Review: Green Man Festival

Being in the vinyl game, we tend to get our music fix while lazing about in an armchair. But you can’t beat live music. So, this summer we did our best to get out and hit some of the country’s amazing festivals…

Green Man (Glanusck Park, Wales)

Words Tim Lewis

Green Man 2018 - Fleet Foxes 01 - Green Man Festival - © Marieke Macklon
Photo by Marieke Macklon

I’ve not been to a “proper” festival in 10 years, so I jumped at the chance of going to Green Man. During my younger years it was all about rock festivals, but as I careen through my thirties, a more chilled out event, like this one, is right up my street.

Before we arrived, Russ, Stylus’ founder, and the more seasoned festival-goer out the two of us, informed me that festivals have changed dramatically. Perhaps the most obvious shift, he tells me, is that the age demographic is markedly older. I imagine the rising cost of tickets being a factor in that. Put it this way, in 2003, I paid £90 for a weekend camping ticket; now the average is north of £220.

Nevertheless, grumbles aside, our first fix of music comes from Lovely Eggs, a lo-fi duo from Lancaster who champion a “fuck it” outlook on life. They’ve been coined as “one of the country’s most beloved underground bands”, and the fact the Far Out tent is absolutely heaving, a rarity for bands on this early, suggests that statement is not far from the truth.

King Tuff – Photo by Nici Eberl

Next up is King Tuff, an artist a mate has been banging on about for years – almost to the point of being annoying. So, we’re making the effort to watch his set on the Mountain Stage today. I’d call it glam-garage rock, for want of a better label, and it’s just the tonic to bring the masses out of their mid-afternoon lull. ‘Psycho Star’ is the standout song of the set.

We decide to stick around the picturesque Mountain Stage for the brilliant Joan as Police Woman. The crowd’s swelled quite dramatically now, perhaps warmed up by King Tuff. Also, there’s no other way to put it, Joan Wasser (Joan as Police Woman’s real name) is cool as fuck. Twenty years after her first solo album and she’s still going strong.

The Lemon Twigs take to the stage next, fronted by Long Island brothers, Brian D’Addario and Michael D’Addario. Their 60s revival style sound is a welcome change, particularly when Brian takes the lead. Michael, on the other hand, tries too hard to be Mick Jagger. I know lead singers need a bit of a swagger, but his act made him seem like a prick (even if he is only 18).

From there on out, we spent our night in the brilliant Chai Wallahs tent, dancing like dickheads. A fact evidenced by the gang of teenagers that approached us to say it was great to see two men of “our age” dancing. I’m 33, for fuck’s sake! Ageist insults aside, funk and soul troupe, Soul Grenades, followed by Animanz and Daytoner, had us moving (even at our age) well into the night.

Photo by Joshua Hiatt

So, there you have it. Ten years ago I went to Reading and had a thoroughly shit time, swearing off festivals, and dismissing them as a waste of energy and money. Now, while my bank balance will not take kindly to it, I think Green Man, with its diverse lineup, eclectic mix of top notch food and drink, and beautiful location has rekindled the festival fire. Here’s to next year.

This review was first featured in issue 24 of the Stylus Vinyl magazine, part one of the Songwriter Series.

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