Sound Fires:
The Green Man Festival 2008

Why do we put ourselves through this? Why do we religiously attend these UK festivals? Why do we battle through hell or (very) highwater and suffer dodgy cheeseburgers of dubious origin only to endure unpredictable weather extremes, often resembling conditions that make the battle of the Somme look like a teddybears picnic?

Yeah, its rock 'n' roll... and folk... and psych and folktronica and a shitload of other tronicas not yet invented... it's yet another inspired mudbath, sorry festival. If it's August, if it's mid Wales, if it's not sign posted and if it's raining, it must be the return of the Greenman Festival. Yes, my ongoing tour of country estates with added drug consumption continues apace, this time the spectacular Brecon Beacons... (didn't they support the cheviots on their 93 tour?) are the utterly gorgeous backdrop to this 10,000 capacity musical extravaganza. ...

On Saturday morning we go in search of a traditional English breakfast. We can't find one, so settle for the Thai experience version of the aforesaid delicacy.... Two words.... foreign and muck..... Not cheap either, 7 quid if you include cup of tea. We steal the free bread.

We find ourselves gravitating yet again to the folkey dokey stage. Not only does it offer some protection from the elements but also has the best bands. A band called Brigyn turned in a faultless, classy set of mid tempo folk rock with lyrics sung predominantly in Welsh. They did a beautiful version of Leonard Cohen's 'hallelujah'. A brave song to pull off at the best of times, but they did so with aplomb. It was very moving.

by John Haylock


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