Chichester: big crowds expected for this year’s Chi-Fest

Chi-Fest at Chichester College on Saturday, June 20 will offer nine hours of live music across five stages in a great celebration of college and community talent.


College music lecturer Daf Hughes is delighted at the way it has come together for this year for a festival which has now come of age.

This year it comes as the college itself marks its first half century.

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“This is our fourth Chi-Fest, and last year I think we really emerged,” Daf said.


“We are trying to revitalise what we are doing and trying to raise the profile. This a great way of showcasing what we do and building connections and bridges with the community.”

The music starts at midday: “We have got five different performance areas. There are two outside stages, a big stage and a slightly-smaller outdoor stage. We have also got three spaces inside including an acoustic tent.”

Daf anticipates 50 acts in all on the day, at least 150 musicians in all – and all for free.

“There will be a range of bands, rock bands, folk bands and jazz bands. The majority of these are either current students or bands featuring our former students.

“I have got a network of former students that are interested in playing. It is great to have them coming back.”

In addiction, there will also be dance, musical theatre and theatre - all part of showing what the college is about.

“It brings in more people than the open day. Last year, we had well over 2,500 people on the site throughout the day. But it is not an open day. That’s not the intention. It is a music festival, and we will have a big range.

“We have got people from the level one programme such as Theatre Inc, and we have got students on level two which is GCSE right up to HND which is the jazz course, which is above A level. It’s really first-year degree level.

“Plus we have got the former students coming back. A lot of them are now semi-professional or professional. And there is also dance involved this year.

“We have got a dance showcase, and we have also got musical theatre showcases. We have also got drama this year. We have got a Shakespeare performance. We have got five to six Shakespeare plays all linked into one.”

As Daf says: “There are all the usual things you would expect at a festival.

“My role has been to get all the creative stuff together, co-ordinating with the other departments.

“It is all about showing what goes on at the college, but we are also bringing in the local community. We have got four choirs coming in, and we are bringing in other groups as well that don’t have anything to do with the college.”

Ideally, Daf would love to see it spread to a couple of days: for the moment it is just the one, but a very packed one.

“One of the things we have is something very family-friendly in the middle of the day at 3pm. Last year we did a Disney spectacular.

“This year we are going to do a 50th birthday party for the college. We are going to have music and dance from five different decades.

“We have got party games so it all feels like one big birthday party.”

Obviously, it’s all hugely dependent on the weather, but weather permitting Daf sees no reason why they shouldn’t top last year’s excellent attendance figures.

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