Green Man Festival
|Location(s)||Brecon Beacons, Wales|
|Years active||2003 - present|
|Date(s)||the weekend before the August bank holiday weekend (4 days)|
|Genre||Folk / Psychedelia / Dance / Pop / Rock / World Music / Americana / Indie / Electronica|
Green Man is an independent music and arts festival held annually at the Glanusk Estate in the Brecon Beacons, Wales. Now in its 12th year it has evolved into a 20,000 capacity 7 day event, showcasing predominantly live music (in particular alternative, indie, rock, folk, dance and Americana), literature, film, comedy, theatre and poetry. 2013 saw 1500 multi-arts acts perform across 17 stages. The festival site is divided into 10 areas, each offering a unique festival experience. Ceilidhs, all-night bonfires and secret gigs all add to the festival's unique identity.
Renowned for its non-corporate, ethical approach, and as a showcase for new talent it has won several awards including Welsh Events Prize 2006, ‘Best Medium Sized Festival 2010' and ‘Grass Roots Festival 2012’. As Managing Director, Fiona Stewart received the Outstanding Achievement Award at the UK Festival Awards and Green Man was named as one of top 50 coolest British brands’ 2013/14 by CoolBrands. It is the largest contemporary music and arts festival in Wales and has been given major event status by Welsh Government due to the festivals positive impact, and wealth creation.
The Mountain Stage is located in a natural amphitheatre surrounded by the Black Mountains. Headline acts in the past have included Van Morrison, Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, Feist, Robert Plant and Bon Iver.
Einstein’s Garden offers a unique fusion of science, art and nature featuring more than 100 performances ranging from live comedy, music and theatre to walks, talks and interactive installations. It is supported by institutions such as the Wellcome Trust, The Institute of Physics, Research Council UK, Cardiff University and UCL.
The Babbling Tongues area celebrates the wonders of the spoken word with a line-up of both comedy and literature. Caitlin Moran, John Cooper Clarke, John Cale, Julian Cope, Simon Armitage, Howard Marks, Josie Long, Robin Ince, Tim Minchin and Adam Buxton have all either performed or given talks in this area in the past. The Walled Garden offers a more intimate experience to many of the other areas at Green Man. There is the Green Man Pub (serving real ale), a picnic area and dj sets until late into the night.
The Little Folk area is set aside for younger festival-goers, with activities, entertainment and workshops aimed specifically at families with younger children.
Nature Nurture is located at the centre of the festival site and offers a range of activities in a peaceful setting with arts installations, tree house, workshops and saunas.
Fortune Falls is a secluded area of the festival site located on a grassy hillside with trees, fresh running stream, pond and miniature waterfall. The area features a range of interactive art installations.
The Settlement is a camp-site reserved exclusively for festival-goers with Settlers Pass tickets. In 2009 the Green Man introduced a holiday ticket offer that gave festival-goers the option to start their festival experience early and camp at the Glanusk Estate site in the week leading up to Green Man. This allows people attending Green Man to explore the surrounding areas of the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons and was designed to have a positive impact of local tourism. The campsite itself has a wide range of family-friendly activities, workshops and entertainment on offer as well as nightly performances by local artists.
The Courtyard, in the middle of a gothic stable block at the heart of the site, offers a relatively calm environment. Many festivalgoers meet up here, catch acoustic performances and drink ales and ciders from the bar. There are also coffee stalls and a Rough Trade record shop tent.
Green Man returns for its 12th year in 2014. After the fifth announcement, confirmed acts include:
- Neutral Milk Hotel
- Mercury Rev
- The Waterboys
- Bill Callahan
- First Aid Kit
- The War on Drugs
- Kurt Vile
- Sharon Van Etten
Highlights from previous line-ups include:
2013 Kings Of Convenience, Band of Horses, Ben Howard, Patti Smith, Fuck Buttons, Villagers, Swans, John Cale, Edwyn Collins, Stornoway, Local Natives, The Horrors, Midlake, Beak, Moon Duo, Parquet Courts, Phosphorescent, Jacco Gardner, Jon Hopkins, Sweet Baboo, Grass House, Roy Harper, Erol Alkan, Veronica Falls, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Local Natives, Stornoway, Low, Darkstar and British Sea Power.
2010 Doves, The Flaming Lips, Joanna Newsom, Mumford & Sons, Beirut, Billy Bragg, The Unthanks, Tindersticks, Laura Marling, Darwin Deez, John Grant, Fionn Regan, Fuck Buttons, Wild Beasts, Girls, Johnny Flynn, These New Puritans, The Tallest Man on Earth, Summer Camp, Steve Mason and ‘Metronomy Presents’.
2007 Joanna Newsom, Robert Plant, Stephen Malkmus, Devendra Banhart, Bill Callahan, Vashti Bunyan, Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time, Battles, Seasick Steve, Gruff Rhys, Vetiver, Tunng, Steve Adey and John Renbourn.
Charities, community work and regional partnerships
The festival is a charitable partner of The Bevan Foundation and Oxfam Cymru, Cymdeithas yr laith Gymraeg, RSPB Cymru and Brecon Beacons National Park Authority all host stalls at the festival. Each year 40 stalls (worth over £17,000) are allocated to Welsh Charities and Not-for-Profit Organisations. £20,000 is raised annually for local arts and sports projects through a stall run by the Cwmdu Friends. In 2013 more than £16,000 was raised for a charitable trip to Uganda for students at the local Crickhowell High School. Since 2010, Green Man has raised £250,000 of donations for charities. The overall amount of donations since 2003 is expected to be much greater. Green Man also runs training programs with Merthyr Tydfil College and the Salvation Army in Cardiff to give training and mentoring to vulnerable young adults. Additionally, the festival also offers training for over 100 local volunteers providing them with work experience, workshops and life skills. The festival is also in partnership with the University of Wales. Students are heavily involved in delivering workshops and entertainment in the Einstein’s Garden area and in 2012, students from Newport filmed the festival. Green Man maintains an ongoing relationship with the students involved, offering advice and mentoring after the festival ends.
It has been conservatively estimated that the festival audience, artists, and crew spend a minimum of £196 per head in Wales. Between 2010 and 2014 this amounts to over £15.3 million spent in Wales by Green Man festival-goers.
In 2014, Green Man celebrated St David’s Day with a special one-day event in London’s Cecil Sharp House. It was named ‘Hywl’ (a lyrical Welsh term for ‘fun’) and was a celebration of Welsh culture, crafts and gastronomy with talks, theatre, storytelling and comedy. Live music was provided by 9 Bach, Pictish Trail, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Valleyers and The Gentle Good.
Green Man Rising
Launched in 2008, the Green Man Rising competition was dedicated to supporting emerging and undiscovered talent by giving newer bands the chance to perform at the festival. Bands wanting to enter would upload a performance video to the Green Man website. Fans would vote for their favourite acts and a judging panel would finally decide upon the winner. Since it’s inception, it has become widely respected in the industry. Past Green Man Rising winners include Haiku Salut, Will and the people and Huw M. Additionally, Simon Raymonde (Bella Union), Huw Stephens (Radio 1), Stephen Bass (Moshi Moshi Records), Phil Alexander (Modjo), Jack Shankly (Domino Records) and Mike Diver (Clash) have all featured on the judging panel at the annual live final.
Busk On the Usk
Busk On The Usk was a free one-day festival held in Newport, South Wales at various locations along the banks of the River Usk. The event was The Welsh Contemporary Music’s contribution to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and was co-produced by Fiona Stewart. The event featured a program of live music, discussions and lectures, art installations and local food stalls. The event was organised by Green Man with help from the people of Newport along with contributions from a number of Wales’ most important cultural organisations including Sŵn Festival, the Do Lectures, the Laugharne Weekend, the Bevan Foundation, the Centre for Regeneration Excellence Wales, Riverfront Theatre, University of Wales Newport and Arts Council Wales. The music line-up included Scritti Politti, Anna Calvi, Cate Le Bon and Jon Langford. An estimated 6,000 people attended the event.
Green Man Boat Party
In 2006, Green Man hosted its first annual Boat Party on the River Thames. The event usually featured a line-up of both live music and DJ sets and a bar. The last boat party in 2012 featured performances by Field Music, Three Trapped Tigers and Tom Williams & The Boat.
Green Man was founded in 2003 by Daniel and Josephine Hagan who organised the first three festivals with support from Kenneth Lower. Following the 2005 festival the organisation of Green Man was passed to Fiona Stewart, who formed a company where Fiona Stewart held 48%, Kenneth Lower held 5%, and the Hagen's held 23.5% each. In 2009 Kenneth Lower sold his shares to the other shareholders and left the company. In 2011 the Hagen’s sold their shares to Fiona Stewart and left the company.