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13 November 2014

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The Big Chill Festival

You are in: Hereford and Worcester > Places > The Big Chill Festival > A short history of the Big Chill

The Big Chill in the sun - Photo by Andy Gray

Photo by Andy Gray

A short history of the Big Chill

Find out how the event began, when it moved to Eastnor and why it's much more than just a festival...

The Big Chill is one of the newest events in the festival calendar, having only started in 1994.

Originally, the show began as a Sunday only event - at London Islington's Union Chapel. The event was such a success that Pete Lawrence and Katrina Larkin decided to take it somewhere bigger - so they put the show on the road.

Circus field - Big Chill

Circus field - Big Chill

The following summer the Big Chill was back - at the foot of the Black Mountains. Some 700 people followed them there, until they decided they needed somewhere bigger still. So off they went to Dorset in 1998.

Well now they were really stuck. Instead of a few hundred people coming out to support live music, there were 5,000 of them. So in 2002 the Big Chill moved to its new home at Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury.

Last year the annual event attracted well over 27,000 people to the beautiful surroundings of the Malvern Hills - and the organisers say this was entirely by word of mouth.

The Big Chill in the sun - Photo by Andy Gray

Photo by Andy Gray

Not just an event

But the Big Chill isn't just an event. It's also a record label, releasing new music from international artists performing in The Greek islands, Cairo, Helsinki, Budapest, Prague, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Some of the big names to have appeared at the Big Chill during their career include; Zero 7, Amy Winehouse, Lemon Jelly, Goldfrapp, Talvin Singh and Royksopp, - with the festival specialising in everything from folk, jazz, hip-hop, soul, blues and pop.

The Big Chill celebrates creativity in all its forms. And as well as being entertained audibly, visitors are also treated to a selection of spoken word, film, dance and sound-responsive visuals.

last updated: 10/08/2009 at 21:26
created: 27/07/2005

Have Your Say

How long have you been a Big Chiller? What are your memories of the festival?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.


Chris Edwards
This long weekend has been my first time in Eastnor, although I actually live in Worcestershire. New to the Big Chill, I already fell for the place late on Thursday and whilst I'm back home now, I almost feel as though all those people are still with me. This festival brought back the great memories of Glastonbury, yet due to the limited capacity, the vibe was much safer. I hope to return in 2009, if haven't ventured abroad, either way I'm sure I will acquaint with this wonderful event again. A big thank you here to the organisers, contributors and of course the rest of the chillers.

jed jones
been chillin at da big one for seven years, but this one was the worst we've been to.

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