It didn’t rain. That’s the most suprising thing I can tell you about this year’s Green Man Festival. Otherwise, it was largely business as usual: glorious, fun, brilliant music, gorgeous scenery, lovely people, and everything else we’ve come to expect from this beguiling festival. It’s been A Bad Year for festivals (even, in its own way, for Green Man itself – taking criticisms from some noisy quarters for a relatively sub-par line up this year), but Green Man is one of those cult events, with a core fan base of people who come year in, year out – knowing exactly what they want, and exactly what they’re going to get. For the third year in a row, Green Man has sold out – and I’m so thrilled to see it maintaining the success and security which it deserves.
As I’ve hinted, the line up itself was a little scant on big names this year, leaving us all to enjoy the glorious bask of the weekend itself, more than to run ourselves ragged trying to catch everything on in every tent ever. In this spirit, a relatively full bodied performance from the Gentle Good in the Far Out tent, provided a beautiful lilt to lounge around to, enjoying the first drink of the day. (And, as a native, it was also nice to bask in the feeling of being back home, in my old landscape, hearing the old language). From there, it’s just lapping up the day and the vibes until the triumphant arrival of Holy Fuck. The headline slot in the Far Out tent on Friday has become a traditionally dance-friendly affair, and with performances from Fuck Buttons and Four Tet in recent years, Holy Fuck had big shoes to fill. And, although they got off to a slow start, and battled upstream against sound issues throughout, they ultimately pushed the crowd into the frenzy that their best material deserves.
Saturday night was all about Fleet Foxes. For years now, Green Man fans have been loudly clamoring for these guys, and we were finally treated to them. Quite possibly, this was the busiest I’ve ever seen the main stage, needing to be an hour early to get a decent spot at the front - but it was totally worth it. I’m a Fleet Foxes convert in any case, and fully expected to enjoy their set, but it was even more engaging than I expected. Aside from the seamlessly melded harmonies and the intricate arrangements, the live performance allowed a delicious amount of rhythmical low-end to colour the mix. Churning out what felt like a greatest hits set after just two albums to their name, Fleet Foxes delivered a truly masterful set – totally worthy of the wait.
I could provide more and more unbridled gushing about the beauty of Green Man, but I fear I could bore you, aside from just repeating last year’s review word for word. Reviewing Green Man each year feels like having to renew my wedding vows on a yearly basis, and being expected to come up with something imaginative each time. So, instead of reaching for a diluted compliment, I’ll just stick with what I’ve always said: Green Man is the best weekend of the year, a truly remarkable festival to be savored each and every August.