Green Man Festival Review

by Hugo Beynon

3rd September, 2019

Big Thief

Since my first visit in 2016, Green Man festival has really outdone itself with another incredible lineup, great comedy, films, literature, idyllic scenery, and lovely Welsh beers.

This year’s sold-out Green Man was packed with heaps to do and see. I think this may well be one of the best laid out festivals I’ve been to; the perfect size to see a bit of everything and get the full festival experience. Luckily, the weather held out for most of the festival, with many sunny skies making it easy to sit (or snooze) on the raised slopes by the main stage and watch bands from afar.

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

Friday started with TVAM giving a great visual show full of obscure videos and effects. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs followed with their blend of psych, metal, and stoner, getting the crowd moving and the festival in full swing. Gwenno Saunders (Gwenno) performed a brilliant set of her Welsh and Cornish language music, a truly unique blend. A unique blend with the amazing band, unusual instruments, and lyrics in two unusual languages.

The Malian couple Amadou and Mariam came remarkably close to taking the best Friday performance with an energetic and lively performance. The duo, both in their sixties, had no problem getting the entire tent engaging with their incredibly danceable ‘Afro-blues’ music.

An unforgettable solo from Amadou Bagayoko was one of the highlights of the weekend. It’s truly remarkable that a blind couple in their sixties has the passion and energy to make such amazing music with incredible guitar solos. If you ever have the opportunity to see them, I highly recommend you grab it.

Stella Donnelly

However, the best of Friday goes to Just Mustard who were headlining the rising stage. After recently discovering the band’s debut album and most recent singles I was thoroughly impressed with their refreshed take on shoegazing and noise rock. Their show was loud, solid and thoroughly engaging. I can’t wait to see more of the group. They tour the UK this October, so make sure you check them out.

We eased into Saturday morning by exploring the festival site, ending up competing in the festival pub quiz, which was great fun. We later stumbled across Stella Donnelly whose humble and comical set impressed.

Sons of Kemet played after with a fantastic performance. The quartet has great communication and thrilled the crowd. I was super excited to see Big Thief play after. I love their second album ‘Capacity’ when it came out last year, making them perhaps my favourite current band. They had a good show playing a mix from all three albums and a blistering solo from Adrianne Lenker for their most recent single ‘not’.

The Saturday headliner, Four Tet took the top act of the day with an electrifying performance. we were treated with a spectacular light show, lasers and a perfect set of new and old, mixed with some dance and then more introspective songs. I’ve seen Four Tet acouple of times now, but nothing was as good as his performance at Green Man. Make sure you get to see him at his next live show or DJ set. The man is a genius.

Ezra Collective

Sunday, we took to exploring the site some more. We dipped in and out of a few talks, visited the festival book shop and enjoyed walking through the site, exploring the exquisitely lush environment. We remerged to discover Foxwarren, the side project from Andy Shauf. It was a superb set for relaxing from our sunny spot amongst the Welsh hills.

Later in the afternoon, we were woken up with the electric set from Ezra Collective. The quintet played a great show and their ‘new wave of UK jazz’ was very well received. A cover of ‘Space is the Place’ by Sun Ra was particularly special.

Penultimate headliner Sharon Von Etten gave a good performance and set the tone perfectly for Sunday headliner Father John Misty, who brought half an orchestra with him for his impressive show.

Sunday was completed with the DJ set by John Talbot whose show was the best way to close the festival.

One of the best parts of Green Man, which makes the experience particularly special is the mix of music. Indie, alternative, jazz, world, techno. They got you covered. Green Man is a revelation. A sensational festival to immerse yourself in. Bring on next year.

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