Now into its sixth year, The Green Man Festival has been slowly and assuredly building its reputation as possessing one of the most unique, wide-ranging and eclectic bills on the festival calendar, and one of the best atmospheres going. But even by their normal standards, they've pulled a monster of a bill out for 2013's event - a bill that quite frankly knocks the spots of the vast majority of summer 2013's festivals. Maybe even all of them. Contactmusic will be heading down to Wales in August so with just over two months to go, we thought we'd take a look at one of the summer's most eagerly anticipated events.
Taking place this year between Thursday 15th August and Sunday 18th August, Green Man Festival is set in Glanusk, the middle of the Black Mountain, amidst the beautiful countryside of the Brecon Beacons. Fiercely devoted to being independent, family-orientated and intimate, the festival strives to provide a unique and varied experience for visitors of all ages, with a special focus on making the event family-accessible. This wide-ranging approach has seen the event named "Best Grass Roots Festival" last year at the UK Festival Awards, to follow on from their "Best Medium Sized Festival Award" in 2010.
But we'd be banking on Green Man clearing some space on their mantelpiece come the end of the year, because the line-up for 2013 is simply staggering, and shining with quality in every direction. As part of Thursday's entertainment, the festival welcomes an unquestionable legend in Patti Smith - the high priestess of punk - who headlines the Far Out Tent alongside Matt Berry, John Langford and Money. Always renowned for her incendiary and high-octane live shows, it's a chance to see one of the most influential female artists of all time grace the stage.
Friday's bill on the Mountain Stage is topped by Kings of Convenience - Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe's wonderful lo-fi electronic pop minimalism acting as the perfect tonic as the sun goes down. Supporting on the same bill are Midlake's alt-folk melodies, Edwyn Collins continuing his return to form following this year's sublime new record Understated, The Pastels perfect indie-pop and Matthew Houck continuing his rise to prominence under his Phosphorescent moniker. Supporting on the Far Out Stage are Fuck Buttons up against Kings of Convenience (clash nightmare!) with angular and industrially thrilling sounds from BEAK> and Darkstar supporting. Completing the excellent Friday line-up are Moon Duo's fuzz-drenched West Coast shoegaze pop and Jacco Gardner. The Walled Garden also sees Rachel Zeffira headlining, bringing her multi-instrumentalism and excellent recent record The Deserters to Glanuck.
On to Saturday and the Mountain Stage is simply bristling with talent, with any of four acts being worthy headliners. That accolade goes to Band of Horses, who will be playing from their excellent back catalogue and recent album Mirage Rock, with the promise of new songs later this year. Supporting are The Horrors, continuing their ever-upward climb towards being one of Britain's finest bands, while the legendary John Cale takes the stage before them. Low's new record The Invisible Way is one of 2013's finest releases thus far and their supporting tour brings their hushed wonderment along to Green Man for what will surely be one of the highlights of the weekend. And, almost as an extra special treat, Roy Harper will be rolling along to play tracks from his wonderful oeuvre of folk masterpieces. If he plays 'When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease', I may have to be excused a few tears. In one sense, the Far Out Stage on Saturday is an absolute nightmare in terms of clashes, but ridiculously good in terms of quality. Conor O'Brien's exquisite Villagers headline, with Steve Mason also on the bill, continuing to prove that there is indeed life after The Beta Band. Archie Bronson Outfit and Girls Names are also brilliant live acts and should not be missed, while the Walled Garden sees the incomparable Olof Armalds taking the bill alongside Grass House and Fossil Collective. Seriously, it's a clash-city that day - something for all.
Sunday sees Brit Award winner Ben Howard take to the Mountain Stage with his laid-back troubadour tales, alongside fellow upbeat folk luminaries Stornoway and Ellen and the Escapades. But frankly, we're going to be hard pushed to tear ourselves away from the Far Out Stage that day, where the line-up is quite spectacular. If we're not having our mind pulled in several different directions by Michael Gira's thrilling, visceral Swans, we'll be relishing British Sea Power (currently as good a live band now as any in the world), delving deeply into the psychedelic rock depths with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, taking in Melody's Echo Chamber and her assortment of dizzyingly beautiful sounds and celebrating Trwbador's "kitchen sink" folk-pop creations. Oh, and if that isn't enough there's Veronica Falls, Half Moon Run and Darren Hayman on the Walled Garden Stage; a quite astonishing selection of bands.
Alongside all of that, Green Man boasts a 24 hour bar license which means that the fun never stops after dark - Errol Alkan and Andrew Weatherall being amongst the many DJs taking us late into the night. There's a specific spoken-word and live comedy stage at The Babbling Tongues and a place for you to explore science and technology at Einstein's Garden. If that's not enough, the site takes advantage of its beautiful surroundings with the relaxation and ambient, beautiful atmosphere of the Fountain Falls garden.
With a line-up this impressive, it's expected that tickets will sell out for this year's event. However, all varieties are still currently available, so don't hang about for too long! Adult tickets are £145 including booking fee, while full-time students get entrance for a mere £125. There's a progressive and generous pricing structure for children, with infants four and under being admitted for free, five to twelve year olds only requiring a £5 ticket and thirteen to seventeen year olds costing a mere £75 for full admission including camping. Campervans are an extra £60 and there's also the option to extend your stay for a full week from Monday 12th August in the fully catered camping fields to explore the beautiful countryside and relax before the main event, that's only an extra £40 (children under twelve are free). Tickets are available from all the usual outlets but Green Man are using Ticketline as their preferred vendor of choice, with all types of tickets, campervan passes and car parking available from Ticketline.
Frankly, having got to the end of that line-up, we're stupidly excited and can't wait for August to arrive. Best spend the next couple of months praying for good weather and we'll see you down the front for Patti Smith!
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