Last week, F Word headed to the breathtakingly beautiful Bannau Brycheiniog in Wales for Green Man's 21st year, and what a year it was. With standout acts including Amy True, Amyl and the Sniffers, Bob Vylan, Obongjayar, Say She She, Self Esteem, The Last Dinner Party, Young Fathers, our favourite telly-tubby Ziyad Al-Sammon, and even a talk from the iconic Martin Parr, there were lots to sink our teeth into.
People power and crowd camaraderie was everywhere we looked this year. Green Man provided a safe - diverse, inclusive, sustainable, and equal - space as artists were fearlessly taking to the stages and speaking out on modern world injustices, with the word 'anti' making its mark: anti-establishment, ant-racism, anti-sexism, anti-classism. It's also the friendliest festival you'll find!
We have collated a list of our favourite F-words that made this award-winning, independent music, arts, comedy and science festival so wonderful to be a part of.
IMAGE CREDIT NICI EBERL
Green Man is the only independent festival left in the UK that doesn't take sponsorship and I believe that is the beating heart behind what makes this such a special place. This unique refusal means that the creators have full freedom of curation, independent food and drink providers can be used and festival goers can go guilt-free. Seeing an advert pop up can really "piss on your chips"; and no not by that drunk bloke that's had one too many shandys.
This year Green Man gained acknowledgement for its inclusive approach, being awarded the Gold Charter for improving disabled people’s access to music from Attitude is Everything. And then there's the Green Man Trust, a non-profit scheme that is a melting pot of Welsh, national and international artistic talent and an innovator in opportunities.
The charity cultivates creative development, provides training opportunities within the arts, sciences and local communities. Across the last three years, 10,000+ people have been supported by Green Man Trust, £10,000 donated to local Community Grants in 2023, £16,000 donated to Welsh food banks in 2022 in response to cost of living crisis, £3,000 donated for Ukrainian war relief, £16,000 has been raised for Welsh vulnerable people affected by storm Dennis flood, £100,000 was spent to commission 223 artists during the pandemic and over 100 community projects have been supported.
IMAGE CREDIT PARRI THOMAS
Green Man is the only large UK festival where a woman has majority ownership - girl f*cking power! And with a 50/50 gender split between artists it was clear that equality was high on the list for Green Man this year. Who else would they choose to front the bill other than the ultimate advocate for female empowerment herself, Self Esteem. There were many other queens using their voices to speak out about injustices and equality; Amyl and the Sniffers (just listen to 'Knifey'), Say She She and Amy True to name but a few.
We used female urinals, a quick, safe and sustaiable innovation that has me asking 'how have we not been doing this sooner?'. Named PEEQUAL, these squat and go urinals are co-created with womxn and manufactured in Britain. PEEQUAL gets womxn and gender non-conforming people out of long toilet queues with a squat and go design.
... glorious food! All that dancing makes for hungry work; expect to find locally produced, independently sourced cuisine from around the world that caters to every dietary-requirement. For some vegetarian delights I would fully recommend 'aubergine naan', if you're feeling fishy, go 'Goan Curry' and for those meat eaters, get that Welsh beef in you from The Grazing Shed!
IMAGE CREDIT NICI EBERL
"Fuck the Tories" to be precise, a statement that echoed through the crowd during Young Fathers performative and powerful headline set. With each beat of the drum you could feel the passion and emotion bleeding into the crowd.
There's no denying, nor is it any coincidence that Green Man hosted a left-field line-up, where anti-establishment rippled from its raised voices, through to the elevated hand clapping of its crowds.
F-amily + F-riendship
IMAGE CREDIT KIRSTY MCLACLHAN
From newborns to the elderly, and everyone in between, Green Man has to be the friendliest festival I've ever been to. Being amongst the Welsh countryside with close pals, my sister and one year old niece; I would find myself floating around the general and family campsites and what stood out the most was the sense of community and respect. Right from entering the festival a warm Welsh welcome is received with stewards handing out bin-bags - a small but very sweet gesture - and the only thing you had to think about being set on fire was the burning of the Green Man as the festival ended, a burning effigy filled with wishes from festival-goers - can it get any more cute?
IMAGE KATE DAVIES
Sustainability has always been at the forefront of this festival but this year saw Green Mans's greenest yet. With their stackable, reusable and bespoke designed cups (genius idea) where at the end of the festival any that are unused are collected, washed and stored, ready to re- use the following year. They also employ a no disposable plastics on sale policy.
With all that sustainable drinking, the fluids have to come out and come out sustainably it did. Green Man utilises long-drop loos that don't require water, no biocide chemicals, and the waste that goes into the drops is then used as fertiliser for local farms - long may the loop of poop continue!
IMAGE CREDIT KATE DAVIES