It all started September 1st 2001 in Bradley. A hand made stage with twinkling fairylights and a hired soundsytem was the base for the minimal line up of Rob Loneragan (Guest Mel Bliss), Peter Baynes, Sarah Curtis, Geraint Thomas, Andy Comley & Mel, Strange Mutant Virus, 0898 and Falk. The day saw good weather but being in September the night was chilly. It was free entry with no boundary fences, was purely a day to party with friends. 2002 things we’re pretty similar, being held at the end of summer lasting only one day with no fences or tickets again. The line up was more band orientated that year and staging improved with a donated marquee and staging borrowed from Top of the Pops! Friends from the BBC helped out with professional lighting and sound. From spontaneous campfire songs the night before in 2002 came the Friday edition in 2003, around 400 people attending amazingly it ran with no official licences still as an unticketed gathering. It moved to June in 2004, however bad weather reports the numbers didn’t really increase on the year before. It went ahead anyway and the sun stuck around. A few stalls were introduced and a rudimental ticketing system only a donation had to be made even by campers making it it’s last free year. Was the last year with no licensing too seeing an end of late night bonfires.
2005 saw a date change again being on the first full weekend in July as it still is today. 700 attended, with the well-known Mystery Jets performing. “The campsite has always been a special place at Blissfields with the most laid back and friendly vibe you can find at a festival” and 2005 was no exception with regulars returning mixing nicely with the new comers there for the bigger names. They charged for camping, keeping the music free. With full legal licenses saw the introduction of security. Full day tickets began in 2006 and the campsite was to full capacity. Bands still played voluntarily meaning lots of money could be raised for charity still. The festival kept growing year on year with a second stage being added in 2007, and larger acts being booked. Despite the weather that year Blissfileds was full of sunshine and the atmosphere was great leading it to win Best Small Festival at the UK Festival Awards. After a one year break 2009 saw Super Furry Animals and a new to the scene Mumford & Sons please the crowd. It expanded the following year with extra stalls and side stages leading to its venue change to Vicarage Farm in 2011. The festival has continued from 2011 at Vicarage Farm with an expansive line up growing in reputation and size year on year.
Blissfields supports charities working closely with Born Free.
Quote from Paul Bliss – “Our ethos behind the festival is to put on as big a show as we can, while keeping it all really self contained. Our motto has always been ‘small but perfectly formed’, and so our aim is to put on as packed a programme as we can, without losing any sense of intimacy, inclusiveness or attention to detail. We’re only 5,000 capacity but have an ale festival, film festival and screenings, big-scale art installations, hot tubs, a huge kids area, sports day games, spoken word and debate, and loads more on top of the 150 live music acts. We just want everybody to find something in there which they’ve never seen or done before, in an environment where they can’t possibly miss it.”