I’ve never been a big music festival goer. In Australia they always tended to occur in the hottest part of the year, and when you lack height (like I do), standing at armpit height on a 40 degree day in the blazing sun with thousands of others just doesn’t seem appealing.
When Adam and I met he told me about a four day music and arts festival called Green Man that’s held in Wales in late summer. He described it as a bunch of people sitting around eating good food and listening to good music. He told me it was very civilised and an awful lot of fun.
I was intrigued so we decided early in the year that we’d be at Green Man 2017 …
Green Man has to be one of the most picturesque festivals in the world. It’s set in a valley in the Brecon Beacons. This is the view you get to take in before you descend onto the festival site!
You can’t drive around the site, so once your car is parked you have to walk in with all the camping equipment and belongings you’ll need for the festival’s duration. Thankfully it was a warm and sunny day when we arrived so the trek was fairly straight forward.
Once you’re on site, it’s almost like you’re in another world. There are different camping areas all around the main festival ground – which is full of food trucks, big-top bars, carnival rides, market stalls and open air stages.
The festival is extremely family friendly, so there’s a wonderful mix of people around. Parents with young children, teenagers, university students, middle aged workers and grandparents. Not once did I see anyone playing up and overall there’s a lovely sense of community.
The food was amazing – any type of cuisine you can think of. I ate duck, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, paella, burgers, crepes, sheep’s milk ice cream and kedgeree. There are dozens of different types of beers available too and Adam and I had a great time sampling brews we wouldn’t normally have access to.
Most mornings started on a picnic bench eating breakfast, reading the newspaper and generally just relaxing.
Days were spent sitting outside listening to music (my personal highlight was watching US band The Shins perform – I’ve loved them since I was at university) dodging showers of rain, hanging out with friends, and visiting art installations, haiku caravans or theatrical performances.
There was a giant Green Man, made of sticks, in the festival site’s centre and this year he was also accompanied by a big red dragon (we are in Wales after all!) who glowed at night.
Being a festival, the facilities are basic – porta-loos and camp showers, but the queues were always orderly and you never had to wait longer than five minutes or so. I did wake up several times most nights because of noise on or around our campsite, but again, it is to be expected.
The weather kept us on our toes (sunshine one minute, torrential rain the next), but we had the most enjoyable long weekend. I won’t say I’m a music festival convert, but Green Man certainly is something special – a little escape from the outside world where tunes, food, drink and good company rule.