Having lived in Crickhowell and its surrounding areas all of my life and having a sizeable music obsession, I myself found it quite bemusing that I had never attended the festival. But with a truly outstanding line-up including everything from folk to indie, electronica to psychedelica and having some good friends who are Green Man junkies, I felt this was the year for me to be seduced by The Green Man’s charm.
Friday was a day of dancing. New York electro duo The Hundred In The Hands kicked things off for me in the Far Out tent. Next on were Londoners Chew Lips who continued the synthy vibe of the day and managed to up the dance levels. All of this was building to what was sure to be an incredible headlining set from Fuck Buttons. The set was a power-house. Touring through both albums and with improvisation along the way, the duo made their sometimes pretentious yet ever stunning sound even bigger and even more exhilarating. With a drilling bass, addictive loops and some rather mental drumming, the pair were my highlight of the weekend.
Waking to the sun on Saturday morning gave a pretty stunning view of The Black Mountains. The evening line up poses the weekend’s biggest dilemma: probably one of the last chances to catch a legend or see sophomore romantics play one of their biggest shows. I went with Billy Bragg over Wild Beasts, a decision which, on reflection should have been a no brainer. The left wing activist took to the massive stage alone, only accompanied by his guitar and holds the un-wavering attention of all. Saturday’s headliners Flaming Lips put on probably the greatest show your eyes could behold. With the band taking to the stage through a vagina, this is going to be something special. As the band start to play Wayne Coyne climbs into his inflatable space ball and surfs the crowd before returning back to the stage to provide vocals. They play classic ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’, which gets the biggest reaction in an Embryonic heavy set. With the stage flanked by two giant cannons, what could only be a rainforest’s worth of confetti is fired into the air, along with dozens giant balloons. The band finish their crazed set with ‘Do You Realize??’, which proves music can make a grown man cry.
Sunday starts dry and with a set from Darwin Deez, which leaves the crowd in a totally joyous mood. A trip to the cinema tent was next to catch Animal Collective’s visual album ODDSAC. With some of the bands most experimental music and mesmerising visuals this is sure to please all AC fans as well as those interested in seeing what man eating marshmallow s’mores may look like. Laura Marling plays a quite breathtaking set, where she admits ”This is the one I’ve been most looking forward to” showing just how much Green Man means to some of the artists that started out here. Following Marling, and drawing the biggest crowd of the weekend are the band that have brought folk to the mainstream and made the casual wearing of waistcoats acceptable. Mumford and Sons play a charged set, which I don’t think Marcus Mumford could have delivered more passionately if he tried.
The finale of the festival is the burning of The Green Man, which is a massive bonfire sculpted to look like a giant. The Green Man burns to the back drop of a simple, yet stunning firework display. This is, without a doubt in my mind, the single best place to hold a festival.
From Rhys Morgan