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Truly, Madly, Deeply Vale

IN A CLIMATE where brands like Carling and O2 bankroll festivals as a way of boosting their credibility with impressionable young consumers, Deeply Vale seems like some strange and exotic anachronism.

There was no corporate branding of the Deeply Vale festival, which took place in a secluded valley somewhere between Bury and Rochdale over the course of four years at the dog-end of the Seventies. There weren’t even any toilets for the first couple of years.

Instead, the first festival was part funded by local progressive rock band Tractor, using royalties from their releases on John Peel’s Dandelion label. The remainder of the budget came from a 50 pence surcharge levied on local pot-heads by community-minded dealers at a squat in Rochdale.

This motley crew of hippies, idealists and out-and-out freaks rented the valley during the long, hot summer of 1976, telling the landowner they were organising a camping holiday for about 10 people.

In the event, about 300 people turned up to see Tractor and various friends perform in Deeply Vale’s natural amphitheatre through a PA system donated by an ever-benevolent John Peel. There was free food (bean stew, goat curry and egg butties) but no admission fee. Bands were paid in pot.

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