So that was Greenbelt 2012…

Greenbelt 2012 will forever be known in Greenbelt history as the year of the mud…

The result of no wellies…

Muddy guy lay down in the mud for a free pint.
Graham found his hiking boots didn’t quite cut it.
Always good to see the purple wellies being well used.
So, so much mud. And obviously, you don’t get that much mud without a decent quantity of water. Like the river that ran through G:Source (the exhibition area, which my friend Shannon frequently referred to as the G:Spot – awkward) ending up a foot deep in places.
 That water was moving at quite some speed.
At every single one of my previous 14 Greenbelts I’ve come prepared for mud. Some years there was *some* mud – I remember a particularly quagmirish beer tent three or four years ago – but never has there been so much of it. But you know what? It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it could have been. Admittedly, I managed to be under cover during every single one of the torrential downpours that occurred on Saturday afternoon; and yes, none of my tent mates informed me that water was coming up from the ground into the tent until after they’d sorted it all out; but I still had to navigate the fields of deep sludge for two days. Even friends with children said it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be – everyone was cheerful and the only people I heard complain were those sans wellies. 

As ever, there are many highlights from my own experience of the festival – the silent disco has already been documented, as has my day of doing absolutely nothing from the programme, but there was more. For a start, hanging out in the Performance Cafe is always well-worth doing, simply because of the quality of the performers. Saturday night was a particular highlight thanks to Harry Baker and his poetry. Hot on the heels of his highly commended Edinburgh Fringe appearances, his set at Greenbelt had the audience in stitches, even when performing in German. (The ever fabulous baby Jacob was particularly delighted by the German rapping – that child clearly already has a thing for hip hop.) Lost? You need to watch some videos…

A slightly more musical and spiritual highlight was the Rend Collective Experiment. I tell you, it takes something special to get me into a venue for 9am at a festival, but these guys are something special. Somehow I’d missed them live previously, but had seen enough YouTube videos to know that I wanted to experience them in the flesh. For years and years I’ve found spiritually enlightening worship at Greenbelt hard to come by, but this was absolutely the best worship experience I’ve had there in a long time. You could say that they were the Mumford & Sons of worship bands, but that would be doing them a disservice. They’re creative, Norther Irish, have an awesome collection of instruments and a percussionist to whom I have awarded the title of ‘best beard and jumper combo at Greenbelt 2012’. Oh, and they resurrected a classic Graham Kendrick tune without a hint of irony and did it much justice (an entire blogpost is brewing on this topic).
To be honest, nothing says Greenbelt more than slam poetry and folk worship. Roll on 2013…


  1. I loved it this year, despite having hugely unsuitable footwear. Bruce Cockburn……sigh

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