We had the absolute pleasure of attending Green Man Festival again this year. We adore this beautiful festival and jumped at the opportunity of being able to review it again.
Arrival and the Site
You may think you have taken a wrong turn driving to Green Man, you travel along very narrow roads to get to it but when you see the top of the tents poking through the trees you know you have arrived. The family car park sold out quickly again this year as did the live in areas so unless you want quite a walk with kit from the west car park to family camping I would recommend booking early. The family car park is a reasonably quick walk to family camping. Mr Trolley was on site at both car parks to provide a trolley either just for the day or for the weekend with cushions and covers. We could not have managed without the trolley – it makes everything so much easier.
The camping space at Green Man is stunning. The hills surrounding it, the space you have around you, the lovely thick grass, in the morning watching the mist rise over the mountains; it really is a wonderful space. Facilities are always clean and there’s plenty of them. There are the usual queues for showers at peak times but if you leave it till later in the day or at night you may have a block to yourself. The only compost toilets I saw at the festival were in the family camping area, I presume this most have been due to access issues for cleaning but they were not really ideal for small children. Steps to climb up, they felt quite unsafe and I heard several families complaining about the state they tended to get in. Love the idea and I am normally a big fan of a compost toilet but not sure if this was the best place for them.
Slightly different for us this year we had an extra camper in the tent, our 5 month old daughter. She had already been to a couple of other festivals but in the luxury of a caravan this was her first tent experience. We slept so well, I think it’s the best she has ever slept. It was quiet at night and we always felt safe and secure. My 6 year old loved the camping area and we felt happy for him to wander around in the direct area.
Little Folk is Green Man’s children’s area. A magical space that once entered is really hard to leave. This year the theme was all about pirates and everyone loves a pirate especially the king of pirates, Bash from the flying seagulls. The flying seagulls wake the children up and keep going till the children drop at bedtime. My son and now my baby both adore them, from music to magic, silliness and general madness the seagulls provide it all. They are an incredibly important part of the festival and should not be missed.
Junkfish take up a large part of the area, a large tent filled with dozens of different activities happening at all times all through the day. So much to do and create I cannot possibly list it all. My son’s favourite thing was pirate ship making and of course sword making. Everything made was free and the volunteers helping in the area were all very patient, helpful and always there to give a hand if needed.
In the space there were several free activities, a slide, a high climbing frame and a spinning ride. My only complaint would be that the climbing frame understandably had a height restriction but then I would question if this was the correct place for it with so many little people wanting to go on it and being told they were too small. The slide and the spinning ride were brilliant though.
Other tents had entertainment for babies and younger children going on all day and things like drama and circus classes happened in another tent. It was a lovely space to take my baby and just relax and watch all the children playing and generally just having the best time.
Over the far side for a small fee you could have a go at archery, this was a huge hit with my son and even Daddy enjoyed having a go at shooting a few arrows.
I love the fact that the children know that the space is separated so they can wander around and play, and you can sit back and relax knowing they will stay in that space playing safely. There’s so much to see and do in Little Folk it is easy to spend the whole weekend here alone.
The weekend was finished with the parade. A chance for all the children to show off all there amazing creations from the weekend. Organised by the seagulls it is a highlight of the weekend and always feels like a fitting closure to a brilliant area.
An area full of activities mostly science based, like the little folk area you can easily get so involved in everything going on that you could end up losing a whole day in this space. Everything from riding bikes to make electricity, learning about the weather, science games and zombie science. A wonderful area to explore and let your imagination run wild, it is also lovely just to relax in the middle and watch some theatre or listen to a talk. Everyone loves Einstein Gardens and you will struggle to find anything like it at another festival.
Every year, without fail, Green Man delivers. On the Thursday night they always have a special guest and this year they pulled out all of the stops and the mighty Leftfield blasted the roof off the Far Out Stage tent, a real treat to kick off the festival. Throughout the weekend we were thoroughly entertained by Hot Chip, St Vincent, a triumphant homecoming by The Super Furry Animals on the Saturday night, and my personal favourite Goat, a Swedish psychedelic maelstrom of sound and vision to cap off a great weekend of music.
Food and Drink
We always find Green Man has a wonderful choice of food and drink the only issue is trying to decide what to have with such a great choice.
The majority was locally sourced and home made. We loved the paella from Jamon Jamon, a huge portion for aprox £7 – we even shared it a couple of times. You could get real ale for £3.80 from the real ale bar and cider and lager at the same price. No children’s portions a such but when I wanted some mash potato for my baby the pie and mash stall happily dished up a portion and didn’t charge me for it. I am sure if you wanted a child portion the sort of festival it is the vendors would of happily sorted something out.
All the Extra bits
No visit to Green Man is complete without out a visit to the mushroom man. He carves the most beautiful wooden mushrooms in front of you and does it with such enthusiasm and love it is impossible for the children not to stop open mouthed and they all adore him. A part of Green Man that makes my sons year. You of course have to visit the Green Man himself and place a wish around him, on the last night he is set on fire and a fireworks show to beat any others I have seen goes on. The cinema tent came in handy for some particularly wet rainy moments this year and it always has a good selection of films for all ages. There are fair ground rides that with children are difficult to avoid so be prepared to throw some money away, it is difficult to avoid the rides unfortunately. Just over the other side of the cinema tent almost hidden away was a space making beautiful furniture and gifts from wood, I only found this space in the very last few hours and the general feeling from the people working it was they felt slightly forgotten about, I don’t think they had much publicity. I certainly didn’t see the area mentioned and it was a shame as it was such a lovely space. We didn’t use it but there were plenty of hot tubs available, it really did look very tempting, and if you have older children or someone to look after them I would definitely recommend it.
To sum up Green Man
It’s really simple, for us, Green Man is the best festival in the country. They have just got it right, from the size, the food, the cost, the music, the Kids area, camping, everything. The balance is just right. We will be going back to this festival for years and years to come. I really cannot praise it enough.