It’s no secret that Green Man is judged as one of the more prominent ‘hippy-fest’s’ in Britain. Even the name emits thoughts of trees, nature and big friendly Green giant’s, like something out of a Roald Dahl novel. When we arrived at (the then gloriously sunny) Glanusk Estate, situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park, we opted for the slightly less civilised option of loudly dragging our equipment through the grounds, as opposed to those who’d hired a trolley from the entrance gates. As we searched for a perfect spot to set up camp, the electric rumbles of sound-check ready for Friday afternoon came cascading down from the Mountain stage, startling my group and the other 15,000 festival-goers fiddling with tent poles and ground sheets around us. The atmosphere gradually built, but as anticipated, the clouds had already slowly started turning grey.
Due to everyone’s initial excitement and largely conforming reaction to the radiating smell coming from each of the hundred-or-so food stalls, I stumbled across one of the first live bands of the weekend while stuffing my face with halloumi. On at 8pm in the impeccably decorated Chai Wallah tent, the Manchester-formed band Honeyfeet began to set up. Lead vocalist Ríoghnach Connolly stepped on stage to oblivious chitter-chatter and a less than triumphant round of applause. It was as the opening notes of their EP Little Boat, released in May 2012, began that people started to pay attention. As Connolly’s vocals rose and belted through the crowd to such songs as the down-tempo, jazz-pop single Quickball and bluesy track Never Been Free, people stood up (and what seemed to be much to the bands surprise) rapidly began dancing and clapping along to the catchy rhythm section. It’s without effort that I can describe Connolly’s voice as outstanding, especially when unified with the harmonising backing vocals of Sam Buckley and Angus Fairbairn on saxophone.
With drinks in hand, we headed over to the Far Out tent for Adam Buxton’s music video show BUG, which nobody really seemed to have a clue about. The tent was packed to the brim with now mostly drunk people, and when the two overhead screens began playing Buxton’s typical pop video for Festival Time, the tent’s confusion seemed to intensify. However, when a bearded bloke appeared on screen dancing, rapping and rhyming in what he personally described as ‘a poncy sort of way’, it became obvious how funny this man was. Known for his role in the award winning comedy Adam & Joe, Buxton started BUG back in 2007 as a series of shows at BFI Southbank, celebrating contemporary music videos, their creators and the absurd opinions of the worldwide public.
It’s safe to say BUG is one of the funniest live music shows I’ve ever had the privilege of experiencing. Included were videos portraying Buxton himself as a posh festival goer with the lyrics, “we’re stuffing the chill bag, with nibbles and wine”, dub-step remixes laying the backing track for home videos of his kids going crazy with a ‘crazy-daisy’ and more well-known videos by the likes of Delta Heavy who’s stop-motion music video for the single Get By produced screams of “not the hungry hippos!” around the festival for the entirety of the weekend.
I end the day a little tipsy, soaking wet from the now pouring rain, all laughed out and ready for tomorrow morning when the Mountain stage would open its speakers to the first dribble of bands starting from midday, leading well on into the early hours of Saturday morning. At least I was looking forward to it, until I got back to my tent and found a river in my sleeping bag. Things could only get better, really.