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Green Man Festival celebrates 20th anniversary with weekend of events

Green Man - Indigo De Souza - Walled Garden. Credit: Nici Eberl

Last night, the 20th anniversary edition of Green Man, Wales’ largest music, science and arts festival came to a close. During its 20th Birthday weekend the festival has seen stellar headline performances from Kraftwerk, Metronomy, Beach House and Michael Kiwanuka, as well as brilliant sets from fan favourites including Kae Tempest, Yves Tumor, Alex G, Bicep, Arooj Aftab, Parquet Courts, Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler and an array of Welsh talent includingGruff Rhys, Cate Le Bon, Melin Melyn, Adwaith and more.

Alongside the brilliant music, there were stimulating talks across the Babbling Tongues area from the likes of Travis Alabanza and Ash Kenazi, comedy from the rib-tickling Lolly Adefope, Shaparak Khorsandi, Mark Steel and more. There was groundbreaking science taking place in Einstein’s Garden, including a collaboration with King’s College London on their new Weather The Weather climate change installation. The first pride parade to take place at a Welsh festival also attracted a huge crowd on Saturday afternoon, marching through the site in glorious colour to mark 50 years of Pride.

Mercury Prize winner Michael Kiwanuka stunned as the festival’s final headliner, with his cathartic songwriting and soulful vocals holding his audience in the palm of his hand. Playing tracks from both from his 2019 album KIWANUKA and across his now decade-long career, the headline set served as a victory lap for the artist, who first played at Green Man in 2011, from first on the bill to headlining 11 years later.

Following Kiwanuka’s closing performance, festival goers made the pilgrimage across the site to witness the annual burning of the handcrafted Green Man effigy, this year also Pride-themed and featuring an extra special trapeze performance alongside the burn to celebrate the end of a 20th anniversary of the festival.

Michael Kiwanuka performing on the Mountain Stage. Credit: Parri Thomas

Legendary Welsh musician and Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys surprised the Green Man crowd with an early afternoon performance on the Mountain Stage. Joined by special guests, the Algerian Tuareg desert rock quintet Imarhan, the set delighted the audience at the main stage, drawing in a massive and eager crowd.

Gruff Rhys performing on the Mountain Stage. Credit: Kirsty McLachlan

Brooklyn post-punk band Parquet Courts were on top form over at the Far Out stage. One of the most energetic sets of the night, tracks from their decade-long collection of albums – including last year’s acclaimed Sympathy For Life.

Parquet Courts performing on the Far Out stage: Credit: Nici Eberl

2022 has been a stand-out year for dance music at Green Man, and the closing night was no different. One of the most trailblazing artists in jungle at the moment, Nia Archives, was a stellar edition to the festival’s After Dark programming. Her experimental blend of old-school jungle, neo-soul vocals,and skittering breakbeats kept spirits high following the Green Man burn just outside the Far Out tent.

Nia Archives performing on the Far Out stage. Credit: Nici Eberl

Earlier on at the Mountain Stage, Ezra Furman put on a truly cathartic show. Their flawlessly human songwriting made for an especially moving performance, in which she played tracks from her highly-anticipated new album All Of Us Flames, arriving this Friday. Experimental art-pop pioneer Jenny Hval graced the slot before Furman with an eerie and beautiful showing.

Indigo De Souza performing on the Walled Garden stage. Credit: Nici Eberl

North Carolinian grunge-pop hero Indigo De Souza put on an impressive display at the Walled Garden stage. Uniquely capturing the chaotic, shapeshifting experience of growing up, the musician captured the hearts of festival goers young and old. Hawaiian musician Eli Smart was an early highlight on the same stage, with his self-proclaimed ‘aloha soul’ warming the audience up for the final day in the Beacons.

Indigo De Souza performing on the Walled Garden stage. Credit: Nici Eberl

Back at Babbling Tongues, The Talking Shop hosted a live recording of North London diva Ash Kenazi’s podcast The Pink Room, with very special guest Ezra Furman. It also saw acclaimed journalist Jude Rogers in conversation with PetePaphides, discussing her first book The Sound of Being Human: How Music Shapes Our Lives. A full weekend’s worth of comedy came to a close at the Last Laugh, with highlights from standup comic and author Shaparak Khorsandi, BBC New Comedy Award finalist William Stone, and Pravanya Pillay is one of Bristol’s most innovative comedians and host of Party, a trans/non-binary/female comedy night.

The Little Folk children’s area continued to pioneer family-centric fun at UK festivals with a broad programme of entertainment and interactive exhibitions, as well as yesterday’s Little Folk parade. Families were the first to stream into the site when the Settlement opened on Monday, for 3,000 enthusiastic festival goers who turned their festival experience to a 7-day holiday in Wales. The Settlers warmed up for the festival with a programme of workshops, guided walks, bike riding, canoeing and adventures in the mystical Welsh countryside.

The final day of Green Man’s 20th anniversary edition was the perfect encapsulation of why Green Man has been one of the most beloved festivals in the UK for the past two decades. Incredible music bookings, thriving arts programming and science events that once again show that Green Man is a festival for all. Tickets for next year’s festival go on sale on Thursday 29th September, set to be another phenomenal weekend of music, science, art and more amongst the Black mountains.