rochdale.

Myths, legends, warts and all are dealt with in the book, Tales of Deeply Vale Festival. The book draws on unique contributions from the organisers, band members and festival goers this is a wonderful coffee table book, it has very rich and informative content in text and pictures.

The music archive of six CD's has some haunting 'Trippy-Hippy', 'in your face punk' with some tantric funk and blues performances, some poetry and a smattering of little open microphone compering. Some tracks are low-fi, some hi-fi, over 100 of them. Go listen and you will hear about the pyramid stage on the back of a pantechnican with a vegetarian dog and the most beautiful rendition of 'Manchester Boys', the last track on disc three, it just make me think of the late John Peel and his love of teenage angst, he is in the book on page eight.

With the book you will pick up on the Rochdale Music & Arts scene of the 70s and the movers and shakers of that era and that the music of 'then' has been referenced in one form or another down the years. Punk was the self-fulfilling prophesy always destined to be the moth which flies into the flame of the candle, but bands like 'Tractor' and artist 'Steve Hillage' have the longevity factor, they were cutting it then as well as now.

The box set is a journey to fill in the gaps and set a context of the alternative and music cultures in Rochdale's past; don't forget to light the enclosed joss stick before you settle down with the book and CDs, it all plays a part to incant the essences of Deeply Vale.

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