This beautiful site is nestled in a valley of the Brecon Beacons in Wales watched over by Table Mountain which makes a dramatic backdrop to the main Mountain Stage.
It was a brilliant festival with some great band playing. The good weather was a bonus as the festival can be quite wet some years. Instead we had bright sunny weather on Friday and Sunday.
Things got off to a fine start on Thursday night with a brilliant performance from Patti Smith. You know who is the boss and so do the photographers when she tells them, after her second number, she hasn’t come to Green Man to sing to them before they moved on. She sang a wonderful version of Neil Young’s After the Goldrush as well.
Haiku Salut started off the day at the Mountain Stage. A young trio playing with a mixture of instruments and some electronica but without vocals. Peggy Sue followed with their fine vocal harmonies. Eagleowl on the small Garden Stage. Some of their band were stuck on the M4 so they played as a 4 piece. We loved the Mogwai like number they finished with.
Then it was off to the Far Out Stage for the melodic sounds of Jacco Gardiner. Julia Holter was impressive on the Mountain stage with her mellow wall of sound. Parquet Courts were a really good guitar based rock band and played a great set at the Far Out Stage. Phosphorecent were superb on the Mountain Stage with their Americana blend of rock tinged with country. Teleman played a good poppy set on the Garden Stage.
Friday evening in the far Out Stage was filled with some great electronica and dance from Darkstar, Beak> and F*ck Buttons complete with some impressive lighting.
The Fence Collective were hosting a special evening event in The Cinema Tent. Johnny Flynn announced there that as Fence was now finished he had started a new label called Lost Map and many of the (ex) Fence bands had joined it. Monoganon, Kid Canaveral, Johnny’s Pictish Trail, Seamus Fogarty and Eagleowl played some good sets. It was very much a party atmosphere.
Everyone danced to Kid Canaveral and it was a late night with Eagleowl finishing their set at at 2.45am! Unfortunately managed to have my little rucksack nicked. (As it contained the zip on legs to my shorts, my mate Les helpfully suggested I could easily find them by looking out for someone wearing trouser legs without the top bit!)
Highlights on Saturday started with Revere. They were brilliant and reminiscent of Arcade Fire. Their new album will be out end of this/beginning of next year. One to watch out for. The 7 piece The Slow Show from Manchester were impressive. Slow and moody with a very deep vocals.
3 Brilliant rock bands on the Far out Stage followed. Wild Smiles an energetic 3 piece band with great drumming. Girls Names followed by superb heavy rock from the Chicago based Arbouretum.
James Yorkston sounded great and played with a large 7 piece band. Very musical, folky ballads with strings and some beautiful vocal harmonies. At one point all 7 of the band were singing in harmony (even the drummer). For one number James brought his Dad on to great applause.
Heard the sweet voice of Oluf Arnalds on the Garden Stage. She sings with her acoustic guitar in a charming Iclandic accent. I enjoyed hearing and seeing John Cale. His backing guitarist was superb and had to rescue him when he had difficulty with his foot pedals. Back to the Garden stage for the beautiful mellow retro West Coast sound of the Allah Las. Then to the Mountain Stage for The Horrors who are so good these days. The day’s music finished with a fantastic rocking performance from Band of Horses on the Mountain Stage. They said they were so pleased to be asked to headline a festival and it really came across as a special performance.
The day wasn’t finished though. After catching up with the rest of the Rock Club at basecamp for beer/wine and cheese we went out again to celebrate Sally’s birthday finishing up at Chai Wallahs with brandy chai before retiring about 5am.
Kicked off with the Australian Nuala Honan at Chai Wallahs’s stage. Lovely voice singing a mixture of songs. Has a good soul voice which I would have liked to hear more of.
Couldn’t resist going to the talking shop tent for a lecture by Pete Brown on matching beer to music. He gave us a sample of 5 beers/ciders to drink to music he played. He chose drinks that were still available from the real ale bar. This bar had had an amazing 100 kinds of real ale and cider at the start of the festival. This beer and cider festival at the festival was a bonus. Anyway his choice of beer and music was;
Stornaway – Beer - Wye Valley IPA
Patti Smith – Cider - Bleangowdi
F*ck Buttons – Beer - Brecon (contains orange juice)
John Cale - Beer - The Celtic Experience
British Sea Power – Beer – Oximoron from Otley
My favourite was the Oximoron, which was a dark IPA!
The folk trio Lau at the Mountain stage were superb. And listening to them whilst sitting in the glorious afternoon sun made it even more special. After their set a pied piper like character appeared from the children’s area followed by an enormously long string of children dressed up and having a great time. This festival is perfect for children as it has lots of activities and landscapes to play in
The folk/rock band Woods were in the far Out stage followed by Unknown Mortal Orchestra. They had trouble with the sound and as a result Ruban Nielson passed the time doing some amazing Jimmy Hendrix like guitar licks. That was the best bit of the set!
More folk from the excellent Stornaway at the Mountain stage followed by British Sea Power at the Far Out stage. The highlight of the day. As usual they had the stage decked out with leaves and fairy lights and as usual they had the grizzly bear and polar bear wandering around. Their music is so diverse from loud rock to the gentle music from the man of Aran soundtrack. This brought fond memories of when I was last at Green Man when they played late at night in the cinema tent to this black and white arts film classic.
Swans were causing earth tremors from their 2 large drum sets and extra heavy rock/metal sound. It was a bit of a relief to finish off with the milder acoustic rock sounds of Ben Howard at the Mountain stage.
The night finished off with the traditional burning of the green man followed by a firework display. What a superb festival!
We are off to End of the Road Festival on the 29th August. Let’s see what I manage to lose there, have also lost my boots at Glastonbury this year