Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Kylie Bartons Article for YM006 Festivals

In this day and age ‘Festival-ing’ needs to be Green...

The Green Man festival held in the Brecon Beacons National Park Wales is the un-sung gem of the festival world. The event that started as a small 300 person event in 2003, has now amplified to a gathering of over 10,000 whilst retaining its aura of individuality, celebrating sustainability (that buzz word of the noughties) and enhancing the environmental consciousness of its visitors.
The reason for attending the Green Man isn’t for the just line up like many main-stream festivals, but for the atmosphere. It’s a whole experience; the green man has it all (the lucky fella). It could be described as a hippy festival, but it is enjoyable for everyone who is open minded and likes to chill out and explore the unknown. Under Sugarloaf Mountain in the heart of the park, are reams of stalls boasting local goodies, and different areas for literature, comedy, theatrical antics, bonfires, and the odd environmental debate, fuelled by the local cider of course.
What is most striking about the Green Man is the diversity of attendants that it attracts. In my experience in 2008 I came across everyone from Rastas, to Brazilian dancers, average family and festival-types to Clairvoyants. It is a cultural experience second to none, all in a truly unique and spiritual setting that brings out the hippy in everyone. Co-founder Jo Bartlett was once quoted as saying ‘I view each festival as a work of art’.
The music scene at the event is largely categorised as folk, which suits the setting where children chase bubbles amongst the fairy lights – and given the welsh weather usually under bulging rain clouds. The rain doesn’t dampen the spirit of the campers, all more than willing to take part in the odd mud wrestle. One year it was rumoured that Denis van Outen was seen getting down and dirty, although I was far pre-occupied with a ‘Pie-minister’ deluxe to investigate further. The festival has hosted big names like ‘The Super Furry Animals’ (2008), and this year fans are promised performances from the Doves, The Flaming Lips and Billy Brag.
The festival is also said to be a favourite of The Times’ columnist of the year; Caitlin Moran. Whose quirky almost eco-feminist slant, could be hailed (by me) as an emblem of the annual event. It is fantastic that something with such a good heart and great intentions has taken a running jump into being a fully-fledged-festy whilst retaining its non-corporate standing, independence and character. It is refreshing to see that entertainment and the environment can be combined into such a fantastic event, with the ability to attract hoards of individuals (and individual they are) and spread the eco-message. So peace out people, pull up a tree and chat to the Green Man.

Kylie Barton
Born again eco-feminist? Maybe for one week end a year.


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