Wales’ largest music, science and arts festival, Green Man Festival came to a triumphant close Sunday night with a thrilling headline set from Fontaines D.C. The Dublin four piece’s first major festival headline show followed headliners from across the weekend, Caribou, Tirzah and Mogwai, and was a truly raucous display with the Black Mountains of the festival looming behind them.
Following Fontaines D.C.’s closing performance, festival goers made their annual pilgrimage across the site to witness the annual burning of the handcrafted Green Man effigy under the full moon, celebrating the end of an emotional return to the hallowed festival grounds.
Fifteen year old Jasmine Bovingdon Wood (nicknamed Minnie) sang Welsh lullaby Suo Gân at this year’s Green Man burn. Festival goers write wishes or thoughts on the Green Man, which is burned at the end of the festival.
The rendition proved to be an emotional release after lockdown and Minnie said “’My mum and dad think it’s amazing that I am singing at Green Man, they are very proud that I’ve had this opportunity.”
Minnie said that performing “was nerve racking but well worth it as it’s a memory that will last forever.”
Fiona Stewart, Owner and Managing Director of Green Man said:
“Green Man ‘21 was a joyous fest of incredibly relaxed, happy people delighted to be together after such a long time apart. We really are better together and experiencing that at Green Man was magical. We are really excited about Green Man’s 20th anniversary which will take place from the 18th to 21st August 2022. Plans are well on their way and we can’t wait to tell you all about it in the coming months.”
Bass maestro Thundercat graced the stage before Fontaines D.C., serenading the crowd with his astral, micro-funk odysseys. The occasion was not lost on Thundercat who was amazed to be back playing in the UK after such a long absence.
Over at the Far Out, Sheffield’s finest Self Esteem, AKA Rebecca-Lucy Taylor performed one of the stand out sets of the weekend to an overflowing tent of festival goers. Her show was one filled with honesty, warmth, humour and perfected choreography where she played tracks from her debut record, Compliments Please, new music from her new forthcoming second album Prioritise Pleasure, receiving a rapturous reaction to the record’s lead single “I Do This All Time”. It was an emotional moment for everyone in the tent, especially Taylor
At the Walled Garden stage earlier in the day, post-punk cephalopods Squid arrived on stage for their very special secret set. The band have come a long way since their Green Man 2019 performance, releasing their critically acclaimed debut album Bright Green Field this year via the legendary Warp records. Ollie Judge, drummer and singer, performed with a blazing intensity ripping through tracks from their debut.
Earlier in the day there were some buoyant, up-tempo jazz party starters provided by London collective, Steam Down. One of the most special moments of the day was provided by Green Man Rising competition winner Teddy Hunter, who beat off competition from 3,000 hopefuls and over 30,000 votes to open the main stage on Sunday morning. Also playing the stage were folk heroes The Staves, and the incredible saxophonist and 2021 Mercury Prize nominated Nubya Garcia.
As ever, there were a host of stimulating talks at the Talking Shop stage. Chilly Gonzales spoke about his passion for Enya whilst drag punk superstar Ash Kenazi closed out the stage with a riveting conversation with Self Esteem for a live ‘The Pink Room’ podcast recording.
On the final day the Rising stage was once again one of the most buzzy places to be at the festival. Rough Trade signed Caroline cast a spell over the audience whilst Drug Store Romeos and Roscoe Roscoe both played rapturously received sets.
After the Green Man burn, techno duo Overmono brought their cavernous brand of bass music to the Far Out stage. It was a truly euphoric set with the festival firmly in party mode across the site, from the Walled Garden to Round The Twist.
Einstein’s Garden was filled with zany science displays, delighting the Little, and the big, folk of Green Man festival throughout the day. Over at The Last Laugh stage, Mark Olver, Jessica Fostekew, Touissant Douglass brought the laughter to the final day of Green Man.
The Little Folk children’s area continued to pioneer family-centric fun at UK festivals with a broad programme of entertainment and interactive exhibitions; this year’s theme was the Land Before Little Folk. Families were the first to stream into the site when the Settlement opened on Monday, for 5,000 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 was the perfect encapsulation of why Green Man is one of the most beloved festivals in the UK. Incredible music bookings, thriving arts programming and an inclusive, joyous space for all involved. Tickets for next year’s 20th anniversary festival go on sale on Tuesday 28th September, set to be another incredible weekend of music, science, art and more amongst the Black mountains.