REVIEW: GREEN MAN FESTIVAL 2010
Wales is such a beautiful country which helps make Green Man one of the most beautiful festivals…that’s if you ignore the inevitable torrential rain. For revellers arriving on the Thursday night (in time to see the UK exclusive screening of a new Leonard Cohen documentary) there was a brief window of dryness to pitch your tent and hotfoot it up to the Far Out stage before the heavens opened. The rest of the first evening was spent dodging in and out of the open bars and band tents, sheltering in the magnificent trees or simply dancing in the rain with some fantastic lights as the backdrop (see pix).
The music well and truly kicked off on Friday with Sleepy Sun, whose performance was top notch but who really could’ve done with some better sound engineers to help make the most of their incredible voices. Steve Mason came on after them and treated the audience to some Beta Band songs including the infamous (yet rarely played) Dry The Rain – had to be done considering the weather really! Fuck Buttons provided the soundtrack to Friday night for those who didn’t fancy the mellow tones of Doves on the mainstage but it was Bristol’s Smerins Anti Social Club who really got the party started in the Chai Wallahs tent as Friday turned into Saturday.
While everyone braced themselves for another soggy day (thanks to a Met Office severe weather warning) Saturday proved much fairer meaning that the main stage drew bigger crowds. Johnny Flynn wowed with his jaw-dropping musical talent and dashing good looks, stealing the show with his newest single ‘Been Listening’. The Besnard Lakes and Fanfarlo were among the other highlights but for most, Saturday was all about the Flaming Lips. The band are renowned for their party atmosphere and they ramped it up to 11 for Green Man with singer Wayne Coyne zorbing over the crowd while balloons and ticker tapes filled the valley. The mesmerising Swedish trio First Aid Kit nailed the Green Man pub crowd with their energetic and angelic acoustic ballads and threw in a few covers for good measure, including a lovely little Gram Parsons number.
Come Sunday, the sun was shining and Laura Marling and Mumford and Sons provided the perfect soundtrack to the clear sky and warm feelings. Mumford and Sons pulled one of the biggest crowds of the weekend, the majority of whom were overcome with joy, dancing, singing and smiling to the heartfelt indie folk. It was one of those ‘festival moments’ and the band were clearly feeling it too. Sparrow and the Workshop played the Green Man pub as Laura Marling was on the main stage so failed to draw the crowd they deserve, but it didn’t stop them giving it their all and treating the small but appreciative crowd to some crystal clear acoustica. Fence Collective duo Silver Columns (aka Pictish Trail and Adem) were one of those well kept secrets which rocked the walled garden on Sunday night. Their experimental (but not in a shit way) electo sound meant there wasn’t a still person in the garden. The inter song banter ensured everyone got involved and had a big grin on their face from start to finish and Pictish Trail’s selection of 30 second songs were nothing short of genius.
The whole festival came to a fitting end with twee harpist/singer/songwriter Joanna Newsom. Adorable just doesn’t do her justice, though the fantasy land she takes you off to with her bizarre lyrics and pure sound wasn’t everyone’s bag – luckily, Simone Felice provided a sound alternative, playing Felice Brothers and The Duke and the Kings songs as well as some of his solo offerings. He may look like/talk like he wants to be Axl Rose but his music speaks for itself. Be-au-ti-ful. Other than music there was some top notch Welsh poetry with Patrick Jones, some interesting science talks, including one on Sperm Warfare, and some magical journeys through brightly lit Douglas Firs. And who could forget the Wicker Man-esque burning of the giant Green Man on Sunday evening. Green Man is easily one of the top three festivals in the UK. Go Wales!
Click HERE to see some video highlights.
Words, photos and videos: Laura Williams
by 247 Magazine