Over the hills and to the Green Man

Main stage hill, Green Man festival 2011

In a year of low ticket sales for the big UK music festivals, Green Man has sold more tickets than ever before and it’s certainly easy to see why. Set in the Welsh valleys of the Breacon Beacons, Green Man festival has been held for eight consecutive years, since 2003, and it is annually graced by families due to the wide range of activities for children such as Einstein’s garden.

The festival immerses itself in the pastoral countryside and the rolling hills so typical of the Welsh countryside, it’s a wonderful setting for such a wonderful festival. Green Man doesn’t necessarily also attract the biggest names in music, although more well known acts have included Bon Iver (2009) and Laura Marling (2008, 2010,2011). Although, it would be wrong to say that Green Man’s line-up is not full of surprises, Treefight for Sunlight warmed up the stage on the Friday with a cover of Wuthering Heights and Kate Bush-esque sounds could be heard all over the camp site. Iron and Wine proved to be a perfect end to the festival, headlining the Sunday night. Listening to Sam Beam’s intimate songs sang in his smooth and calming voice made way for reflection of a wonderful weekend, it was simply sublime. Accompanied by his nine-piece backing band who only enhanced Sam Beam’s effortless performance, the crowd couldn’t help but smile.

Other personal favourites who graced the main stage were the Avett Brothers  and Bellowhead, both unexpectedly good at crowd-pleasing. Bellowhead succeeded in getting the crowd going with their cheerfully upbeat numbers. James Vincent McMorrow unsurprisingly played a beautiful set, the image of him standing on the stage alone with his guitar will forever be remembered. His beautiful howling voice created an atmosphere unlike something seen before and the crowd was left breathless.

The Sunday was a day to remember, what could be much better than sitting on the grass on a summery Sunday afternoon listening to a live set from James Blake? Not forgetting Laura Marling, the queen of modern folk music did her thing with so much simplicity and grace even with a mere forty five minute set. The chilled nature of the festival is only highlighted by personal sets from the likes of Benjamin Francis Leftwich and She Keeps Beas in the Rough Trade Tent, and the fact that artists such as Charlie Fink from Noah and the Whale and James Blake were also spotted wandering around the arena chatting to the public. It’s nice to see performers unafraid to leave the comfort of the backstage area.

Something so special about Green Man is that the bands who play clearly love being a part of it, just as much as the crowd enjoyed watching them. The organisers of Green Man do not need to change a single thing, they seem to have championed a winning formula, a festival which will continue to be successful into the near future. It truly is magical.

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