The Green Man Festival
With a tradition of championing great music, good times and good causes, Brecon Beacons' Green Man Festival has now become THE summer event for festival-goers in the know. Wales' biggest music event has carved a niche as a non-corporate and ethically-minded affair that does more to rekindle the swinging sixties spirit than all your Glastonburys and Readings combined. No corporate sponsors, no advertising and no VIP areas - if there's one thing that hasn't changed in Green Man's history, it is the adherence to offering a festival with real personality.
What can festival-goers expect?
Music is clearly the main consideration for any summer festival, and this year they welcome four UK headliners who have all played before throughout the years – Belle & Sebastian, James Blake, Laura Marling and Wild Beasts. Indeed, the organisers seem to have something of a sixth sense for booking acts destined for greatness - just look at the success the likes of Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling and Joanna Newsome have gone on to enjoy. Other performers have included St Vincent, Super Furry Animals, Bon Iver, Iron & Wine and The National, as well as established heavyweights like Jarvis Cocker, Van Morrison and Robert Plant, whose performance of 'Whole Lotta Love' on the Mountain Stage is widely considered one of Green Man's all-time highlights.
But, of course, Green Man is about more than just music. Stray away from the imposing Mountain's Foot amphitheater and you'll find the ‘Far Out’, with its cinema tent and midnight bonfires, ‘Einstein's Garden’ offering up over 100 performances, talks and installations and 'Somewhere', an exclusive multimedia adventure zone just for teens, to name but a few. 'Babbling Tongues' celebrates the wonders of the spoken word with a top-notch line up of comedy and literature, as well 'Little Folks', an area created especially with under 13s in mind packed full with workshops, fun, games and an Enchanted Forest.
So how has it developed over the years?
Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons. by Green Man Festival
Green Man started off back in 2003 as more an intimate party between friends and family in the countryside than a festival. After relocating, the festival founder Fiona Stewart and her son Ben were able to add the likes of the comedy, spoken word, science and massage & therapy areas that have made the festival such a success. Green Man has since exploded, drawing in crowds of up to 20,000 with ten entertainment areas, 1500 performers, 24-hour entertainment, local ale and cider, all-night bonfires and tonnes of locally-sourced food over four days of festival fun. However, its expansion has done little to alter the ‘villagey’ vibe of this independent, family-run event, where decisions are based on what people are going to enjoy, rather than what is likely to bring in the biggest profit.
And how is it giving back to the Brecon Beacons?
As you might expect from a festival placing so much emphasis on community, Green Man has done a huge amount to support the local economy. Over the years, over a quarter of the entire combined artists and production budget has been spent on Welsh suppliers and artists. This has included over 430 local suppliers, including independent food and drink businesses. Running their own bars means they're able to buy directly from Welsh suppliers, including the likes of Blaengawney Farm, Brecon Water and the Gwynt y Ddraig Cider Company.
Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons by Green Man Festival
The Green Man team aren't selfish; they want their visitors to head out and explore the region they're so passionate about. One way in which they do this is with the ‘Settlement’, a subsidised holiday that allows ticket holders to camp for three days before the festival, enticing visitors to head out and explore Crickhowell's burgeoning art scene, or to wander some of the region's many walking and cycling trails. There's also scope for visiting historic Brecon, Talgarth, home to a famous community mill, and the foodie mecca that is Abergavenny.
For more information, visit the Green Man website.