Glass reviews Green Man Festival 2022

THIS year, attendees were happier than ever to gather in the Black Mountains of Wales to celebrate the 20th birthday of Green Man festival. As someone who has been religiously attending music festivals across the UK for the last 12 years, it’s safe to say that Green Man is different. It has a hold on so many people. 

The thought of queuing for overpriced beer, not showering or walking miles to see your favourite band is something you’ll never have to deal with. In fact, many choose to arrive at the beginning of the week as part of the Settlers ticket, where they take time exploring the Glanusk Estate whilst soaking in the mountain views. 

Musical acts are diverse, and headliners are always cult favourites rather than chart-topping acts. And then there’s everything in between. Cardiff singer-songwriter, John Mouse, kicked off things in Green Man style with his Baxter Dury-esque comedic musical dialogues. “This isn’t John Maus”, I heard one festival goer proclaim. Another person who looked equally confused checked their programme before clarifying “oh its John Mouse not John Maus”. They watched in confusion for a few minutes before uniting for a boogie. 

The Mountain Stage

Yves Tumor & Its Band brought the energy to the Mountain Stage with their experimental genre-spanning songs just in time for indie favourites, Metronomy to headline. Thursday nights at Green Man are usually on the quiet side but the crowd made the most of the birthday schedule and found their way to the tucked away entertainment such as the hidden cabaret bar and Round The Twist – a small chaotic disco tent. 

The best part of the festival are always discovering the smaller acts. Manchester quartet Porij played on Green Man’s smallest stage (a tent selling records and merch), and managed to gather a crowd that began spilling into the adjacent beer tent. 

You’ll also find yourself getting lost in areas such as Nature Nurture or Einstein’s Garden, which is full of interesting science-based interactive stands. Whilst walking around, I stumbled into Jonathon Ross, who was filming a documentary about nature and culture for Channel 4. He too enjoyed strolling around and peeping into various exhibitions and stalls. 

The Green Man structure

Sustainability and the environment is a huge driving force behind Green Man, and it always has been. Each year, an array of reusable branded Green Man plastic cups are circulated in the bars, and straws are not seen on site. Guests tend not to litter, and by the end of the weekend, campsites are left empty.

Eco protest

Eco highlights include an interactive experience displaying an overview of how Welsh weather has changed over the years along with a mini protest from people dressed as Elon Musk and Richard Branson riding missiles which read “obscene wealth”. 

By Friday evening, there was a buzz in the air. This was fuelled by Kae Tempest’s moving set along with Welsh favourite, Cate Le Bon, headlining the Far Out stage. Over at the main stage, German techno legends Kraftwerk put on a wonderful 3D show which saw beams of colour shooting into the crowd. 

By Saturday, crowds were moving visibly slower and the queue for the bloody mary stand was bigger than the one for coffee. Nathan Caton injected laughter into the crowds with his comedy set at the Last Laugh tent. Cult duo Arab Strab attracted the indie heads, and by the time the sun had set, the top of the Mountain Stage was lined with baby trolleys and seated parents while the standing crowd swayed to the sound of Beach House. Although the Beach House set was brilliant, the lineup seemed a bit jumbled as the headline stage seemed too relaxed for a Saturday night.

Bicep at the Far Out tent

Bicep clashed with the headliners, so there was a clear split between the festival. The wide-eyed crowd missioned to the Far Out tent where Bicep delivered a rave-fuelled set of tracks. Phones are rarely used to record sets at Green Man but they came out during the duo’s viral track Glue followed by its success on TikTok. 


South African seven-piece, BCUC, slapped the tiredness out of crowds with their non-stop high-tempo tunes. The lead singer delivered a series of powerful speeches over music. “The power has changed between men and women. The men no longer have it easy as the woman is now equal. The women have suffered for years and now the men are struggling to accept that”.

Later in the set he guided the crowd through a minute of silence to send a message to the ones we’ve lost. Tears were shed before he eventually brought the pace up again and had the crowd chanting “there ain’t no party like a Green Man party” before wrapping up. 

Ralph “The Mushroom Man”

Welsh culture plays such a large role in Green Man’s ethos, so it’s always great to bump into locals and talk to those who have been attending for years. Take Ralph ‘The Mushroom Man’ for example. He is seen whittling wood into mushroom sculptures every year in the same spot. He’s proud to be sharing his knowledge of the estate and local nature with attendees. “All of this wood is from trimmed branches in the area”, he explains before continuing to carve wood. 

Local Welsh beer and cider is served throughout the site, and bar staff are extremely knowledgeable about what they are serving. In the main beer tent, the staff can be seen dancing behind the bar, and they’re always offering samples to help you navigate through their huge selection of drinks. With artisan pints averaging at a fair £6, sneaking tinnies into the site is not necessary. 

Michael Kiwanuka’s headline set

Michael Kiwanuka soothed us into a state of calm during his headline set, belting track after track. Kiwanuka is a man of a few words but he paused to explain “Green Man has always supported me and 11 years ago when I released my first music, my name was at the bottom of the lineup and now I’m headline, so thank you for that”. 

In those few words, Kiwanuka summarised what Green Man means. Good-natured organisers who respect and support artists through their journey. It’s a rarity to find. By purchasing a Green Man ticket, you feel as if you’re contributing to something more significant. 

by Katrina Mirpuri

Photo credit: Oliver Boobier