Next weekend, Contactmusic will be heading to the Brecon Beacons in South Wales for the 14th edition of Green Man.
Having first opened its doors in 2003, the festival has grown from housing just 300 people at its inaugural event to the 20,000 that will experience this year's sold out extravaganza. While music undeniably takes centre stage, it also boasts ten different areas where various activities from Babbling Tongues' spoken word line-up to Einstein's Gardens' scientific pursuit can be encountered by all and sundry. Also, its diverse range of locally sourced, mostly organic food and drink makes a distinct change from your average festival standard fare of burger and chips with a pint of warm Carling.
Taking place from Thursday 18th to Sunday 21st August, the musical bill is also as diverse as one would expect from a festival that prides itself on being one of the least corporate and commercial events on the calendar. Indeed, looking through the line-up from top to bottom it's difficult to envisage a better one at any UK event this summer.
So without further ado, here's ten acts we're most looking forward to seeing.
Fews - (Far Out Stage, Saturday 20th August)
This Malmo based outfit first came to our attention towards the tail end of last year thanks to impressive second single 'The Zoo', released on PIAS. Their eagerly anticipated debut long player 'Means' came out this May and was every bit as good as we expected it to be. While their live show is another level entirely, as anyone fortunate enough to have witnessed their sets at Dot To Dot, The Great Escape and Secret Garden Party will testify to. If new wave post punk with a noise laden edge is your thing, this lot are right up your street.
Belle & Sebastian - (Mountain Stage, Sunday 21st August)
Having formed 20 years ago at Glasgow's Stow College, Belle & Sebastian have gone on to become one of the most successful independent acts in history. From picking up an unexpected Brit Award in 1999 for best newcomer, regularly bothering the upper echelons of both the albums and singles charts and inspiring a legion of other artists worldwide, their status as luminaries of the indiepop underground scene is all but assured. Last year saw the release of their ninth album 'Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance', and while commercial success in terms of chart positions isn't as pervasive these days, critical acclaim continues to follow them around like a lost child. Expect a career spanning set indie folk godliness to close Sunday evening and the weekend's festivities.
Hippies Vs Ghosts - (Rising Stage, Sunday 21st August)
Anyone present during their show stealing set at May's Focus Wales event in Wrexham will already be in awe at this collective's prowess. Essentially the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter-in-chief Owain Ginsberg, who also plays in fellow Welsh upstarts We Are Animal among others. Expect a krautrock infused and largely improvised set of errant psychedelia that veers between the sporadic sea changing of Eat Lights Become Lights and more fluid elements of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Debut single 'Wazo' came out on Too Pure last year and we urge you to track down a copy today if you possibly can!
Amber Arcades - (Walled Garden Stage, Sunday 21st August)
Essentially the brainchild of Utrecht musician Annelotte De Graaf, Amber Arcades debut 'Fading Lines' has already been touted as possibly 2016's finest in many publications despite only having been released in May. Combining wistful dream pop with insightful lyrics while occasionally veering into krautrock and dancefloor territories, comparisons to the likes of Stereolab, Broadcast and Camera Obscura aren't wide of the mark. Come see what all the fuss is about. We promise you won't be disappointed.
Tindersticks - (Mountain Stage, Saturday 20th August)
Hailing from Nottingham, Tindersticks have been active on and off for a quarter of a century. Primarily centered around songwriter, guitarist and focal point Stuart Staples, their music defies categorisation simply by way of exceeding any set boundaries. Nevertheless, it has been described as soulful, folk laden murder ballads which is probably as near as it gets to pinning something to their evocative, all-encompassing mast. This year saw them put out their eleventh album 'The Waiting Room' and reviews upon release heralded it a startling return to the halcyon days of their first two long players. With such an incredible back catalogue of material to choose from, this promises to be one of the festival highlights of the summer.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - (Far Out Stage, Thursday 18th August)
One of the most entrancing live bands on the planet today, this Melbourne septet have created a storm both at home and abroad especially since signing to Heavenly Records early last year. Occasionally chaotic yet remarkably proficient in a musical sense, their live sets have often erupted into riotous outpourings both on and off stage. They can also claim to be one of the most prolific bands around having released eight albums in just four years. Their most recent 'Nonagon Infinity' came out in May and is arguably the closest they've managed to come in terms of capturing their live sound on record.
Lush - (Far Out Stage, Friday 19th August)
Having reformed last year and returned to the live arena in the early part of this, Lush have captured the imagination in the same way fellow contemporaries of the early nineties shoegaze scene Slowdive and Ride managed upon their recent reformations. Their shows at Camden's Roundhouse will go down as two of this year's finest while April's 'Blind Spot' EP contained their first new material in nearly 20 years. Expect a set largely garnered from their 'Scar', 'Spooky' and 'Split' periods. Or in other words, be prepared for an evening of shimmering ethereal beauty.
Haiku Salut - (Walled Garden Stage, Sunday 21st August)
Arguably the most uniquely innovative act currently gracing stages around the UK at the moment. This Derbyshire based three-piece make a welcome return to Green Man having first played here in 2013. Debut LP 'Tricolore' set the scene upon release three years while last year's follow-up 'Etch And Etch Deeper' raised the bar considerably. Expect a mostly instrumental set of cross-pollinated genre collisions incorporating electronic, folk, ambient and krautrock elements. Each unduly mesmerising in their own intriguing way.
The Besnard Lakes - (Far Out Stage, Sunday 21st August)
Canadian outfit The Besnard Lakes have been dazzling audiences worldwide since limited edition debut LP 'Volume 1' dropped in 2003. Now five albums into their career, the most recent being 'A Coliseum Complex Museum' which came out in January of this year. Their elegant brand of melodic, post-rock inspired ambience except with lyrics has seen them name checked by numerous bands as being a direct inspiration for their existence. Formed around the core duo of husband and wife Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, their live show can often delve into unchartered and largely improvised areas making them one of the most fascinating outfits on the circuit. With visits to the UK getting fewer and far between, don't miss this rare opportunity to catch them in the flesh.
Charlotte Church's Late Night Pop Dungeon - (After Dark, Friday 19th August)
One of the undisputed highlights of the 2016 festival season would have to be Charlotte Church's after hours set on Sunday night/Monday morning in the Rabbit Hole at Glastonbury, and she's bringing her Late Night Pop Dungeon to Green Man too. Expect a set laced with unexpected covers (Nine Inch Nails' 'Closer' and Super Furry Animals' 'Hometown Unicorn' being two at Worthy Farm), pop bangers from across the decades and a few hits from her own back catalogue. This is seriously not to be missed!