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Festival Review: Green Man 2019

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Surrounded by the gorgeous mountains of Brecon Beacons, Green Man Festival lives up to its name in every aspect.

Image: Pigs x7 by Parri Thomas

Entering the Green Man campsite midday on a Thursday was a funny feeling. There were already masses of people set up and just living another day at the festival site - these are the ‘Settlers’. One of the beauties of Green Man is that you can head to the Brecon Beacons on Monday, set up on-site and explore the glorious Black Mountains before a heavy four days of pure music. 

Walking into the main festival, you’re greeted by a nine-metre handcrafted Green Man effigy, brandishing a drum made from plants and branches ready to be burnt on Sunday night. People wrote their wishes and hopes on tags and attached them to the branches; some were insightful and hopeful: “I wish for peace on earth”, “I hope we can save the planet”, while some were ironic and personal: “I wish I had started my period” perfectly positioned next to, “I wish I wasn’t on my period”.

Bodega couldn’t have been a better festival opener, bringing a massive cluster of the 20,000 festival-goers to the Far Out Stage. It was impossible to take your eyes off the standing drummer with the green buzz-cut; Tai Lee. Her energy and enthusiasm radiated across the crowd and got everyone psyched for the weekend ahead.

 

Image: Tai Lee of Bodega by Nici Eberl

It is true what they say - Green Man is the cleanest, tidiest, most environmentally friendly festival in the UK. Not once across the weekend was there litter underfoot, you could walk to the surprisingly clean portaloos without standing on burger boxes and empty cans of Strongbow Dark Fruits. Volunteers were even separating the recycling throughout the weekend - imagine that!

Friday saw Caitlin Moran chat to the packed out tent of Babbling Tongues while Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs kicked it up a notch on the Far Out Stage. The crowd filled the tent from edge to edge; frontman Matt Baty is stomping around barefoot wearing a light sequin jacket. The band exude an evident Motörhead vibe to their sound with a modern twang of the likes of Wet Nuns.

“Rock music should be wholesome”, says Matt as a parting word, “and hydrated, stay hydrated!’

Marika Hackman blessed the Far Out tent that Friday, playing a combination of her new album, Any Human Friend and some older favourites such as ‘My Lover Cindy’ and ‘Boyfriend’. She tells us an anecdote about the intimacy of acoustic shows, how an audience hears every single lyric like they hadn’t before, “a dad came up to me after the show and said ‘your lyrics are quite… sexual aren’t they? It’s a good thing! Now I don’t have to give my son “the talk”’”. You learn something every day…

 

Image: Marika Hackman by Patrick Gunning

The Big Moon's lead singer, Juliette Jackson was proposed to during their set onstage at Green Man festival on Saturday. She met her partner at the festival five years ago, where they both worked as onsite Royal Mail posties delivering letters and packages around the site. By the looks of it, he was one of the Royal Mail posties this year too, running around like a little mysterious creature with his fellow posties causing people to become confused and even follow him wherever he went.

Jarvis Cocker took to the Babbling Tongues tent with his famous powerpoint presentation, which you definitely missed out on if you were one of the unlucky ones sat on the outskirts. He later surprised the festival with a secret DJ set; subsequently, Sunday was filled with overheard frustrations, “Jarvis Cocker did a secret set last night! And we missed it! Where even were we!?”

Image: Jarvis Cocker by Kirsty McLachlan

Black Country, New Road stood in for Kokoko! on Saturday at the Far Out tent and it wasn't a disappointment. With just a 15 minute gap between their spontaneous set here and their actual set on Green Man Rising stage, they didn't rush or make this performance any less special. With gruelling basslines and spoken word vocals, Black Country, New Road are a must-see.

 Image: Black Country, New Road by Parri Thomas

On Sunday, the barriers were being placed around the Green Man ready for the burning later that night after Father John Misty wrapped up his set. Down at the Mountain Stage, Aldous Harding kept everyone levelled and over on the Far Out Stage, Yak ignited a fire in the crowd and concluded the festival with one last push of "green" energy to wrap up the four-day event.

Image: Yak by Marieke Macklon




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