The setting — a magical mountain retreat
You'll find Green Man on the Glanusk Estate, in the Brecon Beacons National Park. You'll find here some of the the most stunning scenery in Wales (and considering how beautiful the country is, this is really saying something). The whole festival experience is wonderfully woven into the land and the location.
As you bask in the sun sitting in the natural amphitheatre that faces the Mountain Stage, take in your surroundings — wonderfully, luscious green as far as the eye can see. In front of you is Crug Hwyel (usually called Table Mountain in English). The Glanusk Estate is renowned for its trees, which include over 200 different species and cultivars of Quercus (oak), so make sure to take in the magnificence of the trees on the site too. You might even want to take some time to hug a couple of them.
The music — prepare to marvel
Though it started out as a folk festival, today’s Green Man takes in sounds from right across the musical spectrum. There are ten music venues at Green Man, each notable in their own right. There are the two big ones: Mountain's Foot, where you can catch the headliners against the backdrop of the Black Mountains Stage, and Far Out (the big blue tent where you'll hear the late night bangers going off). Over the years I've enjoyed performances from Flaming Lips, PJ Harvey, Caribou, Four Tet, Goldfrapp, Hot Chip, St Vincent, High Contrast, and John Grant, among countless others on these main stages.
But for me, the best part of the Green Man music offering comes in the smaller venues. Personal favourites: Round the Twist (where you'll find the most fabulous late night parties of the festival), Chai Wallah, with its alternative worldly rota; and the Walled Garden (where you'll find smaller bands and artists, and, notably, Charlotte Church's Late Night Pop Dungeon).
In recent years the festival has launched its own talent-scouting competition to give exposure to fledging talent. The Green Man Rising event is hotly-contested, as winners are awarded stage time at the festival.
Little folk are welcome
If you've got kids, there are many reasons to consider Green Man for a family festival. It's an intimate sized-site that you can walk across in 15 minutes, meaning that you're never far from the tent if someone needs a nap (this is for big people or little people!). The kids' field (the Little Folk area) provides entertainment for everyone from the tiniest tots up to the age of 12. Those aged 13-17 can enjoy activities like DJ workshops, fire shows, filmmaking and T-shirt design at Somewhere, the dedicated 'teenage zone'. There's also a dedicated family camping area, and tickets for those aged under 17 are at reduced cost or free.
In the unlikely event you fancy a break from the live music, you’ll still find plenty to occupy you. There’s spoken word and comedy at Babbling Tongues, or theatre and acrobatics to be found around the site. There are film screenings of cult classics and new creations at the Cinedrome, which is an undercover venue - so it's perfect for escaping the relentless heat of the sun or the inevitable odd rain shower. You’ll also find visual art installations in the woods and roving bands of performers doing walkabout, adding to the atmosphere across the site.
If you're after some sunrise yoga, a gong bath, or just a really *really* healthy smoothie, then consider the Nature Nurture field is your spiritual home. It's a great place to come and enjoy some more relaxed energy, and maybe a massage to really ease you into the festival experience. To really maximise that chill, book a wood-fired hot tub — it's a wonderful experience when the sun starts setting.
Green Man has always been aiming for sustainability, and has never sold plastic straws (saving 500,000 straws from going into landfill). It was the first festival in the UK to serve drinks in recycled stack cups, and has programmes and lanyards made from recycled material and bamboo. There are compostable toilets around the site, and all camping equipment left on site after the festival are recycled or given to refugee organisations.
Eating and drinking
Although campers can of course bring their own food and drink, the great thing about Green Man is the wealth of great options to be found around the site. Food-wise, there is plenty for vegetarians and vegans (we love the vegan sushi).
And when it comes to drinking, if you're serious about your beer, you'll enjoy the chance to sample from the hundreds of independent Welsh brewers that are showcased every year. Grab a copy of the programme when you arrive, and you'll find a pull-out beer guide where you can add notes and mark off the beers that you've tried.
Also make sure to get yourself a pint of Growler, which is Green Man's own beer. If you want to get a taste of that sweet festival nectar in between events, you'll be delighted to hear you can now order some direct to your door! Cases of Green Man Growler IPA are now available from the festival shop.
Extend that trip!
If the thought of four days in this green paradise simply isn't enough, then you can extend your time by turning up early for the Green Man Settlement. This campsite opens on the Monday before the main festival, and offers an extended programme of barbecues with local produce, pub quiz, and enjoy live music, workshops, outdoor adventure and family fun.
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 National Coal Museum 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 Llanthony 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.