There are few UK festivals that can match Green Man for location, held as it is in the staggeringly beautiful surroundings of Glanusk Country Park in view of the Brecon Beacons. A gentle drive down the ridiculously uncongested winding country roads that lead to the site sets the pace for the entire weekend.
More genteel country holiday than outdoor rave, Green Man offers up the best past and present folk legends, with influences from psychedelic ’60s flower children to more modern alternative and twisted genres – Explosions In The Sky, Fleet Foxes, Robyn Hitchcock, Noah And The Whale, Polar Bear, James Yorkston, Dry The River, The Low Anthem, James Blake and, of course, this year’s ubiquitous festival essential Laura Marling all vie for stage space over the weekend.
For those who like world-music flavours to their tunes, the Chai Wallahs stage hosts more multi-cultural fare, from the African jazz beat of the Mankala Band and Afrik Bawantu to the Spanish flamenco/Rumanian trumpet collective Molotov Jukebox.
Its also a festival for the supremely lazy and/or spoilt. Can’t be bothered to pitch your own tent? Tangerine Fields will do it for you for only about twice the price of the equipment in your local Millets, and donate it to Oxfam for you if you can’t be bothered to take it away with you afterwards. Too lazy to carry your bags from your car to the tent you’ve hired? Trolleyman will do it for you, at just 5 for every 30 minutes. Fed up of your kids? Dump them in Boutique Babysitting for 60 a session – or you could buy the nanny a ticket and get her to carry your bags and pitch your tent while you’re at it.
Even anyone who doesn’t feel the need to splash out on all of the above – and let’s face it, those who do are probably be better suited to two weeks in a luxury hotel in the Maldives than the possibly soggy foothills of Wales (last year was freezing and extremely wet) – will find the usual weekend eco-warriors, hot showers, and as liberal an attitude to smoking (tobacco only, mind) as can be found anywhere these days.
The result is a chilled out, laid back, weekend hippie extravaganza with good music, pleasant company, plenty of family activities (including a dedicated kids area) and the option to extend the festival weekend to a longer country holiday in one of Wales’ most beautiful tourist destinations – hiking, climbing and riding are all available nearby while an extra 40 buys an additional three days camping. Risk seven days of festival toilets at your own peril – or head off to a civilized pub lunch/cream tea nearby and use their facilities instead.