Submitted by blackcatista on
Well that was bloody brilliant. Easily the best one of the six I've been to. The biggest reason is simply the effort and attention to detail that went into it by the organisers. I think I commented on here after a previous year that it was as though they'd looked at every single criticism of the previous year one by one and resolved it. This year it seems like they did that and went a lot further too.
Before I start listing highlights, at one point during the weekend I took a few moments to think "what brings all these people here". Personally I like to run around watching as much music as I can, but for most people I think they look forward to a few acts on the bill but it just boils down to "because it's a really good weekend". If Green Man stays as a really good weekend people will continue turning up every year. The festival is in a unique starting position with an amazing location and reputation. The reason why I think it's really important to say this is that this weekend showed that for a festival like Green Man you don't have to break the bank or bring in commercial sponsorship to bring in a Van Morrison (or hypothetically a Bob Dylan or whoever??) to sell the tickets and give people what they want!
So, here's a list of positives....
The staff and volunteers.
All the attendees- I don't think I saw a single person behaving like a knob all weekend, and there was even a lot less talking during bands than last year (though this may be because I was tending to see louder bands this year). And I had so many lovely conversations with people I've never met before and probably won't meet again.
The layout. This will be hard to explain to people who weren't there, but it's actually mindboggling how much better the space was used this year. The area around the pond was lovelier than ever, and I loved where they put the Green Man Rising stage (never got round to seeing anyone play there...).
I found a really good place to camp. Not crowded at all, but well situated, and really quiet.
Food stalls- keeping up the gradual year on year improvement.
There seemed to be so much going on around the site, everywhere you looked there was somebody playing music or doing something entertaining with a little crowd around them.
The couple of things I saw in the Omni-tent (Science stuff) were great.
The lineup in the Talking Shop was great. James Yorkston's "conversation with" Pete Paphides, which I'd intended to pop into for a few minutes, was gripping enough that I missed Woods, who I'd really wanted to see.
The Walled Garden, in general, is getting better and better each year and hence getting more popular. Partly down to improvement in lineup, and partly because people are realising it's a lovely place to hang out for an hour or two.
I've not mentioned the music yet. I don't know where to start, but the aforementioned Mr Yorkston mentioned being given some advice by David "Babylon" Grey which I'm going to horribly misquote. "It doesn't matter as much whether you play well or badly, what people want is to be given the feeling that they're seeing something special that will not be experienced again". So, in chronological order, this is who did that for me:
The Fence... err... Lost Map stuff on Friday night- got a bit messy towards 3am....
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
British Sea Power
There are LOTS of others who I thought were also absolutely brilliant, but they're the ones that really gave me that extra buzz.
Negatives? Really scraping the barrel here, but:
- I LOVE the idea of the beer festival tent and tasted some great ones, but it was a bit chaotic so it's clear which beers are on and what they're like. If it's back next year with a better system it will be amazing. I would have happily paid 50p for a copy of the tasting notes, for example.
- There was such good provision of urinals I got a load of male guilt every time I bypassed the queue :)
- What was John Cale wearing?
- Why is my tent so wet when it hardly rained?
- Apostrophes, children!
Krasnyi replied on Permalink
You a mate of mr ray's?
You a mate of mr ray's?
blackcatista replied on Permalink
peridot replied on Permalink
They did it just to wind HIM
They did it just to wind HIM up ... the wrongly used apostrophe by the MOUNTAIN STAGE that is ... they must have.
Anyway, great post blackcatista, I couldn't agree more with the points you make.
I think it's incredible that there are all these thousands of people at Green Man and no two of them will have had the same overall experience. It's a unique, custom package for each individual present that enriches their lives, not just for the three or four days, but the whole year and beyond.
The whole thing is mind-boggling.
ray_rad replied on Permalink
we did spend a long time looking at that labelling next to the apparently named 'mountain's stage', wondering what had happened
i didn't think that it must have just been to annoy me
but now you mention it, what other possible reason could there have been for it?