The Green Man Festival
Green Man Festival by Jenna FoxtonFrom the beer to the beats, Green Man is different, disruptive and dedicated to keeping its unique identity.
Over the years it has grown from a party in a field to an event with a reputation as one of the best festivals in Europe as audiences and artists alike connect with its ethos of zero corporate sponsorship, local suppliers and a focus on high quality music. There's also plenty to do outside the festival site if you decide to hang around and explore this beautiful part of Wales.
Arriving at the festival is different from the outset. No long treks from the car park carrying tents and paraphernalia here, everything is within easy walking distance. The dedicated family car parks are a godsend if you’ve got toddlers with tired legs and friendly stewards are on hand to help at every turn. When pitching a tent, festival-goers are greeted and rewarded with the incredible sight of the Mountain’s Foot stage, which nestles in its own natural amphitheatre at the base of the Black Mountains’ atmospheric peaks. It’s a sight you won’t get at any other festival in the world.
You won’t find any corporate drinks sponsorship here, or fields littered with disposable plastic pints - instead buy a reusable stacking cup with a cool Green Man design, perfect for carrying five pints at once and taking home as a souvenir after the festival. Fill it with your choice of over 100 different independently brewed Welsh beers or ciders and sip away as you explore the festival site.
Green Man Festival by Max MiechowskiTake in the views from wood-fired hot tubs at Nature Nurture, get involved with active science at Einstein’s Garden, relax with live comedy and thought-provoking chat at Babbling Tongues or take the kids to learn circus skills and watch some rock'n'roll pirates perform at Little Folk. Revellers young and old will also love paying a visit to the Green Man himself, an iconic wicker structure who is set spectacularly alight at the end of the festival in a bonfire display like no other.
Your camping stove may well stay in its box when you discover the incredible selection of food on offer at Green Man, using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Vegetarians, vegan and gluten-free folk are all extremely well catered for. Unlike many other festivals where a desultory burger will blow your festival budget, for 2018 Green Man is introducing an affordable meal scheme, which means everyone can get an adult meal for no more than £5.
Night owls can dance in an ancient walled garden to DJ sets, dig out a goldmine of the weird and wonderful at the Far Out stage or just marvel at the headline bands playing against their moonlit backdrop at Mountain’s Foot.
If you really want to make the most of your time in the Brecon Beacons, buy a Settler’s Pass. The Settlement is another area unique to Green Man Festival. Settlers can arrive and camp from the Monday before the festival starts, extending their festival experience to a week-long Welsh holiday. The Settlement doesn’t make profit for the festival and offers families in particular an incredibly good value, relaxing break before the real revelry begins.
The festival puts on communal barbeques at The Settlement, with meat to purchase from the local butcher in Crickhowell, pub quizzes, children’s workshops (it’s the place to make your festival flower crown), music, and invigorating morning mountain yoga sessions.
The Settler’s Pass also encourages festival-goers to explore further afield with special discounts on heritage sites, galleries, waterfalls, gardens and castles. If you’ve ever wanted to travel 300ft underground with a real miner, you can visit Big Pit and learn about Wales’ industrial past, or spend an afternoon wandering around above ground at the beautiful ruins of a 13th Century Augustinian church at Llantony Priory in the Vale of Ewyas. Brecon Cathedral is 12 miles from Green Man, or for more history Crickhowell Castle is just 3 miles away.
If you’re at Green Man, the chances are you love the great outdoors, so this is your chance to get out and about in the wonders of the Welsh countryside.
Local highlights include canoeing or kayaking on the River Wye, cycling to the market town of Brecon or hiking the Black Mountains.
But remember to save some energy to return to the festival itself, this is one magical Welsh party you won’t want to miss.