GREENMAN FESTIVAL 2012August 22nd, 2012 by Matt
JACK’S GREEN MAN FESTIVAL GUIDE 2012
Tired of the same old festivals where everyone and their ex-girlfriends are attending? Tired of spending all summer putting drugs in your face and laughing at people/things until you forget what you’re even meant to like anymore? Tired of being a broke, un-inspired vegetable come September?….Well if that’s the case, relax, take it easy and wake up and smell the fresh, rural air that is ‘The Green Man Festival!’
Situated in the breathtaking valleys of the Breacon Beacons in Wales, The Green man festival is a family friendly, humble, weekend festival that perfectly blends the needs of both young and old. There is a slightly medieval, ‘forest gathering’ atmosphere there, where the grown up’s drink ale, fornicate, and smoke stinging nettles and their children play football with pine cones. If you are thinking of attending next year then here are my top tips for getting the most out of this charming festival experience.
GETTING THERE: A locomotive departing from Paddington, at every hourly strike of the clock, will take you to Abergavenny in Wales. A local carriage will be there to greet you, completing your journey to the festival site.
ACCOMODATION: Preferably bring a nice big/good quality tent with a porch area, blow up mattresses, pillows etc…..but if your logistical capabilities don’t stretch that far, then do what we did and bring some one layer, pop-up tents with no pegs, and really get back to nature. There’s nothing like waking up with your feet in water and a spider in your mouth to remind you of the great outdoors. We stayed in crew camping where life was comparably sweet. Hot showers, mountain fresh water on tap, toilet paper, free tea and coffee were all features of our daily life. If you’re not a crew and you have to go in commoner camping then life may not be so sweet. I mean, I’m sure it’s fine, but to be honest I just wouldn’t know as I rarely mix with commoners.
CLOTHING: Hemp robes, and colourful Indian magician style head wear, with little mirrors on would be fine……wellies are optional, just depends if you mind your creps turning to woodland camouflage or not?
DAYTIME ACTIVITIES: Obviously there is a lot to do and see on the festival site during the day. You could drink some of the festivals own ‘Growler ale’ while strolling around sampling the culinary delights and listening to various acoustic artists, or visit the healing fields to enjoy massages and saunas, or…………you could do what we did and leave the festival to climb the glorious mountain ranges all around you!
CLIMBING TABLE MOUNTAIN: Leave the site via the mini castle looking exit, turn right down the road until you hit a pub, walk in the pub, buy a beer and sit down. Buy 4 more beers while talking about climbing the mountain behind you. The whole excursion will be a 3 hour round trip to the top and back, so make sure you have enough daylight otherwise you will get lost in the dark and potentially die. Before leaving on your hike, get provisions, we opted for the liquid variety of beer and water – though a little sachet of peanuts wouldn’t have gone amiss. Prior to this walk I would have said wear proper walking boots, but to be honest that’s all bullshit….I did it once in Reebok workouts and the next time drunk and in wellies and both times I didn’t even notice my feet being there. Wear long trousers or your legs will get stung to shit by nettles. Find a big stick for thrashing at fearnes and nettles. When the path runs out you have to fight your way through what can only be described as some kind of Welsh jungle in order to reach the top, without a stick at this stage you are more or less a joke out here. Don’t be surprised if you catch local sheep laughing at you as they freely scamper over sheer inclines. Once you reach the top you will be met with a strange feeling, it is one of genuine ecstasy as you are greeted with an amazing 360 degree outlook on the world, giving you a vantage point over the infinite fields, including the festival site, though definitely invisible to the average sea level dweller. At the top we drank some cold beers and smoked a humble zoot while looking out across the beautiful, rolling countryside, for as far as the eye could see. The way back down is amazing. Feel free to chase sheep like there’s no tomorrow, a scared breed at the best of times, a natural instinct intensified by being chased by 4 drunk, bleary eyed Londoners. Cows on the other hand are a different story. The last field we entered we were confronted by a whole gang of cows (watch out for the shit swamp here), at first they cautiously moved away from us, but then, sensing our fear, they rallied their sizeable troops and started making angry steps in our direction, at this point – our group, previously so confident in our surroundings, were suddenly disparate and lost – luckily there was a garden wall we could jump up on to avoid being head-butted by them (or whatever it is a cow does once it has you cornered?). If you are unfortunate to come across this field of dismay, it’s probably best to walk around it, unless of course you are looking to have a fight with a cow, which I think would be pretty distressing and weird. Once you get back to the bottom of the valley give yourself a good old pat on the back, because you just climbed one of the welsh ‘Black Mountains’ after the pub like it’s nothing.
FOOD: Instead of eating all of the drugs all day, like you do at most festivals, until your body tells you you’re a c**t, why not just get high off food? The best on-site food was the rotisserie chicken spot and also ‘le grand bouffe’ French cuisine which I believe does the festival rounds. The one to avoid was ‘Clara’s Caribbean kitchen’. Sorry Clara but I’ve never come across someone who has managed to make jerk chicken taste like a cheap Chinese take away dish. Anyway on the whole the food was great there. Also if you go to that pub I was talking about at the bottom of table mountain, you can get a great roast dinner, all made with local meat. I went for the beef, purely as a means of revenge for our earlier terror. It was delicious.
MUSIC: There is an eclectic mix of music at Green Man although all fairly mellow, which I liked. The highlights this year for me were Van Morrison, Dexy’s Midnight Runners (Come On Eileen), Metronomy, Mr Scruff and James Blake. After midnight there is 2 tents to cater for the late night disco frequenters, which are open until 6am ‘Chai Wallah’ and ‘Far Out After Dark’. Here you will discover that all the kiddies have gone to bed and people are engaging in hedonistic, drug induced, adult style fun. This brings me to my next topic.
DRINK AND DRUGS: Like any good British festival, drink and drugs are tolerated at Green Man but remember there are lots of small children around, especially in the day so it’s not the place to be steaming round wild eyed with powder all over your face. You’ll only make a child cry or piss off a mild mannered parent. The 2 late night tents are the places to head to for all your drug fun, because to be honest, Green man does not cater for the daytime druggy which is nice, as it makes your festival a holiday rather than an endurance test. I managed to completely swerve class A’s at Green Man which is the first time I have done so at a festival in over 10 years, but it felt good, and because of the nature of the place, I never felt pressured. I replaced the drugs with real ale and long mountain hikes. Yeah that’s right I drank ale and went walking….and you know what I did in the evenings? I rustled around in a bag of Golden Virginia looking for lumps of hash mingled with tobacco, so I could smoke my little one skin spliffs by the fire and then go to bed, and I liked it. If this is all sounding a bit tame for you and you are after something a bit more full on, then don’t worry, Newport is only 30 minutes away. Once you get there I’m sure you can pick up some chalky speed pills, hit the local DnB night in an old pool hall and leave with a gurning pikey girl, who will take you back to her house and try and rope you in to a weird sex game with her and her husband while their kids are asleep next door. The great thing about this festival is that you can play it however you want, there’s the messy side to it at night but there is also a very chilled side to it as well. If you want a festival where you bump into hundreds of buzzing, sleep deprived people you know dressed as glittery sailors, then this festival isn’t for you. If on the other hand you want a down to earth, chilled festival experience, set in one of the most beautiful locations the UK has to offer than i would say go in 2013 and take a breather.
So there you have it..those were my tips for the Green Man festival in Wales. Thanks to Ben for hooking us all up with tickets.