Top 5s thread

So as with the last few years, post your top 5 acts here!

I know it's hard, but:

- only list 5 (you can give honourable mentions to any who narrowly missed)

- put them in order

And I'll be back in a couple of weeks to compile a league table. 

Still not decided on mine, but am down to a shortlist of 7...

Not easy at all as we saw so many brilliant acts, but anyway here's mine:


1. Fontaines DC

2. Squid

3. Shame

4. Panic Shack

5. Django Django


Honourable mentions to those that could easily have made my top 5: Melin Melyn, Snapped Ankles, The Goa Express, Do Nothing, Buzzard, Buzzard, Buzzard and Yard Act.


Won't miss the wheelie-bin toilets, but everything else was as wonderful as always.

1) Nadine Shah

2) Self Esteem

3) Lynks

4) Black Midi

5) Mogwai

Honourable mentions to Wet Leg, Caribou, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, John, Georgia and Teenage Fanclub (who would normally walk into my top five but I was dead on my feet by that point and the small crowd didn't help)

The feeling of the first pint of growler on Wednesday after getting set up was just something else.

1. Goa Express

2. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard

3. Fontaines DC

4. Django Django

5. Peaness 

bonus vote? The Silent Forum (an honourable vote for these chaps for living up to the considerable pressure of delivering me my first live show for 18 months).

Might have missed one or two here, but something from nearly every album. All solo. 

Joe the Quiltmaker

Two Halves

Freshers Ball

(Something from peasant?? Struggling to remember)


We Picked Apples...

Dead Dog In An Alleyway


Ghost of a tree. 

Still decompressing after the most amazing weekend, made all the more so by seeing many of you wonderful people on here.

Top 5 not too difficult for me ..

1. Self Esteem (first time and totally overwhelmed)

2. Fontaines D.C. (great representation at the unofficial forum meet)

3. Nadine Shah (thought she'd be No.1 but then Sunday happened)

4. Gruff Rhys (can now forgive and forget that miserable SFA performance in 2015)

5. Alfa Sackey & Afri Bawantu (Chai Wallahs can normally be relied on for one of my highlights each year)

Honourable mentions are everyone else who played .. nothing disappointed other than the sound quality in the Far Out at times

1) Self.Esteem

2) Nadine Shah

3) Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard (shameless fangirl)

4) Fontaines DC

5) Links

Honourable mention: Wet Leg for starting the festival so brilliantly and for performing with such joy. 


1. Nadine Shah

2. Thundercat

3. Caribou

4. Fontaines DC

5. Emma Jean Thackray 

Honourable mentions to the entire Cambrian curated line-up on the settlement acoustic stage and then Working Men's Club for getting me in the festival mood, 

Also enjoyed LYR and Nubya Garcia.

Charlotte Church was great fun but mostly avoided walled garden because the sound quality didn't seem to work for me.


My top 5, having been 'forced' into putting them in order.

1. Fontaines DC - they would even have been in my top 5 from just seeing them doing the sound check in the morning (without Grian Chatten)

2. Nadine Shah - always good but also so enthusiastic about being there with us

3. Self Esteem - such a perfect show a real treat to be there

4. Los Bitchos - a great and original performance

5. Working Men's Club - perfect for the Thursday evening, what we have been missing over these 18 months and totally different to what I was expecting

such a good weekend (made even better by meeting So many of the forum members), barely had time to check out the rising stage (wanted to catch the Goa Express but was enjoying BC Camplight so much). Honourable mentions go to Wet Leg, Yard Act, Lynks, N'Famady (at the Settlement) Kidsmoke (also at the Settlement), Ibibio Sound Machine, Lyr and Mogwai.

King Hannah - Wow! Hadn't really listened to them beforehad, but I'd bought tickets for their upcoming London gig before I'd even left Far Out after a stunningly good set, so desperate am I to see them again.

Lazarus Kane - The Rising Stage seldom fails to throw up one of my top 5 sets and this was a riotous beauty.

Lounge Society - The best of the young new bands I saw.

N'Famady Kouate and his band - very happy I got to see them twice; Settlement stage on Tuesday and Chai Wallahs Friday midnight.

Working Men's Club - seen them a few times now and they never dispappoint, although I did wonder if Syd might implode at the start with the sound issues.

Okie, my own top 5:

1) Richard Dawson. Gets better and better. We picked Apples... was my favourite track all weekend, but following that up with Dead Dog In An Alleyway, Ogre (how does he even think of doing that solo?) and Ghost of a Tree left me flattened

2) Self Esteem. My 2-days-ago self can't believe I'm putting her here, but how could you not be totally filled with a warm glow after that? The woman who she dedicated a song to was stood directly in front of me. Being near her for it and seeing the reaction of her and her friends and random strangers hi-fiving her was one of those "Green Man moments".

3) Snapped Ankles. Weird seeing them in the light, but such massive fun and great songs. If the GM organisers are reading this- get them back in a big slot next year (Thursday headliners?) and give them time, funding and artistic licence to do something special and exclusive.  

4) Crack Cloud. Brilliant, and really well received by the crowd up the front. A lot more post-punk influence (kept hearing Wire coming through) than I thought there would be. The story of tha band as an arts project to help young people out of addiction made it even more special.

5) Tiña- best band I've ever seen on the rising stage by some distance. Just the right amounts of fun, beauty and eccentricity for a psych pop band. Looking forward to seeing them on tour next month.

Can't believe I didn't include.... Nadine Shah, Hen Ogledd (missing Rhodri, though the others did a remarkable job of covering for him and I'm pleased I picked them over Mogwai), Deliluh (any opinions on them? I loved them but felt like I was the only person in the whole Far Out Tent who was into it), Gwenifer Raymond (in the rain), Pictish Trail.

Hen Ogledd / Richard Dawson - astonishes me every time

Shame - mesmerising, loved the orchestra addition too

Ayanna Witter-Johnson -  never heard of her, but amazing stage presence and musicality

Fontaines - ferocious end to the night

Will and the People most fun with your clothes on (that said the took off most of theirs)

Just missed out

Erland Cooper - haunting and spellbinding

GreenTea Peng - woozy, dreamy beats, captivated the crowd

Home Counties - witty, driving motorik post punk

Katy J Pearson - folky, electronic beats, entrancing

Vanishing Twin - dreamy, electronic beats, entrancing

Pictish Trail - only artist to play every GM, always excellent

Billie Martin - lovely way to start the last day

Broadside Hacks - great folk collective

DJ Rap - old skool beats, blew the sides off the tent

BC Camplight - dreamy, sunshiney beats, entrancing

This is the Kit - played with Rozi, always beautiful 

Gruff Rhys - lovely to see Sweet Baboo again, Gruff smashed it


Gutted to have missed:

H Hawkline

Surfing Magazines

Stephen Fretwell

Los Bitchos

Gwenifer Raymond


Catrin Finch

Melin Melyn

Prima Queen


Black Midi

Jose Gonzalez

Golden Dregs

Run Come Down

Self Esteem






Peggy Sue

1. Richard Dawson

2.Django Django




Honourable mentions to The Surfing Magazines, Working Men's Club, Gruff Rhys, Bc Camplight, Snapped Ankles and Teenage Fanclub

And also a mention for Chilly Gonzales in Babbling Tongues playing a little piano and discussing his new book on the genius of Enya, a humourous, engaging and educational 45 minutes.

Nadine Shah

Fontaines DC

Catrin and Seckou

This Is the Kit 

Emma-Jean Thackray 

Honorable mentions for Wet Leg, John, Los Bitchos, Vanishing Twin, Simon Armitage, Pete Paphides, King Hannah, Crack Cloud, Snapped Ankles, Porridge Radio, The Golden Dregs, Tiña and the Tibetan curry stall in The Walled Garden. 

i know my 5 - but it's been hard putting them in order...

mostly, i've done it just by how much i enjoyed it, rather than strictly how 'good' anyone was

to which many factors will have contributed - alcohol-intake, crowd-participation, attitude, unexpectedness, etc.

but, fwiw...


1.  lazarus kane (i had zero expectations.  just went to check out their soundcheck as i was at a loose end.  thought they sounded ok.  stayed.  the crowd went mental.  the band responded.  i had an insanely good time.  and probably caught covid.  all of this enjoyment only compounded by me almost running ben over in that tiny service station just before the severn bridge.  my rock n roll life, kids)

2.  pictish trail  (i knew this would be good.  even when it almost went to shit as the heavens properly opened for the beginning of his set.  but that last 20 minutes was EVERYTHING that GM is about.  i hope no one videoed my dancing)

3.  the fannies  (this placing is much to do with them being my last act of the weekend.  and, sadly for them, with the fact that there weren't that many people there - which meant that i could be right up the front and have plenty of space around me - in which, again, i danced [and sang - silently, obvs] like an idiot.  but bloody hell.  those songs are burned into my brain.  and it was so good that they were still that great without gerry.  i had a ridiculously good time.  only increased by stumbling out and over to round the twist where i'd arranged to meet peridot for a final toast - with no expectation of being able to do so, based on the insane crowd thronging there immediately before the fannies set - only to find that they'd turned all the sound off for the burning, meaning everyone else had buggered off and we found each other easily.  a hug, a drink, another hug - then off to dismantle a tent.  all under that incredible full moon.  i blundered off the site a tremendously happy man)

4.  the goa express  (a perfect half hour.  they're all about 23 - but have been playing together for 6 years - and it showed.  tight as fuck.  and groovy as fuck.  again, i danced.  christ knows what the overwhelmingly young crowd thought of me.  i didn't care)

5.  working men's club  (i hadn't really got it previously.  so just took a punt as i had zero interest in alabaster deplume.  they were fantastic.  how had i not realised that they sounded like suicide?  syd should probably keep his shirt on though, tbh...)


just missed the cut:

liz lawrence (so glad i stayed for her, after thinking everything would seem rubbish after pictish trail.  how happy did she look?!)

katy j pearson (she would easily have been in the top 5 if she hadn't been on the wrong stage [should have been on the main stage!] and i hadn't ended up in a shit position way off to the side)

ed dowie (his [audibly] one-sided conversations with big jeff were top fun.  as were his filler while waiting for the beats to load on his laptop - cleaning your phone as audience interaction!)

big joanie (also on the wrong stage - should have been in the WG)

steam down > nubya garcia (such relentless positivity alongside the skills.  "big up yourself!"  SD let down by the overwhelmingly privileged crowd who, in 'empower', when asked what was holding them back, couldn't come up with anything better than 'muddy shoes', 'goblins' [?] and 'shitting myself at caribou'...)

catrin finch + seckou keita (why have i never seen a harp and a kora together before?  so obvious in retrospect!  though all those close ups on the screen of the tuning pegs made me dizzy with the realisation of what that job must entail...)

stephen fretwell ('sad man with guitar' tropes brilliantly undercut by banter with his friend, jackie, in the crowd.  and that cover of 'i want you back'!  another act i stayed for just to avoid moving - for which i was undeservedly rewarded)

lyr  (even if simon armitage's 'rock star' outfit did make him look like the english lit professor at a provincial university who shags all his students)

king hannah  (toss up for the top 5 between them and WMC.  WMC just edged it on the 'unexpected' front)

the staves  (great, as ever - but i really miss emily's third harmony [and sweariness].  and the peak of my enjoyment possibly undercut by the fact that i've already seen them twice this year, and will again in october)

self esteem  (not really my bag.  but mrs rad's daughter really wanted to see her, so i went with.  fantastic, genuinely emotional show.  brilliant to see a [non-punk] overwhelmingly female crowd, being very directly spoken to - and fucking loving it.  pop music as subversive instigator of revolt!  not sure i'd go again anywhere but a festival - but definitely not sorry i did)

broadside hacks  (only caught the middle - but they were great.  apparently i missed geordie from black midi shouting abuse at morgan [who was drumming for BH] - which contributed to security throwing him out of the festival.  i imagine drink had been taken...)


please, never again:

richard dawson (i mean what the fuck?  i do not get it.  fat thom yorke is not my idea of a good time)

greentea peng (really wanted to like it.  20 minutes in i was deathly bored and cut my losses)

!.  BC Camplight

2.  Peaness

3.  Studio Electrophonique

4.  Katy J Pearson

5.  Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard

Honourable mentions to Melin Melyn, Prima Queen and Gruff Rhys, among others.  I'm pretty sure Teenage Fanclub would have been on my list, but I'd collapsed into my sleeping bag exhausted by the time they came on.

1. Black Midi

2. Katy J Pearson

3. Self Esteem

4. Shame

5. Lump

5b. Richard Dawson

5c. Teenage Fanclub

5e. Django Django

5f. Ed Dowie

I loved everything about the weekend. (It was GM number 12 for me) Loved (most of) the acts I saw, loved the crowds, loved the beer (always do), loved the bar staff and loved the rain. Even got used to the new bogs and marvelling at what comes out of some people's bum holes.

Tricky, but think the below had me most engaged:

Gwenifer Raymond

Caitlin Finch & Seckou Keita

Emma-Jean Thackray

Erland Cooper

Snapped Ankles (narrowly pipping Fontaines DC and Working Mens Club)

So between you you named 43 different acts. I've totted up the scores. The top 4 were miles ahead of the rest of the field, but here's a countdown of the top 10....

10. Thundercat

9. Black Midi

8. Goa Express

7. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard

6. Shame

5. Lazarus Kane (Best on Rising Stage)

4. (Fat Thom Yorke himself....) Richard Dawson (Best on Saturday)

3. Self Esteem (Best in Far Out tent)

2. Nadine Shah (Best on Friday)

And the winners are....

1. Fontaines DC

(And in case you're wondering, top act in the walled Garden was Katy J Pearson, top in Chai Wallahs was N'Famady Kouate, and the top act on Thursday were Working Men's Club)

Thanks for doing this, good to see what the consensus of the forum members is.  It does mean some regret at some that I missed and really upset that I missed the Goa Express.  Hopefully, next year i will have the opportunity to see Geoff and ask for his recommendations before the festival, and manage to catch the best of the rising stars, like Lazarus Kane this time.

Yes, it's just 5 points for a1st place,  4 for a 2nd etc. Tiebreaker is number of 1st places, and if it's still tied I give precedence to the smaller stage, then the earlier they played in the day. 

just goes to show how one person can have a completely different festival to another

i saw only four of the acts in the top 10

and one of those by accident - creating my low point of the weekend

Yeah I only saw 3, though I totally understand all those 3 being in the top 10.

Smart money on Richard Dawson being back next year with Circle.....