So ever since I turned my back on Leeds Festival (2005) I have been attending a great little festival down south called Greenbelt. The reason I turned my back on Leeds Festival is because it got to a point where I spending upwards of £120 on seeing only a few bands that I really wanted to see. It was during this ‘I’m not paying this!’ period that my 3 best mates that I was in band with at the time scored the honour and chance to play Greenbelt festival. I was just blown away that I would be playing a festival to people that may not know who we were. So with the promise of a smallish stage and VIP passes we set off.
At the time I wasn’t Christian, I had thought about God but wasn’t really communicating with him nor would I consider myself Christian; quite the opposite I considered myself lost. I had gone to uni and had my final year of a philosophy degree to go. I had plan to come to some sort of consensus after my final year having absorbed as many different ideas as possible to aid my choice.
So as we arrived we signed in and received our passes while rubbing shoulders with bands we respected greatly such as Cinematic Underground. My first experience of Greenebelt was the great car queue which as it was Thursday as we arrived on trade/ artist load-in day it was rather minor but if your normal and arrive at like 3pm on Friday you might be in for a wait, which might seem like a nightmare however in my experience you always nearly know someone in the queue. In fact I don’t think I have ever had a year where I didn’t know someone in the queue, and if you don’t you have a nice view of the hills around the racecourse.
So as the festival progressed my top 5 things came to light…
1. The loos
They are kept in great shape to say they are subjected to 4 days of punishment. Although normal festival rules apply, do anything major either in the morning or in the first two days of the festival. Also over the years you find secret loos put in places no one thinks of looking, I have my current favourite which I won’t be putting on here for fear of the masses (tens) of people that read this going to GB and making a mess in my secret loos. A previous favioute has been the 3rd floor loos in the racecourse building.
2. Performance Cafe
GB has this great place the performance cafe, from people you will never see again to artist about to break into the mainstream the performance cafe is special thing. Hosted by charities the cafe plays host to some amazing lo-fi performances. I’ve seen Duke Special play with minimal instruments, and loads of other artists that are just great to watch and kill some time drinking a cheap hot drink.
3. It’s not just music
Now I’m aware most major festivals have a comedy tent but I think only Glastonbury can rival GB to the ammount of different things you can do. So as well as a mainstage, there is also a large indoor stage (some times), and small indoor stage. Outside of that there is performing arts, art installations, comedy, serious talks about important issues, films and because it is a Christian centred festival there is also worship. Now seriously you just can’t get bored, for me it’s impossible there is just so much to do, see and expierence.
4. You can bring your kids
Not something I have had to do yet but GB has activities over the whole day for both children and youth so if you have a little one and need a festival with activities that will keep there minds working…Bang GB has it sorted.
5. The greatest atmosphere at any festival I have ever been at…
Sure I’ve been to quite a lot of gigs and festivals in my time (festivals since 98 …oh yea) and not one festival has ever had the same inpact on me. When I’m at Greenebelt I feel like anything can happen, people do ammazing things and there is so much left to to do in the world but Greeneblt makes it feel like there has been great progress yet so much left to achieve.
As these 5 things came to light something else was stirring inside me during my first GB. In 2005 I had the greatest honour of playing this festival as I said above and just before we were due to play to thousands of people my band handed me a blue bag, in that blue bag was a bible inscribed with my fellow bands mates favourite verses. It was then that I thought I’d give this God fella a chance in my life and I have never looked back since.
Because of this Greenbelt well always be a special festival for me but I urge you to check out it, if not this year then next year.
I’ll be taking pictures so expect some coolish photographs on here sometime in September.