The Green Man Festival is fast becoming one of the UK’s most revered and popular festivals, set in the idyllic surrounds of the Brecon Beacons and boasting a line-up of international quality. The festival has grown organically from humble beginnings (just 300 people attended the first festival in 2003) to this year’s stellar line-up, just a selection of which we will profile in this article.
Given that many festival-goers are seeking an alternative to the “big” fests like Glasto, Reading and V, smaller events like Latitude and Green Man are going from strength to strength. This year looks set to be no different, so here are the headliners plus some of my must-see acts from the rest of the fest.
Friday – Explosions In The Sky
Texans Explosions In The Sky have gradually become one of the most respected acts in the post-rock arena, and their albums “Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place” and “All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone” are regarded as cornerstones of the genre. Their set at Green Man will likely feature many tunes from this year’s “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care” record, and the crowd can expect many epic, noise-drenched peaks and sweet, delicate melodies littered through their set.
Saturday – Fleet Foxes
Robin Pecknold and his crew of harmonious hirsute folkers will bring a selection of tunes from their recent “Helplessness Blues” record. It’s a record that took the band through some tough times to complete, but more than delivers with its lush melodicism shot through with Pecknold’s melancholic lyrics. Their set is sure to be one of the highlights of the weekend and will no doubt draw a huge following to the main stage on Saturday night.
Sunday – Iron & Wine
Sam Beam will wrap up this year’s Green Man with a set drawn from a glittering back catalogue of lush, varied folk. To call his music folk seems a falsehood in truth, as it pulls in influences from pop, reggae, jazz and slick 70s rock to make a brew sure to wow fans on Sunday night. His latest album “Kiss Each Other Clean” pulls these varied sonic touchstones in beautifully, not least on the glorious single ‘Walking Far From Home’, which will no doubt be a key moment of his set.
Marling has grown in confidence as time has passed, its easy to forget she is still just 21. Her remarkably mature sophomore effort “I Speak Because I Can” has been matched by her recent performances in its scope and ambition.
Conor O’Brien is always mentioned in the same breath as a certain other Conor, but Villagers’ debut record “Becoming A Jackal” outstripped anything Mr Oberst has put out in a good while. Sure to be a key set on Friday.
James Vincent McMorrow
McMorrow’s soulful voice and delicately crafted songs show a serious talent to watch. His show on the second stage at Green Man is sure to win him a large following and bigger stages and audiences are sure to follow.
Sebastian Rochford’s future-jazz collective have continued pushing boundaries in the years since their excellent “Held On The Tips Of Fingers” got a Mercury nod following its release. Recent record “Peepers” matches tuneful, head nodding funkiness to extensive experimentation, both of which will be in evidence on the Far Out stage on Saturday.
The Burns Unit
Featuring a mass of talent and great artists in their own right, The Burns Unit put together a mix of rock, pop and folk that is sure to fit the afternoon setting at Green Man perfectly. A band featuring the talents of King Creosote, Karine Polwart amongst others will no doubt draw a large crowd.
Scots Admiral Fallow will be ones to watch this year at Green Man, and will be bringing a selection of tunes from their brilliant debut “Boots Met My Face”. Featuring the distinctive Glaswegian tones of frontman Louis Abbott, they are sure to gain some new fans when they hit the Far Out stage early on Friday.
Super Furries frontman Gruff Rhys has steadily carved himself a strong solo career outside his main concern, and won plaudits and a Mercury nod for his concept album about Delorean cars as Neon Neon. New album “Hotel Shampoo” will be showcased here, and will provide fans with a decidedly surreal close to their festival.
Add to these picks a whole host of Comedy, Cinema, Literature and countless other music and DJ acts across the weekend, Green Man 2011 is shaping up to be one of the events of the summer. Give us your picks for the festival and who you’re hoping to see over this fine weekend in the Welsh mountains.