2020 was a tough year in so many ways for Guernsey but against all odds (and the global pandemic) the Channel Islands’ longest running festival was back and bigger than ever with a sell-out year.
This year, the Collective have been working hard to create another memorable day for everyone – so much so that we have not one but two headline acts for you this year!
They are none other than the Professionals of the dance floor: The Nextmen, and punk/reggae crossover legends RutsDC.
The Nextmen could offer you a musical masterclass in people pleasing but you’d be too busy dancing to take notes. Ask Richard Branson who he calls to smash a party, or MTV, or the Cannes Film Festival, or any stage on any festival from Glastonbury to Bestival, and every Notting Hill Carnival since forever. Or a club, any club, from Fabric to The Warehouse Project to Black Dog Ballroom, YoYo, Space Ibiza, Electric Ballroom, Womb Tokyo, or The Prince in Melbourne – and these boys have happily crushed said dancefloors into oblivion.
They have written multi-platinum releases for artists including Plan B, Wilkinson, Sam Smith, Maverick Sabre, Paulo Nutini, Kiko Bun, Little Mix, Tommy Trash and so many others. This keeps their diaries pretty hectic, so we’re pretty honoured to have them grace the main stage at our Vale Earth Fair.
They’ve released critically and commercially acclaimed albums of their own and have worked with too many to mention (but here’s a few) – Rizzle Kicks, Public Enemy, Roni Size, Daddy G, The Pharcyde, Morcheeba, Groove Armada, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Alice Russell, Dynamite MC, etc etc etc, as well as Jamaican legends Cutty Ranks, Niney The Observer and Demolition Man.
Recent reggae-infused album with Gentleman’s Dub Club entitled ‘Pound for Pound’, their pop-up party tour, the resurrection of their beloved bootleg mixtapes and much more sees them as busy as ever. Get your ears open and ready.
Before The Nextmen finish the night off for us we will welcome RutsDC to the Castle Stage. If you don’t already know them, RutsDC are a reggae-influenced British punk rock band formed in 1977 at the height of the Punk revolution. Originally known as The Ruts they released their first single ‘In A Rut’ in early 1979 on the People Unite label.
This 7″ vinyl was much played by the UK BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel. A series of hit singles followed, including Babylon’s Burning, Staring at the Rude Boys, and Jah War. Tragedy hit the band in 1980 with the unfortunate death of lead singer Malcolm Owen; however the remaining three Ruts felt that they had to continue with their mission under the new name of RutsDC, releasing two further albums before going their separate ways in 1983.
The band didn’t play together again until 2007, performing at a benefit gig for original guitarist Paul Fox, who had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer. Foxy sadly died later that year; however interest in the band was building and remaining members Segs and Ruffy eventually enlisted the help of Leigh Heggarty on guitar and the new Ruts DC was formed. They began performing live almost a decade ago, and have continued to do so ever since, being regulars at the annual Rebellion Festival, and touring worldwide.
Over the years, RutsDC have earned themselves much admiration in the punk, reggae and ska scene.
There’s still some work to be done to completely finalise the line-up for this year, but other Channel Island acts confirmed for this year’s Vale Earth Fair include a welcome return of The Bensons, as well as Jersey’s Dribbler, Watercolour Matchbox, Yas and Apothis.
Advance tickets for the festival, which takes place at the Vale Castle on Sunday 29th August, are on sale now through the Vale Earth Fair website.
Profits from the Vale Earth Fair are split between the humanitarian organisations the Burma Campaign UK, Free Tibet, and local charity Safer.