So around this time last year I wrote my very first article for CUB, entitled “Why Green Man is the Most Underrated Festival of the Year”, and now here I am again about to ramble on about why this beautiful little festival in Wales is still my favourite.
As I started to plan this piece I began to remember just how hard I found it last year to put the true attraction of Green Man down into actual words that can do it justice. Maybe it’s because, with 2016 being my fourth consecutive year at the festival, I now see this stunning place in the heart of the Brecon Beacon mountains as a sort of second home – loving, familiar and friendly. This festival so brilliantly encapsulates everything you want from a weekend of music and fun – with an incredible range of bands both well-established and newly emerging, vast forms of entertainment from talks and comedy to film and performance, and an unparalleled nightlife scene that is guaranteed to still have you going in the early hours of Monday morning.
The music of course was brilliant this year – as usual – and despite feeling like I saw a whole range of incredible acts I know that in reality I barely scratched the surface of what this festival has to offer.
Kicking off on Thursday evening, the Far Out tent (that name itself gives you an idea of how laidback this festival is) was headlined by indie boys Wild Beasts. Earlier in the day we had seen the likes of world-influenced psychedelic Flamingods, ambient slow rockers Cigarettes After Sex, and my new favourite psych-grunge noisemakers King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. The first evening was a whirlwind of incredible music, set to the backdrop of beautiful Welsh scenery, and of course washed down with many pints of locally-sourced beer and cider. And the rest of the weekend didn’t slow down for a second.
On Friday the festival was then able to spread to its full potential, with music and performances happening on a further five stages, including the lovely enclosed space of the Walled Garden, and the best place for dance, ska, reggae and any other genre imaginable – the Chai Wallahs tent. The Far Out continued to be erratic and intent on keeping you dancing, with the likes of Floating Points, Lush, and Factory Floor, while the main stage – named the Mountain Stage due to its location at the foot of the Black Mountains – showcased music from Meilyr Jones to Connan Mockasin to White Denim, before being headlined by the blissful rumbles of James Blake.
On Saturday it hosted the brilliance of Cate Le Bon, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and faultless songstress Laura Marling, while the Far Out was home to some of my favourite and wildest acts of the weekend – Jagwar Ma, Battles, and Fat White Family.
By Sunday I thought things couldn’t get any better, but after catching The Moonlandingz, Songhoy Blues, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra I was back at the main stage to witness the celestial beauty of Warpaint – an experience I’ve been waiting on for years. The stage was then headlined by Scottish indie heroes of the 90s, Belle and Sebastian, who closed the festival in the best way I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of – a massive stage invasion.
Cred: Youtube; VST271
After the jangling notes of “The Boy With The Arab Strap” had subsided, the entire festival made its way to the incredible carved statue of the Green Man himself, who, true to tradition, was then burnt to the ground to conclude the weekend’s festivities – with the burning flames embodying the sheer warmth and excitement that this festival can achieve.
Practically in the middle of nowhere, cut off from the stresses of reality and the outside world, and with an atmosphere that feels like you’re part of one big happy family, to me Green Man is the perfect festival.