The first thing to say about Green Man is wow, what a stunning site! You have the beautiful backdrop of the Black Mountains, a tiered grass amphitheatre surrounding the main stage, a walled garden and so many secret places to discover under trees and in little glades. And it's all yours for the weekend!
For me, Green Man is the perfect size festival; not so big that your legs ache from trudging (or prancing) between stages but not so small that you find yourself wondering what you're missing on TV. In fact, for a medium-size festival I am always blown away by the amount they pack in! Not only do they have an impressive and diverse musical line up but you will find pop-up performances, giant interactive sculptures, a huge amount of workshops, games and market stalls, which barely leaves you enough time to choose what to eat and drink!
The first year I went to Green Man I was volunteering with a group called Electric By Nature and we were in Einstein's Garden running activities and playing games around renewable energy. Each night when we packed our stall down we would lug our giant sofa across the grass to the main stage and sit there in home-style comfort watching the bands as the sun went down... bliss. That year I also found myself roped into the carnival parade with SWICA, I was whisked off, covered in blue paint and glitter and presented with a huge elaborate headdress and full wired skirt. Next thing I know we are dancing and parading around the festival site!
This year I am looking forward to running workshops with No Fit State Circus, so look out for us if you want to get on a trapeze or learn to hula-hoop. This is a festival where anything can happen – so get stuck in!
While you’re there, make sure you explore! Try something new. It's always worth a wander at this festival so allow yourself some time between acts to pop into Einstein’s Garden and make something or join in a science game. Or follow a little trickle of water to a small stage under the trees where you may discover your next favourite band.
You might expect the highlight of this festival to be one of the main acts and I do have some unforgettable memories of these, including mind-blowing sets from Mogwai, Kings of Convenience and Feist. But I have to say, there is something unbeatable about stumbling across an act or performance on one of the smaller stages, sitting yourself down in the sunshine with a cider in hand and realising that you are crying from laughter or have been totally enthralled to silence. I just love those moments.
Be prepared for some tricky eating decisions! Ditch the packet noodles and treat yourself. You have to visit at least one of the amazing food stalls over the weekend. My top taste discovery last year was a North African dish called Shakshuka; if you come across a giant pan of roasted red pepper goodness with strange little upside down pots dotted about on top then get in that queue – it's worth it!
Thirsty? You will never find yourself very far from a bar. My favourite has to be the Courtyard where you will find a great range of craft beers, ales and ciders, including a selection from Cardiff's very own Pipes Brewery. Oh and don't forget to have a lovely warming cup of chai tea if you start to lag, it will perk you right up!
What I love about Green Man is there is always something new to discover. Last year while taking a slightly different route back to the tent we stumbled across what appeared to be a giant mouth surrounded by a small writhing crowd. It turned out to contain its very own sound system and DJs pumping out rave tunes!
I always feel like I know everyone at Green Man and I take this as a sign of a good festival with a great mix of people. There are arty folk, hippy folk, city folk and everyone in-between. It is very family friendly as there is so much to keep the kids entertained, however this doesn't mean you can't party hard and stumble back to your tent as the sun comes up.