g r e e n m a n

[ 02:30 monday 21 august – glenusk estate, gwent, wales ]

it’s the final night of the green man festival, here in the welsh hills. after three days gorging ourselves on music the crowd of three thousand has distilled down to the forty-odd people crammed into this yurt. almost everyone is playing a percussion instrument of some kind, in most cases bottles or jars. for the last half hour i’ve been hammering a big metal olive oil canister. i shall probably remember this as the high point of the festival. there’s a sense of exhuberence and fellowship. for the first time we’re producing something together rather than consuming it.

in 1999 i played at camel rock in the isles scilly. then in 2004 i spent a couple of hours at womad. but this has been my first fully fledged experience of a music festival. i took the train to abergavenny with jan and luke on monday morning, from where we took a taxi up to the festival site. we pitched our tents under a big oak tree and we’ve been here since then.

there are three music stages and several other venues. the music covers a wide spectrum but most of it is evolved from some kind of folk tradition. the highlights for me have been gruff rhys (all but two of whose songs were in welsh), a band called “nalle” which sounded like icelandic music from outer space, and a duo from new mexico playing accordian and violin.

the music has been quite euro-american focused and the crowd is distinctly middle class. personally i’d have enjoyed more asian, african and south american ingredients. but i don’t want to carp, i’ve loved it all.

: c :

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