The Green Gathering, formerly known as the Big Green Gathering is a festival with an environmental and social justice focus, including talks and workshops on permaculture, politics, ecology and crafts, as well as music, spoken word and art. The first Big Green Gathering was held in 1994 and the festival is currently held in Chepstow, Monmouthshire although it has previously been held in various locations in Somerset and Wiltshire, England.
The event grew from the Green Fields area of the Glastonbury Festival. And in their turn, the Green Fields at Glastonbury Festival had evolved from an earlier series of Green Gatherings held from the late 1970s until 1983 at two Somerset venues, some being formally associated with the Ecology Party, as the UK Green Party was then named.
The first Big Green Gathering was held in 1994 at Watchfield, north east of Swindon. In 1995, the event moved to a site at Lower Pertwood Farm, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Warminster, in Wiltshire, and the event was repeated at that site in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000. The next Green Gathering took place in 2002 at Winchester Farm on the Somerset Levels in Cheddar. In 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 the BGG was held at Fernhill Farm, a 160 acre (65 hectare) site which can hold up to 20,000 visitors, in the Mendip Hills. No festival was held in 2008 due to financial problems.
In 2009 the festival was scheduled to return to Fernhill Farm. Two days before it was due to open, the organisers surrendered their license to hold the event, following the threat of injunction proceedings in the High Court by Mendip District Council, supported by Avon and Somerset Police. Organisers were able to arrange ticket swaps but not refunds for all ticket holders.
The Green Gathering is described by its organisers as being "for people who care about the environment, sustainability, health, community and our children's futures. It is a celebration of the natural world and our place within it." Many ecological and anti-war groups such as Greenpeace, Climate Camp have a presence at the festival. The Gathering has pioneered renewable energy with every Gathering being powered by wind, sun and people. In 2005 the event featured former Environment Minister Michael Meacher, Bruce Kent from CND and Tony Juniper from Friends of the Earth.; in 2014, Green MEP and economist Molly Scott Cato was on the bill alongside Baronness Jenny Jones, radical activist and journalist Ewa Jasiewicz and Simon Fairlie, editor of The Land magazine.
On the festival site there are several distinct areas including:
- Permaculture Area
- Crafts Area
- Campaigns Field
- Tipi Village
- Healing Field
- Earth Energies
- Assisted Camping
- An extensive Kids Area
Although the Green Gathering is not a music festival, there is extensive live music performed at the festival. Past performers have included 3 Daft Monkeys, Damien Rice, and Banco de Gaia. The 2011 event at Piercefield featured Thomas Dolby with Seize the Day and Martha Tilston headlining in 2013.
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- Big Green Gathering festival cancelled at last minute The Guardian 26 July 2009
- Cameron, Alex. "Somerset's Big Green Gathering festival cancelled". Somerset County Gazette. Newsquest Media Group. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
- Jones, Rupert (7 November 2009). "Big Green Gathering's ticket refund policy hits dud note". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 10 January 2011.
- Green Gathering 2011: News
- "Areas and Attractions". The Big Green Gathering. Retrieved 2008-08-10.