Glass reviews Green Man Festival 2019

IT’s mid-morning at Paddington station and I’m walking towards platform 9 with a camping bag slung over my shoulders and a cricket trolley with a five-man tent stuffed inside it. Getting through the barrier with is a struggle but then I meet eyes with a fellow Green Man-goer on the platform and we smile knowingly to each other.

The train journey with Great Western Railway service took me from the industrial depths of London out into the open green countryside. After settling into my seat, the food and drinks cart arrived by my side and I opted for a cold beer and a packet of crisps to get into the festival spirit. Open fields flashed before my eyes and before I knew it I was in Wales. 

Big Theif. Photo credit: Nici Eberl

I’m standing by the Mountain Stage whilst Big Thief play the third song of their set when I get chatting to a woman from Leeds. During guitar solos and song intervals we chatted about the androgynous look of Big Thief lead singer, Adrianne Lenker who sung into a microphone with a shaved head and drawn on moustache when the conversation eventually shifted to the beautiful scene of mountains and trees that surrounded us. She went on to tell me that we desperately need to start planting more foreign species of trees in order to halt predicted temperature increases. This conversation was one of many I had over the weekend about the planet. It summarised the tone of the weekend. Green Man has always been green but this year we all shared the same concerns about the world.

Although Green Man officially welcomed guests a week early as part of their settlers pass offer, the festival started on Thursday for most punters. Bodega kicked off  the party as they played to a packed Far Out tent which was made up of rock, folk and electronic fans, whilst others enjoyed documentaries and films at the Cinemadrome. Options remain open at all times at Green Man, and after live acts finish there are djs galore providing beats at Chai Wallahs and Round The Twist for the masses of party people. 

Maribou State at the Far Our tent. Photo credit: Kirsty Mclachlan

On Friday, Fat White Family returned to the festival on the main stage having previously played the Far Out tent two years ago. The larger venue worked well for the band, who had the audience gripped while folkier sorts politely watched from the back waiting for Villagers and the headline set from Yo La Tengo. Guitars were put to bed after midnight and many flocked to see Maribou State followed by an epic dj set from Greg Wilson which went into the early hours.

Jarvis Cocker’s secret DJ set. Photo credit: Patrick Gunning

On Saturday, rumours quickly spread that Jarvis Cocker was to play a secret DJ set following his talk in the afternoon. Cocker fans gathered in the Round The Twist tent in anticipation, and cheered when Jarvis appeared heroically before the decks. He played an array of tracks and talked between each song like he was on the radio before handing out a tub of sweets which everyone politely passed around to share. Although the majority of people at Jarvis were BBC 6 Music dads, this year’s lineup did see a wave of younger crowds which was largely due to Four Tet’s Saturday headline slot. 

Four Tet on the Mountain Stage. Photo credit: Patrick Gunning.

The Mountain Stage temporarily turned into Berghain as we soaked up the rays from the light show along with the heavy electronic sounds which bounced off the mountains. A DJ headlining the mainstage is an unusual occurrence at Green Man but it somehow felt deeply organic listening to Four Tet’s carefully crafted beats in the open air. 

Father John Misty’s headline slot. Photo credit: Parri Thomas

The choice of music at Green Man was refreshing but it also offered up the biggest dilemma of the weekend prompting what became the age old question of “are you going to see Idles or Father John Misty?”  For many this was a tough decision, including myself, a proud af gang (Idles fangroup) member and a die-hard Father John Misty fan. Like many, I considered running between the two but in the end chose Misty as he’d travelled further to be there. Joshua Tilman took to the stage along with a full orchestra before launching straight into Hangout At The Gallows. The mood was set for the night and there was a mutual sense of happiness in the crowd as Misty flew threw song after song. “This song goes out to all the babies out there,” he announced before playing Real Love Baby to a sea of people singing it back to him. The crowd was enthralled, and he took the time to deliver witty stories in between songs which added extra entertainment. 

The burning of the GreenbMan. Photo credit: Nici Eberl

As midnight drew closer, the festival slowly flocked to watch the annual burning of the Green Man along with fireworks. Green Man was a success as usual, and the flames lit the festival until the early hours. 

As I boarded the Great Western Railway service back to London, I sunk into my seat and enjoyed the comfort of charging my phone and sitting down after a weekend of standing and walking. I sipped on a cup of tea and dwelled on the conversation I had with the woman from Leeds earlier that weekend and wondered what the world look like in 10 years. Either way, I knew Green Man would stay the same.

by Katrina Mirpuri

Feature image credit: Patrick-Gunning

About The Author

Glass Music Editor

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