Festival Previews: Steve’s Ten To Watch At Green Man 2009
Glanusk Park, August 21st-23rd 2009
Those making their way to South Wales this August are going to be for a real treat. The weather looks set to be glorious, the music as good as ever, if not better, and Glanusk Park should be radiant for this most charming of events. However one looks at it, Green Man 2009 is not to be missed.
Anyone who has sat (or spread out in glorious laziness) at the top of the green slopes that ascend in front of the Main Stage can see how well chosen this site is for such an event. The fact that the majestic Sugar Loaf Mountain rises over the top of the site from this most pleasurable of viewing spots is a wonderful added bonus. Elsewhere, there is just as much natural delight as the festival's further entertainment and stalls are squeezed in wherever they will fit between the excellent flora and fauna of the estateís gardens. Late night revellers will doubtless end up by the bonfire listening to all manner of interesting jams and toasting the night away with whatever takes their fancy.
Green Man always provides a culinary delight. The legendary Pieminister will be conspicuous by its long queues, and delve elsewhere to be taken all over the world in culinary terms without leaving a field in Wales. There's similar quality fare on show for anyone who likes a tipple, and great music from the cafť bandstand to boot. For the more energetic, a 45 minute walk to nearby Crickhowell offers all the charms of a Welsh country village, and some great castle ruins to clamber about.
Steve's Ten To Watch at Green Man...
Unfortunately, the Motel Review of the Year 2008's crystal ball was a bit foggy, so Axl Rose and co will not be making an appearance. However, here's ten acts that will be there - and should be watched. Also sure to bring the house down are Jarvis Cocker, Broken Records and Animal Collective, for the same reasons as they may well do at Glastonbury, so check them out in that section.
1. British Sea Power
This festival was made for these guys; with the foliage back on the stage it might be a bit hard to pick them out from the surroundings. With the sweeping instrumentals of the Man of Aran soundtrack likely to form a major part of the set, this should be a feast of the senses. Hopefully theyíll stick in a few raucous classics like Remember Me as well.
2. Bon Iver
Bon Iver should feel right at home here, given he wrote acclaimed his LP For Emma, Forever Ago in a Wisconsin wood hut. Justin Vernon, to use his real name, produced a mellow masterpiece of incredible proportions in his time there, and it will form the bulk of what should be a heart rendering set when he comes to Glanusk.
After tearing Reds apart in their recent ATP slot, and causing two of the Motelís own to act in somewhat unbecoming fashion, Errors will be looking to unleash their house-styled math rock on the unsuspecting punters of the Brecon Beacons. Expect frenzied gyrations from all, probably followed by a stint on the grass somewhere.
Green Man likes alt country imports from across the pond. Just ask anyone who witnessed Bonnie Prince Billyís memorable appearance a few years ago. Wilco will be aiming to impress with cuts from their new self titled LP that is said to pull on all sorts of musical trends. Likely to be an opportunity to sit back on the hill, relax, and enjoy.
5. Four Tet
Kieran Hebden returns to Green Man where his brand of off the wall electronica is always likely to go down well. Despite minimal stage presence, this unassuming master of knobs and buttons is a sure bet to pull in a big crowd and get them all dancing.
6. Grizzly Bear
Also impressive in the surrounding of Butlins, Grizzly Bear are enjoying a wave of critical acclaim right now with new album Veckatimest. Their brand of slow-burning, expertly crafted songwriting is greater than the sum of its parts. They're surely set to go down a storm here, and may well be a highlight of what is becoming a memorable year for the band.
In a round up thatís surprisingly low on long hair and beards, Vetiver provide both. Add some charming and mellow indie-folk from the heart and soul of America - in more ways than one - and everyone at Green Man will be hoping to catch a glimpse of Andy Cabic and company.
8. James Yuill
The Motelís home city of Manchester is well represented this year with Magic Arm and Itís a Buffalo also taking to the stage. London's James Yuill, however is making a name for himself with his brand of one man electro-folk that it seems certain will attract more a crowd than loyalist fans. His 2008 debut, Turning Down Water for Air, was a piece of work that will form the basis of a Green Man performance to remember.
9. Emmy the Great
Darling of the London folk scene, Emmy is sure to melt hearts in the Brecon Beacons come festival weekend. Together with her equally gifted ensemble of musicians, this most original of talents is bound to be on top form as she delivers her collection of musings on the more unsettling side of modern life. Expect her to be surrounded by twentysomething males queuing to propose marriage!
The festival organisers have had the great idea of throwing an eleven hour space rock extravaganza to finish things off on Sunday. Who better to rope in than your dadís old favourites? Expect some infinitely cosmic pyrotechnics and great showmanship from one of progís most fondly remembered bands.
words: Steve Welch
picture (Wishing tree only): Kate Goodacre
Tickets for this yearís Green Man cost £115 plus booking fees (£99 NUS/ISIC, other discounts for under-18s available). Buy online at www.thegreenmanfestival.co.uk. The campsite is open from 10am on Thursday, August 20th.