green man 2011

23 Aug

On Friday, I picked a few tomatoes from my garden and we headed off to the Green Man festival in the Brecon Beacons in Wales. I haven’t been anywhere near Brecon for about ten years and it’s just breathtakingly beautiful. It reminds me, strangely, of New Brunswick: creased landscapes with pockets of richly dark green forest, dense rolling mists and roads that seem to soar ever upward.

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Because Matthew was performing with The Woe Betides, we got to camp in the Artists’ grounds, and I realised that I have never been to a festival where I didn’t stay in the Artists’ grounds (the benefits of having an artist for a dearheart). We were camped near She Keeps Bees, but not close enough to David Trent, a comedian whose one-hour special I would definitely stay up to watch should one ever be commissioned.

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I wore socks knit from Noro Kureyon, which Helen (the other Woebie wife) said were perfect festival socks. Generally speaking, I think they fit in quite well with the whole Green Man ethic.

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Green Man is generally ace, as festivals go. There was a definite environmentalist/science-y emphasis, as well as the usual alternative/hippie side of things, with strong support for the very local and the interestingly artisan. Einstein’s Garden was probably my very favourite area. It’s where Matthew and the other Woe Betides rocked the Solar Stage (run on portable solar panels), ‘like Kate Bush in a tank’ so person astutely commented, to a crowd that dashed in and out of shelter from the rain until it settled on just dancing.

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In Einstein’s Garden, there was a local blacksmith running smithing workshops, seminars on sustainable energy and maggot racing. As well as the smithing and the music, there were heaps of workshops, such as one where we got to meet a chicken and her chicks, and were encouraged to think about urban chicken-keeping (as soon as we have a back garden…).

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I would have been interested in a workshop or two from some of the vendors, such as the woman selling sheep’s milk ice cream (OMG DELICIOUS) and the hops and brewers growers whose ales, ciders and perry were on offer in the Green Man pub. Alas, we left too late on the Sunday to go off in search of a nearby hops farm and see if we could score a small keg of the Blorenge, of which I drank a good deal.

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On Sunday morning, despite having only a few hours sleep, I made myself get up to take some pictures of the festival site when it was empty. Mornings at festivals are oddly my favourite. It’s so quiet and anticipatory while the whole site sleeps.

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Then, slowly, there ripples through the grounds stretching and unfurling and the opening of tents. You blink and the hum of crickets is replaced by people stumbling in wellies and debating between a breakfast beer or coffee.

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