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Greenman Festival 2011

Venue: Glanusk Park, Brecon
Date: 19th - 21st Aug 2011

For the last three years the words ‘Green Man Festival’ have conjured the same emotions as the words ‘Glastonbury Festival’ have for the last decade. Feelings of dizzy excitement, anticipation and satisfaction, smug in the knowledge that I will soon going to an event that offers a festival of the truest kind.

For those of you that have yet to experience this festival, it is one of the most beautiful and magical festivals in the world. Set in Glanusk Park, with a back drop of the Black Mountains, the scenery will take your breath away. The festival is relaxed, friendly and intimate; you feel like you are a million miles from anywhere. Stepping outside your tent in the morning to a view of the clouds and mist lifting over the black mountains is one of those moments that makes you stop and appreciate life.

Though don’t stop too long because let’s not forget that festivals are also about music and the organisers certainly do not disappoint on that front. Green Man has an incredible amount of music to offer. This is a festival where you know you don’t have to check the line up before going as you are guaranteed not to be disappointed. What’s more, you will go home with a list of new bands to discover.

The highlights for me over the weekend were The Avett Brothers who gave an incredibly energetic, foot-stomping, emotional set. They finished with ‘I and Love and You’ creating was one of those festival moments that will stay with you forever.

The Low Anthem were performing in Wales for the first time and were the band I was most looking forward to in the build up to the festival. They didn’t disappoint one bit. They gave a very captivating and mesmerising performance that just completely takes over you and makes you oblivious to anything else in the world.

Villagers had, what I feel is the best slot at festivals, the time when the sun is going down and night is beginning to draw in. Villagers were the perfect band for this slot, performing ‘I Saw The Dead’ as the sky began to turn dark was another special moment to add to my growing collection.

Fleet Foxes headlined Friday night and if ever there was a band that were put here to headline Green Man it was these lot. I saw Fleet Foxes at Glastonbury two years ago and their performance then was very flat and didn’t transcend into the crowd. Their headline slot at Green Man was a completely different experience, the crowd were hanging on their every word and the band were clearly much more confident.

Noah and The Whale gave a very polished performance and looked the part in their Beatles-esque suits. This is a band that have really progressed with their three albums and are proving they are one of the best British bands around at the moment.

Laura Marling was back for the second year in a row, declaring the festival her favourite, and gave yet another faultless performance.

My crinkled and dusty list of ‘bands to find out more about’ include Dry The River, Driver Drive Faster, Tweak Bird, Ellen and The Escapes, Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo and Other Lives. All of whom will no doubt be featuring on this website over the coming months.

Iron and Wine closed the festival on Sunday. They were the perfect band to end with. As I sat at the top of the amphitheatre main arena, looking down on the crowd, admiring the starry night sky and watching the moon come into view behind the stage, I felt I was part of the greatest music festival on earth.

With the music over there was only one thing left to do and that was to watch the annual burning of the Green Man. As I watched him burn to the ground I felt sad the festival was over for another year, but happy knowing that I will be back next year to experience it all over again.

Steve Tay

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